The SOCAN Foundation announced Logan Staats as the recipient of this year’s TD Indigenous Songwriter Award. The acclaimed Mohawk artist from Six Nations of the Grand River is being recognized for his song, “Deadman.”
The SOCAN Foundation’s TD Indigenous Songwriter Award was created to recognize and celebrate the artistic merit demonstrated by Indigenous songwriters of any genre. Staats will receive a cash prize of $10,000 in addition to career development opportunities and a performance opportunity in front of music industry professionals.
“My nation and my community are in every chord I play and every note I sing. They’ve saved me,” says Staats. “As I spend more and more time on Indigenous frontlines, it’s really affecting my songwriting.”
Honourable Mention awards of $1,000 are also being made to Aysanabee, Ila Barker, Kaeley Jade, Uncle Joe, and Twin Flames. The winners will be using the funds to support their career development in various areas including recording new music, videography, and business management.
“Empowering Indigenous voices is essential, and we’re thankful for ongoing support from TD to celebrate Indigenous songwriters in Canada,” said Charlie Wall-Andrews, executive director of SOCAN Foundation. “The award is designed to celebrate merit in the craft of songwriting.”
Hundreds of applications from artists across Canada covering a wide variety of musical genres were submitted for consideration. Award winners were selected by a jury and advisory council of Indigenous artists and industry leaders.
“It’s exciting to see how many Indigenous songwriters there are. Congratulations to Logan Staats and all of the special distinction winners,” says Kim Wheeler, award jury chair. “The industry is growing, and this award helps celebrate and create opportunities for Indigenous creators and make space for musicians who are making amazing music.”
This special Award is made possible with the support of TD Bank Group. Previous recipients of the award include Leonard Sumner, Laura Niquay, Anachnid, and Jasmine Netnsa.
“TD is proud to congratulate Logan Staats as winner of the 2022 TD Indigenous Songwriter Award,” said Robyn Small, senior manager, philanthropy, sustainability and corporate citizenship, TD Bank Group. “Through the TD Ready Commitment, our corporate citizenship platform, we seek to help break down barriers for emerging artists and spotlight them through our support for organizations like the SOCAN Foundation. We’re proud to celebrate the musical and cultural works of artists from the Indigenous community and help create opportunities to amplify diverse voices.”
In 2018, Staats won the musical competition The Launch, officiating the breakthrough that would lead him to Nashville and Los Angeles, and to his single “The Lucky Ones” reaching number one in Canada and winning the Indigenous Music Award for best radio single.
In the years between now and then, Staats has come home, making the intentional decision to re-root at Six Nations of the Grand River. To Staats, music is a healing salve, contemplatively composed and offered to listeners in need of comfort. Since returning home, Staats has been able to create music authentically again, reclaiming his sound through honest storytelling and unvarnished, sometimes painful reflection.
Staats has recently found a new label home with Red Music Rising and is excited to be working on his new upcoming album, which includes songs that are all written by Staats with the exception of one cover.
Counting musical icon Buffy Sainte-Marie among his mentors, Staats wants to pay forward the guidance he’s received by connecting with Indigenous youth through music. He frequently leads workshops and visits local schools.