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Jully Black

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What I Would Change About R&B and Soul Music in Canada

Posted: 06/28/2013 12:34 pm

Leading up to Canada Day, the Huffington Post blog team asked prominent Canadians what they would change about one aspect of our country. We are publishing their answers in our series "What I'd Change About Canada" leading up to July 1. You can find the full series here.

When I was asked to contribute to the Huffington Post, I got fired up! I was ready to speak on every unfair thing that I experienced as a Black, Female, Canadian-born R&B Soul Singer and Songwriter. As I started typing I could feel my blood pressure rising so I stopped, took some deep breaths, and asked God what I should write about and to please give me the right words that will reach and impact even one person In a positive way. Believe me, I was prepared to call it like it is about the Canadian music industry. But then I realized that in spite of it all, I have been so blessed to make music for a living for the past 18 years. Now, are there things I would change or reform about the Canadian music industry? Oh, you best believe it! But in order to affect change permanently, you have to be the change you want to see. So with that in mind, here is what I would change about the Canadian music industry.

If I was handed a magic wand, I would erase all of the unsaid fear that a lot of the executives at radio stations, record companies, corporate brands, television and print media outlets have in promoting and celebrating our domestic R&B soul singers. I would urge them to passionately and freely support the artists of this genre in ways that are equal to the artists of other genres. This support will not only allow them to attain enough success to stay in Canada, live great lives, and support themselves full time, but it will provide a way to pay it forward.

Don't get me wrong; on the female front, I love me some Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Nelly Furtado, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, Anne Murray, Fiest, K.D Lang, Joni Mitchell, and more, but is there not enough room for some hard working mega talented Soul Sisters who are also Canadian to be recognized in the same way? I'm still praying for the day when the R&B category will be televised on the Juno Awards and for the day when Much Music will reinstate the R&B/Soul Video Category giving more of us a shot to be recognized by wider demographic. Just Saying!

After touring our beautiful country from coast to coast I have concluded that the citizens of Canada LOVE them some R&B Soul Music and want to see it win both domestically and on the world stage. The only problem is,unless they are spoon fed this music by those who have the influence and the power they often are left to believe that a lot of us Canadian R&B Soul singers have stopped making music completely. This is when Canada runs the risk of losing even more of our great Canadian Musical Gems due to there simply not being a true home or platform for the music to be heard.

Well I'm over complaining! This Soul Singer is on a mission to prove that there is room for us all to shine,soar and have big success in Canada. I want to inspire all 31 Million Canadians to hold on to your dreams,to dare to be you and DARE TO BE DIFFERENT! And just like Blue Rodeo, Tom Cochran, The Tragically Hip, Hedley and others, all that I have and all that I've been was proudly Made In Canada.

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  • Rosie Maclennan

    I want to change sport in this country to make it more accessible to our kids. I see too many Canadian kids not able to participate in sport; not afforded the chance to be a part of a team, be active or learn new skills. One of the biggest barriers is due to the rising costs of participating in sport.

  • Rose Reisman

    We have to take responsibility and understand our own triggers for eating these foods and why we continue to put them into our shopping carts. We have to read labels more carefully and understand the guidelines for a healthy diet, so we won't get lured into these traps. This is not impossible.

  • Danko Jones

    When I was asked to write about what I would change in Canada, I hemmed and hawed and scratched my head in total bemusement. I finally hyper-focussed on the fact that, although Canada boasts the longest coastline as the second largest country with ninth highest standard of living in the world, it also contains the highest amount of shitty drivers.

  • Noah Richler

    If I were able, I would change the map. There are a few options here, but for any of these we'd no longer be sitting on top of the United States and, as we are constantly told is the case, we'd not see ourselves as huddled along the border -- crouching almost.

  • Alyson Schafer

    This was a no-brainer for me because my whole life's work is dedicated to making ONE change to Canada. It's my mission statement: "To make parent education as acceptable and accessible as pre-natal classes." Taking a parenting class is responsible parenting. Isn't it a shame there is a stigma for improving one's self?

  • Richard Florida

    Though this might have a counterintuitive ring, Canada's mayors -- the people who are directly responsible for Canada's cities and the most accountable to their citizens -- should have the power to make decisions about local needs and infrastructure, and the ability to raise the money they need to carry out their plans.

  • Vikram Vij

    Since I came to Canada in 1989, it's been very important to me to spread the word of Indian cuisine to as many people as possible. I think it is gaining momentum, but attitudes towards ethnic food, and the boundaries around the way it is presented, still need to evolve.

  • Jully Black

    If I was handed a magic wand, I would erase all of the unsaid fear that a lot of the executives at radio stations, record companies, corporate brands, television and print media outlets have in promoting and celebrating our domestic R&B soul singers. I would urge them to passionately and freely support the artists of this genre in ways that are equal to the artists of other genres.

  • Karen Kain

    If I could change one thing about Canada, it would be to place a greater emphasis on the study and practice of arts education at every level. There is a widespread presumption that schools nowadays must focus almost exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics if students are to be properly prepared to face the future.

  • Scott Vrooman

    Why does Canada still retain any connection to monarchy? In all of our recent indignation over the totally predicable abuse of power by unelected, unaccountable senators, we've overlooked an even sillier layer of law-making: royal assent.

  • Craig and Marc Kielburger

    This is what we would change about Canada: Compulsory volunteer hours as part of a holistic service learning model -- in every classroom in the country. Formal instruction should help students learn the root causes of whatever social deficit their volunteer hours help fill. Every school should be granted funding and the resources needed to adapt their own service-learning model.

  • Rose Reisman

    We have to take responsibility and understand our own triggers for eating these foods and why we continue to put them into our shopping carts. We have to read labels more carefully and understand the guidelines for a healthy diet, so we won't get lured into these traps. This is not impossible.

  • Robert Cohen

    Is being Canadian just some sort of patriotic "feeling"? Is it some intangible country specific pride? I set out to change what non-Canadians thought of us but it turned out I didn't know myself. Figuring it out has become a personal quest.

  • Jenn Grant

    Do you know how many beautiful indigenous children there are, right now, living under the poverty line in Canada? Half of all status First Nations children are living in poverty and that number goes up to more than 60% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. For M├ętis, non-status and Inuit children the number living in poverty is still shockingly high at 27%.

  • Rick Hansen

    My goal has always been to build an even greater awareness of our need to move from a view that accessibility is just about getting in and out of buildings to a view of intentionally designing and creating fully inclusive communities, so that people with disabilities can fully participate.

 
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