I’ve been following the TIMAs for the better part of six years now, but this past awards gala was my first, and what a first it was.
I got to Revival on College St late – though I was just in time to catch the tail end of Jutes’ performance. The hip-hop duo look like they should be playing skater-era surf pop, but instead they’re rhyming off with the best of ’em.
JoJo Worthington (who was also nominated for Best Young Songwriter that night) also played the TIMA stage. Worthington just won a publishing contract with Universal (I think), and it makes sense, since her brand of DIY synth-sounds-meets-ukelele (think Grimes in high school) is really popular now. She didn’t do it for me, but the crowd loved her.
Country belle dani strong (who prefers the lower-cased spelling, thank you very much) tore the TIMA stage to bits, with her full band, wild performance, fun energy – and Jose Baptista impression. She was a blast to watch, and I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for her.
Next up was another hip-hop act, OSIYM. They brought the fire to the stage, getting the growing crowd worked up. They had a meticulously planned set, and they pulled off their performance without a hitch. And, on a night when Toronto need a bit of cheering up, they did just that with plenty of feel-good audience call-outs.
After OSIYM’s electric performance, the incomparable Dani Oliva – who founded the TIMAs as a teen and still runs the show despite currently calling California home – took the stage to thank the show’s sponsors and give the Toronto indie music scene a well-deserved pat on the back.
Oh, and announced the long list of lucky winners (find them all below).
The band won a TIMA not too many moons ago, and they’ve been making good use of the exposure. They just finished a long tour with Das Blankout and earlier this year, released a critically acclaimed two-song EP.
Despite the less-than-stellar crowd, The Nursery played their hearts out and undoubtedly made a long list of new fans that night. If you left early (lame) or otherwise haven’t heard of the band, look ’em up – you won’t be disappointed.
If nothing else, the 2015 TIMA gala serves to prove how amazing the independent music scene in Toronto is. Where else can hip-hop artists share a stage with a country singer without dividing the crowd? We’re a blessed bunch, those who call Toronto home, because our music industry is truly unparalleled.
Check out the winners below!
Winners of the 2015 Toronto Independent Music Awards:
Best Folk or Roots:
Birds of Bellwoods
Best Singer-Songwriter: Chris Rivers
Best Adult Contemporary: Sarah Smith
Best Country: Leah Daniels
Best Out-of-Province: Bud Rice
Best Urban: Es
Best Rock: A Primitive Evolution
Best Indie: The Naked Wild
Best Pop: Dee Bronte
Best Jazz Vocals: Ori Dagan
Best Jazz Instrumental: Brownman Electryc Trio
Best World: Sultans of String
Best Young-Songwriter: Lyric Dubee
Best Instrumental or Classical: Alessandra Paonessa
Best USA: Christian Lee Hutson
Best International (tied): Them & Us Cherisha Etnel
Best Overall Press Kit: Dani Strong Jutes
Best Song: Chris Rivers – ‘Calm Waters’