Radio Starmaker Fund

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Radio Starmaker Fund Annual Report

2014 / 2015

Artist Profile: Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq’s Animism arrived in May 2014 and immediately rocketed to the forefront of an international conversation about art and culture, thanks to Tagaq’s unique vision and fearless voice. The album won the 2014 Polaris Music Prize, attracted top-tier press coverage on a worldwide scale and became one of the most important musical stories of the year. It is difficult to overstate the impact that this album has had on Tanya Tagaq’s profile but also on the Canadian music industry – in fact, one of the most memorable quotes from this time says just this: “it’s rare to encounter art that changes the conversation entirely.” (Michael Barclay, Macleans). The album continues to net awards and attention - only a few days ago, Tanya and Animism won three WCMA Awards, including World, Spiritual and Aboriginal Album of the Year.

Shortly after the Polaris win, Tanya Tagaq qualified for Starmaker funding, which kicked in before the international release of Animism in January of 2015. Starmaker’s involvement bolstered the marketing efforts behind this release considerably, allowing Tanya to hire a top-tier US based publicist to navigate the important American journalism elite, from the New York Times down. The support also made it possible for Tagaq to perform a number of important shows south of the border, including a New York album release performance that brought one writer to say “Tanya Tagaq puts on the best live show I’ve ever seen” (Vice).

Since then, Tanya Tagaq has continued her tear across the world. Tagaq’s audiences spans the globe and her collaborative partners are often based thousands of miles away. While she is a solo artist, extensive travel and expense are inbuilt in her career. Starmaker has contributed to Tanya Tagaq’s incredible upward trajectory in meaningful ways, particularly when it comes to international tour support. Since qualifying for funding, Tanya has been able to perform a large number of important and unique shows across Europe that otherwise would have proven cost prohibitive.

Tagaq has also been able to bring her talented band on tour, which includes Animism producer Jesse Zubot and percussionist Jean Martin. As well, this funding has made it possible to hire a new sound engineer, who has become an invaluable member of the team and a de facto specialist in mixing Tanya’s vocals. Recent noteworthy performances have included the Big Ears Festival (with the Kronos Quartet), Bonnaroo, the relaunch of CBC q, Luminato, the Pan Am Games and more. Upcoming performances include Tagaq’s first ever headlining show at Massey Hall as part of the Polaris 10th Anniversary, TedX at the Met, Icelandic Airwaves and beyond.

Emily Smart
Six Shooter Records