In our “Top Secrets” videos, music creators who’ve reached the top of a major music chart, and were celebrated by a SOCAN No. 1 Song Award, discuss the secrets behind the hit songs..

SOCAN member Charlotte Cardin knows how stoke the flames of desire. Since reaching the finals of the popular show La Voix (the Québec franchise of The Voice) in 2013, she’s been releasing precious musical nuggets in dribs and drabs. From singles to EPs, the singer-songwriter – who’ll launch a debut full-length album Phoenix on April 23, 2021 – has finally reached the highest position of the ADISQ’s Correspondants Anglophone chart for the first time, on Dec. 1, 2020, with her hit song “Passive Aggressive.” The song stayed at the top of this chart for 12(!) weeks. This is the first of what we hope will be a long list for her.

In this “Top Secrets” video, she reveals how she co-created this breakup song with Jason Brando, Connor Seidel ,and Marc-André Gilbert, published by Éditions Big Boy and Red Brick Music Publishing. “Passive Aggressive” found its way to success thanks to, among other things, a powerful video that created a buzz on YouTube, accumulating more than 1.8 million views.

The Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique (APCM) has announced the recipients of the Hommage and Bâtisseur Paul Demers awards at the Gala Trille Or 2021, which has been postponed to June 19, 2021.

Daniel Lavoie receives the Special Achievement (Hommage) Award, a public tribute to an artist who’s contributed to the Francophone music industry of Western Canada or Ontario; achieved overall success in their career; participated in the development of Francophone culture on the national and international scenes; and has influenced the next generation.

Lavoie is a singer-songwriter, actor, and poet. He’s also a Francophone from Manitoba, and a source of pride for Franco-Manitobans and Francophones in Western Canada, and considered one of their spokespersons. He’s written for many other artists, like Bruno Pelletier, Roch Voisine, Céline Dion, and many more. To date, Lavoie has released 24 albums.

Jean Malavoy receives the Paul Demers Builder (Bâtisseur) Award, which honours a music industry stakeholder who’s been involved in, and supportive of, Francophone music in the West, or in Ontario. This award recognizes a stakeholder who’s had a long-term impact on the music industry through their work and actions.

Malavoy has held several key positions in Canada’s Francophone communities. As Deputy Head of the Franco-Ontarian office at the Ontario Arts Council between 1978 and 1991, he was the driving force behind many of Francophone organizations still standing today. After 12 years at the OAC, Malavoy was involved in various positions in his community: Executive Director of the Conseil des organismes Francophones de Toronto, Program Manager of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Executive Director of La Nouvelle Scène in Ottawa, and many others. His last mandate was as Director of the Vanier Museopark.

The Bâtisseur Paul Demers Award will be presented posthumously to Malavoy at the Industry Evening of Trille Or, on May 28, 2021. Twenty-one awards will be presented during the gala.

The 11th Hommage Award will be presented to Lavoie at the Gala Trille Or on June 19, 2021, which will be broadcast on Unis TV. The final 10 Trille Or awards for 2021 will be handed out during that event.

Due to the current public health situation in Ontario, the APCM has announced the postponement of the televised Trille Or Gala, originally scheduled for May 29, 2021, to Saturday, June 19, 2021, at 8:00 p.m. ET on Unis TV. The professional activities (conferences, workshops, networking), as well as the Industry Gala, will be held as planned from May 26-28, 2021, since they’re presented online. Only the televised gala has been postponed.

One of Canada’s finest music icons and “First Lady of Cape Breton,” Rita MacNeil, is the newest Inductee to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF).  Today, on the anniversary of her untimely passing, MacNeil’s legacy will be indelibly remembered with a permanent place in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame at the National Music Centre in Calgary. A special tribute is planned for the 2021 East Coast Music Awards show on Thursday, May 6, taking place in the songwriter’s hometown of Cape Breton, NS. The induction presentation will include a musical tribute performed by a cast of former bandmates, friends and more.

Some of MacNeil’s best-known songs often spoke of Nova Scotia, however, her cross-genre appeal and immense talent resonated with Canadians across the country and globally.  With her shy persona, MacNeil endeared herself to grassroots audiences nationwide and enjoyed commercial success despite not conforming to the music industry’s expectations. Her melody-driven, heartfelt songwriting resisted classification – sometimes country, sometimes hinting of folk, gospel and blues.

“Through her lyrics and songwriting, Rita allowed us into her heart and soul,” said Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.  “The love between songwriter and audience was mutual.  Rita didn’t sing to people, she sang for people; and her audiences, in return, gave her strength to overcome her shyness and stage anxiety. There are few artists who have such an intimate and authentic connection with their fans, and that bond lives on through her songs.”

As MacNeil once told the CBC: “The people in this country have given me such a career and loved me back so much.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame to honour the tremendous legacy of Rita MacNeil,” said ECMA CEO Andy McLean.  “As we celebrate the best of today’s East Coast artists, it’s also important to look back and recognize the impact that songwriters like Rita had on our region and its history. She was a phenomenal talent who represented the very best of our East Coast music community, and we’re very proud to be a part of her induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.”

Before reaching commercial success, MacNeil was involved with the women’s movement in the early 1970s writing feminist protest songs. Gradually, her songwriting evolved into a broader folk-pop autobiographical style, and she performed for rallies, at coffeehouses, folk clubs, the Mariposa and other folk festivals.

She recorded three albums independently beginning with Born a Woman (1975), but it was Flying on Your Own, her 1986 debut album with Virgin Records, that became her commercial breakthrough.  With the successful single “Flying on Your Own” and the double-platinum album of the same name, MacNeil won her first JUNO Award in 1987 as Most Promising Female Vocalist, and ECMA Female Recording of the Year in 1989-1990 and 1993.

A large part of MacNeil’s successes came with her compositions. More than 200 of her own songs are registered with Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), and she was recognized in 2009 with SOCAN’s National Achievement Award.  MacNeil often described her songwriting as arising from strong emotions for people or places, and has spoken of her songwriting technique as being unusual, with the music and lyrics coming together in her head simultaneously in the shape of songs.

1988’s “Working Man” was inspired after a visit to Sydney Mines, and written as a tribute to the hardships and sacrifices of coal miners in Cape Breton – but it would serve an anthem for coal miners everywhere.  The song, which she famously performed with the coal miners’ choir, The Men of the Deeps, soared to No. 11 in the U.K.  She would continue to regularly perform with The Men of the Deeps, including at the 1989 JUNO Awards.

MacNeil became Canada’s top-selling country singer-songwriter in 1990 and 1991.  Her highest charting single, “We’ll Reach the Sky Tonight,” earned SOCAN’s Country Award in 1991; and in the same year her homage to Cape Breton, “Home I’ll Be,” won the ECMA Song of the Year.  In total, MacNeil has received 11 East Coast Music Awards, culminating with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, making her the ECMA’s second most-winning female artist after Natalie MacMaster, and tied with Rose Cousins.

Her popular songs have been covered by the likes of Anne Murray, Tara MacLean, Matt Minglewood, The Elora Singers, The Elmer Iseler Singers, Celtic Thunder, Foster & Allen, and Mary K. Burke.

She also became a familiar face and beloved personality as host of her television variety show, Rita and Friends, which aired on CBC from 1994 to 1997.  The show regularly drew millions of viewers and won a Gemini Award in 1996.  She would continue to produce her own television specials, and make appearances on shows such as the The Royal Canadian Air Farce and Trailer Park Boys.

She performed at the world’s fair during Vancouver’s Expo 86, and toured internationally at venues including the iconic Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House.  Having come far from humble beginnings, MacNeil earned membership in the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia, and was inducted posthumously to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013.