Mel Warner has brought culture, flavour and soul to B.C.'s music scene since he immigrated to Canada nearly 60 years ago.
And Vancouver is dedicating today (June 23) in his name.
Warner, a resident of Port Coquitlam, is being inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame in recognition of his accomplishments as a promoter the last 30 years for a diverse slate of musicians in the region.
"It gives me great joy to bring out and represent my Caribbean Culture to my friends and the people of British Columbia," said Warner in a 2019 release by his company, Melo Productions.
He was announced with the 2019 class alongside four other pioneer inductees
In 1964, he came to Canada with his family from St. Kitts and Nevis — an island nation in the Caribbean east of Puerto Rico.
Warner is celebrated in local music circles as he used his talents to bring new sounds to B.C.'s Lower Mainland, especially Vancouver.
This includes paving the way for reggae, Latin, world and ska recording artists to grow their fan bases.
"Warner can arguable be single-handedly credited for widening the musical tastes of the city, introducing new sounds and musical tastes by taking chances on booking what might be largely unknown acts that had no local audience," reads his profile on the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame's website.
"Night by night, Mel Warner produced shows that not only answered the growing thirsts for local Caribbean music audiences in the 80’s but introduced folk, rock, punk and jazz audiences to music that widened and matured the tastes of Vancouver concert audiences."
Following his success in the 1980s, Warner was offered by then manager Drew Burns use the Commodore Ballroom as its base venue for future shows.
Warner then created Melo Productions to host shows with the spotlight on diversity and multiculturalism.
He's also been a fixture on local airwaves, at the helm of Caribbean Sounds on Co-op radio for over 30 years with a two-and-a-half-hour weekly show on 100.5 FM.
As well, the City of Vancouver is proclaiming today as Mel Warner Day.
"Mel Warner has over the last four decades, through his efforts as a concert promoter, introduced new music and sounds to Vancouver’s multicultural tapestry and provided cultural spaces where Caribbean arts and culture has been showcased through his events," says Mayor Kennedy Stewart in the proclamation.
Warner is one of 13 music industry icons in the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame's 2019 class (in alphabetical order):
- Bob Buckley – Composer and musician
- Colin James – Seven-time Juno award winner
- Karin Konoval – Film, television and stage actress
- Emily Molnar – Artistic director, Ballet BC
- Nardwuar – Media personality
- Rick Scott – Musician and recording artist
- Joani Taylor – Jazz vocalist
- Moira Walley-Beckett – Three-time Emmy award winner, producer and actress
- Jeffrey Groberman – producer and writer
- Anna Hagan – actress and artistic director
- Terence Kelly – film, television and stage actor
- The Crump Twins – legendary entertainers from the 1940s
- Mel Warner – concert promoter