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BreakOut West 2022 – Western Canadian Music Awards Winners Announced

Team Play MPE

October 25, 2022

Canadian music lovers!

BreakOut West (BOW) took place in Calgary, AB recently – western Canada’s premier music festival, conference and awards. Every year they celebrate the best in the west, highlighting artists and industry players on the rise. Our own Bradley Gant attended the conference in person this year, spreading the good word of global music promotion distribution, care of Play MPE!

We are happy to be partnered with BOW, and to support the winners of this year’s awards! To that end, we are putting together a compilation of the ‘Best of BreakOut West’ with all the fab winners on the roster. Keep your eyes peeled for that release in Player later this year.

Without further ado, here are the 2022 BOW Winners:

Blues Artist of the Year

The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer – BC 

The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer are relentless touring artists known for their high-energy, sweaty, dance-floor-boogying performances, combining Rock & Roll swagger & decades-deep blues style. 


BreakOut Artist of the Year (Sponsored by FACTOR)

The Garrys – SK 

The Garrys are a trio of sisters from the coldest part of the landlocked Canadian prairies, and they make surf music.


Children’s Artist of the Year

The Oot n’ Oots – BC 

Described as “like watching the Grateful Dead fronted by Janis Joplin singing songs by Jim Henson”, the Oot n’ Oots is a family that makes music for families. The band includes 15-year-old Ruthie Cipes with her dad Ez and uncles Ari, Gabe, and Matthew, all living in Kelowna, BC, Canada.


Classical Artist / Ensemble of the Year (Sponsored by Canadian Music Centre [CMC])

Standing Wave – BC 

Western Canada’s foremost contemporary chamber ensemble, Standing Wave is a sextet of intrepid new music interpreters dedicated to commissioning and performing cutting-edge music from today’s most forward-thinking composers.  


Classical Composer of the Year

Dorothy Chang – “Soaring Spirits” – BC 

Described as “evocative and kaleidoscopic” (Seattle Times) the music of composer Dorothy Chang often reflects the eclectic mix of musical influences from her youth, ranging from popular and folk music to elements of traditional Chinese music. 


Country Artist of the Year

Nice Horse – AB 

Nice Horse is wild: wildly talented, wildly entertaining, fun, fresh, fierce and feisty, and they’ve established themselves as one of the most buzzed-about and fast-rising groups in the Canadian music industry. A live act to be reckoned with, the self-contained all-female group has played high-profile festivals across Canada including Boots & Hearts, Big Valley Jamboree, and the Calgary Stampede, and has performed in Spain and France. They have also toured as direct support for legendary artists such as Tom Cochrane and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. 


Electronic & Dance Artist of the Year


OBLVYN is Catherine Bliemel, music producer and electronic artist from Edmonton, Canada. After years of experimenting in different styles of music, OBLVYN has settled on future bass as her primary genre, but often steps out of those bounds to create a sound that is unique to her individuality as an artist.


Francophone Artist of the Year (sponsored by APCM (Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique)   

Étienne Fletcher – SK 

Étienne Fletcher, former member of the band Indigo Joseph, is recognized for receiving the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD and SONGWRITER’S AWARD at NOUVELLE SCENE and CHANT’OUEST in 2015. In his new self-titled project he brings together his French and English roots. Accompanied by his guitarist Sean McCannell and drummer Gaelan Malloy, he creates a high energy show with genres ranging from rock, blues, folk, pop and dance music.


Global Artist of the Year

Andino Suns – SK 

Andino Suns grew out of the desire for Andrés Davalos to recreate the music he’d grown up listening to at home. His parents were exiled to Canada when a fascist dictatorship took over their homeland, Chile, in the early 70s. Though they found peace in Canada, Andrés’ parents missed terribly the way of life from which they had been violently uprooted. They continued to surround themselves with their Chilean culture, passing it down to their children through stories, traditional Andean music and folk dances, and media. It’s no surprise then that a worldview of political activism, hope, and love, underpins the music of Andino Suns.


Indigenous Artist of the Year; Rap & Hip Hop Artist of the Year; Recording of the Year and Stingray Rising Star (presented by Stingray)

Snotty Nose Rez Kids – BC  

Snotty Nose Rez Kids is a Canadian Hip-Hop duo of Haisla (Indigenous) descent from Kitimat, BC. Rappers Yung Trybez and Young D formed the duo in 2016.  They quickly gained notoriety for their energetic, inspiring and thought provoking performances.


Instrumental Artist of the Year

Astrocolor – BC 

‘Paradise’ was written to conjure the perfect vacation from beginning to end, with an impeccably smooth soundtrack that drifts effortlessly between hypnotic instrumental music and spaced out vocal flourishes. It’s a pillowy playlist to unwind when you need to get off the hamster wheel and onto the hammock – picture St. Germain meeting Khruangbin for a Mai Tai by the pool. “Spacey, dubby, jazzy background/foreground music.” –The Sunday Times 


Jazz Artist of the Year

Al Muirhead Quintet – AB 

People aspire to be master of many skills and Al Muirhead is one who has accomplished this dream and has no plans of slowing down. Whether it is playing a sweet and melodic trumpet solo, composing and arranging for a big band, small ensemble or orchestra, performing one take sessions on recordings or mentoring young musicians, Al is an inspiration in the Canadian music scene and is known as the “Elder statesman of Jazz Trumpet in Alberta”.


Metal & Hard Music Artist of the Year

Archspire – BC 

Archspire is a Juno Award-winning Canadian technical death metal band from Vancouver. They have released four studio albums and are currently signed to Season of Mist.


Pop Artist of the Year

Nuela Charles – AB 

Three-time JUNO Award-nominated Nuela Charles is an alternative/soul singer-songwriter known for her soulful vocals and captivating stage presence, solidifying herself as a Canadian music staple.


Producer of the Year

Ryan Worsley – BC 

For more than 20 years, Ryan has been studiously, methodically, prodigiously, and obsessively honing his craft. What makes him unique is his coveted ability to make practically anything sound AMAZING.  A true sonic wizard.  Industry professionals have taken note.


R&B Artist of the Year

Sargeant X Comrade – AB 

Yolanda Sargeant is the Queen of Lo-Fi Soul. A genre that she and her producer Comrade (Evgeniy) pioneered after not being able to find an appropriate label that fits their eclectic style. The duo infuses jazz, soul, funk, dancehall, hip-hop, as well as other genres into a unique sound that combines the old with the new.


Rock Artist of the Year 

Royal Canoe – MB 

Whether it’s releasing radio-singles in 5/4 time, performing concerts on instruments made of ice, adamantly dragging their multiple-drum-set, six-keyboard, live-setup around the world in their van and trailer, or their various outrageous schemes to stay connected to their fans, Royal Canoe have stuck around because they’ve never lost sight of what drives them – the exhilaration that comes with the opportunity to do something completely new. They’ve played over 500 shows from Kiev to California, toured with Alt-J and Bombay Bicycle Club and hit major festivals like Bonaroo, Iceland Airwaves and Osheaga.


Roots Artist of the Year (Sponsored by Calgary Folk Music Festival)

Sweet Alibi – MB 

With their dazzling fourth album Make A Scene, Winnipeg combo Sweet Alibi masterfully deliver soulful roots-pop elevated by the luminous vocal harmonies of Jess Rae Ayre, Amber Nielsen, and Michelle Anderson. Produced by Matt Peters and Matt Schellenberg (a.k.a. members of indie-pop squad Royal Canoe who produce under the Deadmen moniker), Make A Scene weds rich lyrical themes to wildly accessible songs such as the propulsive “Confetti”.


Songwriter(s) of the Year (Sponsored by The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) SOCAN

Sam Lynch – “Keeping Time” – BC 

Sam Lynch is a Vancouver based singer-songwriter and musician, who makes wallflower hush-rock songs


Spiritual Artist of the Year

Elenee – SK 

Elenee Young is a Canadian Christian/Gospel artist and songwriter. Her sound is warm and her tone is rooted in her love for gospel music. As the 2017 Songwriter of the Year at GMA Immerse, she continues to pursue her artistry while bridging the geographical strain between Canadian and American gospel music. She is half Greek, holds Métis citizenship, and is proud to represent her cultural diversity at the ever-growing table of gospel artists.

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