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

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctors urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Most Read