Molly Johnson receives Canada’s and France’s top awards

Molly Johnson

Molly Johnson said that she was quite shocked when she was told that she had been awarded the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime artistic achievement.

Johnson was among an impressive array of Canadian artistic achievers which included singer K.D. Lang, soprano Rosemarie Landry, playwright Michel Marc Bouchard and choreographer James Kudelka.

While she welcomed the recognition, she is still a bit put off at the difficulties she still faces in keeping body and soul together; she took a month or so before she accepted the honor. After all, she told media, “I’m still technically in the same spot I was in when I had a punk band called Alta Moda in the ’80s.”

“I’m a Canadian musician who survived the music business for over 40 years. And prior to that, I was a theatre kid with the Mirvishes and I can’t pay my rent. I can’t take my band to Europe without it tanking me financially.”

Still, at the age of 62, Johnson is as energetic and musically as fresh as ever and shows no sign of slowing down. She was off to perform in Paris and, while there the French government bestowed her with the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, one of country’s highest honours.

Molly Johnson

The consul general of France in Toronto said that Johnson’s concerts often fill the halls, and she gets regular airplay on French radio stations. The award, he said, was richly deserved.   

In the meantime, donations still flow into her Kumbaya Foundation, which she co-founded it in 1992 to assist people living with HIV/AIDS. So far the foundation has raised more than $4 million.

Molly Johnson says she has a lot more to contribute to both society and music. And the awards coincide with her creative tank which has a lot left in reserve.