SHAKURA S'AIDA, International Artist & Maple Blues Vocalist of the Year 
Shakura S’Aida has earned her status as an international artist. Born in Brooklyn, raised in Switzerland, and a Toronto resident for more than 20 years, she speaks three languages, and tours overseas constantly. So far this year she’s performed on the legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise in the Caribbean and appeared in Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Romania and Switzerland. Earlier this month she performed her first concert with a symphony orchestra, a successful event in Wheeling West Virginia. Recently she performed two different shows for her double CD release Time. The Hugh’s Room and Revival shows were a spotlight on rock and acoustic versions of the music on 'Time', her debut recording for ElectroFi.
The release of Time, a double CD gives her growing international audience a taste of her different musical approaches to blues, soul and rock and roll.
Shakura S’AidaSugar Beach Performer
DONNA GRANTIS – Electric Guitarist
After studying Jazz at McGill University in Montreal, Donna moved to Toronto and immersed herself in the music scene as a session musician and live performer. In these roles, she has worked with a diverse roster of talented Canadian acts, including Juno award-winning artists Amanda Marshall, Kardinal Offishall, Divine Brown, Haydain Neal and Kellylee Evans. Donna has toured globally with performances in Singapore, Australia, the UK, and throughout Europe, Canada and the Unites States. She continues to perform regularly with Shakura S’Aida (2011 Maple Blues Vocalist of the Year), soul-rock songstress Saidah Baba Talibah (described as Living Color meets Erykah Badu) and Hill & The Sky Heroes (an alien surf-rock group). Donna is also the guitarist and musical director of the annual Women’s Blues Revue at Massey Hall.
Donna GrantisSugar Beach Performer
Farley Flex of Canadian Idol describes Denielle as “Unique and Fresh!”
Soulful, emotional, sassy and sophisticated, Denielle Bassels merges blues, neo-soul, folk and jazz. She creates a bright and sassy palette, as she paints a fresh and funky listening experience. Often compared to the talents of Julie London, Amy Winehouse, Adele and Ella Fitzgerald.
Singer, songwriter and big bandleader Denielle Bassels was working in Switzerland, where she began singing in bars to earn extra money and extend her stay. From there, Denielle began playing regularly in clubs in Lausanne, Geneva and Paris. Audiences were so taken with the tall striking brunette from Canada that club owners kept booking her back, again and again. Denielle went on to perform all over Europe in places such as the Cuilly and Lausanne Jazz Festivals in Switzerland, and Le Caveau des Oubliettes in Paris. However, Denielle wanted a deeper personal foundation to create from. Returning home she hired a vocal coach and started formal music training at Humber College in Toronto. In Toronto, Denielle performs regularly at hot spots such as the Gate 403 and The Gallery Studio Cafe. Now with three acts on the go- NUNU, an electropop band that utilizes her rich jazz chops to add spice to their sound, a Nouvelle Vague inspired duo with one of her favourite guitarists Dave Kirby; and her own quintet- She keeps writing, recording and performing songs on a weekly basis.
Denielle BasselsSugar Beach Performer
Two time Juno Nominee and multi Maple Blues Award Winner Suzie Vinnick is the owner of a gorgeous, powerful voice and performs with a sweet mixture of engaging candidness and unparalleled musicianship. to help define Suzie’s wide-ranging stylistic muse, references to no less than Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones are more than called for. Suzie has been featured nationally on CBC Radio on Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café, and has performed across Canada and the US, and for Canadian Peacekeepers in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf. She performs powerfully as a solo act or with her tasteful side players, as a duo and band with Rick Fines, and is also a member of the groups the Marigolds (with Gwen Swick and Caitlin Hanford of Quartette), Betty & the Bobs, , and the folk-pop trio, Vinnick Sheppard Harte (VSH)latest album Me 'n' Mabel was nominated for a 2012 Juno Award in the Blues Album of the Year category.
Suzie VinnickSugar Beach Performer
Saidah Baba Talibah
Satisfying and soulful. Raw and raunchy. Inspiring, tantalizing and scandalous. Dripping with sensuality, these are the words that Saidah Baba Talibah uses to describe herself and her music. Her debut LP (S)Cream is more than just an album: it’s an experience. The suggestive, choose-your-own-adventure parentheses around the ‘S’ in the album’s title are indicative not only of the album’s lyrical content, but of Saidah as an artist and as a person. the daughter of Salome Bey, credits the internationally renowned jazz/blues singer and actress for her talent and ambition. In addition to her Tony and Grammy-nominated mother, her uncle, Andy Bey, also a Grammy-nominated musician – she says that growing up in a family where the arts were respected, gave her the confidence to embark on a solo career.
She has accomplished a myriad of artistic projects: a featured vocalist at the Quincy Jones Gala as a part of Harbourfront’s World Leaders Series, backup vocals for Jully Black and Divine Brown and is presently touring Canada with multi-platinum selling country singer Johnny Reid.
Saidah Baba TalibahSugar Beach Performer
Not every young Canadian singer-songwriter gets to launch her CD with a live appearance on the US satellite station Sirius XM, on a show hosted by Dave Marsh. But that’s how Ariana Gillis , from the grape growing region in Niagara, Ontario — who turned 21 earlier this month — began to premiere her second album, Forget Me Not. Earlier, Marsh had played a track — “John and the Monster” — from an advance copy of the CD; one response was a phone call from an enthusiastic listener who wanted to know more about the unusual song, and the singer. The mystery caller was Elton John’s lyricist and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.
Later, he wrote to the young singer’s father, musician and producer David Gillis: “I’m staggered by how good she is. There is not much that impresses me these days but after hearing her available tracks I can honestly say she’s the single most exciting thing I’ve heard in a very long time.”
Chosen as Young Performer of the Year at the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards, she is fulfilling the promise many people have seen since she put out her first EP when she was 17.
Ariana GillisSugar Beach Performer
Selina Martin Triplets
Toronto-based, Ottawa Valley raised, Selina Martin is a high-powered art pop siren who has toured across Canada, the US and Europe, and has independently released three highly acclaimed CD’s. Her 3rd full-length album, Disaster Fantasies, is a fierce collection of genre-defying songs. It has received glowing praise from across Canada, and has been variously described by music writers as ‘“smart”, “vivid”, “brave”, “masterful”, “reckless”, “must-hear”, and “without question the most underrated Canadian album of the year”. Martin has an unforgettable voice, a striking ear for melody, a gigantic stage presence and on top of it all, is an incredibly high calibre songwriter. Her music is as original as it is catchy, and as playful as it is powerful.
Compact and potent, Selina Martin Triplets are Selina plus engineer/producer/fisherwoman Annelise Noronha, and graphic designer/multi-instrumentalist/pesceterian Kevin Lacroix. They have artfully distilled huge and dynamic recordings into one-of-a-kind arrangements for a 3-piece band.
Selina Martin TripletsSugar Beach Performer
Toronto singer-songwriter Erin Hunt writes timeless soul music - a rare achievement in this day and age. The newcomer has boldly crafted her debut album The Woman I Am, and without a doubt, has achieved what she set out to do.
The combination of Erin’s unforgettably sultry yet powerful voice and her love of classic songwriting has given rise to timeless songs, built on experiences and emotions most can relate to. From the deep-felt soul of “The Woman I Am” to the modern sould of “Thankful,” to the R ‘n B attitude of “Ain’t Nobody,” Erin takes you on a Soul Journey, past, present and future.
Says Grammy Award Winning producer/ engineer/mixer Ron Saint Germain about Erin Hunt:
"I have had the privilege of working with some truly amazing and talented female Artists in my 39+ years as a producer/engineer/mixer such as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Ashford & Simpson, Chaka Kahn, Diana Ross (to mention a few) and I can say, without hesitation, that ERIN HUNT has that SAME talentEr
Erin HuntSugar Beach Performer
Reminiscent of Iris de Ment, Jadea Kelly is described by CBC as “a shining jewel in the crown of Canadian songwriters”. Blessed with an achingly distinct voice Jadea lends harmony vocals to the likes of Catherine MacLellan [2011 Silhouette] and Canadian metal band Protest the Hero [2005 Kezia & 2011 Scurillous]. Her 2010 recording Eastbound Platform earned a CFMA nomination for emerging artist of the year and she appeared on Stuart McLean’s VINYL CAFÉ in January 2012.
Jadea KellySugar Beach Performer
A much in demand session singer for everyone, Amoy’s powerhouse soprano voice is a staple in Canada’s music industry.
Amoy has also toured across Canada and the United States where she has performed with renowned Artists such as Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Olivia Newton John, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tom Cochrane and Gospel greats such as Toronto Mass Choir, Danny Brooks, Ken Whiteley, Fred Hammond, Hezekiah Walker, Ricky Dillard and John P. Kee .
In 1998, “Just Look”, a debut album by the Youth Outreach Mass Choir-for whom Amoy was the director, vocal arranger and lead vocalist-was nominated for a Juno Award and Urban Music Award in 1998.
Amoy LevySugar Beach Performer
For fans of Roxanne Potvin, the Juno award nominated Montreal based singer-songwriter, two years might seem like an unbearably long time between albums, but just one spin through the songs on "Play" will be more than enough to convince them that it’s been worth the wait. With “Play” Roxanne Potvin has achieved something that few artists ever succeed in doing - she’s expanded her style and grown as an artist while still keeping the grit and authenticity that is so appealing about her music. Hear for yourself: just press "Play".
Roxanne PovinSugar Beach Performer
She's a bit difficult to define, genre-wise, which makes it difficult for listeners to latch on to Ribera. It's like she's using the wide end of the megaphone, where she might be better to turn it around, devoting herself to one identifiable style before broadening out later, after she's established. This is Alejandra Ribera, an artist with international roots-born in Toronto to an Argentinean waiter and a Scottish actress, raised in the heart of the city’s gay village with a style that reminds her listeners of Edith Piaf and Tom Wiats and a louder, more powerful Joan Armatrading.
She spent her teenage years listening to the music and the passion of such varied artists as Odetta, Mercedes Sosa and Jimmy Scott. These artists-and dozens more-shaped the multi-dimensional repertoires that is Alejandra’s hallmark today and is at the same time her greatest weakness and her greatest strength. For every listener who can’t come to grips with an artist whose music would be at home at a jazz club, a world music gathering or a folk festival, there are dozens fascinated by her no-holds-barred approach to songs that cross genres and borders with almost frightening ease.