Rita MacNeil
MacNeil (Photo credit: Mark Mainguy)

Rita MacNeil To Be Posthumously Inducted Into The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

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CAPE BRETON, NS (CelebrityAccess) — Late Canadian singer-songwriter Rita MacNeil, the First Lady of Cape Breton, will be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

While best known for creating music in and about her native Nova Scotia, MacNeil gained a reputation with fans all across Canada for her engaging, melody-driven songwriting that straddled the line between folk, gospel, and blues.

MacNeil, who died in 2013, will be inducted during a presentation at the 2021 East Coast Music Awards on May 6th in her hometown of Cape Breton, NS. The induction presentation will include a special musical tribute to MacNeil, performed by a cast of former bandmates, friends and more.

“Through her lyrics and songwriting, Rita allowed us into her heart and soul,” said Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. “The love between songwriter and audience was mutual. Rita didn’t sing to people, she sang for people; and her audiences, in return, gave her strength to overcome her shyness and stage anxiety. There are few artists who have such an intimate and authentic connection with their fans, and that bond lives on through her songs.”

Before she broke through to the mainstream, MacNeil honed her skills as a songwriter while working in the women’s movement in the early 1970s, and later as a performer while touring Canada’s coffeehouse and folk club scene.

She released three albums, her independent debut 1975 debut Born A Woman followed by her major label debut on Virgin, Flying On Your Own, which proved to be a commercial and critical success for her in 1986. She followed the album’s success two years later with Reason to Believe, which featured the breakout ballad “Working Man.”

“Through her lyrics and songwriting, Rita allowed us into her heart and soul,” said Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. “The love between songwriter and audience was mutual. Rita didn’t sing to people, she sang for people; and her audiences, in return, gave her strength to overcome her shyness and stage anxiety. There are few artists who have such an intimate and authentic connection with their fans, and that bond lives on through her songs.”

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