Penticton company Invictus Entertainment Group lauded at Canadian Country Music Awards

Local wins 19th CCMA

A Penticton-based music talent management business won big at the Canadian Country Music Awards this weekend, and not for the first time. 

Invictus Entertainment Group, founded by local businessman Jim Cressman, won "Management Company of the Year" at the annual award show Sunday. 

It was also a huge night for one of Invictus' top talents, Brett Kissel. The rising country crooner took home "Fan Choice," "Male Artist of the Year" and "Album of the Year."

Cressman viewed the virtual awards from Kissel's home, and said he is extremely proud of his client's tenacity in a hard year. 

"[The award] reminds fans how prolific he has been in the marketplace, especially since our industry got kind of decimated by COVID," Cressman said.

"Brett has completed 24 drive-in shows throughout Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario ... It was nice to see the CCMA constituency support them the way they have, understanding the efforts he's made to find innovative ways to reach his fans." 

Cressman's own win is the sixth in a row in the management category for a career total of 19 CCMAs, a mix of management, agency and talent buyer awards spanning back to 2006.

"It's always nice to get that distinction and recognition," Cressman said, adding that awards are only part of the rewards of the job. 

"As long as your clients are working, and they are fulfilled, that's the win. It is a beautiful thing to get the industry recognition and I'm never ungrateful. But at the end of the day if your clients are coming to you saying wow, we had a great year, thanks for executing and pulling together what you did, that's really what we do." 

Cressman's group of clients, which also includes familiar Canadian country names like George Canyon, Aaron Pritchett and Jess Moskaluke, have had to pivot during COVID-19 as all tours were cancelled. 

Drive-in shows have been popular, although not financially feasible yet in B.C. due to provincial restrictions on 50 vehicles per gathering. 

"Of course we want to keep our artists busy in the market place, but we also understand there is a public sentiment of concern for safety, and we want to respect that and do everything we can to bring the music to the people in a manner that is safe and works within the parameters that have been dictated by provincial health authorities," Cressman explained.

Said he is proud of and grateful to the Canadian Country Music Association for figuring out a way to pull off a televised awards show, when earlier this year, all signs were pointing to cancellation. 

"The CCMAs are one of those nationally televised platforms that helps connect the fan with the face of the artist, the song and the brand. And because those platforms are at such a premium [in Canada] it would have been a big loss for our industry this year to not have something in that domain," Cressman said. 

"It's a challenging time, but challenging times force innovation. We're seeing that at the forefront right now."

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