Jim Payne is an award winning performer, collector and producer of traditional Newfoundland music, as well one of the province’s most prolific songwriters. He owns and operates SingSong Inc., the largest traditional music record label in Atlantic Canada, and teaches courses in traditional Newfoundland music at Memorial University’s School of Music. He has toured throughout North America, the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.
He is also a multi-instrumentalist and stepdancer who teaches traditional Newfoundland folk dance, and an actor and writer who has contributed to some of the most popular theatrical productions from this province over the past four decades. As a songwriter, he is widely known for his musical portrayals of life in this province, his willingness to write and sing about difficult and controversial issues, and his ability to compose humourous ditties directed at powerful people and institutions.
Jim is a seafaring adventurer who has circumnavigated the island of Newfoundland more than 20 times, sailed through the Northwest Passage, and throughout the Canadian and Scandinavian Arctic, including Greenland, Iceland and Svalbard. He has also crossed the Southern Ocean to Antarctica several times to travel to the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
Jim is a recipient of ArtsNL Awards for Outstanding Cultural Achievement, and Arts in Education, and is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. He has also received Cultural Tourism Awards from the provincial Dept. of Culture, the Dept. of Canadian Heritage, and Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2016, he was inducted into Arts NL’s Hall of Honour, and in 2017 he was awarded the East Coast Music Association’s Stompin’ Tom Connors Award for outstanding contributions to the cultural fabric of Eastern Canada.