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Canadian Urban Music Awards in Full Effect

You can generally judge award shows by the company they keep. For example, at the recent American Music Awards, most artists didn't even bother showing up. Not so at the Canadian Urban Music Awards at the Kool Haus last night. At the CUMAs (much like all other Canadian award shows), if you're a local artist and you don't represent, you're probably a nobody anyway.

And represent they did. The star power was considerably higher than in previous years, a testament to the growing importance of the event. It does make for some interesting matchups. Where else would you see Maestro (don't call me Fresh Wes) and 80's pop rocker Gowan on stage together? Strange animals indeed.

As a faithful attendee of the awards, I found it cool to see how big the CUMAs has become (relatively speaking of course). While not quite on the scale of the Junos, it's definitely grabbing more media attention. And in a harsh Canadian music industry where a percentage of artists are likely still holding down a full-time job, it was good to see these artists get some accolades and respect. (The full list of winners can be found here)

Case in point: props to Divine Brown (pictured above) for copping both R&B Recording of the Year and New Artist of the Year. And no, CBC.ca, Brown isn't " a newcomer to the Canadian urban music landscape," she's been a fixture in the Toronto music scene for years (back then she was known as Divine Earth Essence). And even though a few eyebrows were raised (some at the show felt there were more deserving artists), a shout out to Toronto rapper K'naan for grabbing the Hip-Hop Recording award for Strugglin'.

What was cool about the show was level of parity: in the past it would have been something like "all-Choclair, all the time"(where's he been anyway?). This year, the award winners were spread out (including Saukrates, Jully Black, k-os, Farley Flex), perhaps a sign that the Canadian urban music industry is finally maturing.

Photo: Canadian Press


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