Swagger nominated in the Forest City London Music Awards

Four members of the musical group Swagger sitting on red chairs. CREDIT: COURTESY OF DARLA STRATTON
Since 2013, local band Swagger has been filling dance floors with its eclectic blend of pop, rock, and country music.

The Forest City London Music Awards (FCLMA) are gearing up for a week of music. 

From June 8 to 16, FCLMA will celebrate local music in London. Up for the Fan Favourite award this year is Swagger, led by Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) graphic designer, Darla Stratton. 

“It is an honour to be nominated, and it feels fantastic! We are very thankful,” Stratton said. “It is something to add to our list of achievements as a band.”

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Stratton sings lead vocals for Swagger, and the group has been filling dance floors throughout London for 11 years with its eclectic blend of pop, rock, and country music. 

The group previously won the 2019 London Music Award for Best Cover Band and a 2017 London Music Award for Fan Favourite.

Speaking with local journalist, Craig Needles, FCLMA Mario Circelli said this is one of the most significant events in Canada and the only city-specific awards program.  

“We never thought we would still be doing this after so many years,” Circelli said. 

Circelli said the event will start with a free kick-off outdoor concert on Dundas Place on June 8, followed by 

the Classical Jazz Music Awards show at The Aeolian Hall on June 9. The Pop-Rock category will be presented on June 16 at the London Music Hall. 

“During the pandemic, most people turned to music, books, and cinema, which highlighted the importance of the arts in life,” Circelli said. “We hope to continue accentuating the talent with this type of event.”

Circelli added that the music scene in London has always been an intrinsic part of the city’s life. Stratton, who has enjoyed sharing experiences with multiple musicians around the city, said there is so much talent in London. 

“London is a Music City,” Stratton said. “Being recognized by your peers and supporters with these events is very special.”

Circelli said he is most excited about the opportunity to celebrate people’s careers in music. According to Circelli, the awards program in London celebrates around 200 musicians. 

“The genesis of the whole project has always been to support and encourage emerging artists,” Circelli said. “Let’s celebrate that and bring everyone together with music.”

Voting is open now and will remain open until April 28. 

Circelli said that last year, they had over 60,000 unique votes, not only from London.

“We had people voting from the U.S. and Europe,” Circelli said. “We need to do more for our local artists.”

He said he sees his job as preserving and reinforcing London’s rich musical history.

“Over the last few years, we have given over $15,000 to support new upcoming artists in the city,” Circelli said. “There are good opportunities out there, and we encourage everyone to participate.”

Stratton said that if people want to pursue a music career, they should follow their instincts, enjoy the process, and not compromise their vision “no matter how hard it gets.”

“Try not to get sucked into comparing yourself to others in the music scene; your only competition is in the mirror,” Stratton said.

To vote and to find more information about the event, please visit fclma.ca