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

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

New Vancouver Island University chancellor Judith Sayers was sworn in at a virtual ceremony June 17. (Submitted photo)
VIU’s new chancellor seeks innovation and equality in post-secondary education

Judith Sayers officially sworn in as Vancouver Island University chancellor

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read