Repartee, a band with heavy central Newfoundland connections, pretty well swept the floor when they took home five awards at Music NL’s annual awards ceremony Oct. 14.
And Norris Arm’s Chris Kirby scored two awards – Songwriter of the Year and Male Artist of the Year. Yet another ensemble, Heavy Weather, which supports and provides Newfoundland musicians with their production and video skills, also took home two awards, Company of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. That honour went to one of Heavy Weather’s founders, Grand Falls-Windsor native Justin Davis. The other members include Ian Vardy and Adam Penney.
“Winning Songwriter of the Year means so very much to me, for two reasons,” said Chris Kirby. “This year, I've been traveling all over this country and the United States to write songs with other artists and writers. I've been looking to make my mark as a songwriter and producer, and this award tells me my hard work is not going unnoticed. That thrills me.”
Kirby added that to be honoured as the top songwriter for the year, in a province known for its “incredible writers and in a year of so many great songs,” the prize is a writer’s dream come true.
He said he was proud to share the award for Songwriter of the Year with bandmate Craig Follett from Gander, a long-time friend. The song that landed the pair the award was their first co-write.
Kirby said he wasn’t expecting to be awarded Male Artist of the Year, considering the established heavy talent he was up against. According to Kirby, he is a fan of all of those on the nominee list, and it was an honour just to be listed with them.
Another award winner he’s proud of are fellow musicians Meg Warren and Repartee. He said he remembered Meg picking his brain about touring and self-managing a while back.
“I have had the pleasure of playing shows and touring a little with her and seeing her develop into the Entertainer of Year she is,” he said. “She beat me in all the categories we were competing for, but I don't feel sore because I'm a big fan, and I believe her and the band deserve every bit of success they find.”
As for Megan Warren, she said she and the three other Repartee members were still reeling at having won so many awards. They included FACTOR Album of the Year; Group of the Year; Molson Coors Pop/Rock Artist or Group of the Year; Bell Aliant Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year, and Statoil Rising Star New Artist or Group of the Year.
“We feel so much love and support from everyone and we have a lot to be thankful for right now,” said Warren. “There are so many people that have helped us come this far, including Maxine Stanley, Jen Winsor, Denis Parker, Tony Murray, Mark Neary, Tom Power, and our friends and families, to name a tiny percentage of them.
“We feel very lucky to have so much support. Thank you to everyone who voted for us and continues to support what we do.”