Last September, the Canadian music industry lost one of its most devoted and beloved members. Jon Box was a stalwart member of the Universal Music Group team, starting his career as a sales rep back in 1996. Twenty-three years later and through a variety of roles, Jon was their Vice President of Label Partnerships & Business Development, a position he held for seven years. He was responsible for creating the Rooftop Riot, the annual NXNE showcase that put bands outside my office window. Thanks for the work-hour concerts, Jon. Box also gave back to the industry through his involvement with the Unison Benevolent Fund, a non-profit charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community and MusiCounts, an organization that puts musical instruments into the hands of kids who need them the most. He devoted time and energy to CARAS (Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and was a board member of Toronto Music City. He also raised money and awareness for the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research.
Tomorrow (Saturday) night at the Opera House in Toronto, Jon Box’s life is being celebrated by the artists, friends and family who loved him. On the bill are Sloan, The Dirty Nil, Whitehorse and Terra Lightfoot. Tickets are on sale here. Get your tickets now as the show is likely going to be a sell-out. 100% of the proceeds are going to the Unison Benevolent Fund and Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre. If you can’t make the show, there are many ways to help out in Jon’s name. You can donate directly to both recipients, The Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre and Unison Fund. As well, a Go Fund Me page has been set up to raise funds for the education of Box and his wife, Heather’s two girls.
The importance and awareness of mental health can’t be overstated. Jon Box suffered through his but out of the turmoil, much-needed funds can be raised for some important organizations and people.
Apropos to this week’s theme, here’s Aarys’s new single, Talk, released to coincide with last week’s Bell Let’s Talk Day. It’s beautiful. Have a listen.
Juno nominated and Inspire Award-winning Inuk singer-songwriter Kelly Fraser died by suicide on Christmas Eve 2019 at the age of 26. Fraser was a leader and role model for many Inuit, not only for her musical success but for her advocacy that led to her speaking at the United Nations in 2019. She worked alongside music producer Thor Simonsen to bring songwriting and music production workshops to small communities around Nunavut. This work resulted in a collective album called Ajungi (pronounced AH-YUNG-EE). A portion of the album’s sales will be donated to the Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Helpline (867-979-3333).
Fraser has two songs on the Ajungi album (“Next One” and “The Other Side”), sung in both Inuktitut and English. Most of the album’s 12 songs include issues of mental health, bullying, and other struggles Inuit face. One of these songs is “Adventure Waits” by Aocelyn (pronounced OS–LIN). The song offers hope and support “for all those people that have been left behind and ditched.”
More about Ajungi here
Philly band, Cheerleader is releasing their sophomore album, Almost Forever today. It’s damn good. Listen below and click some links for more.
I’ve got plenty of time for Mute Choir‘s new single, Shadowboxing. More on them in the links.
Jon Box photo taken from his Twitter feed