Louise Burns, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Klô Pelgag Make Polaris Prize Long List

When it comes to the Polaris Prize, there is no medium list. Today, the long one was unveiled with a kaleidoscope of styles including the indigenous-flavoured EDM of A Tribe Called Red, the heavy metal of Anciients, the artistic singer-songwriter prowess of Philippe B, the exquisite new wave of Louise Burns, the superb electro dance pop of Le Couleur, the ambitious project of folk artist Fiver, the alternative pop of Geoffroy, the delicious mainstream pop of Carly Rae Jepsen, the beauteous adult contemporary of Klô Pelgag, the sizzling sythpop of Peter Peter, the 60s pop of Tuns, and the cool-groove R&B of Charlotte Day Wilson.

In its own words, “The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours and rewards artists who produce Canadian music albums of distinction. A select panel of music critics judge and award the Prize without regard to musical genre or commercial popularity.”

The 40 albums on this year’s long list were presented earlier today at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa. The albums are as below.

A Tribe Called Red – We Are The Halluci Nation
Alaclair Ensemble – Les Frères Cueilleurs
Anciients – Voice of the Void
Arkells – Morning Report
Philippe B – La grande nuit vidéo
BADBADNOTGOOD – IV
Louise Burns – Young Mopes
Chocolat – Rencontrer Looloo
Clairmont The Second – Quest For Milk and Honey
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
Antoine Corriveau – Cette chose qui cognait au creux de sa poitrine sans vouloir s’arrêter
Le Couleur – P.O.P.
Marie Davidson – Adieux Au Dancefloor
Mac Demarco – This Old Dog
Gord Downie – Secret Path
Drake – More Life
Feist – Pleasure
Figure Walking – The Big Other
Fiver – Audible Songs From Rockwood
Geoffroy – Coastline
Hannah Georgas – For Evelyn
Japandroids – Near To The Wild Heart Of Life
Carly Rae Jepsen – E.MO.TION Side B
B.A. Johnston – Gremlins III
Lisa LeBlanc – Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen?
The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions
Klô Pelgag – L’Étoile thoracique
Peter Peter – Noir Éden
Lido Pimienta – La Papessa
Jessie Reyez – Kiddo
Daniel Romano – Modern Pressure
The Sadies – Northern Passages
John K. Samson – Winter Wheat
Tanya Tagaq – Retribution
The Tragically Hip – Man Machine Poem
TUNS – TUNS
Leif Vollebekk – Twin Solitude
Weaves – Weaves
The Weeknd – Starboy
Charlotte Day Wilson – CDW

Only 188 titles made the first ballots of the 201-member jury.

The list was announced by past multiple nominees Kathleen Edwards and The Acorn’s Rolf Klausener joined by Polaris jurors Lana Gay and Erik Leijon. Special guest Philippe B was in attendance to perform music from his excellent 2017 long-listed album, La grande nuit vidéo.

The 10-album short list will be revealed on July 13, and the winning album will be determined at the Polaris Gala September 18 at The Carlu in Toronto. The event will be livestreamed at CBCMusic.ca.

Albums eligible for Polaris nomination were those released between June 1, 2016 and May 31, 2017. The two lists are determined by a jury of music journalists, broadcasters and music bloggers from across Canada. Eleven from the pool are selected to serve on the Grand Jury, and they choose the 2017 Polaris Music Prize winner who will receive $50,000. Each of the nine other Short List artists will receive $3,000 courtesy of Slaight Music.

BBMAs 2017: My Drake Will Go On

Nominated for 21 Billboard Music Awards, Toronto rapper Drake was the champion of this year’s affair taking 13 trophies back to his crib. This is a new record. He won Top Artist, Top Male Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album (Views), Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Song Sales Artist, Top Streaming Artist, Top Streaming Song Audio (“One Dance”), Top R&B Song (“One Dance”), Top R&B Collaboration (“One Dance”), Top Rap Artist, Top Rap Album (Views), and Top Rap Tour.

The performances at the show had some major wow factors. Two of them were by Canadians: Céline Dion and yes Drake.

In 1997, Canadian director James Cameron launched Hollywood motion picture Titanic (Paramount). It had cost $200 million making it the most expensive in the history of cinema. The film had an international cast including Canadian actor Victor Garber. Parts of it were shot in Vancouver and Halifax. From December 19, 1997 to April 2, 1998, Titanic was the number one movie at the US box office, a new record at 15 weeks. It was so popular that Paramount had to send out replacement reels to cinemas which had literally worn out their copies.

Titanic became the first movie in history to pull in a billion dollars. Global box office totals eventually reached $1.8 billion USD, and Titanic captured the title of the most successful movie released in the 20th Century. The film’s theme song was performed by Canadian singer Céline Dion. “My Heart Will Go On” was the biggest song of 1998 and sold an estimated 15 million copies. The song was all over the airwaves that year, and just about everyone went to see Titanic. It was a phenomenon.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Dion performed the song at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. She sang from inside a sky-high chandelier that hung from the venue’s ceiling. As it elevated, so did Dion’s vocals. While she sang the heart-tugging lyrics, scenes from the movie played on the screen behind her. And as the song reached its emotional climax, shimmering lights fell over the crowd.

Canadian rapper Drake delivered a memorable performance as well. He did the honours from inside the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas. The selection was “Gyalchester” from his 2017 album More Life. Surrounded by water, fire, and dressed all in white, Drake did his duties while fireworks exploded and blended with the fountain’s geysers above him.

According to Billboard, Drake now has the most U.S. Hot 100 hits by a solo artist in the history of the chart at 154.

2017 MMVAs: The Nominees Are…

Grimes, Shawn Mendes, and A Tribe Called Red are each nominated for four Much Music Video Awards. The outdoor spectacle will take place in Toronto June 18 at 9 p.m. local time. Mendes and ATCR are going head to head for the most prestigious award, Video of the Year which is an all-male nominees affair, the other three being Coleman Hell, Kaytranada, and Pup.

Earning three nominations apiece are Alessia Cara, Drake, Ed Sheeran, Lorde, Pup, The Weeknd, and Zeds Dead.

Booked performers thus far include no one from the United Kingdom and only two Canadian acts: Arkells and Jazz Cariter. International performers are DNCE (USA), Iggy Azalea (Australia), Imagine Dragons (USA), Julia Michaels (USA), Lorde (New Zealand), Niall Horan (Ireland), and Post Malone (USA).

View the nominations below.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

“R.E.D.” – A Tribe Called Red
“Fireproof” – Coleman Hell
“Glowed Up” – Kaytranada
“Sleep In The Heat” – PUP
“Mercy” – Shawn Mendes

BEST POST-PRODUCTION

“Undone” – Coeur De Pirate
“Miracle” – Darcys
“Seeing Double” – Sleepy Tom
“Move Together” – Somewhere Else
“Too Young” – Zeds Dead

BEST EDM/DANCE VIDEO

“Stadium Pow Wow” – A Tribe Called Red
“Indomitable” – Dj Shub
“Easy Go” – Grandtheft & Delaney Jane
“Venus Fly” – Grimes
“Runaway” – MSTRKRFT

BEST DIRECTOR

Kevan Funk, “Stadium Pow Wow” – A Tribe Called Red
Didier Charette, “Rush” – CRi
Claire Boucher, “Venus Fly” – Grimes
Michael LeBlanc, “Spirit” – Wintersleep
Adam Beck, “Stardust” – Zeds Dead

BEST POP VIDEO

“Fireproof” – Coleman Hell
“Venus Fly” – Grimes
“Can’t Slow Down” – Hedley
“Mercy” – Shawn Mendes
“No Warm Up” – SonReal

BEST ROCK/ALTERNATIVE VIDEO

“Knocking At The Door” – Arkells
“Beck + Call” – July Talk
“Sleep In The Heat” – PUP
“In A World Possessed By The Human Mind” – The Tragically Hip
“Spirit” – Wintersleep

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO

“Disconnected” – Derek Wise
“Red Alert/100 Roses” – Jazz Cartier
“81” – Sean Leon
“Picasso Leaning” – Tasha The Amazon
“Let’s Go” – TassNata

BEST MUCHFACT VIDEO

“Rush” – CRi
“With Me” – DVSN
“Sleep In The Heat” – PUP
“Small Talk” – Majid Jordan
“Acid Test” – River Tiber

MOST BUZZWORTHY CANADIAN

Alessia Cara
Drake
Justin Bieber
Shawn Mendes
The Weeknd

MOST BUZZWORTHY INTERNATIONAL ARTIST OR GROUP

Ed Sheeran
Iggy Azalea
Kendrick Lamar
Lady Gaga
Lorde

BEST NEW CANADIAN ARTIST

Charlotte Day Wilson
Daniel Caesar
DVSN
Jessie Reyez
PARTYNEXTDOOR

BEST NEW INTERNATIONAL ARTIST

Chance The Rapper
Camila Cabello
Lil’ Yachty
Niall Horan
Post Malone

CANADIAN SINGLE OF THE YEAR

“Scars to Your Beautiful” – Alessia Cara
“One Dance” – Drake
“Starboy” – The Weeknd

INTERNATIONAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Ed Sheeran
Future
Katy Perry
Kendrick Lamar
Lorde

INTERNATIONAL DUO OR GROUP OF THE YEAR

Twenty One Pilots
DNCE
Imagine Dragons
Migos
The Chainsmokers

FAN FAVE VIDEO

“R.E.D.” – A Tribe Called Red
“Shutter Island” – Jessie Reyez
“Venus Fly” – Grimes
“Too Young” – Zeds Dead
“Knocking At The Door” – Arkells (WILDCARD WINNER)

FAN FAVE INTERNATIONAL ARTIST OR GROUP

Ed Sheeran
Katy Perry
Lorde
Niall Horan (WILDCARD WINNER)

FAN FAVE ARTIST OR GROUP

Drake
Justin Bieber
Shawn Mendes
The Weeknd
Alessia Cara (WILDCARD)

FAN FAVE MUCH CREATOR

Amanda Rach Lee
Jaclyn Forbes
Candace Leca
Mike on Much
YouTwoTV

MMVAs: First Batch of Performers Announced

The 2017 Much Music Video Awards will rock the CN Tower on June 18. And the first batch of performers announced to help out with that are American group DNCE, Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea, U.S. band Imagine Dragons, Canadian rapper Jazz Cartier, California singer-songwriter Julia Michaels, and New Zealand alt-rock superstar Lorde. We’ll keep you posted on upcoming announcements regarding the spectacle. Further performers will hopefully include more Canadian acts and a British one.

2017 Canadian Radio Music Award Winners

Fresh off winning a JUNO Award as Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Edmonton’s Ruth B received a couple more trophies to deck her shelf. The 20th annual Canadian Radio Music Awards (CMRAs) were recently held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. The CRMAs honour first-time charting artists whose songs achieve top radio spins in different formats. Winners are determined based on votes from those in the broadcast industry. The 2017 shindig housed performances by Bleeker, James Barker Band, Jonathan Roy, Modern Space, the aforementioned Ruth B, and The Washboard Union. Folk pop group The Strumbellas, who recently earned a JUNO win for Single of the Year, won two CRMAs, interestingly in the “rock” categories. The band also won Factor’s Breakthrough Artist award. Nominations are below with winners bolded in indigo. In addition to these, Justin Bieber received the Chart Topper award.

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: HOT AC
JONATHAN ROY – DANIELLA DENMARK
LUCKY ROSE – THE WAY YOU WANT ME
MICHELLE TREACY – ARMAGEDDON
RUTH B – LOST BOY
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: MAINSTREAM AC
ALESSIA CARA – HERE
JONATHAN ROY – DANIELLA DENMARK
RUTH B – LOST BOY
THE NEW ELECTRIC – LIFE’S WHAT YOU MAKE IT
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: CHR
ALX VELIZ – DANCING KIZOMBA
BIT FUNK – OFF THE GROUND
RUTH B – LOST BOY
SONREAL – CAN I GET A WITNESS
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: DANCE/URBAN/RHYTHMIC
NEON DREAMS – MARCHING BANDS
PARTYNEXTDOOR – NOT NICE
SARAH MARK – TUN UP
SHAUN FRANK – LET YOU GET AWAY
TORY LANEZ – SAY IT

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: MAINSTREAM ROCK
BLEEKER – HIGHWAY
MODERN SPACE – PEN TO PAPER
SAY YES – ONCE FORWARD TWICE BACK
THE DAMN TRUTH – HEART IS COLD
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: MODERN ROCK
BOB MOSES – TEARING ME UP
MICHAEL BERNARD FITZGERALD – I WANNA MAKE IT WITH YOU
MODERN SPACE – PEN TO PAPER
THE DARCYS – MIRACLE
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: COUNTRY
AARON GOODVIN – WOMAN IN LOVE
DAN DAVIDSON – FOUND
JAMES BARKER BAND – LAWN CHAIR LAZY
MEGHAN PATRICK – BOW CHICKA WOW WOW
THE WASHBOARD UNION – MAYBE IT’S THE MOONSHINE

SOCAN SONG OF THE YEAR
LOVE YOURSELF – JUSTIN BIEBER
2 HEADS – COLEMAN HELL
SORRY – JUSTIN BIEBER
TREAT YOU BETTER – SHAWN MENDES
WILD THINGS – ALESSIA CARA

FANS’ CHOICE
ALESSIA CARA
COLEMAN HELL
HEDLEY
JUSTIN BIEBER
SHAWN MENDES

Canadian Invasion: The Thriving 5 Populate Billboard Nominations

Nominations for the 2017 Billboard Awards have been announced, and Canadian names are all over. However, it is the fiery five who are supplying the heat: Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara, Drake, Shawn Mendes, and The Weeknd. Drake collaborator PartyNextDoor gains a nomination as well. The BBMAs will be held in the US city of Las Vegas on May 21.

The nominations are based on chart performance making it a democratic platform. Sales speak louder than praises, and the purchases (and streams) from the many outweigh the voices of the few. Bear in mind that the chart performance applies to the United States only, and American tastes in music are significantly though not radically different from ours.

Drake leads the pack with a total of 22 nominations, and The Weeknd has 13.

All five entries in the Top R&B Collaboration category involve Canadian artists: “Work” by Rihanna featuring Drake, “One Dance” by Drake featuring WizKid & Kyla, “Come and See Me” by PARTYNEXTDOOR featuring Drake, plus “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming” both by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk. Four of the 10 nominees of Top Artist are Canadian: Bieber, Mendes, Drake, and The Weeknd. Alessia Cara is nominated for Top New Artist. The Top Male Artist category sees four of five nominees Canucks; Future is very lucky to have elbowed his way in there. Drake and The Weeknd are both nominated in the Top Billboard 200 (albums) and Top Hot 100 (singles) categories. Drake alone reps the Great White North in the Top Song Sales Artist and Top Streaming Songs Artist designations while The Biebs joins him in Top Radio Songs Artist. Bieber is joined by Shawn Mendes in Top Social Artist, and the Biebs flies solo in Top Touring Artist.

Top R&B Artist includes The Weeknd, and Drake pops up in Top Rap Artist and Top Rap Tour. Starboy (The Weeknd) and Views (Drake) are two of five nominees in the Top Billboard 200 Album, and by genre Views gets a nod in Top Rap Album and Starboy in Top R&B album. Drake’s “One Dance” is up for Top Hot 100 Song, Top Selling Song, and Top Radio Song. It is also up for Top Streaming Song nominated along with The Weeknd’s “Starboy”. Those two songs find themselves in the Top Collaboration and Top R&B Song categories as well. Top Rap Song gives a nod to Drake’s “Fake Love”. Justin Bieber gets two in Top Dance/Electronic Song thanks to his features in Major Lazer’s “Cold Water” and DJ Snake’s “Let Me Love You”. Finally, The Weeknd is nominated for the Billboard Chart Achievement Award.

While the Canadian invasion is impressive, there is a lot of room for expansion. Most of the slayers are male soloists. With just one nomination, Alessia Cara is holding down the fort on behalf of all females currently. And Canada does not have any duos or groups making a significant mark on the charts these days. Maple music has also not been able to invade foreign rock and country territory lately.

We have included below the categories and their nominees that are mentioned above.

Top Artist:
Adele
Beyonce
Justin Bieber
The Chainsmokers
Drake
Ariana Grande
Shawn Mendes
Rihanna
Twenty One Pilots
The Weeknd

Top New Artist:
Alessia Cara
Desiigner
Lil Uzi Vert
Lukas Graham
Zayn

Billboard Chart Achievement Award:
Luke Bryan
Nicki Minaj
The Chainsmokers
The Weeknd
Twenty One Pilots

Top Male Artist:
Justin Bieber
Drake
Future
Shawn Mendes
The Weeknd

Top Billboard 200 Artist:
Beyonce
Drake
Prince
Twenty One Pilots
The Weeknd

Top Hot 100 Artist:
The Chainsmokers
Drake
Rihanna
Twenty One Pilots
The Weeknd

Top Song Sales Artist:
The Chainsmokers
Drake
Prince
Justin Timberlake
Twenty One Pilots

Top Radio Songs Artist:
Justin Bieber
The Chainsmokers
Drake
Rihanna
Twenty One Pilots

Top Streaming Songs Artist:
The Chainsmokers
Desiigner
Drake
Rihanna
Twenty One Pilots

Top Social Artist:
Justin Bieber
BTS
Selena Gomez
Ariana Grande
Shawn Mendes

Top Touring Artist:
Justin Bieber
Beyonce
Coldplay
Guns N’ Roses
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Top R&B Artist:
Beyonce
Bruno Mars
Frank Ocean
Rihanna
The Weeknd

Top Rap Artist:
J. Cole
Desiigner
Drake
Future
Rae Sremmurd

Top Rap Tour:
Drake
Future
Kanye West

Top Billboard 200 Album:
Beyonce, Lemonade
Drake, Views
Rihanna, Anti
Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface
The Weeknd, Starboy

Top R&B Album:
Beyonce, Lemonade
Bruno Mars, 24K Magic
Frank Ocean, Blonde
Rihanna, Anti
The Weeknd, Starboy

Top Rap Album:
J. Cole, 4 Your Eyez Only
Drake, Views
Kevin Gates, Isla
DJ Khaled, Major Key
A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service

Top Hot 100 Song:
The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey, “Closer”
The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”
Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”
Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens”

Top Selling Song:
The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey, “Closer”
The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”
Drake Featuring, WizKid & Kyla “One Dance”
Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”
Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens”

Top Radio Song:
The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey, “Closer”
The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”
Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
Sia Featuring Sean Paul, “Cheap Thrills”
Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”

Top Streaming Song (Audio):
The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey, “Closer”
Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty, “Broccoli”
Rihanna, “Needed Me”
The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk, “Starboy”

Top Collaboration:
The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey, “Closer”
The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”
Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
Sia Featuring Sean Paul, “Cheap Thrills”
The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk, “Starboy”

Top R&B Song:
Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
Bruno Mars, “24K Magic”
Rihanna, “Needed Me”
Rihanna Featuring Drake, “Work”
The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk, “Starboy”

Top R&B Collaboration:
Drake Featuring WizKid & Kyla, “One Dance”
PARTYNEXTDOOR Featuring Drake, “Come and See Me”
Rihanna Featuring Drake, “Work”
The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk “I Feel It Coming”
The Weeknd Featuring Daft Punk, “Starboy”

Top Rap Song:
Desiigner, “Panda”
Drake, “Fake Love”
D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty, “Broccoli”
Migos Featuring Lil Uzi Vert, “Bad And Boujee”
Rae Sremmurd Featuring Gucci Mane, “Black Beatles”

Top Dance/Electronic Song:
The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey, “Closer”
The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya, “Don’t Let Me Down”
Calvin Harris Featuring Rihanna, “This Is What You Came For”
Major Lazer Featuring Justin Bieber & MO, “Cold Water”
DJ Snake Featuring Justin Bieber, “Let Me Love You”

Prism Prize Whittles Down Fave MVs to 10

The Prism Prize announced May 14 may be a night to remember. The contender having the organization’s favourite music video of the year will receive $15,000, and it will be one of 10, a list the 120-member voting jury settled upon recently. The judges identify music videos based on originality, creativity, style, innovation, and effective execution. Some auxiliary awards will also be doled out at the ceremony. Philip Sportel won the Prism Prize last year for Kalle Mattson’s “Avalanche”. The 10 finalists are listed below. May the best MV win.

A Tribe Called Red ft. Black Bear – “Stadium Pow Wow” (Director: Kevan Funk)
Andy Shauf – “The Magician” (Director: Winston Hacking)
BADBADNOTGOOD ft. Kaytranada – “Lavender” (Director: Fantavious Fritz)
Grimes – “Kill V. Maim” (Directors: Claire and Mac Boucher)
Harrison ft. Clairmont The 2nd – “It’s Okay, I Promise” (Director: Scott Cudmore)
July Talk – “Picturing Love” (Director: Jared Raab)
Kaytranada – “Lite Spots” (Director: Martin C. Pariseau)
PUP – “DVP” (Director: Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux)
PUP – “Sleep in the Heat” (Director: Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux)
Wintersleep – “Amerika “(Director: Scott Cudmore)

Nominations Announced for the 2017 Canadian Radio Music Awards

The 20th annual Canadian Radio Music Awards (CMRAs) will be held April 19 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. The CRMAs honour first-time charting artists whose songs achieve top radio spins in different formats. Winners are determined based on votes from those in the broadcast industry. The shindig will house performances by Bleeker, James Barker Band, Jonathan Roy, Modern Space, Ruth B, and The Washboard Union. Nominations are below.

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: HOT AC
JONATHAN ROY – DANIELLA DENMARK
LUCKY ROSE – THE WAY YOU WANT ME
MICHELLE TREACY – ARMAGEDDON
RUTH B – LOST BOY
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: MAINSTREAM AC
ALESSIA CARA – HERE
JONATHAN ROY – DANIELLA DENMARK
RUTH B – LOST BOY
THE NEW ELECTRIC – LIFE’S WHAT YOU MAKE IT
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: CHR
ALX VELIZ – DANCING KIZOMBA
BIT FUNK – OFF THE GROUND
RUTH B – LOST BOY
SONREAL – CAN I GET A WITNESS
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: DANCE/URBAN/RHYTHMIC
NEON DREAMS – MARCHING BANDS
PARTYNEXTDOOR – NOT NICE
SARAH MARK – TUN UP
SHAUN FRANK – LET YOU GET AWAY
TORY LANEZ – SAY IT

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: MAINSTREAM ROCK
BLEEKER – HIGHWAY
MODERN SPACE – PEN TO PAPER
SAY YES – ONCE FORWARD TWICE BACK
THE DAMN TRUTH – HEART IS COLD
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: MODERN ROCK
BOB MOSES – TEARING ME UP
MICHAEL BERNARD FITZGERALD – I WANNA MAKE IT WITH YOU
MODERN SPACE – PEN TO PAPER
THE DARCYS – MIRACLE
THE STRUMBELLAS – SPIRITS

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: COUNTRY
AARON GOODVIN – WOMAN IN LOVE
DAN DAVIDSON – FOUND
JAMES BARKER BAND – LAWN CHAIR LAZY
MEGHAN PATRICK – BOW CHICKA WOW WOW
THE WASHBOARD UNION – MAYBE IT’S THE MOONSHINE

SOCAN SONG OF THE YEAR
LOVE YOURSELF – JUSTIN BIEBER
2 HEADS – COLEMAN HELL
SORRY – JUSTIN BIEBER
TREAT YOU BETTER – SHAWN MENDES
WILD THINGS – ALESSIA CARA

FANS’ CHOICE
ALESSIA CARA
COLEMAN HELL
HEDLEY
JUSTIN BIEBER
SHAWN MENDES

A Canadian Wins a 2017 BRIT Award

2017-brit-cn-copy

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.