The stars were out at the NWT Music Awards on Sept. 10, with scores of people showing up for the gala event.
The event was more than a decade in the making.
Back in 2003, Music NWT was known as the Recording Artists Association of the Northwest Territories (RAANT). The organization was co-funded by Matthew Grogono, president of the Yellowknife Artists Co-operative and owner of Old Town Glassworks.
According to Grogono, who was present at the event, the awards ceremony was a dream come true for him and his RAANT partners.
Furthermore, Grogono arrived with a special gift, an Aurora Arts Society honour from 2004 that reflects on the “tremendous accomplishments in your first year of operations.”
As for the gala event itself, the 2022 NWT Music Awards recognized numerous winners, including Miranda Currie, Kilo November and Gnarwhal.
The awards ceremony was hosted by Rankin Inlet-born, now Yellowknife resident, author and throat singer, Tanya Snow.
The event featured live performances from SkyFire Taiko, Stephen Richardson, Brenden MacIntosh, and Fort Good Hope rapper Crook the Kid.
MacIntosh, who also won for Best Debut Release, was humble about the win.
“It felt good enough to just be nominated and I’m grateful to Music NWT for hosting such a great event.”
As well, Gnarwhal, who won for Best Single following the release of their tune Deep Spaced, also expressed gratitude.
“We’re really honoured to be a winner in this category, especially with all the other amazing nominees. Deep Spaced is only our second release, so the recognition really validates the hard work we’ve been putting into our songwriting and recording this past year. It really gives us motivation to continue writing and releasing music.”
During the event, Crook the Kid, who would perform after his win for Best Songwriting, said, “I can’t believe someone in this room thought it was OK to give me an award,” which was uttered in jest.
Miranda Currie, who would receive the honour of Indigenous Artist of Excellence, was thrilled with her win, stating, “I was delighted to receive the award for Indigenous Artist of Excellence from the inaugural NWT Music Awards! To have my work recognized in this way is such an honour. Indigenous voices are being heard and Indigenous kids are beginning to see themselves authentically represented in various forms of media. I believe that helps to positively change the indigenous narrative in Canada. That is what I want to support through my work as an artist.”
Other award recipients were as follows:
Fan Choice – Abe Drennan
New Album – Al Bee for One From The Other
Excellence in the Music Industry – David Dowe’s of Double D Studios
Best Venue – Great Northern Arts Festival
Music Video – Keith Robertson for Thin Ice (by Andrea Bettger)
Live Performance – Kilo November
Heading to the Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame inductees who received their own honours at the ceremony included the Yellowknives Dene Drummers, Ted Wesley — founder of Folk on the Rocks who passed away in December 2021 — and Norm Glowach.