For the past eight years, The Jack Richardson Music Awards have played a prominent role in recognizing London’s musical diversity and excellence. This year’s awards ceremony will be the first since Richardson’s passing, meaning the event will pay extra tribute to the Juno Award-nominated producer and Order of Canada recipient.
“Jack was actually at last year’s awards ceremony on April 10, and then sadly he passed away about a month later on May 13,” Darin Addison, steering committee member for the JRMAs, says. “We’ve always paid tribute to him by naming the awards after him, but we thought that with his passing, it was really important to put in the extra effort to honour him this year.”
This year, the JRMAs will recognize London’s talent in 22 different categories, including hip-hop, classical-instrumental and producer/engineer. There are also two fan favourite categories that the public had an opportunity to vote for.
Matt Weston, drummer and bass player for the two-piece rock band The Dyadics, is excited about his band’s nomination in the rock category.
“Just the fact that we got nominated is huge for us,” Weston says. “It certainly validates the effort we’ve put into the band and tells us that we can achieve a lot more if we continue down this path. We’re really honoured to be in the company of some amazingly talented musicians as well as some good friends that we go way back with.”
The Dyadics will also be performing at this year’s ceremony amongst a few other artists, including Jennifer “Red” Thorpe, Hey Loretta and a few second-year music industry arts students.
According to Addison, the previous year’s winner for each category is asked to head the nomination committee, bringing in a group of their peers who are knowledgeable in the music scene.
“They get together and submit their choices to the steering committee,” he explains. “Originally the awards were voted on by the public alone, but what we’ve done is created the JRMA Academy instead. We’ve invited people in the music community to vote online once the nominees are determined—it gives a higher level of credibility to the awards.”
Weston is happy that London has dedicated people who treat musicians with the respect they deserve and are working on raising awareness for the music community.
“The steering committee members are all hard working individuals giving up their time to help recognize the good work done by the artists in this city,” he says. “I’m definitely very thankful to them.”
The Jack Richardson Music Awards will take place on Sunday, April 15 at the London Music Hall. Admission is free for everyone and doors open at 7 p.m.