Lead Photo: Jennifer Conely
The SOCAN Foundation recently held their third annual SiriusXM Black Canadian Music Awards, which were created to recognize and celebrate the artistic merit demonstrated by Black Canadian music creators of any genre. This year’s winners are Adria Kain, AHI, Desarae Dee, Nonso Amadi and Zach Zoya.
The five selected winners will each receive a prize of $10,000 to support their career development. Special distinctions and awards of $1,000 are also being made to City Fidelia, Haley Smalls, Leila Day, Promise and Shreez.
Desarae Dee is a Toronto-based powerhouse pianist and multi-instrumentalist who has made significant waves in the Canadian music industry as an instrumental fusion artist since 2014. Known as “Toronto’s Queen of Vibes”, her passionate and meaningful sound combines a unique mixture of faith, soul, vulnerability, and divine balance.
Desarae has an extensive resume that includes 21 singles and four project releases over the last eight years, regional touring, a feature on the cover of Spotify’s Fresh Finds Jazz playlist with her single “Care For You”, a feature on NPR Music’s Jazz Night On The List Spotify + Apple Music playlists with her single, “Meditation,” national and international media coverage and radio plays, and a recent Top 100 finish in the 2022 CBC Music Searchlight competition.
She continues to blaze the trail in the name of instrumental music, while continuing to break barriers and forge a path for current and future Black women musicians in Canada.
I had the opportunity to chat with Desarae about winning a SiriusXM Black Canadian Music Award, career highlights and what’s next.
Kat: You have an abundance of musical projects under your belt. What was your most recent release and how did the project come about?
Desarae: My most recent release is my holiday single, “Holiday Soul” and I wrote this song during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020. Prior to the release of this song, I hadn’t released any Christmas music in a couple of years so in September 2022, I decided to go in a different direction with it and finally put it out. Even though it’s a “holiday song,” because of how I created the song, it can be played all year round due to its lo-fi jazz nature.
Kat: What is your favourite part about Toronto’s music scene? Do you have a favourite venue in the city?
Desarae: My favourite part of the Toronto music scene is the multiculturalism of our city and the immense amount of diverse talents that we have. One of my favourite venues in the city is Revival – I’ve played there a number of times and I love the ambiance of the venue.
Kat: You were recently announced as one of this year’s winners of the third annual SiriusXM Black Canadian Music Awards, presented by The SOCAN Foundation. What does this award and recognition mean to you?
Desarae: Man, this award is so huge for me because it validates what I have been doing for over the last 8 years as a Black Woman Instrumental Fusion Artist – what I do hasn’t been done in Canada before and this award helps to push my career to the next level.
Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?
Desarae: One of my career highlights was hitting one of my vision board goals, which was having one of my instrumental canvases played on national radio. My single, “Late Arrival (Remix)” was played on CBC Radio through “The Block by CBC” in September 2021 and it went on to be played in May 2022, July 2022 and January 2023.
Kat: What’s next?
Desarae: What’s next is a brand new single, coming in late March/early April & of course my supporters have been waiting almost 7 years for me to finally drop my debut album. Will it happen is the question? You will have to stay tuned to find out!
Connect with Desarae Dee on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/desaraedeemusic