Chip Sutherland | 2024 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award | | The JUNO Awards

Chip Sutherland’s journey began in Montreal, but it was in Belleville, Ontario, that he spent his formative years. Graduating with a BA from Trent University in 1985, he continued his academic pursuits at Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law in Halifax, obtaining his degree in 1988.

While carving his path as a commercial litigation specialist at Patterson Kitz, focusing on education law, Chip showcased his versatile talents as the drummer for the acclaimed east coast band “BlackPool” – named ECMA’s Pop Rock Artist of the year in 1990. Simultaneously, he co-authored the bestselling textbook “Teachers and the Law: A Practical Guide for Educators,” a testament to his expertise in education law.

In 1992, Chip entered the commercial music industry when he negotiated a record deal for Sloan with Geffen Records in Los Angeles. This marked the beginning of his managerial career, as he took on the management of Sloan and later co-managed The Rankin Family until their retirement. As the explosion of interest in Atlantic Canadian artists unfolded in the early ’90s, Chip found himself representing prominent bands like Jale, Thrush Hermit, Ashley MacIsaac, and Great Big Sea.  This soon spread to other artists across Canada such as Rheostatics and Spirit of the West.

His influence expanded further in 1994 when Deane Cameron invited him to join the Board of CARAS, becoming the first-ever director from Atlantic Canada. Serving as Vice President until 2000, he oversaw the transition to live shows and initiated the Music Counts Program.

In 2001, Chip embarked on another groundbreaking venture, spearheading the development of the Radio Starmaker Fund. Starting from scratch he guided the design of a cutting-edge web-based platform that focused on Artist centered funding and live touring support. This was all accomplished with the enthusiastic support and flexibility of the CRTC as well as a diverse Board of Directors representing all segments and regions of the music industry. As its Executive Director since 2005, he has played a pivotal role in distributing $170 million over the past 23 years, making the fund a cornerstone of the Canadian music industry’s funding ecosystem.

Beyond his accomplishments, Chip’s influence extends to artist representation. Since 2004, he has served as Feist’s lawyer and co-manager, achieving great success with the album “The Reminder.” His managerial portfolio has since expanded to include Alvvays and Mustafa Ahmed, showcasing his ongoing commitment to shaping musical careers.

In 2012, Chip was entrusted by legendary music industry lawyer Donald Passman to co-author a Canadian edition of “All You Need to Know about the Music Business.” A devoted father of two, Kate and Will, Chip divides his time between Halifax and Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Outside the music industry, he is a fervent wilderness canoeist, fly fisherman, and river conservationist. Chip Sutherland’s impact on the Canadian music scene is not only enduring but continues to shape the industry’s landscape.