Honey Jam founder Ebonnie Rowe is staging a 25th-anniversary concert and party after all. Limited in attendance, the Oct. 1 event, in celebration of her long-running showcase and mentorship program for up-and-coming female performers, will be live-streamed for free from Toronto’s El Mocambo on nugs.tv, at 8:00 p.m. ET.
“Normally the concert is ‘Here’s this young artist you’ve never heard of doing an original song [but,], for the 25th anniversary, what it is instead is a celebration of women in music, so all of the artists have chosen someone who is special to them, who had some influence on them, and so all of the songs are going to be covers in every different genre - pop, hip hop, jazz, R&B, country, dancehall, rock, even opera,” said Rowe at the covid-compliant media launch last week at the Elmo.
Hosted by CBC Music’s Angeline Tetteh-Wayne, the Oct. 1 show will feature performances from Honey Jam alumni and mentees Jaclyn Kenyon, Chatta, Nefe, duo Jess and Tay, Elise Mariah, Joy Lapps, Christina Smith, pHoenix Pagliacci, BLUE WILL, Tyra Jutai, Alisa Sakako, Malaika Khadijaa, Kelsey Vaz, Chloe Rabideau, Divine Lightbody, Jäjé, Emily Schultz, Jet Lyse, Rosie Monday, Lola Bunz, and I.P. The Poet.
“It’s also our 25th-anniversary party, and I wanted to feel like diving into a glass of bubbly champagne,” said Rowe. “I know that it may just be us in the room — ‘cause you can only have 50 people — but I still want it to feel like the Grammys, like the Golden Globes, like something amazing. I want a carpet outside. I want a queen’s throne and crowns. I want bubbles and man servants [laughs]. We want to do the most because we’re only going to have our 25th anniversary one time.”
The Honey Jam 2020 season is sponsored by TD Ready Commitment, Slaight Music, Ontario Creates, Factor, CBC Music, Music Canada, SOCAN Foundation, Canadian Musician, Music Managers Forum, Yamaha, The City of Toronto, CHFI, KISS925, Factor, The Post Office Sound, iHeart Radio Canada, Music Publishers Canada, Woodbine Mall, Goldman Group, Madison Liverpool Limited, and El Mocambo.
Honey Jam is also curating this month’s Apple Music playlist for Roots. The campaign launches on the Roots Instagram page on Sept. 27.
To tie in with this special time, on Sept. 24, Rowe and Honey Jam received The Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition (and $10,000) from the Toronto Arts Foundation in recognition of “creative, performing, administrative, volunteer or philanthropic contributions to Toronto's musical life.”
-- Pictured outside Toronto’s El Mocambo last week to announce the 25th anniversary Honey Jam concert live-streamed from the venue Oct. 1. Pictured L to R: ElMo owner Michael Wekerle; Honey Jam founder Ebonnie Rowe; Honey Jam alumni Christina Smith, Rosie Monday, Malaika Khadija, Jaclyn Kenyon; artist Kardinal Offishall; artist Jully Black. Front row kneeling: BLuewill, Chloe Rene, Tyra Jutai — photo credit: Aoife McCartan