A Canadian Wins a 2017 BRIT Award

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The BRIT Awards took place today. They are the UK’s version of the JUNOs but have been around for a shorter time and have much fewer categories. The United Kingdom is the world’s third largest music market after The United States and Japan, so the awards are quite prestigious. Michael Bublé was slated to host but pulled out due to family illness. His shoes were filled by British television presenters Dermot O’Leary and Emma Willis. British-born South African YouTube personality Caspar Lee hosted the live stream. A Canadian won an award in one of the three international categories. But before we get to that, let’s list winners in the other categories:

British Album of the Year: Blackstar, David Bowie
British Single: “Shout Out to My Ex”, Little Mix
British Artist Video: “History”, One Direction
British Male Solo Artist: David Bowie
British Female Solo Artist: Emeli Sandé
British Group: The 1975
British Breakthrough Act: Rag ‘N’ Bone Man
BRITs Global Success Award: Adele
International Group: A Tribe Called Quest
International Female Solo Artist: Beyoncé

The International Male Solo Artist nominees were Bon Iver, Bruno Mars, Drake, Leonard Cohen, and The Weeknd. With three Canadians, the odds were in our favour to win the category, and we did thanks to Drake.

Awards shows have proven to be favoured targets when it comes to criticism. Some is fair, some is not. Drake expressed some grievances over the U.S. Grammy Awards during an interview following the show with Apple Music which was highlighted in Billboard magazine. He feels that he has been working hard at making pop music but is still stuck with the persona of a rap artist only. “I’m a Black artist. I’m apparently a rapper, even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a rap song,” he said, continuing, “The only category that they can manage to fit me in is in a rap category, maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m Black.” He also submitted as an example the absence of record-breaking pop song “One Dance” from the slate of nominations.

The vast majority of “Hotline Bling” is sung. Drake does rap for about 10 seconds at the 3:10 mark. “Pop Style” which is rapped was nominated in the rap category. Views by Drake was nominated for Album of the Year. “One Dance”, not an original composition but a reworking of “Do You Mind” by Crazy Cousinz and Kyla, was not nominated except as a credit for producer Nineteen 85.

Drake has won both JUNO and Grammy awards. This is his first BRIT Award.

Canadians Snatch a Few Grammy Awards

Cultural roles in the big Anglo countries seem to have worked themselves out over the years to yield the following results. In the case of Britons, their job is to think. In the case of Americans, their task is to talk. The role then of Canadians is to ensure that the Brits think and don’t talk and that Americans talk and don’t think. There was certainly a lot of chatter at last night’s Grammy Awards, the biggest night in music for the United States. It is unfortunate that such empty talk often degraded into political commentary which does noting but divide citizens of the Republic into different camps who bicker back and forth having the rest of us strengthening our eye muscles by rolling them repeatedly.

What we are most concerned with here is looking at how Canadians did at that particular awards show held on foreign turf. Looking past some interesting performances which were set up not necessarily for excellence but for grabbing attention and gazing beyond the discovery of some exquisite music flying under Canadian radar (we were quite taken with electro-R&B trio KING), we restate that Canadians were nominated in some 18 categories. We won three of them. The media was quick to mention the two awards snatched by Drake: “Hotline Bling” won both Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance. The Torontonian rapper was not in attendance. The third award was given to Bob Moses for Best Remixed Recording on Andre Allen Anjos’ “Tearing Me Up (RAC Remix)”. We can sneak in a 4th nod to the maple, as Bernie Herms was a co-writer on song “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family which won Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.

The big winner of the night unsurprisingly was the UK’s Adele. Céline Dion was a presenter of one of Adele’s many awards—Song of the Year (“Hello”). The Weeknd, who has become quite a high-in-demand performer, did “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming”. Fans were no doubt happy that he finally performed with Daft Punk though technically, the two could have been stand-ins hidden in the helmets arbitrarily turning knobs, making it seem like they were doing something…

Charts, Juno Nominations, Prism Prize Contenders

The Canadian Charts, February 7, 2017

Nothing terribly exciting on the charts this week. There were only 17 entries by a Canadians and no new Canuck entries. No domestic albums debuted in the Top 10. One highlight is that Alessia Cara’s “Scars to Your Beautiful” becomes her first #1 hit at Hot AC radio.

JUNO Nominations

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The JUNO Award nominations were announced at a press conference yesterday morning. The three amigos, Drake, The Weeknd, and Shawn Mendes lead with five each. The aforementioned Alessia Cara snapped up four as did the late Leonard Cohen. Up for Album of the Year are Starboy by The Weeknd, Illuminate by Shawn Mendes, You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen, Views by Drake, and Encore un Soir by Céline Dion. Single of the Year nominees are “Treat You Better” by Shawn Mendes, “One Dance” by Drake, “Wild Things” by Alessia Cara, “Starboy” by The Weeknd, and “Spirits” by The Strumbellas. You can find a full list of nominees here.

CARAS also announced a batch of performers at the main gala in Ottawa, April 2. In addition to the previously confirmed Shawn Mendes are A Tribe Called Red, Alessia Cara, Ruth B, and The Strumbellas.

We hope that the JUNOs, which have always been more progressive, do not veer towards Grammy style with excessive focus on roots and urban music and going with sentimental favourites.

Prism Prize Top 20

The good folks over at the Prism Prize have unveiled their 20 picks for the year’s best music video. The collective can now boast the highest cash prize award in the world for the year’s best music video which is now $15,000. The prize will be awarded May 14 after the 20 is pared down to 10 on March 28. The Top 20 in alphabetical order are as follows.

A Tribe Called Red feat. Black Bear – Stadium Pow Wow
Aidan Knight – What Light (Never Goes Dim)
Andy Shauf – The Magician
BADBADNOTGOOD feat. Kaytranada – Lavender
Braids – Companion
Dilly Dally – Snakehead
Grimes – Kill V. Maim
Harrison feat. Clairmont The Second – It’s Okay, I Promise
Holy F*** – Tom Tom
Jazz Cartier – Red Alert / 100 Roses
July Talk – Picturing Love
Kaytranada – Lite Spots
Lisa LeBlanc – Gold Diggin’ Hoedown
PUP – DVP
PUP – Sleep in the Heat
Ronley Teper’s Lipliners – Lucky and Finnegan
Somewhere Else feat. Majid Jordan – Move Together
SonReal – Can I Get a Witness
Tanya Tagaq – Retribution
Wintersleep – Amerika

By comparison, the five MVs up for JUNO Music Video of the Year are “Kill v Maim” – GRIMES (Claire Boucher), “Lite Spots” – KAYTRANADA (Martin C. Pariseau), “R.E.D.” ft. Yasiin Bey, Narcy & Black Bear – A Tribe Called Red (Yassin “Narcy” Alsalman), “Killa” – WIWEK/SKRILLEX (Jodeb), and “The Stranger” – Gord Downie (Justin Stephenson).

Buffy Sainte-Marie to Receive 2017 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award

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CARAS, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, has announced the 2017 recipient of the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, and her name is … Buffy Sainte-Marie. The award, which will be presented in conjunction with the JUNO Awards in Ottawa this year, “recognizes an outstanding Canadian artist whose humanitarian contributions have positively enhanced the social fabric of Canada and/or whose impact can be felt worldwide.” It is named after the founder of the CHUM broadcast network, most notably Toronto radio station 1050 CHUM which launched in 1954. Waters committed the network to community and public service initiatives. The Allan Waters Humanitarian Award has been given out annually since 2006. Past winners in chronological order are Bruce Cockburn, Tom Jackson, Paul Brandt, Sarah McLachlan, Bryan Adams, Neil Young, Simple Plan, Tom Cochrane, Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida, Rush, Arcade Fire, and now Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Buffy has had a long and successful career spanning half a century. She was chosen as a recipient this year, as it was felt she “exemplifies the essence of humanitarianism through her dedication to protecting indigenous communities and indigenous intellectual property, which have been at the epicentre of her lifelong activism”. Sainte-Marie was born on the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation Reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan. In 1964, she became well-known for anti-war peace anthem “Universal Soldier,” which has been inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1969, she founded The Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education. Her 1976 hit song “Starwalker”, which she dedicated to the American Indigenous Movement marked the first time Aboriginal and pop music were combined, and with Sainte-Marie dubbing it ‘powwow rock’ she created a new genre. She was a regular on children’s television series Sesame Street from 1975 to 1980. At the Bahá’í World Congress in New York 1992, Buffy appeared in the musical event prelude.

Her list of awards is impressive. As noted by CARAS, in addition to an Academy Award (Best Original Song) for “Up Where We Belong,” “Sainte-Marie is also the recipient of four JUNO Awards, a Golden Globe, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, a BAFTA Award, multiple Queen’s Jubilee Medals and Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. She carries the Order of Canada and has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.” Her songs have been covered by a slew of A-listers including Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley, Glen Campbell, Céline Dion, Cher and Indigo Girls.

Sainte-Marie’s most recent album Power in the Blood (2015) won 2016 JUNO Awards for Aboriginal Album of the Year and Contemporary Roots Album of the Year. It also took the Polaris Music Prize.

3 Canadians Nominated for 2017 BRIT Awards

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Nominations for the 2017 BRIT Awards recognizing the best in British music are out, and three Canadians make the international categories. Drake receives two – one for Male Soloist and one for Group, thanks to his pairing with Future. The Weeknd also makes Male Soloist along with the late Leonard Cohen.

The kind of music Britain is known for seems to pass up for what makes it look like an American awards show with a lot of nods towards urban music. In the Album of the Year category are two rap albums and an R&B one. British women are shut out from that category and pick up only one of 10 nominations for Single of the Year (Little Mix, though it should be mentioned that Grace Chatto is one of three in Clean Bandit). It is not known whether nominations for David Bowie and Leonard Cohen are based on sentiment for honouring the deceased or on actual quality. We’ll see how things go at the gala February 22 at the O2 Arena in London UK. Canada’s Michael Bublé was booked to host; however, he has cancelled to take care of his child who was diagnosed with cancer. You can check out the BRIT nominations here.

Canadians Nominated for 2017 Grammy Awards

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The flagship music awards show of The United States known as the Grammy Awards unveiled its annual list of nominees for the 2017 gala this morning. There are 84 categories. A number of Canadian artists have picked up nominations; in fact, Drake has 8, though a few of these are as a featured artist. American R&B artist Beyonce, star of Mike Myers’ Austin Powers in Goldmember, leads the pack with 9. Justin Bieber has 4 nominations. There are some surprises. Toronto singer Kai receives a nomination as a featured artist. Vancouver electronic duo Bob Moses has two, and Ontario urban acts PartyNextDoor and Tory Lanez receive nods as well. Vancouver’s Darcy James Argue has a nomination in jazz. Nineteen85 is up for best producer. Both Yannick Nezet-Seguin and the ARC Ensemble have classical music nominations. Alberta’s Northern Cree is up for Best Regional Roots Music Album. Producer James Teej gets a nomination for remixing. Steven Lee Olsen co-wrote Keith Urban’s “Blue Ain’t Your Colour”, up for Best Country Song.

Below are categories for which a Canadian artist is nominated (bold in red).

The Grammys will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, at 8 p.m. ET.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

25 — Adele
Lemonade — Beyonce
Purpose — Justin Bieber
Views — Drake
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson

RECORD OF THE YEAR

“Hello” — Adele
“Formation” — Beyonce
“7 Years” — Lukas Graham
“Work” — Rihanna Featuring Drake
“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

SONG OF THE YEAR

“Formation” — Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyonce Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyonce)
“Hello” — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
“I Took A Pill In Ibiza” — Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)
“Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)
“7 Years” — Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

25 — Adele
Purpose — Justin Bieber
Dangerous Woman — Ariana Grande
Confident — Demi Lovato
This Is Acting — Sia

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

“Hello” — Adele
“Hold Up” — Beyonce
“Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber
“Piece By Piece (Idol Version)” — Kelly Clarkson
“Dangerous Woman” — Ariana Grande

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

“Closer” — The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey
“7 Years” — Lukas Graham
“Work” — Rihanna Featuring Drake
“Cheap Thrills” — Sia Featuring Sean Paul
“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

BEST DANCE RECORDING

“Tearing Me Up” — Bob Moses
“Don’t Let Me Down” — The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya
“Never Be Like You” — Flume Featuring Kai
“Rinse & Repeat” — Riton Featuring Kah-Lo
“Drinkee” — Sofi Tukker

BEST R&B SONG

“Come and See Me” — J. Brathwaite, Aubrey Graham & Noah Shebib, songwriters (PartyNextDoor Featuring Drake)
“Exchange” — Michael Hernandez & Bryson Tiller, songwriters (Bryson Tiller)
“Kiss It Better” — Jeff Bhasker, Robyn Fenty, John-Nathan Glass & Natalia Noemi, songwriters (Rihanna)
“Lake By the Ocean” — Hod David & Musze, songwriters (Maxwell)
“Luv” — Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin & Daystar Peterson, songwriters (Tory Lanez)

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE

“No Problem” — Chance The Rapper Featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz
“Panda” —Desiigner
“Pop Style” — Drake Featuring The Throne
“All The Way Up” — Fat Joe & Remy Ma Featuring French Montana & Infared
“That Part” — ScHoolboy Q Featuring Kanye West

BEST RAP/SUNG PERFORMANCE

“Freedom” — Beyonce Featuring Kendrick Lamar
“Hotline Bling” — Drake
“Broccoli” — D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty
“Ultralight Beam” — Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream
“Famous” — Kanye West Featuring Rihanna

BEST RAP SONG

“All The Way Up” — Fat Joe & Remy Ma
“Famous” — Kanye West
“Hotline Bling” — Drake
“No Problem” — Chance The Rapper
“Ultralight Beam” — Kanye West

BEST RAP ALBUM

Coloring Book — Chance The Rapper
And the Anonymous Nobody — De La Soul
Major Key — DJ Khaled
Views — Drake
Blank Face LP — ScHoolboy Q
The Life of Pablo — Kanye West

BEST LARGE JAZZ ENSEMBLE ALBUM

Real Enemies — Darcy James Argue‘s Secret Society
Presents Monk’estra, Vol. 1 — John Beasley
Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles — John Daversa
All L.A. Band — Bob Mintzer
Presidential Suite: Eight Variations On Freedom — Ted Nash Big Band

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, NON-CLASSICAL

Benny Blanco
Greg Kurstin
Max Martin
Nineteen85
Ricky Reed

BEST REGIONAL ROOTS MUSIC ALBUM

Broken Promised Land — Barry Jean Ancelet & Sam Broussard
It’s A Cree Thing — Northern Cree
E Walea — Kalani Pe’a
Gulfstream — Roddie Romero And The Hub City All-Stars
I Wanna Sing Right: Rediscovering Lomax In The Evangeline Country — (Various Artists)

BEST REMIXED RECORDING

“Cali Coast (Psionics Remix)” — Josh Williams, remixer (Soul Pacific)
“Heavy Star Movin’ (staRo Remix)” — staRo, remixer (The Silver Lake Chorus)
“Nineteen Hundred Eighty-Five (Timo Maas & James Teej Remix)” — Timo Maas & James Teej, remixers (Paul McCartney & Wings)
“Only” (Kaskade X Lipless Remix)— Ryan Raddon, remixer (Ry X)
“Tearing Me Up (RAC Remix)” — Andre Allen Anjos, remixer (Bob Moses)
“Wide Open (Joe Goddard Remix)” — Joe Goddard, remixer (The Chemical Brothers)

BEST OPERA RECORDING

Corigliano: The Ghosts Of Versailles — James Conlon, conductor; Joshua Guerrero, Christopher Maltman, Lucas Meachem, Patricia Racette, Lucy Schaufer & Guanqun Yu; Blanton Alspaugh, producer (LA Opera Orchestra; LA Opera Chorus)

Handel: Giulio Cesare — Giovanni Antonini, conductor; Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky, Andreas Scholl & Anne-Sofie von Otter; Samuel Theis, producer (Il Giardino Armonico)

Higdon: Cold Mountain — Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor; Emily Fons, Nathan Gunn, Isabel Leonard & Jay Hunter Morris; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra; Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program For Singers)

Mozart: Le Nozze De Figaro — Yannick Nezet-Seguin, conductor; Thomas Hampson, Christiane Karg, Luca Pisaroni & Sonya Yoncheva; Daniel Zalay, producer (Chamber Orchestra Of Europe; Vocalensemble Rastatt)

Szymanowski: Krol Roger — Antonio Pappano, conductor; Georgia Jarman, Mariusz Kwiecien & Saimir Pirgu; Jonathan Allen, producer (Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House; Royal Opera Chorus)

BEST CHAMBER MUSIC/SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE

Fitelberg: Chamber Works — ARC Ensemble
Reflections — Øyvind Gimse, Geir Inge Lotsberg & Trondheimsolistene
Serious Business — Spektral Quartet
Steve Reich — Third Coast Percussion
Trios From Our Homelands — Lincoln Trio

BEST COUNTRY SONG

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey & Steven Lee Olsen, songwriters (Keith Urban)
“Die A Happy Man” — Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett & Joe Spargur, songwriters (Thomas Rhett)
“Humble and Kind” — Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw)
“My Church” — busbee & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris)
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

ARIA Celebrating Its 30th

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While mainstream Canadian media likes to stretch its necks out like ducks to view the goings on in the 50-state Republic, especially with regard to music awards galas, we like to think for ourselves. The world’s sixth largest music industry (of roughly 200 countries) is holding its flagship awards ceremony on Wednesday, and it promises to be quite the spectacle. Yes, we’re talking about our Commonwealth sister nation of Australia. The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards will celebrate its 30th anniversary at the annual gala November 23, 2016. Performing at the Australian JUNOs will be Bernard Fanning, Crowded House, Flume, Illy, Jessica Mauboy, Jimmy Barnes, John Farnham, Missy Higgins, The Veronicas, Troye Sivan, Vera Blue, and Violent Soho. Some international stars will be in attendance at the spectacle in Sydney (The Star)—Robbie Williams and Tove Lo.

Like Canada’s JUNO Awards, the ARIA gala nominates local artists in a variety of categories, and it has one category dedicated to international artists, Best International Artist, in which there are 10 nominees. This year, three of these are Canadian acts: The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, and Drake. Rounding out the 10 are Adele, Beyoncé, Coldplay, Meghan Trainor, One Direction, Taylor Swift, and Twenty One Pilots. Aussie band Crowded House will be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

The 2015 ARIA Awards had increased ratings and was the #1 show for 16-39 year olds on the night. Although Australia has a significantly lower population than Canada, the land down under ranks 6th to our 7th for its music market. This is because per capita spending on music is much higher in Australia, the average Aussie spending $20 USD per year with the average Canuck dishing out only $12 USD. Australians have shown a very positive and enthusiastic attitude towards music and are very supportive of their own artists.

Drake and The Biebs Win 4 AMAs Each

2016 American Music Awards - Arrivals

The American Music Awards went down tonight. Among the performers were Canada’s Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, and Justin Bieber, the latter live from Switzerland. Canadians artists had received 23 nominations in 12 categories and ended up winning in 8 of the 12. Justin Bieber won 4 of them: Video of the Year (“Sorry”), Male Pop/Rock Artist, Pop/Rock Album (Purpose), and Pop/Rock Song (“Love Yourself”). Drake, who had broken Michael Jackson’s record for the most nominations at the show with 13, also won in 4 categories: Rap Album (Views), Rap Artist, Rap Track “Hotline Bling”, and R&B Song as a featured artist (Rihanna’s “Work”). The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, and Alessia Cara who also had nominations were shut out. Italian American R&B singer Ariana Grande won the top prize, overall Artist of the Year. The UK’s Sting was given the Award of Merit. The winners were determined by online voting among U.S. residents.

Canadian Artists Dominate 2016 EMAs

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According to Billboard magazine, “Canadian artists dominated the 2016 MTV EMAs”. The awards gala was held in Rotterdam, Netherlands where part of Jackie Chan’s Who Am I? was filmed. Four Canadian artists, all male soloists walked away with awards, though two of them were not able to attend. Shawn Mendes, who performed “Mercy” within an inverted holographic pyramid, which slowly lifted to reveal him seated at the piano, took home the trophy for Best Male, a category in which four of the five nominees were Canadian. He was also named the Worldwide Act winner for Canada.

Also in attendance was The Weeknd who performed his hit “Starboy” from inside an enclosed star-filled dome. He won Best Video for the song which earlier stirred up controversy, as it was nominated before it was released. Drake, absent from the ceremony, won Best Hip Hop. Justin Bieber, also not present, won awards for Best Song – “Sorry” –, Biggest Fans, and Best Canadian Act. Alessia Cara, nominated among 10 for Best Push, conceded to DNCE.

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International artists who won awards included Lady Gaga (Best Female and Best Look), Twenty One Pilots (Best Live and Best Alternative), Zara Larsson (Best New), Fifth Harmony (Best Pop), Coldplay (Best Rock), and Martin Garrix (Best Electronic and Best World Stage). Green Day was given the Icon Award and expressed happiness about being in Europe and away from the “horrendous” federal election in the States. Worldwide Act winners were Troye Sivan – Australia, Maluma – Colombia, GOT7 – South Korea, Wizkid – Nigeria, Zara Larsson – Sweden, and Ariana Grande – United States.

And, yes, we did notice that one of Bruno Mars’ backup singers was wearing a Toronto Blue Jays jersey.

Western Canada Flexes Its Muscle at BreakOut West and the 2016 WCMAs

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It’s time to fold up the CN Tower and put eastern Canada in the overhead storage bin for a bit. The 14th annual 2016 Western Canadian Music Awards, in conjunction with festival BreakOut West, recently celebrated the best of western Canadian music and its industry. To quote from the organization’s website, “BreakOut West and the Western Canadian Music Awards are the primary events hosted by the Western Canadian Music Alliance (WCMA) – an organization created by the Music Industry Associations (MIA’s) of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, The Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory – to promote and celebrate western Canadian music.”

From October 13-16, 2016, awards were given out, in this year’s host city of Regina, at various ceremonies and venues interspersed with concerts and showcases. Six-time JUNO winning bluesman Colin James of Regina was this year’s Hall of Fame Inductee. Throughout the four provinces and two territories, Alberta’s Lexi Strate was crowned pop artist of the year largely for her first-rate EP Waves. BC’s Indo-Celtic collective Delhi 2 Dublin was named electronic/dance artist of the year, Manitoba’s Romi Mayes blues artist of the year, Alberta’s Brett Kissel country artist of the year, Edmonton’s The Wet Secrets rock artist of the year, and Vancouver’s David Morin urban artist of the year for his beautiful R&B album Every Colour. BC’s Yukon Blonde took home the trophy for recording of the year—On Blonde. The Bros. Landreth of Manitoba were named breakout artist of the year. Find a full list of winners below.

POP ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Lexi Strate (AB)

ELECTRONIC/DANCE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Delhi 2 Dublin (BC)

FRANCOPHONE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Jocelyne Baribeau (MB)

ABORIGINAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
William Prince (MB)

BLUES ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Romi Mayes (MB)

BREAKOUT ARTIST OF THE YEAR
The Bros. Landreth (MB)

CHILDREN’S ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Nadia Gaudet & Jason Burnstick (MB)

CLASSICAL ARTIST/ENSEMBLE OF THE YEAR
Couloir (AB)

CLASSICAL COMPOSITION OF THE YEAR
Along the King’s Road – Jason Cullimore (SK)

COUNTRY ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Brett Kissel (AB)

INSTRUMENTAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Pugs and Crows (BC)

JAZZ ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Curtis Nowosad Quintet (MB)

METAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Striker (AB)

RAP ARTIST OF THE YEAR
SonReal (BC)

RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Yukon Blonde – On Blonde (BC)

ROCK ARTIST OF THE YEAR
The Wet Secrets (AB)

ROOTS DUO/GROUP OF THE YEAR
Northern Beauties (AB)

ROOTS SOLO ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Frazey Ford (BC)

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Colin Stewart / Hive Studios – Yukon Blonde “On Blonde” (BC)

SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEAR
Pharis Romero – “A Wanderer I’ll Stay” from Pharis & Jason Romero A Wanderer I’ll Stay (BC)

SPIRITUAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Yvonne St. Germaine (SK)

URBAN ARTIST OF THE YEAR
David Morin (BC)

VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Ft. Langley – Aidan Knight “All Clear” (BC)

VISUAL MEDIA COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
Alec Harrison – 2014 FIFA World Cup Open (ESPN) (AB)

WORLD ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Tasman Jude (AB)

AUDIO ENGINEERING AWARD
Nygel Asselin – Jon Bryant “Twenty Something” (BC)

COMMUNITY EXCELLENCE AWARD
The West End Cultural Centre (MB)

EXCELLENCE IN VISUAL DESIGN
Roberta Hansen – The Small Glories (MB)

IMPACT IN ARTIST DEVELOPMENT
Paquin Artists Agency (MB)

IMPACT IN LIVE MUSIC
Rawk Entertainment Group (SK)

IMPACT IN MUSIC MARKETING
Live Nation Canada (BC)

HERITAGE AWARD
John Arcand

KEVIN WALTERS INDUSTRY BUILDER AWARD
Derek Bachman (posthumously)

Canadians Account for 23+ American Music Award Nominations

Drake

Nominations are out for the 2016 American Music Awards, and Canadian artists have 23 nominations, 24 if we count The Suicide Squad soundtrack which includes a song by Grimes. It’s probably a good thing Drake wasn’t sitting on the CN Tower pod when the news broke; he may have swooned off it. The Toronto rapper has broken the record for the most nominations set by the late great Michael Jackson (11 in 1984). Drake has 13! Mind you, a number of these are as a featured artist. Also note that the AMAs don’t seem very clear on musical genres, as, for example R&B and rap works and artists are nominated in the pop/rock category. They might as well nominate Coldplay in the country category. Ha! Canadians are guaranteed to win at least one award because all three nominated in the Pop/Rock Male Artist category are Canadians.

The AMAs will take place November 20 in Los Angeles, USA. We have listed categories below with at least one nomination involving a Canadian artist. Maple denizens are bolded in red. What is special about the AMAs is that the winners are all determined by public voting. To vote, however, one must be within the geographical confines of the United States. Nominees were determined by a metric tracked by Billboard including sales, airplay and social activity. You can view all the nominations here.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Adele
Beyoncé
Justin Bieber
Drake
Selena Gomez
Ariana Grande
Rihanna
Twenty One Pilots
Carrie Underwood
The Weeknd

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Alessia Cara
The Chainsmokers
DNCE
Shawn Mendes
Zayn

COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR
The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya “Don’t Let Me Down”
Drake Featuring Wizkid & Kyla “One Dance”
Fifth Harmony Featuring Ty Dolla $ign “Work From Home”
Rihanna Featuring Drake “Work”
Meghan Trainor Featuring John Legend “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Justin Bieber “Sorry”
Desiigner “Panda”
Rihanna Featuring Drake “Work”

FAVORITE MALE ARTIST – POP/ROCK
Justin Bieber
Drake
The Weeknd

FAVORITE ALBUM – POP/ROCK
Adele, 25
Justin Bieber, Purpose
Drake, Views

FAVORITE SONG – POP/ROCK
Adele “Hello”
Justin Bieber “Love Yourself”
Drake Featuring Wizkid & Kyla “One Dance”

FAVORITE ARTIST – RAP/HIP-HOP
Drake
Fetty Wap
Future

FAVORITE ALBUM – RAP/HIP-HOP
Drake, Views
Drake & Future, What A Time To Be Alive
Fetty Wap, Fetty Wap

FAVORITE SONG – RAP/HIP-HOP
Desiigner “Panda”
Drake “Hotline Bling”
Fetty Wap “679”

FAVORITE MALE ARTIST – SOUL/R&B
Chris Brown
Bryson Tiller
The Weeknd

FAVORITE SONG – SOUL/R&B
Drake Featuring Wizkid & Kyla “One Dance”
Rihanna Featuring Drake “Work”
Bryson Tiller “Don’t”

TOP SOUNDTRACK
Purple Rain
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Suicide Squad: The Album (includes “Medieval Warfare” by Grimes)

A Canadian Recording Artist to Host the 2017 BRIT Awards

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Canada has The JUNO Awards, the United States has The Grammy Awards, and the United Kingdom has … The BRIT Awards. Both the JUNOs and Grammys predate the launch of the British awards gala. Like the JUNOs, the BRITs award home-grown music but have a couple of international categories as well. Unlike the JUNOs, the BRITs often have international performers. We would argue that, as the world’s third largest music industry/market, the UK can afford to do this, while the JUNOs are better off sticking to Canadian performances only, as Canada, ranks 7th.

The BRIT Awards have made a stunning announcement regarding the 2017 gala which will take place at London, UK’s 20,000 seat O2 Arena.

The host of the show will be a Canadian entertainer!

And his name is … Michael Bublé!

The host of the 2013 JUNOs, Michael will handle emcee duties at the BRITs giving British comedic duo Ant and Dec, who hosted the past two galas, a break. Bublé will serve as only the third foreign host in the history of the awards. The gala will take place February 22, 2017.

Michael says, “Even though I didn’t grow up as a Brit I’ve always been well aware of The BRIT Awards and their impact globally. I’m very much looking forward to February and celebrating the success stories of a great year in music.”

Nominations for the BRIT Awards will be announced at a special live broadcast on January 14, 2017.

The BRITs are not Michael Bublé’s only highly anticipated British television appearance, as he will perform material from his upcoming album Nobody but Me along with some of his classic hits on a BBC special later this year.

We like Commonwealth solidarity.

CMT to Honour Shania Twain

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Country music television (CMT), based in Nashville, U.S. has announced that Canadian superstar Shania Twain will become the first female to receive the channel’s Artist of a Lifetime award. The honour will be bestowed during the annual CMT Artists of the Year celebration airing October 20. This comes during a current country music climate in the U.S. that is both male heavy and largely exclusive of Canadian artists.

Shania Twain was born in Windsor, Ontario and raised in the province’s locale of Timmins. She is the only recording artist, whether foreign or domestic, to have scored three double-diamond (i.e. 20x platinum) albums in Canada. She has sold an estimated 75 million albums globally and remains the top-selling female country artist of all time worldwide. Shania has won 13 JUNO awards.

MTV EMAs Draw Criticism for Nomination Rigging

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The MTV European Music Awards, known for plugging American artists in Europe and ignoring music recorded in languages other than English, has drawn recent criticism for apparent rigging in the nomination process. Up for best video is The Weeknd’s “Starboy” even though no official video has been released, making it impossible for voters to decide. Another cited example was Lady Gaga’s nomination for Best Female, though she has not yet released a new album. Promoting unreleased music under the guise of a platform that is supposed to judge among and award released music certainly undermines its credibility. On the bright side, five Canadian artists are up for awards — the usual bunch: Alessia Cara, Drake, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and The Weeknd. Justin Bieber and Beyoncé lead with five nominations each. Four of the five artists up for Best Male are Canadian. The EMAs will take place November 6 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. To view the nominations and vote online, go here.

Jocelyn Alice Wins Big at First Calgary Music Awards

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After all these years, Calgary has finally launched its own music awards gala. The event went down last night, September 25, 2016. While an annual music awards has been going on in its sister city of Edmonton, 300 km to the north, for seven years, Calgary has seemed more interested in waterflood enhanced recovery processes and voidage calculations than looking at the permeability of music. Hosting the JUNO awards and opening the National Music Centre this year helped consolidate impulses towards organizing something that recognized local recording artists. After all, with Calgary bred A-listers like Tegan and Sara, Paul Brandt, Jann Arden, and Kiesza, there is no dearth of musical talent in Canada’s third largest city.

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(Above: YYC Music Awards stage and nominated pop recording artist Lexi Strate)

This was apparently not the city’s first attempt to put something together. There was an awards show in the 1990s, and one that was planned three years ago fell through. The four core players in this year’s launch were Shannon Ambrose who runs online music site The Portal Magazine, Darren Gilbert, a producer and the owner of local recording studio Off The T-Can Studios, and Leanne Harrison and Sarah Fielder who run music management and booking company The SIN Agency. This time, The YYC Music Awards fell into place at the National Music Centre’s Studio Bell where some 16 trophies were handed out before a crowd of about 275 who purchased $40 tickets to the event. It was all done very professionally and included live performances.

The big winner at last night’s shindig was Jocelyn Alice for her recently certified platinum single, “Jackpot”. She won four awards: Female Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, Singer-Songwriter of the Year, and Pop Recording of the Year. The success of her single helped her recently ink a deal with Disruptor Records under Sony Music Entertainment. View a list of winners below.

ALTERNATIVE RECORDING OF THE YEAR
The Wisers – It’s Safe, I’m Not Here

BLUES RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Debra Power – Even Red Heads Get the Blues

COUNTRY RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Jason Hastie and The Alibi – Feels Like Home

DJ/ ELECTRONIC RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Zach Taylor – “Johnny Hockey”

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Jocelyn Alice

GROUP OF THE YEAR
The New Electric

JAZZ RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Al Muirhead – “Oop!”

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Drew Gregory

METAL RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Every Hour Kills – Every Hour Kills

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Cowpuncher – “Later On”

POP RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Jocelyn Alice – “Jackpot”

RAP/ HIP HOP RECORDING OF THE YEAR
DJ Kav (ft. Kay L & Voyce) – “Raindrops”

ROCK RECORDING OF THE YEAR
The Static Shift – “At Odds”

ROOTS/ FOLK RECORDING OF THE YEAR
The Northern Beauties – The Northern Beauties

SINGER/ SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR
Jocelyn Alice

SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Jocelyn Alice – “Jackpot”