Congratulations to the 2022 Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) inductees: Alanis Morissette, Bryan Adams, Daniel Lavoie, David Foster, and Jim Vallance.
The CSHF / Panthéon des auteurs et compositeurs canadiens (PACC) “honours and celebrates Canadian songwriters and those who’ve dedicated their lives to the legacy of music; and works to educate the public about these achievements” (from the CSHF website).
My older daughter and I attended the 2022 CSHF Gala, which was held at the iconic and recently revitalized Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on September 24, 2022. It was incredible to see my favorite songwriters being inducted (Alanis Morissette, David Foster, Bryan Adams) and my favorite songwriters performing/making an appearance (Corey Hart, Olivia Rodrigo, Alessia Cara, Jessie Reyez) – all in the same room!
I’m a big Alanis Morissette fan. When general admission tickets for the Gala went on sale and it was announced that she would be inducted into the 2022 CSHF, I was thrilled for her. As more and more songwriters and performers were announced, my interest in going to the Gala increased!
For instance, I was delighted to learn that 19-year-old California-native, Olivia Rodrigo (“drivers license”; “good 4 u”) was selected to induct Alanis Morissette.
Rodrigo’s 2021 debut album broke streaming records when all 11 tracks on it landed in the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Being the first female artist to achieve this feat, she was named the 2022 Billboard Woman of the Year.
At the Gala, she credited Alanis Morissette with inspiring her to write songs, too. She said she was hooked the first time she’d heard her music.
Top Canadian artists performed their interpretations of Alanis Morissette’s songs from her best-selling and award-winning 1995 album, “Jagged Little Pill.”
Serena Ryder (“Stompa”) gave a high energy performance of “You Oughta Know” and she jumped around and paced the stage like Alanis Morissette herself would do when she performs the song.
During her performance of “Hand in My Pocket,” Alessia Cara (“Scars To Your Beautiful”) played the harmonica parts of the song, too. “You Learn/Thank U” were performed as a duet by Ruby Waters and JP Saxe, while Jessie Reyez (one of my new favorite artists) performed “Ironic.” There’s a line in the song that goes, “who would’ve thought it figures…” and it seemed fitting as Reyez has her own 2016 hit song called, “Figures.”
People who know me know that I’ve been a Corey Hart fan for a long time. He has sold over 16 million records worldwide and scored 32 Top 40 singles in Canada. Unfortunately for me, San Francisco Bay Area radio stations only play two songs by the Montréal singer/songwriter: “Sunglasses at Night” and “Never Surrender.” They’re great songs, but I just wish U.S. radio played more of his songs. Well, there’s hope yet for Corey Hart fans like me: Thanks to the Netflix series, Stranger Things, his music is experiencing a renaissance of sorts.
Although I consider myself a super fan, I had never been to any of his live performances – regretfully, not even his farewell tour in 2014. So when I learned that he was going to be performing at the Gala, I knew I couldn’t miss the opportunity. It was now or never.
While playing piano, Corey Hart performed songs written by two 2022 CSHF inductees, Bryan Adams (“(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” and “Straight from the Heart”) and Jim Vallance (“What About Love”), who is also Adams’ longtime collaborator.
After Corey Hart played the intro and first verse of “What About Love” on piano, Marie-Mai, singer/songwriter (« Je décolle ») and host of the 2022 Gala, appeared on stage and belted out the rest of the song like the original version by Heart. It was one of the more dramatic transitions in the show – it gave me goosebumps!
Songs written by Adams/Vallance were performed by Charlotte Cardin (“Heaven”), Chad Kroeger & Ryan Peake of Nickelback (“Summer of ‘69”) and Bobby Bazini (“Run To You”).
Daniel Lavoie of Manitoba, Canada delivered his acceptance speech in French and then in English. His song, « Ils s’aiment » was a big hit in France. At the Gala, Pierre Lapointe and Charlotte Cardin performed the song in French while the English translation of its lyrics flashed on the giant screen behind them. Earlier in the evening, Clerel performed Lavoie’s song, « Je voudrais voir New-York » and Bruno Pelletier shared his rendition of Lavoie’s song, « La danse du smatte ».
The night began and ended with songs by the prolific, multi-award winning singer/songwriter, and producer extraordinaire, David Foster. He’s written, co-written or produced songs for so many artists, like Céline Dion, Michael Bublé, and Josh Groban, to name a few. Frankly, I was surprised he hadn’t already been inducted to all of the music halls of fame!
Deborah Cox started the show with her interpretation of “I Have Nothing” (written by Foster and Linda Thompson, and recorded in 1992 by the late, great Whitney Houston for the soundtrack to her film, The Bodyguard.)
Toronto-native, Neil Donell of the band, Chicago performed “You’re the Inspiration” and “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” (written by Foster and Peter Cetera).
One of my favorite performances of the evening was when emerging Canadian artists Maurice Moore, James Baley, Tafari Anthony, and Divine Brown performed “After the Love Has Gone” (written by Foster, Jay Graydon, Bill Champlin, and recorded in 1978 by Earth, Wind & Fire). They were all dressed in white and their voices harmonized beautifully.
For the finale, many of the evening’s performers gathered onstage to perform the charity song, “Tears Are Not Enough” (written by Foster, Adams, Vallance, with French lyrics by Rachel Paiement to support Ethiopian famine relief efforts during the mid-80s.) It was originally recorded by Northern Lights, a supergroup of Canadian artists. (Band Aid from the UK and USA for Africa from the US were similar charity supergroups at the time.)
Being at the 2022 CSHF Gala was an incredible experience. When will I ever get another chance to see my favorite artists sharing the stage on the same night?!
My daughter observed how the inductees were supportive of one another and gave heartfelt speeches. It’s true: They gave credit to their various collaborators throughout their respective careers. They shared the sentiment that once they’ve written a song and it’s out there, the songs belong to all of us.
I also witnessed mutual respect amongst the honorees and performers. For instance, I noticed that the performers didn’t deviate from the original arrangement of the songs. It made it fun to sing along sometimes. In a duo or group, no one tried to overpower another singer, either.
That said, the 3.5-hour-long show wasn’t an overly formal or stodgy affair. Although people were being honored that evening, the focus seemed to be on one thing: the music.
It was also meaningful for me to be able to share the experience with my firstborn since I was a few months pregnant with her when I went to my second Alanis concert along with my husband, brother, and sister-in-law! My daughter likes to say that her first concert was “Alanis while in utero.” Today, she’s passionate about all kinds of music and plans to have a career in the music industry.
All in all, we are both glad tickets were available and so thankful we could attend the Gala to cheer on our favorites and watch some fantastic performances.
Congratulations again to the 2022 Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees: Bryan Adams, David Foster, Daniel Lavoie, Alanis Morissette, and Jim Vallance! 🎶 🇨🇦