September 28, 2021

Winnipeg, Man. – Today, APTN announced the winners of the first annual 2021 Indigenous Music Accelerator (IMA), presented by RBCxMusic. This program will support Indigenous musicians actively working in the music industry who are looking to take their career to the next level.  

Selected from hundreds of applicants across Canada, the successful candidates represent a diverse collection of musical genres and styles. Recipients include: Andrew Joseph Stevens III (aka Drives the Common Man), Blue Moon Marquee, Cody Coyote, Jacob Hoskins, Mimi O’Bonsawin, TheRa1 1n and Robin Cisek.  

When Robin Cisek first heard that she was one of the winners, she was incredibly excited. In an email to APTN staff she wrote, “Thank you for choosing me and supporting my career. I can’t tell you how much this means to me.”  

The selected artists will participate in five days of intensive, virtual mentorship developed and delivered by Canada’s Music Incubator. In addition to these virtual sessions, each artist will also receive a professional photo shoot, a live performance video shoot, and additional one-on-one meetings with some of Canada’s top music industry professionals.  

The IMA will be delivered in two parts. Virtual professional development workshops will run from Oct. 4-8, 2021. The second part of IMA will take place in spring/summer 2022 in Toronto (COVID-19 restrictions permitting). Travel, accommodations and per diems are included in the program. 

RBC’s support for the IMA is part of the company’s broader dedication and commitment to the emerging artist community and helping to bridge the gap from emerging to established, demonstrated through RBCxMusic and the RBC Emerging Artists Project. Since 2015, over 24,000 alumni have been supported by the RBC Emerging Artists Project through RBC Foundation donations benefiting thousands of arts organizations across Canada, totaling more than $90 million to date. 

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The 2021 IMA Candidates: 

  • Andrew Joseph Stevens III (aka Drives the Common Man) — A Mi’kmaq self-produced singer-songwriter from London, Ont.
  • Blue Moon Marquee — A swinging blues band comprised of A.W. Cardinal (vocals/guitar) and Jasmine Colette (vocals/bass/drums). The pair write and perform original compositions influenced by anything that swings, jumps or grooves.
  • Cody Coyote — An Ojibwe/Irish musician with ancestry from the Matachewan First Nation. This award-winning hip hop/electronic artist combines strong, profound lyricism with a variety of influential sounds. Hailing from Ottawa, Ont., Cody Coyote is also a motivational speaker, workshop facilitator and host of “The Beat” on ELMNT FM. 
  • Jacob Hoskins — Indigenous electronic artist Jacob Hoskins has been gaining momentum for years, bending musical boundaries to fit the intensity of his expression. Hoskins’ music is informed by the contrasts in his own life: the good and the bad, the nature and the city, the tensions and the reprieves. 
  • Mimi O’Bonsawin — An award-winning roots songstress from Ontario. Her songs are heavily influenced by her Abenaki and French-Canadian roots and are nurtured by the beauty of her home landscape. Her latest album ELLE DANSE was included in ELMNT FM’s Top 10 Best Albums of 2020 and was recently nominated for two prizes at the TRILLE OR Awards.
  • TheRa1 1n — An emerging Plains Cree femcee who was born and raised in Winnipeg, Man., and has origins in Moosomin First Nation in Treaty Six Territory, Sask. Her sound has been described as a futuristic blend of hip hop style lyrics over uber urban beats, with styles ranging from powwow step to dancehall to trap.
  • Robin Cisek — An Indigenous singer-songwriter who creates melodic and moody alternative pop with introspective and vulnerable lyrics. Her single “Waiting On You” claimed the #1 spot on XRP radio countdown and on the Indigenous music countdown, where it remained for 24 weeks. 

About CMI 

Canada’s Music Incubator (CMI) is a Toronto-based national not-for-profit organization specializing in professional development, ongoing mentorship and live events for artists, managers, and music companies. Launched in 2012, CMI supports 1,000+ emerging music entrepreneurs, of all genres, in the development of long-term careers and sustainable businesses. CMI has provided 10,000+ hours of professional development programs and one-on-one mentorship combined. CMI’s Live Events department works with private and community partners across the country curating paid performance opportunities for artists. To date, CMI has programmed 500+ shows and paid over $1 million directly to artists. CMI also advocates on behalf of music sector infrastructure development and creative entrepreneurship education in high schools. For more information, please visit: 

About APTN 

APTN launched in 1999 as the world’s first national Indigenous broadcaster, creating a window into the remarkably diverse mosaic of Indigenous Peoples. A respected non-profit and charitable broadcaster, it’s the only one of its kind in North America. The network is Sharing Our Stories of authenticity in English, French and a variety of Indigenous languages to over 10 million Canadian subscribers. With over 80% Canadian content, APTN connects with its audiences through genuine, inspiring and engaging entertainment on multiple platforms.

For further information about the Indigenous Music Accelerator Program and APTN, please contact:

Jacqueline Jubinville
Director of Communications, APTN
(204) 990-3562
[email protected]