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

Outside the Kitimat RCMP police station, Diversity Morgan’s family and Kitimat RCMP come together for a pride flag-raising ceremony. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat RCMP host pride flag ceremony in memory of Diversity Morgan

“We’re gathered here in solidarity for anyone who’s ever experienced prejudice or discrimination”

(Haisla First Nation logo)
Haisla Nation host walk for strength and series of virtual sessions for Indigenous History Month

The purpose of the walk is to bring Haisla Nation members together and show their collective support

The District of Kitimat will be awarding business owners with a store front up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of exterior renovations. (Norhtern Development logo)
The District of Kitimat is awarding $5,000 to storefront owners for exterior renovations

The district has set aside $20,000 this year and non-profits are also eligible

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

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

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Most Read