The first Northwest Territories (NWT) Music Awards is fast-approaching, with several artists getting on board for the big event, set to take place on Sept. 10 at the Explorer Hotel.

“We’re looking forward to Sept. 10 because this will be like, I think the first gala kind of event post-Covid shutdown,” said Trevor Sinclair, president of Music NWT. “So we’re really looking forward to a nice, classy dress up evening with a plated dinner, the evening will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. We’ll start the show and that’ll go to about 10:30 p.m.”

Before the ceremony can kick off officially though, Music NWT is making a final push to get NWT musicians to apply before the Sunday, July 31 deadline.

“We’ve never really done much to honour our own musicians,” Sinclair said. “So now that Music NWT has managed to raise the profile over the past two years, we finally thought it was time to be able to do this. Our plan is to do it every other year.”

Those in the industry looking to apply can make submissions themselves or they can be made on their behalf.

“(Nominees) must have been a resident of the NWT for at least a six-month period — between July 31, 2019 and July 31, 2022 — and within six-months of the date of release,” reads the nomination process on the Music NWT website.

If submitting an application as a group or band, at least half of the band must meet the residency requirement.

As well, there must be a minimum of two submissions for a category to proceed.

“If there aren’t enough submissions, the category is skipped for the year and nominees can resubmit for the next awards,” reads the website.

Furthermore, for song related categories, nominees must have a commercial release — between July 31, 2019 and July 31, 2022 — unless otherwise stated.

For those interested in applying or checking out the show, the following awards will be presented at the NWT Music Awards:

The Fan Choice Award — “recognizes an artist who has had at least one song that has been commercially released and has showed radio chart successes, media exposure, industry recognition, and/or touring success and is then selected based on votes by the public.”

Best New Album/EP — “recognizes an artist whose music demonstrates excellence in musicality, and the release showed radio chart successes, media exposure, industry recognition, and/or touring success. At least 50 per cent of the tracks must be previously unreleased songs. An unreleased song is defined as material not previously released to radio, retail or other public consumption. Re-recorded live or compilation releases must meet the same requirements.”

Best New Single — “recognizes an artist whose single release demonstrates excellence in musicality, and the release showed radio chart successes, media exposure, industry recognition, and/or touring success. The song must be previously unreleased.”

Best in Debut Release — “recognizes an artist who released their first single or album, whose music demonstrates excellence in musicality, and the release showed radio chart successes, media exposure, industry recognition, and/or touring success. If a group, at least 50 per cent of the members must have never been involved in a previous release.”

Live Performance Award of Excellence — “recognizes an artist who demonstrates excellence in live performance. This may be a one-time performance or a series of performances. This may be demonstrated through audience size and engagement, performance production, media coverage, video recordings, testimonials, etc.”

Music Industry Award of Excellence — “recognizes a music industry professional, company or organization who supports artists in any capacity. This may include music management, production, audio engineering, publishing, sound technician, promotion, and mentorship.”

Music Video Award of Excellence — “recognizes an artist who demonstrates excellence in the unique contribution a music video makes to both the commercial success and the public reception of a song. Submissions must include links to the video online. The award goes to the director of the video. Videos produced outside of the NWT may qualify, provided the director is based in the NWT. A directing team is eligible, provided they meet the residency requirement.”

Songwriting Award of Excellence — “recognizes an artist whose music demonstrates excellence in the craft of songwriting. A songwriter writing alone or in collaboration with others is eligible, as long as one is a resident of the NWT at the time of creation. A songwriter may make a submission as a single songwriter or as part of a songwriting team. Songwriter(s) who wish to be considered as a team must all consent to submitting as a team.”

Venue Award of Excellence — “recognizes a venue that has supported NWT artists over the past 36 months. This may include festivals, bars, theatres, public events or private spaces. Considerations will include remuneration for artists, creating opportunities for emerging artists, promotion and general impact for artists and the music industry.”

Indigenous Artist Award of Excellence — “recognizes an artist whose music demonstrates excellence as an Indigenous, First Nations, Inuit and/or Métis artist or group who performs in either a traditional or contemporary musical style. Extra consideration will be given to releases done in a recognized NWT Indigenous language. In the case of a duo or group, at least 50 per cent of members must identify as Indigenous, First Nations, Aboriginal and/or Metis. Submissions into this category may also be submitted into one other category in the same year.”

In addition to the awards, there will also be a Music NWT Hall of Fame which, according to Sinclair, is set to induct three performers at this year’s show.

Tickets are on sale now for the Music Awards show.

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