MONTREAL: SiriusXM Canada Talent & Industry Relations director Andréanne Sasseville died of cancer on Jan. 9. She was 41. She was with Sirius since 2005, and with Musique Plus prior to that.
Sasseville was known as a champion of homegrown artists. In 2014, she spoke to the Canadian Heritage Committee about investing in grassroots initiatives to improve the situation of Canadian musicians. In October, she made an appearance at the Gala ADISQ 2016, presenting an award to Safia Nolin, and earning a standing ovation.
Sirius President and CEO Mark Redmond explained that “Andréanne was the first person I hired at Sirius Canada, in 2005. She was with us from the inception of the company and the launch of satellite radio in Canada.”
“We created the role of Director of Canadian Content Development and Industry Relations for her. Her role was to foster our Canadian content initiatives, both English and French. In the 11 years we’ve operated in Canada we have spent close to $100M on Canadian content development funding. Andréanne was instrumental in working with the artists, labels, management and festivals in creating ways and opportunities for them to get exposure throughout North America.
She helped both independent and established artists get placed onto our channels, both in French and English, throughout those 11-plus years."
Sasseville worked hard to bridge the two solitudes, as Sirius Sr. VP, Sales and Marketing, Paul Cunningham recalls. “She did try to cross-pollinate. She was always looking for opportunities to showcase French artists in English-speaking Canada and vice-versa. It was all about the music, not which language it was in.”
Her fluent bilingualism was an asset, he adds. “I was at the Canadian Heritage event in 2014. Politicians came up asking how she could speak so fluently without any accent in either language.”
Redmond recalls that “We had her do some government relations on behalf of our license renewals around what we were doing with Canadian content on our unique platforms and programs. Andréanne was respected by everybody and anybody in the industry, from new and emerging artists to very established artists to the most senior executives at the labels.”
Over her career, Sasseville interviewed hundreds of Canadian artists, both on Sirius shows and as host of the national Cineplex Backstage Pass pre-show.
News of her passing was major news in her home province. Québec's Minister of Culture, Luc Fortin, wrote on Twitter: "The testimonies of a love of the music scene for Andréanne Sasseville testify to her positive influence. My sincere condolences."
The family has yet to announce funeral arrangements.
Sources: CTV News, Montreal Gazette, La Presse
Here is a video clip of Philippe Brach interviewing Sasseville in August 2016