When Danny Fournier co-founded the Edmonton Music Awards in 2011, the inaugural ceremony coincided with his first son’s due date.
“My wife was really mad at me,” discloses the 39-year-old music consultant. “But that’s me. I tend to put a lot on my plate.”
He’ll again have a lot of work to do when the show’s third edition opens at the Royal Alberta Museum Theatre on April 28.
Beyond the flurry of pop stars and country singers, rappers and hip hop artists, all of them representing the diversity of music genres at work in Alberta’s capital city, the Saskatchewan native will be toiling anonymously behind the scenes, making sure the winners’ names are in the right envelopes and generally calming nerves.
“It’s not about me,” Fournier says when asked why the chief executive is not instead relishing the glory from a front-row seat. “It’s about the artists.”
Putting artists and their music first comes naturally to him.
The oldest of three children born to music teachers (his father, Jean Lawrent Fournier, is a well-known classical and flamenco guitarist), Fournier is also the grandson of Margo Fournier, a former dancer and musician who founded the Prince Albert Boys’ Choir, an award-winning ensemble for which the take-charge music teacher was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 1983.
“There was a definite passion for music where I grew up,” Fournier says. “I learned a lot about music from my dad.”
When part way through a marketing degree and worrying that he had turned his back on music, his father convinced him he hadn’t made a mistake. “He told me that the music industry is all about marketing, and it’s the one thing that musicians really don’t know a lot about.”
After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan, Fournier moved to Edmonton to work for BMG Music Canada. Then in 2006, he founded Oddball Productions, a consulting company aimed at helping musicians build and execute a business plan with minimal hassle.
“There are different avenues for different artists,” explains Fournier, whose acts include rockers Shelbi, alt rock folk band Owls by Nature and newcomers Heaviside. “But wherever it is they want to go, I help them get there. I create a straight and easy path to helping them gain success.”