1,093 days. That’s how long it’s been since the world’s best golfers set foot on Canadian soil. Golf fans have waited patiently for the PGA Tour’s return. This week, at St. George’s Golf & Country Club, not only is “Our Open” back after two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, but so is live music with the return of the popular RBCxMusic Concert Series.
“We introduced the RBCxMusic Concert Series in 2019 with the idea to create an unforgettable experience for both golf and music fans,” comments Mary DePaoli, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, RBC. “The result was our most successful RBC Canadian Open to date.”
For 2022, the RBCxMusic Concert Series returns with an incredible line-up. Hip-hop icon Flo Rida headlines Friday night with Canadian rapper SonReal in the warm-up slot. On Saturday, three-time Grammy award winners Maroon 5 take the stage. Both concerts take place on the nearby athletic field of Toronto’s Richview Collegiate Institute.
A new partnership among Golf Canada, SiriusXM and RBC this year showcases home-grown artists and offers even more music. “Shining the spotlight on Canadian talent is incredibly important to SiriusXM Canada and something we do through our service every day,” says Paul Cunningham, SVP, Sales & Marketing, SiriusXM Canada. “Our new partnership with Golf Canada allows us to bring music and sport together, which elevates any entertainment experience. That intersection really highlights what SiriusXM is all about. We offer the best in both of these categories – from golf and every other major league sport, to music from every genre and decade – and much more.”
Prior to SonReal’s performance on Friday, Toronto-based R&B singer-songwriter Pisceze—part of the First Up with RBCxMusic program—performs on the RBCxMusic Concert Series mainstage. Getting a chance to warm up the crowd at the SiriusXM Stage is Omega Mighty, sister of Polaris Prize and Juno-winner Haviah Mighty. On Saturday, indie-rock band The Man Who, and 22-year-old rising pop star Ari Hicks each get a set. Hicks most recent single “Sucker,” was released a month ago and she recently had the opportunity to co-write a song over Zoom with Rob Thomas [Matchbox Twenty]. The song, entitled “Shut Up and Look Pretty,” which Hicks says is “really savage,” comes out in a couple of weeks. The Toronto artist is grateful for RBC and the opportunity to be part of the 2022 RBC Canadian Open.
“It’s probably the biggest performance of my career so far,” Hicks says, taking a short break from finalizing her set list and rehearsing. “When I told my dad, who is a huge golf fan, he just looked at me and said, ‘The RBC Canadian Open! You know how big that is?’
“It is incredible to receive this opportunity,” she adds. “As an independent artist you need all the help you can get.”
The pandemic hit artists hard, especially independents. With shutdowns due to COVID-19, and no gigs scheduled, one of their main sources of income was taken away overnight. This was the impetus for launching the First Up with RBCxMusic program.
“Despite the pause in live music, RBC’s commitment to supporting emerging artists remained strong,” explains Shannon Cole, Vice President of Brand Marketing, RBC. “First Up with RBCxMusic was developed to showcase and elevate emerging musicians and recording artists from across Canada.”
For 2022, nearly 20 artists were welcomed as Featured Artists to benefit from live performance opportunities like the ones offered to Hicks and Pisceze during the 2022 RBC Canadian Open. Since its inception in May 2020, First Up with RBCxMusic has supported more than 150 artists across a varied array of genres and backgrounds that reflect Canada’s eclectic cultural mosaic. Another program participant and 2020 First Up alumni (Jessia) opens for Maroon 5 on Saturday night of the RBC Canadian Open. Jessia is known for her viral song “I’m not Pretty,” which has 101,400,000+ plays on Spotify and a remixed version with popular American singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha.
Long live live music … and golf.