One of Canada’s most successful concert promoters, record label executives and influential music industry entrepreneurs, Donald K Tarlton has been chosen as the recipient of the 2007 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced today the recipient of the prestigious award that recognizes an outstanding individual who has contributed to the growth and advancement of the Canadian music industry.
Since launching his own concert promotion company, Donald K Donald (DKD) Productions in 1966, and merging the company with BCL Entertainment Corporation in 1991, Donald K Tarlton has become one of the world’s more successful concert touring promoters, Broadway show producers and entertainment moguls.
Donald has produced and promoted more than 5,000 events for some of the world’s most iconic musicians including record-breaking concerts for the Bee Gees, Bryan Adams, David Bowie, Elton John, Genesis, KISS, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and U2 to name a few. His most recent involvement was the record-breaking two-night sellout of The Rolling Stones A Bigger Bang Tour concert at the Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan.
In 1969, Donald established Aquarius Records, one of Canada’s most significant independent labels for the past 30 years and responsible for the release of chart-topping albums from Canadian artists such as April Wine, Corey Hart, Sass Jordan, Serial Joe, SUM 41 and more than 75 other albums to-date. Aquarius Records was voted Canada’s Independent Label of the Year at the 19th Annual Canadian Music Industry Awards.
His French-language label, Tacca Musique, supports the development of the Québec music industry, nurturing the successful careers of French-Canadian musicians including Kevin Parent, Jorane, Steve Dumas and France D’Amour.
His business instincts proved correct in the early ‘90s when he became the international tour producer for a young Québec singing sensation, Celine Dion, during the release of her first English album and debut concert for 117 people in Calgary, Alberta. Celine went on to become one of the biggest stars in the world and Donald ultimately developed the reputation as an intuitive music man and solid supporter of Canadian talent on a global basis.
In 1998, Donald surprised industry peers by retiring from concert promotions to reinvigorate his record company holdings. His vision remained steadfast—to create a company that truly endeavors to support Canadian artists and music. He has expanded his music conglomerate to include several Canadian independent music labels, all with the common goal of fostering Canadian music across many different genres.
Today, Donald serves as Chairman of Le Groupe DKD, contributing to the operations of Aquarius Records, Tacca Musique, Indica Records, Last Gang Records, Arts and Crafts International, Studio Plateau, Upper Management, Preste, Splash Publicity, Splash Event Management and Oye! Canada. He has also become involved once again in select concert productions with ÉVÉNEMENTS DKD Events.
He continues to actively participate in the music industry, sharing his leadership as a board member of Fidec, a Québec cultural-based investment organization, previously served as a Board Director of CARAS and was one of the founding directors of Starmaker.
Donald is also a generous volunteer and sits on the boards of various community charities. In 1996, he gathered the Québec music industry to participate in a benefit concert and national Canadian telethon for the Saguenay, Québec flood victims. In 2000, Tarlton was honoured with the country’s highest honour, The Order of Canada.