Artwork from the single “Can’t Kill Me”, one of 67 projects and artists receiving grants in the first round of funding from the Vancouver Music Fund. LtoR: Christie Lee, Lady Sinncere, and DJ A-SLAM. Photo by Ikarus Studios.
Artwork from the single “Can’t Kill Me”, one of 67 projects and artists receiving grants in the first round of funding from the Vancouver Music Fund. LtoR: Christie Lee, Lady Sinncere, and DJ A-SLAM. Photo by Ikarus Studios.

The City of Vancouver has announced it is now taking applications for the $300,000 Vancouver Music Fund, the first municipal fund of its kind in North America that provides direct support to Indigenous and underrepresented musicians, artists, and groups.

The initiative funded by the City of Vancouver and distributed by Creative BC will support new and emerging artists and industry professionals who experience systemic barriers to funding.

The City of Vancouver is thrilled to amplify the voices of Indigenous and underrepresented musicians and to invest in opportunities that create equity for artists who continue to experience barriers to funding.

“The City of Vancouver is thrilled to amplify the voices of Indigenous and underrepresented musicians and to invest in opportunities that create equity for artists who continue to experience barriers to funding,” says Branislav Henselmann, managing director of cultural services for the City of Vancouver in a media release.

“Vancouver’s remarkable music scene contributes to a diverse, vibrant, and healthy city and plays an important role in the economy of Vancouver’s creative sector.”

Eligible groups include xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and other Indigenous People, Black and people of colour, people with disabilities, minority language speakers, cultural communities, and refugees and cis and trans women, trans, non-binary, Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people.

The Vancouver Music Fund includes three grant streams, including demo recording, music video program, and an industry catalyst program supporting projects that develop Vancouver’s music ecosystem and build underrepresented groups’ capacity.

A previous demo recording grant recipient, Hussein Alidina (aka DJ A-SLAM), says in the media release that the Vancouver Music Fund played an essential role in bringing the Can’t Kill Me project together, a hip-hop song performed by Indigenous artist Lady Sinncere.

“The funding allowed us to create a powerful anthem about Indigenous resistance, cultural resilience, and survival,” says Alidina, who was the track’s producer. “The track is dedicated to Murdered and Missing Women and Girls, in Canada and around the world, and was recently performed at the Women’s Memorial March in Vancouver.”

For Vancouver-based hip-hop, rap and soul artist Missy D, the Fund helped produce the song Yes Mama, a musical tribute to mothers.

“The pandemic impacted our initial plans, but with this fund available we were rooted in our purpose,” says Missy D in the release. “It allowed us to give back to our community by including members as features and talents and hiring them as the production team. We were able to share our melanin, our love for art, the motherland and mama figures.”

Applicants can apply to Creative BC for a grant of up to 100% of project costs, removing the usual requirement for matching funding which can often be a barrier for many underrepresented groups. The deadline for applications is April 28.

This will be the second round of grants provided by the Vancouver Music Fund, following an initial round of funding that saw $300,000 awarded to 67 projects and artists, including micro-grants to grow and promote the local grassroots music scene and funds to support Indigenous and underrepresented musicians to create and perform.