Up-and-coming Canadian artists have a friend in Stingray Music's Rising Star program.
According to a CRTC mandate and as part of Stingray's promise of performance, the organization has continued on a program first established 19 years ago as Galaxie Rising Star.
"It's critical for us," says Mathieu Péloquin, Stingray's Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Communications, who adds that 4% of Stingray Music's annual gross pay audio revenues "goes back into the Canadian music industry, and a portion of that is directed into the Stingray Rising Star program.
"And the purpose of that program is really to support new, upcoming artists, whether it’s through our friends Coalition Entertainment in Toronto, where they have a campus so we support their students, or anything that has to do with the educational component of a music festival."
Péloquin says Stingray takes care of travel, lodging and support to a "rising star" that's imported into a festival, with special preference being offered to classical, pop and jazz acts.
"We have our Rising Star program with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Opera de Montreal, to name a few," says Péloquin. " We’re also present in jazz fests across the country, but we're always directed to the non-commercial arms of the festivals, the new up-and-coming artists."
Winners since 2016 include P.E.I. classical pianist Scott MacIsaac; Vancouver swing jazz singer Tia Brazda; Chilliwack-born jazz groove trumpeter Tara Kannagara; Montreal folk duo Saratoga; Niagara Falls, Ontario native and baritone opera singer Christopher Dunham; Rimouski-based trumpeter and flugelhornist Rachel Therrien and the Afro-Colombian dance music practictioners Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, with 2015 prize winners ranging from the Vietnamese Dan Ban specialist Huu Bac and his Quintet and Vancouver blues duo The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer to Brazilian-flavoured singer and songwriter Flavia Nascimento (pictured) and Newfoundland-based jazz pianist Florian Hoefner, plus many others.
Since 2015, Stingray has also sponsored the Jazz Album of the Year at the Juno Awards, with this year's winners, Metalwood, triumphing with their album Twenty and Jane Bunnett and her Cuban-bred Maqueque taking the 2015 Award with their self-titled effort.
The breakdown for the 4% funding Stingray Music is responsible for falls as follows: 25% to FACTOR, 25% to MusicACTION, 5% to the Community Radio Fund of Canada and 45% to Stingray Music's Rising Star program "to discover, encourage and promote new Canadian artists."