Carly Rae Jepsen Dons the Glass Slippers

Carly Rae JepsenOn February 4, 2014, Mission BC’s international pop superstar will be making her Broadway debut in the lead role of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella for a 12-week run. Fran Drescher will be playing the cruel stepmother. Jepsen is no stranger to acting as she performed in high school productions of Annie, Grease, and The Wiz. She also attended The Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria. Carly chose Cinderella as her Broadway debut because she found the story hopeful and inspiring. “I’ve always been one to believe in the impossible, so I relate to her character completely.” 

Jepsies (i.e. fans of Carly Rae Jepsen) needn’t worry; she is working on a new album too which she plans to release sometime in 2014. Her previous album Kiss was certified gold and won the JUNO for Album of the Year.

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Celine Dion’s Home For the Holidays

“Home For the Holidays” is a popular title of TV specials featuring singing superstars around Christmas time. Michael Buble hosted his third annual Christmas special yesterday with Mariah Carey. Last year, Carly Rae Jepsen joined him. Another Canadian superstar held one yesterday. Celine Dion took the stage to perform songs at a televised special on American network CBS, an event organized in support of foster children. In an interview in which she nearly broke down and cried, she explained how much she holds these children close to her heart. In the special, the best-selling Canadian recording artist of all-time performed her songs “Loved Me Back to Life”, “Incredible” with R&B superstar Ne-Yo, “Didn’t Know Love”, and her classic “Because You Loved Me“.

Toronto Jingles in a Big Way

Much Music The Big Jingle 2013 copy

On December 7 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, television music video channel MuchMusic hosted The Big Jingle, a half-day-long concert featuring a number of big name recording artists from both home and abroad. Fefe Dobson, Hedley, Serena Ryder, Mia Martina, and Down With Webster joined international performers Swedish electro-dance duo Icona Pop, Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis, and American band Fall Out Boy. Some of the money raised from the concert was donated to Virgin Mobile’s RE*Generation, a movement that supports at-risk and homeless youth in Canada. Selected performances from The Big Jingle are now available for viewing online at MuchMusic’s website (Link).

LIGHTS Auctions Off JUNO Dress for The Philippines

lights juno awardCanadian recording artists are doing what they can to help support a nation torn apart by typhoon Haiyan. LIGHTS is auctioning off the same dress she wore when she won her JUNO award with the resulting funds, through World Vision, going toward relief efforts. LIGHTS herself lived in The Philippines in her youth and says, “I couldn’t have asked for a warmer, more generous, music-loving family-oriented culture to be raised in”. In addition, she is auctioning off many of her custom-made outfits that she wore in her music videos as well as some props used. The current bid on the dress she wore in her “Drive My Soul” music video is up to $3,000. She has uploaded a video with details on the auction and items which you can view HERE. You can place a bid on an item at the auctions website HERE (that’s 32auctions.com/LIGHTS). The auction closes December 16.

When LIGHTS received her JUNO award in 2009 at the gala in Vancouver, one of the three presenters was singer Elise Estrada. Elise has recorded song “All It Takes Is a Moment” with all proceeds going to Philippines relief efforts. You can purchase the song for 99 cents at iTunes HERE. Justin Bieber has arrived in The Philippines and is raising funds with Prizeo. More information can be found HERE.

Justin Bieber Arrives in The Philippines

Bieber PhilippinesCanadian superstar Justin Bieber wrapped up his worldwide Believe Tour on December 8, 2013, with a final show in Brisbane, by heading straight away to The Philippines to show support and bring some happiness to the nation most devastated by typhoon Haiyan. He has asked his millions of fans to help support the victims of the tragedy and has teamed up with Prizeo in a charity campaign. In return for fans who donate, Bieber is offering one the chance to be flown to Los Angeles to accompany him in the recording studio while he works on his next album. More info is HERE.

Bieber has been releasing a new single every Monday as part of a Music Mondays program.  The artwork for each single includes a magenta symbol on a white background, and the songs are mainly R&B numbers. Yesterday, he capped off the series of 10 songs with “Confident”. He has released a music video for “All That Matters”, the second release in the series. The MV features model Cailin Russo. You can watch the video HERE.

On December 23, Bieber will release all of his Music Mondays singles as part of a collection (i.e. album) called Journals. In addition to the 10 songs will be five new ones, some videos, and the trailer for his new movie Believe which will hit cinemas on December 25. Journals will be available only on iTunes and temporarily (until January 9). When Bieber returns to the United States, he will begin working on a music video for “Confident” as well as his brand new studio album due to be released at the end of 2014.

Music Video: “All It Takes Is a Moment” by Elise Estrada

Elise Estrada - All It Takes Is a MomentElise Estrada has released a superb music video for “All It Takes Is a Moment”, charity single for The Philippines. Super typhoon Haiyan struck the region last month killing thousands and leaving millions homeless. Originally from the Philippines and with family still living there, Elise herself has been affected by the tragedy and says that it has broken her heart. “I have seen devastating photos of people hugging their dead children and it tears me apart,” she says.

In 2008, Elise Estrada became the first Canadian of east Asian heritage to score a hit single when “Unlove You” shot up the Billboard chart to #11. Seven additional songs of hers landed on the same chart, and she earned herself a JUNO nomination. Last year, she wrote a song and shot a music video about Metro Vancouverite Amanda Todd who took her own life after being cyberbullied.  Elise was set for a comeback with a brand new single leading her third studio album, Round 3, but felt it was inappropriate in the wake of the tragic aftermath of typhoon Haiyan; her new releases have been put on hold until January 2014.

All proceeds from “All It Takes Is a Moment” will be sent directly to the people affected by the destruction of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The single is available through iTunes at 99 cents.  iTunes

Sarah McLachlan “Helps” Jackie Thomas Win 1st Season NZ X-Factor

Jackie ThomasIn an English music market heavily dominated by the U.S. and U.K., smaller countries face incredible odds to churn out international pop superstars. Among them, New Zealanders really are the underdogs. Aside from the occasional wonder, like OMC’s “How Bizarre”, scoring a hit single in the big markets has proved daunting. It is, however, not impossible. Consider that Ireland has roughly the same population as New Zealand and has been able to contribute the likes of U2, Sinead O’Connor, and Westlife to the world stage. And for the land of the kiwi, the tide as of 2013 is beginning to change in their favour thanks to a few key players. Well done to their teen marvel, Lorde, whose “Royals” has become one of the runaway international smash hits of the year. Furthermore, Ginny Blackmore has been signed by U.S. label Epic Records and is one to watch.

sarah mclachlan2013 also marks the first year of TV series The X-Factor in New Zealand. Whether or not you’re a fan of these types of televised star search shows, it has enabled a small town New Zealander named Jackie Thomas to score a platinum single in her native country, a song called “It’s Worth It“. Her performance of Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet” took her into the semifinals. Reality struck as a victory was in reach, but she needed a strong performance and song to make it to the finals. She selected Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel”, and from that performance sailed into victory. Check out her delivery of the Canadian classic below. We wish the people of New Zealand all the best.

Hedley, Serena Ryder, and The Sheepdogs to Grace the 2013 Grey Cup

Hedley Grey Cup 2013

The history of sport can be interesting, and it is in this case. Rugby was introduced to Canada by the British in the 19th century and became popular in Montreal in the 1860s. At that time in the United States, football (soccer) was the most popular game being played. Sports clubs from Canada’s McGill University and the U.S.’s Harvard University got together to play in Cambridge, Massachusetts in mid-May 1874. The Canadians wanted to play rugby and the Americans soccer. They ended up creating a new sport which is now known as football in the U.S. and Canada. The Canadians took the new sport back to Canada, and Harvard popularized it in the U.S.

The rules ended up being a little different in the two countries. Canada, for example, has a playing field of 110 yards, but the U.S. only 100 yards. The biggest difference which makes the games look very different is that American football has four downs, meaning four chances to move the ball 10 yards. But Canadian football has only three downs. Because of this, Canadian football has much more passing and involves more risk taking which makes the game more exciting. What may be curious to students of psychology is that, although Canadian football has a larger field and only three downs, games typically end in much higher scores than in the U.S.

Canada’s major football league is the CFL which currently has eight teams. The playoff round is crowned by the season championship game, played in November, known as the Grey Cup. Each year, it is played in a different city.

Financially, the CFL … could be doing better (let’s put it that way). In order to attract more, especially younger, fans of the sport, they have begun inviting popular recording artists to play at the Grey Cup final. Huge names last year resulted in a 44% increase in television viewership from the previous year.

This year, with a new album on the way, Vancouver multiplatinum pop band Hedley will be playing the half-time show. Saskatchewan boogie rockers The Sheepdogs will open the game, and Serena Ryder will sing the national anthem. The 2013 Grey Cup game will be held on November 24 in Regina which was also this year’s site of the JUNO awards.

Adam Cohen and Coeur de Pirate Joining the OSM in Concert

OSM Montreal Symphony Orchestra

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, or OSM, is the most highly decorated in the country. They have been nominated for some 47 JUNO awards, winning 12, not to mention multiple Grammy Awards in the United States. In the spring, they went on a South American tour (yes, symphony orchestras go on world tours too). The OSM was established in 1935 and is currently conducted by the brilliant Kent Nagano. On October 2 and 3, acclaimed Canadian recording artists Coeur de Pirate and Adam Cohen will be joining the OSM in concert. What a treat that will be! The Canadian Music Blog would like to take this opportunity to encourage all of you in cities with symphony/philharmonic orchestras to please support them, even if you can make it out to one performance per year. They are there to enrich our lives. Let’s embrace them!

Celebrity Baby, Reunion, Stateside Release, New Music

Noah Buble

Mr. Entertainment, Michael Bublé, and Argentine wife Luisana Lopilato are now the proud parents of a baby boy. Noah arrived 2:26 a.m. in Vancouver. Congratulations to this awesome couple!

A number of you may remember Stereos, a JUNO-nominated, multi-platinum band from Edmonton. Member Patrick Kordyback of the now defunct outfit has formed a new one called i65 which has been signed by Vancouver label 604 Records (Carly Rae Jepsen, Marianas Trench). Their debut single “Another Summer” is available now. 

From “Painted Ladies” in 1973 to “Levity” in 1985, The Ian Thomas band enjoyed radio airwave success across the country, the front man being the real life brother of adored Canadian comedic actor Dave Thomas (Grace Under Fire and Bob & Doug McKenzie, eh). The band has reunited after 33 years to help their ailing band mate. You can read about it HERE. 

Due to the success of Harmony and its first two singles, Serena Ryder‘s team will be releasing the album in the United States. Billboard magazine has all the info HERE. 

It appears that a number of upcoming album releases are getting pushed back to November. Yes, those strategizing record companies! This may have to do with taking advantage of Christmas shopping culture or it may not. In any case, it appears that the new albums from Céline Dion and Avril Lavigne are now to be in record stores in November rather than early autumn.

Speaking of November, multi-platinum, JUNO-winning BC band Hedley has announced a brand new studio album, Wild Life, due out on Remembrance Day. Lead single “Anything” has cracked the iTunes Top 5.

Calgary Holds Its Biggest Rock Concert in History

McMahon Stadium

McMahon Stadium, home of the Calgary Stampeders, is not being filled to capacity by football tonight. More than 30,000 Albertans have gathered at the location of the opening/closing ceremonies of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games to see performances from some of the biggest names in music, both past and present. Nickelback, Loverboy, Tom Cochrane, Jann Arden, Randy Bachman, Johnny Reid, Ian Tyson, The Sheepdogs, Corb Lund, Matthew Good, and The Sadies are part of Calgary’s biggest rock concert in history. Comedian Brent Butt is emceeing the show with all proceeds going to The Calgary Foundation’s Flood Rebuilding Fund after record floods wreaked havoc around southern Alberta. Organizers of the Alberta Flood Relief Concert expect the event to raise $2 million.

New Canada Post Stamps Honour Canadian Rock Bands

As part of their ongoing tribute to Canadian recording artists, Canada Post will be selling stamps of Canadian rock bands:  Beau Dommage, The Guess Who, Rush, and The Tragically Hip. Send those letters, pay those bills, and deck the envelopes with the stars.

Canada Post Stamps Canadian Rock Bands

In 2011, stamps came out featuring Bruce Cockburn, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Ginette Reno, and Robbie Robertson.

Canada Post Stamps Canadian Recording Artists

Avril Lavigne to Headline Wango Tango

Avril Lavigne 1Wango Tango is an annual day-long concert held in stadiums in southern California, USA featuring the biggest names in popular music.  The event is hosted by Los Angeles radio station KIIS FM.  Often, notable celebrities are on hand to introduce the performers.  Wango Tango has been running since 1998 and has featured rock stars such as The Spice Girls, Mariah Carey, Ricky Martin, Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, Pink, Kiss, Sting, Gwen Stefani, Rihanna, The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Usher, and Maroon 5.  Canadian stars who have participated include Nelly Furtado (2001), Alanis Morissette (2002), Celine Dion (2002), Fefe Dobson (2004), Simple Plan (2005), Justin Bieber (2010), K’naan (2012), and Carly Rae Jepsen (2012). 

2013’s Wango Tango will be held at the Home Depot Center sports complex (seating capacity 27,000) at California State University on May 11 and will be hosted by popular entertainment personality Ryan Seacrest with special guest host Britney Spears (best-selling female recording artist of the new millennium).  Canadian rock star Avril Lavigne will be headlining the main stage, her first time to participate in the annual concert.  Joining her will be Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Flo Rida, Demi Lovato, Emeli Sandé, and a host of other acts.  It should be a great show!

The music video for Avril’s current hit single “Here’s to Never Growing Up” is set to be realeased May 9.

Canadian Country Legend Pier Béland Succumbs to Cancer

Pier BelandCanadian country singer Pier Béland, born in Montréal in 1948, succumbed to cancer of the uterus and passed away in Laval on April 16, 2013, just one day before Atlantic Canadian singer Rita MacNeil. Pier began her recording career in 1988, and her first two albums were certified gold in Canada. Having released some 15 albums over the years, she has produced a large volume of material. Many members of her family were talented and successful entertainers. She was diagnosed with cancer of the uterus July 2012. She received three Félix nominations for best country album at the turn of the new millennium. Following her passing, members of her family released a posthumous album of selections from her extensive repertoire entitled Ce que je suis. Her funeral will be held in Montréal on Sunday.