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Creativity hasn’t paused: Round 5 of the MVP Project recognizes talented emerging artists across Canada

As music industry disruptions persist, the MVP Project provides critical funding, exposure and mentorship to emerging Canadian creatives


RBC and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television announced 12 grant recipients for the fifth round of the MVP Project, a program that provides support to emerging Canadian musicians and filmmakers for music video creation and production. Since the program’s inception in 2018, the MVP Project, a joint initiative between RBCxMusic and the Prism Prize, has awarded 53 grants to emerging artists to support the creation of 24 music videos, with more to follow this year. Applications for Round 6 will open on March 1, 2021 at

2020 was a tumultuous year for the music industry, particularly with the COVID-19 pandemic upending traditional ways of showing support for artists. With live, in-person performances on pause, and productions operating in limited capacities, emerging recording artists and filmmakers have been forced to reimagine how they create, connect with, and expand their audiences. In a predominantly digital music environment, music videos continue to be an essential creative medium for artists, allowing them to connect with fans, tell their stories, and enhance their exposure. As industry disruptions persist, the MVP Project continues to provide critical support to Canada’s emerging artists at a time when they need it most.

“The support of MVP Project is invaluable to me, especially in the light of COVID-19 drastically limiting opportunities for musicians around Canada and the world,” said Toronto-based rapper and producer, and MVP Project Round 5 recipient, Cadence Weapon. “As an independent artist, receiving this funding allows me to create art on a level that would not be possible otherwise.”

The MVP Project is focused on the growth of the Canadian music video production community as a whole, providing opportunities for both MVP Project grant recipients and applicants who don’t receive funding. In the wake of the pandemic, in-person workshops have given way to online mentorship opportunities for applicants, including upcoming virtual sessions dissecting forthcoming work from the recipient teams behind videos for Joël and RAAHiiM.

“With each round of the MVP Project, music fans are exposed to talented emerging Canadian artists who inspire us with their creativity and ingenuity, and that hasn’t paused during the pandemic,” said Matt McGlynn, Vice-President, Brand Marketing, RBC. “RBC is incredibly proud to support the 12 teams who have been selected for Round 5; we’re inspired by their resilience, and we look forward to seeing the artistic vision for each unique music video come to life in the coming months.”

Recent MVP Project releases have been met with great acclaim from fans and media alike. Marie Davidson & L’Oeil Nu’s haunting clip for Back To Rock was featured in NME, Pitchfork and The Guardian, while Dominique Fils-Aimë’s Love Take Over has garnered more than 130k views since its release in October. New music projects from Ehboni, Adria Kain, Bad Child and Moël are expected to drop this winter.

“Although 2020 was a time of upheaval for the music industry, there was an abundance of excellent, creative work released. For that reason, it is more crucial than ever to support the recording artists and filmmakers as they continue on their creative journeys,” said Louis Calabro, VP of Programming & Awards at the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “We are honoured to work alongside these 12 exceptionally talented teams to see their ideas come to fruition.”

The recipients selected for Round 5 represent a diverse collection of musical genres and filmmaking styles, and were selected by a jury of industry professionals. Recipients include:

  • Recording artists Cadence Weapon (Toronto) and Jacques Greene (Montréal), Director Scott Pilgrim (Montréal) and Producer Imad Elsheikh / PIQUE (Toronto)
  • Recording artist Debby Friday (Vancouver), Director and Producer Ryan Ermacora (Vancouver)
  • Recording artist Emily Rose (Toronto), Director and co-Producer Andy Reid (Toronto) and Producer Franci Dimitrovska (Toronto)
  • Recording artist Golden Ears (Vancouver), Director Evan Bourque (Vancouver) and Producer Josh Huculiak (Vancouver)
  • Recording artist Joyia (Toronto), Director Jimmy Vi (Toronto) and Producer Nathan Dharamshi (Toronto)
  • Recording artist Kibra (Toronto), Director and Producer Mez Mariyé (Toronto)
  • Recording artist Liza (Toronto), Director Isiah Blake (Toronto) and Producer Sara Elgamal (Toronto)
  • Recording artist NAJA (Toronto), Director Gennelle Cruz (Toronto) and Producer Duy Nguyen / PUPIL (Toronto)
  • Recording artist Nicole Ariana (Halifax), Director Stephanie Joline (Halifax) and Producer Melani Wood(Halifax)
  • Recording artist Nicole Chambers (Brampton), Director Roya DelSol (Toronto) and Producer Tobi Abdul (Toronto)
  • Recording artist Russell Louder (Montréal), Director Trevor Blumas (Montréal) and Producer Laura Llorens / PORCH (Montréal)
  • Recording artists The Grey Jays (Winnipeg), Director and Producer Eric Peterson (Winnipeg)

The MVP Project is part of RBC’s ongoing commitment to supporting emerging creatives through the RBC Emerging Artists Project. Since 2015, over 25,000 alumni have been supported by the RBC Emerging Artists Project, with support from the RBC Foundation totaling over $9 million each year to hundreds of arts organizations across Canada. In 2020, RBC launched First Up with RBCxMusic, a virtual performance series created to support and promote emerging Canadian recording artists and musicians through the challenging circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. MVP Project Round 5 recipients Kibra, Liza, and Joyia all previously participated in First Up.

For more information, visit

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 86,000+ employees who leverage their imaginations and insights to bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 34 other countries. Learn more at‎

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About the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is the largest non-profit professional arts organization in Canada. We are dedicated to recognizing, advocating for, and celebrating Canadian talent in the film, television, and digital media sectors. Our more than 4,000 members encompass industry icons and professionals, emerging artists, and students. Collectively, we deliver professional development programs and networking opportunities that foster industry growth, inclusion, and mentorship.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television proudly acknowledges the support of its Leading Media Partner, CBC; its Premier Partner, Telefilm Canada; Platinum Partner, CTV; Principal Partner, Netflix; and its Lead Partners, the Canada Media Fund, Cineplex, and the Cogeco Fund.

For information on membership and programming visit

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