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…

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.

Canadians Account for 23+ American Music Award Nominations

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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.

Toxic Exclusiveness Continues in Country Music

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The CMT Awards in the States left many country music fans scratching their heads. It featured performances from rock band Cheap Trick, rapper Pitbull, British R&B singer Leona Lewis, as well as Pharrell Williams and Fifth Harmony. Even Candace Payne, the “Chewbacca Mom”, made an appearance. It seems the industry still hasn’t been able to embrace the right kind of inclusiveness, and realize that welcoming artists from other genres does not justify its recent downplay of female artists and its chronic lack of involving Canadian country musicians. The latter did graduate a notch from a complete shunning to tokenism, as Calgary’s Lindsay Ell was nominated for Social Superstar of the Year.

Speaking of regional/ethnic cleansing in country music, the Canadian Country Music Association recently announced a Spotlight Contest where one country music artist will win a performance spot at Country Music Week. The association reached out to provincial music associations to select one artist from the province to participate in the contest. One would expect to find ten artists representing all 10 provinces, but alas there are only nine: BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, …, NB, NS, PE, and NL. The CCMA does not offer an explanation as to why it left out Canada’s second most populated province — Quebec — a region that has spawned a host of platinum certified stars of country music.

Canadians Win 12 Billboard Music Awards

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The Weeknd broke the record for the most annual Billboard awards won by a male soloist with eight. The Canadian R&B singer was the big story at the 2016 gala held in Las Vegas, USA. He won Top R&B Song (“The Hills”), Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Song Sales Artist, Top Radio Songs Artist, Top Streaming Songs Artist, Top R&B Artist, Top R&B Album (Beauty Behind the Madness), and Top Streaming Song (Audio) for “The Hills”. Justin Bieber won two awards: Top Male Artist and Top Social Media Artist. The Biebs was one of three Canadians who performed at the show. Before a backdrop of laser light, he crooned out his big hits “Company” and “Sorry”. The young Shawn Mendes pumped out “Stitches” on the Billboard stage, while Céline Dion brought down the house with her cover of Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, a performance Billboard staff ranked as the second best of the evening. Dion was presented with Billboard’s Icon award by her son René-Charles and dedicated the moment to her late husband. Drake took home the 12th award by a Canadian for Top Rap Artist.

Canadians in 20% of 2016 Billboard Music Award Finalist Spots

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Billboard unveiled its list of finalists up for awards this year. There are 43 categories with five spots each making a total of 215 “nominations”. Discounting the Top Soundtrack category, as various artists are involved, Canadian artists make up over 20% of the 210 spots.  The number of Canadian artists, though, is small — just four.  The Weeknd has 19 entries in 16 categories, Justin Bieber has 11.5 in 11 categories (the 0.5 is his feature in “Where Are U Now” from Skrillex and Diplo), and Drake has 11 spots in 10 categories. Alessia Cara has 1. Non-Canadians with the most nods are Fetty Wap with 11, Taylor Swift with 8, and Adele with 8 also. Ludacris and Ciara will host the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, USA on May 22. Unlike other awards shows where people vote for nominees and winners, Billboard presents awards based on success of artists, albums, and tracks, on their charts. It should be noted that U.S. charts are a reflection of American tastes in music which differ significantly, though not radically, from Canadian tastes. See a full list of finalists here.

Canada Wins Its 7th BRIT Award

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Canada has not won a BRIT Award since 2011 when Justin Bieber won International Breakthrough Act and Arcade Fire won two: International Album and International Group. Those three awards for Canadian acts were added to three in the past: k.d. lang in 1995 for International Female, Alanis Morissette in the same category the following year, and Nelly Furtado in 2007. This year, 2016, Justin Bieber won his second BRIT Award – for International Male Solo Artist. This was the year he also won his first U.S. Grammy Award. With the win, the tally for Canadian artists is now seven at the BRITs, the premier music awards in The United Kingdom. Adele’s 25 was named Album of the Year at the gala and her “Hello” Best Single. Justin Bieber is up for five JUNO Awards at this year’s show in Calgary early April.

Watch Bieber fire up the BRITS … literally:

Plus, watch Justin accept his BRIT award: