Electronic producer Joanne Hill, who performs as Sydney Blu, lobbied for the Juno Awards to introduce a category for underground dance single of the year. The new award will launch in 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Electronic producer Joanne Hill, who performs as Sydney Blu, lobbied for the Juno Awards to introduce a category for underground dance single of the year. The new award will launch in 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Juno Awards to announce new category for underground dance single of the year

Joanne Hill lobbied for the award with support from DJs, producers and other members of the dance music industry

The Juno Awards are giving clubgoers reason to celebrate with a new category for underground dance single of the year.

Organizers of Canada’s biggest night in music revealed the details Friday as part of the “opening night” Junos show, saying they plan to launch the category in 2022.

Toronto electronic producer Joanne Hill, who performs as Sydney Blu, lobbied for the underground dance single of the year award by pulling together around 200 support letters from DJs, producers and other members of the dance music industry.

She said having a category specifically focused on more “traditional” underground dance music draws attention to less mainstream sounds with roots in marginalized communities.

“I think that’s really important because incredible music is made from this community and it wasn’t being recognized by the Junos,” Hill said.

“I’m just really happy that it’s finally happened.”

The underground dance single award will cover an array of subgenres including techno, underground house, dubstep and bass, organic house, electro classic/Detroit/modern, soul/funk/disco and Afrohouse.

Those musical flavours have largely been absent from two existing Junos dance categories – dance recording of the year and electronic album of the year – which often celebrate radio-friendly songs or artists who found success in popular culture.

Qualifying recordings must be structured around “slow builds, hypnotic and repetitive arrangements that may include vocals, often extended in length, all developed for maximum utility on the dance floor by club DJs,” the Junos said.

A 15-person Juno committee led by Hill, co-chair and entertainment lawyer Mark Quail as well as fellow music producers and organizers of various dance music festivals across the country will determine if artists submitting to the category fit the description.

Hill said she’s confident plenty of Canadian producers working in the various subgenres will submit their music for consideration.

“In every single one of them there are people making music,” she said.

“Maybe it’s not the biggest scene for it in the world but it’s all being made here by an artist somewhere in the country. Even in small towns, you’ll find an amazing progressive house artist.”

Last year, the Junos pledged to dedicate more resources to fostering a music industry that better supports the voices of artists who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour.

Creating an underground dance category is a step towards those goals.

Many of the sounds originated with Black creators on the dance floors of LGBTQ nightclubs. Since then, they’ve spun off into subgenres that have thrived at big-city raves and been embraced by Indigenous electronic artists in the far north.

In addition to the underground dance award, Junos organizers announced two other category changes for next year.

The award for Indigenous artist or group will be split into two prizes, one for contemporary Indigenous artist and another for traditional artist.

Rap recording of the year will now break off into rap single of the year and rap album/EP of the year.

The 50th annual Juno broadcast airs Sunday on CBC-TV and its digital platforms.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

MusicPop Music

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Sabrina Wilde in front of a recently purchased monster truck. Submitted.
Thorsby business women a finalist for 2021 Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurship Award

Sabrina Wilde with Lone Wolf Mechanical is a finalist for the entrepreneurial award.

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for the G7 Summit, at the airport in Newquay, United Kingdom, Thursday, June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Details on Canada’s vaccine sharing plan coming Sunday, up to 100 million doses

Canada’s high commissioner to the UK says details will come after the G7 summit

Most Read