Music Nova Scotia handed out fifty awards on Sunday, November 5th during the annual Nova Scotia Music Week. Everyone who took home an award was a winner, but like Charlie Sheen on a good day, some were destined to win more than others. In particular, Erin Costelo made history by being the first woman to take home the award for the 2017 Producer Of The Year.
Since the inception of Music Nova Scotia in 1989, Costelo is the first woman to be recognized for her productions skill with a Nova Scotia Music Award. That in itself is no small feat. In doing so, she joined the ranks of the very few women to have been awarded Producer Of The Year by any major music industry organization.
To put that into perspective: in all the 45 years of the Junos, only four times has the Producer of the Year Award gone to a woman, and since 1975, when the category was created for the Grammy’s, only six women have even been nominated for Producer of the Year.
Furthermore, Costelo was nominated for the production of her own album, Down Below, The Status Quo. That’s a challenge unto itself, not that it’s entirely unheard of; many fine and award-winning albums have been self-produced by legends.
Costelo was not able to be present at the Nova Scotia Music Awards. Instead, Dana Beeler, of award-winning band Hello Delaware, delivered Costelo’s speech on her behalf:
“Last night I won the Producer of the Year award at the Nova Scotia Music Awards. Thank you so much to all of the artists who have allowed me to play a part in sharing your music with the world. Elise Besler, Leanne Hoffman, Adam Sterling, Samm Reid.
Unfortunately I was out of town and wasn’t there to accept it. Here is my acceptance speech. Thanks to Dana Beeler for reading it and being there to accept the award in my absence.
Thank you so much for this award. It means a tremendous amount to be honoured in this way. I could be wrong but I think I may be the first woman to receive it.
Please take this as a call to action. We have a responsibility. As a creative community we are not reflecting the voices of everyone. And we are missing out. Music and art reflects our society and it has the potential to CHANGE our society.
Hire more women. By doing so, we will see ourselves reflected on stages and behind the scenes as producers and engineers, and as a result will be more likely to step into these roles. We need to hear the world reflected through these voices. It is crucial. Especially now.
I take this award as a huge responsibility. I promise to use my privilege to open the doors that I can. Especially to women of colour and trans women to help their voices be heard. Let’s have a woman in this category every year. Multiple women. We do not all have the same voice. Let’s hear from everyone.”
Costelo’s album has also won awards as 2017 ECMA R&B/Soul Album Of The Year, longer-listed for Polaris Prize, nominated for seven 2016 Music Nova Scotia Awards, and was runner-up for the Folk Music Ontario – ACTRA RACS Recording of the Year Award.