Canadian Music Week 2023 Soared in Success at the Westin Harbour Castle

Submitted by Boyan Pinter

Canadian Music Week 2023 was a highly anticipated event that brought together industry professionals, musicians, and music enthusiasts from across Canada and beyond. This 41st edition took place on June 8-10, 2023 and saw a welcome return to original location at the Westin Harbour Castle, which offers CMW regulars and newfound visitors a place to meet, network and exchange ideas. The Mentor’s Café featured global experts who sat down for short meetings with the purpose of advising and empowering developing artists and professionals to navigate the ever-evolving music landscape and stay ahead of industry trends.

Interviews with key figures in the music industry were a valuable aspect of Canadian Music Week 2023. Esteemed artists, managers, label executives, and industry pioneers took part in insightful conversations and Q&A sessions, sharing their experiences, perspectives, and advice. These interviews provided a unique opportunity for attendees to gain valuable insights into the inner workings of the industry and learn from the success stories of established figures. The keynote interview with Andreea Gleeson, CEO of Tunecore, moderating by well-known journalist Larry LeBlanc, was a particular highlight. 

The musical performances at Canadian Music Week 2023 were nothing short of spectacular, featuring a lineup of both established acts and emerging talent. Venues throughout the city came alive with electrifying live shows, showcasing a wide array of genres and styles. From intimate acoustic sets to high-energy rock performances, the music program catered to diverse tastes and offered something for everyone. One of the challenges in presenting a conference in a big city is that the activities encapsulate the entire town, and getting between showcases and company receptions becomes not only costly, but nearly impossible. 

The Cathedral hosted a good number of exciting showcase performances. Most notable to us was the performance of Carlyn, a young artist born in the US, but based in Montreal. The performance featured Carlyn herself and a very adept Mary Ann on percussion, whose favorite special effect seems to be the car horn. We were amused that she used it to keep up the hype between songs, but it was her drumming that really kept our attention. Carlyn herself sits very well on the stage and has all the right moves. 

On the recommendation of more than a few local professionals we visited The Drake Hotel on Queen Street West, whose underground was a perfect fit for a CMW showcase. There we were welcomed by the friendly team of Indica Records, who artist Ivytide was just about to hit the stage. This indie pop band from Montreal was performing at The Drake for the first time, and yet it had already accrued a certain number of fans and followers who packed the first few rows. It felt like a hometown gig for Ivytide. The band’s singer Nathan, supported by Jamie (guitar) and Kyle (bass) delivered a shy yet authentic combination of bedroom pop, catchy guitar parts, and singable melodies.  

We look forward to returning to Toronto for the upcoming 42nd edition of Canadian Music Week. If 42 is really the answer, we can’t wait to pose our questions to the CMW team until they reveal what surprises and networking sessions, they will have in store for us next year. Bravo, Neill Dixon and CMW Team!