Mike Stevens to receive the 2016 Slaight Music Humanitarian Award


“Music is medicine. Breathe in the world. Breathe out music” – Mike Stevens

(Toronto, ON) July 11, 2016 – The Canadian Country Music Association® (CCMA®) Board of Directors are pleased to announce Mike Stevens, founder of the charity ArtsCan Circle, as the recipient of the 2016 Slaight Music Humanitarian Award.

From the small community of Brights Grove, just outside of Sarnia, Ontario, multi-talented harmonica player and musician, Mike Stevens, has brought his music and life experiences to the world’s stage. Having performed on the famed Grand Ole Opry stage more than 300 times, and toured through locales in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and even the North Pole; it was visiting the isolated communities in Northern Ontario and Labrador that had a profound impact on Stevens, and inspired him to create the charity, ArtsCan Circle.

Since it was established in 2002, ArtsCan Circle has been leading the crusade of connecting creative artists with at-risk Indigenous youth in Canada. Teams of hand-picked professional artists volunteer their time and talent to travel to desolate communities to share the healing power of the arts – whether through music, fine arts or performance arts – and to encourage self-esteem, promote self-expression and strengthen relationships within the community amongst the Indigenous youth. 

Through donated instruments, art supplies and shared knowledge, the at-risk youth learn how the arts can bridge cultures, change perceptions of the world and most importantly, give a voice to those who thought they had none.

The Slaight Music Humanitarian Award distinguishes those who have made an outstanding contribution of time and energy in support of humanitarian causes.  

“The compassion Mike Stevens has extended to  these communities in need, the way he celebrates the healing power of music and the articulate way he unites these communities through the arts has created an indelible impact that we feel is important to recognize,” said Ted Ellis, Chair of the CCMA Board of Directors.

“We are thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of Mike Stevens and his charity, ArtsCan Circle,” said Gary Slaight, President and CEO of Slaight Communications. “The direct impact he continues to make in these communities through music and the arts is truly honourable.”

“Try to recall the first time you picked up an instrument and made a sound. Remember the feelings of possibilities, and power,” said Mike Stevens, 2016 Slaight Music Humanitarian Award recipient. “I want these kids, these kids whose lives are so important, to know that feeling, own that feeling, and use it forever. No one can take that feeling away. I’m so grateful to receive this award and I accept it on behalf of every kid in every community we visit.”

This CCMA Award of Achievement is named the Slaight Music Humanitarian Award in recognition of a generous donation by the Slaight Music Foundation. The 2016 Slaight Music Humanitarian Award will be presented to Mike Stevens during a private industry event as part of Country Music Week, taking place September 8 – 11 in London, Ontario. For further details on the Slaight Music Humanitarian Award, and other CCMA Awards of Achievement, click here.

For Country Music Week information, visit ccma.org.


About the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA)
Established in 1976, the CCMA is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization committed to the promotion and recognition of Canadian country music. Built upon the foundation to educate, elevate and celebrate Canadian talent, the CCMA progressively heralds the spirit, community and creativity that country music fosters through year-round initiatives, culminating every fall with Country Music Week and the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. Sponsors of Country Music Week and the 2016 CCMA Awards Show include FACTOR, Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters and The Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s “Canada Music Fund”, Radio Starmaker Fund, the Province of Ontario, the City of London and Tourism London.

About Slaight Music
Slaight Music was created by Gary Slaight and Derrick Ross in 2011 with a mandate to support the Canadian music community through a variety of initiatives, and to develop Canadian talent via strategic partnerships with industry peers. The company works with artists from across the country and across the musical spectrum, helping to further careers and get great music heard.

Media Contacts
Jess Seguire | jess@penelopepr.com | 613-921-2314
Tiffany Astle | tiffany@penelopepr.com | 416-554-7329 


We acknowledge the financial support of FACTOR, the Government of Canada
and of Canada’s private radio broadcasters.
Nous reconnaissons l’appui financier de FACTOR, du gouvernement du Canada,
et des radio diffuseurs privés du Canada.