While LIGHTS, Ron Sexsmith, Neverest, Finger Eleven, Beverley Mahood, and Platinum Blonde were rocking out at Andy Kim’s annual Christmas fundraiser, Kiesza, Shawn Mendes, and MAGIC! were performing at Jingle Balls States-side. Michael Buble carried off his yearly holiday special with his dream guest star: Miss Piggy. Shawn Hook is gearing up for a New Year’s Eve extravaganza in Mississauga, The Weeknd in Miami, Chromeo in San Francisco, and Adventure Club in San Diego. Sally Folk is rehearsing her duet with Alex Nevsky for a mid-January TVA music special. But besides holiday concerts, here’s what else has been happening…
Carly Rae Jepsen Visits Her Old Stamping Grounds:
When Carly Rae Jepsen released her global ripper, somehow we knew that her indie career was toast. There was a time when Carly could be found at Vancouver’s Trees Organic Coffee making cheese cake for them. Yes, that’s the reality of life for many Canadian indie musicians. Carly recently returned to say hello to the staff. She claims that the shop makes the best cheese cake in the city, perhaps the world. There are 5 shops through Metro Vancouver. Professional photographer Cameron Brown claims that Carly herself bakes pastries as delicious as the music she makes. She’s a multi-talented gal.
Victoria Duffield Gets Into Christmas Baking:
Carly’s not the only one who enjoys baking. Having recently recovered from vocal cord surgery, Victoria Duffield whipped up a batch of her favourite treat. We’re not sure what they’re called, but they look amazing:
Fred Pellerin Celebrates Gold:
Fred Pellerin’s recently released album, Plus tard qu’on pense, was very quickly certified gold. He comments on the phenomenon saying that to turn 12 songs into a gold record, it takes at least 40,000 alchemists. Too bad Fred’s a bit far from the west coast to celebrate with some cheese cake with Carly or sample Victoria Duffield’s oven-cooked delights. But we’re sure he has some treats available at a shop near him.
Mia Martina Breaks Out in Japan:
Mia Martina has been tailoring her second album for releases in various countries. We hope it comes out in Canada as soon as possible. It is now out in Russia and Japan, and her reworking of Cutting Crew’s “(I Just) Died In Your Arms” has hit #2 on the iTunes Japan dance chart! We imagine it’s a big hit at the karaoke venues as well. Good for Mia!
YTV Next Star Winner Jory Zechner Launches New Single:
Getting into the spirit of cool, fashionable glasses, Jory Zechner has been working with top Canadian songwriter Rob Wells to release a single following her win of 2015’s YTV The Next Star. The song is called “Roll With This” and is currently rolling up the iTunes charts. You can grab a copy here.
LIGHTS Excited About Her Figurines:
On the market now are some sweet LIGHTS figurines. They come complete with a keyboard, cogwheel face mark, circular bandstand with logo, and are no doubt best enjoyed while listening to album Little Machines. LIGHTS assures us that the dolls won’t pull a chucky.
Elise Estrada Hits the Blogosphere:
Elise Estrada has gotten into blogging. Her blog is called Confessions of a Pop Star. You can read about how she recently turned her home into a Christmas candyland, get some advice on beginning a singing career, makeup tips, recipes, and fashion ideas. Visit the site here.
Jesse Labelle Chills:
Finally, while all these stars have been working hard, Jesse Labelle has been … chilling in Florida? Jesse! Actually, old Jess has been busy touring and is just taking a break to soak in the sun for a bit.
Today, the JUNO Awards released video interviews with each of the four recording artists announced earlier this week as performers at the 2015 JUNO Awards in Hamilton, March 15. Tickets for the big gala went on sale today. You can order them from Ticket Master here. Jacob Hoggard of Hedley comments that he will be happy to showcase some recently learned dance moves during the ides of March with special emphasis on hip swinging. Kiesza and Shawn Mendes express honour towards performing at the awards show they grew up watching. The two will be reppin’ The Great White North today at the Jingle Ball in Los Angeles hosted by radio station KIIS FM. MAGIC!’s Ben played the JUNOs in Saskatoon in 2007 as a hired guitar hand with k-os, and Alex’s dad, as member of classic rock band Edward Bear, played the JUNOs in the 1970s. MAGIC! will be among performers in New York’s Times Square for Ryan Seacrest’s annual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. LIGHTS and Shawn Mendes will be performing in Niagara Falls New Year’s eve. It’s going to be a happy holidays! Click the links below to watch the JUNOTV interviews:
Fans of Canadian country music will be pleased that the Canadian Country Music Association will be presenting the CCMA Holiday Special, airing on CBC-TV on Monday, December 15 at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. NT and on CMT Canada on Thursday, December 18 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET. The special will be hosted by multiplatinum artist Terri Clark and will feature performances by some of Canada’s top country greats.
Terri will be joined on stage by Gord Bamford, Jason Blaine, Dean Brody, Chad Brownlee, Lindsay Ell, Tim Hicks, High Valley, Kira Isabella, Brett Kissel, Beverley Mahood, One More Girl, Lindi Ortega, Deric Ruttan, and Tebey. As well, The Stellas will be performing with their daughters Lennon and Maisy.
Clark says, “I hope this Special brings some holiday spirit to our country music fans.” Don Green, president of the CCMA, adds, “The CCMA, and the Canadian country music industry, really does feel like a big, extended family.” The CCMA Holiday Special was filmed at Rexall Place in Edmonton this past September. A portion of all ticket sales from the filming has gone towards MusiCounts.
In addition to the televised airdates above, the audio of the CCMA Holiday Special will broadcast on CBC Radio One, Canada Live on Friday, December 19 at 2 p.m./2:30 p.m. NT and CBC Radio 2, Canada Live on Monday, December 22 at 7 p.m./7:30 p.m. NT. It will also re-air on CMT on December 25 at 1 a.m. ET.
Update: You can watch the CCMA Holiday Special here.
While their Canadian sister Victoria Duffield recovers from vocal cord surgery, the gentlemen of Winnipeg group The Treble have sent some happiness her way with a sweet MV cover of her smash hit “Shut Up and Dance”. The Twitter campaign #SingForVictoria was launched by her Warner Music label mate band Eleven Past One. The idea is that, as Victoria’s voice gets better, others will sing for her. We have embedded The Treble’s cover below. It comes complete with Christmas light attire. Also, if you dig these dudes, you can check out their album from last year, Northern Lights.
Every year, for the past few, The Treble plays 24 shows in 24 hours in support of Cancer Care Manitoba. This year, the event will take place from December 11th to 12th presented by Virgin Radio 103.1 FM Winnipeg. Also, local bakery Popp Chocolates is batching up some special Treble cupcakes, proceeds of which will go to Cancer Care Manitoba. It sounds like wonderful things are happening in central Canada!
In February 2010, the eyes of the world were fixed on the spectacle at 777 Pacific Blvd. in Vancouver, Canada that was the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games. Out of nearly 35 million Canadians, it was Montreal’s Nikki Yanofsky who was chosen to sing the national anthem, “O Canada”, at BC Place Stadium. Just four days prior, she had turned 16. She was still in high school.
In November 2014, Nikki, now a young woman, returned to BC Place Stadium for a different sporting event – The 102nd Grey Cup – to perform the anthem once again before a sold-out crowd of 54,320. The Grey Cup is the championship game of the Canadian Football League and this year played between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Calgary Stampeders.
What happened in-between the two events is quite remarkable. Nikki’s Olympic promotional single “I Believe” struck quadruple platinum and her self-titled album went platinum. She released jazz-pop LP Little Secret this year under the production prowess of 27-time Grammy Award winner Quincy Jones. The album was recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles – where Michael Bublé cut his global ripper, Christmas. Nikki also travelled to France to lend her voice to a collaboration with diamond artist Zaz (Isabelle Geffroy).
Assisting Nikki Yanofsky at the Grey Cup launch was country rock ace Dallas Smith who has just released his second album, Lifted. The Calgary Stampeders won the game by a score of 20-16 becoming 2014’s Grey Cup champions.
A while back, local record store lovers were saddened by HMV closing its downtown Vancouver store on Robson and Burrard. While a few shops remained open in the suburbs, the music and entertainment retail giant lacked a central flagship store. This is set to change on December 1 when HMV will be opening a new location, at 1148 Robson Street (between Thurlow and Bute). It will be the 10th location in British Columbia and 110th nationwide.
It has proven to be a bit of a retail musical chairs as leases expire, more strategic locations become available, and shop sizes prove unsuitable in the cramped and pricey downtown area.
Chief executive of HMV Canada, Nick Williams, recently told the Vancouver Sun that the decision to close shop downtown had more to do with those issues rather than the public’s assumption that the business was struggling to stay afloat in the digital era. Apparently, a suitable retail space could not be found when its lease expired at the old location. HMV is currently pulling in $240 million per year in Canada from the sale of music, movies, T-shirts, posters, books, collectibles, headphones, and more. The chain accounts for 40% of the Canadian market share of physical CD album sales. Williams recognizes that consumers want albums and movies as soon as they are out and sees value in ensuring the shops are stocked up with newbies on release day.
Nick says that he and the HMV team are working hard to give music and entertainment lovers a fun and positive experience when they visit their stores with a big selection, genre diversity, competitive prices, and ties to the local music scene. In regards to the latter, the new store on Robson is being designed to host guest movie and pop stars to give talks, perform live, and do album or DVD signings. And speaking of this…
In celebration of the reopening of HMV Robson Street, Canadian electronic rock superstar LIGHTS will be performing a live acoustic set in-store with autograph signing December 3rd at 6:30 p.m. In order to see LIGHTS, one must obtain a free wristband available at the store upon opening on December 1st at 10 a.m. while quantities last (limit of 100; one wristband per person only).
A record store is always a beautiful sight to us, and so we send out our appreciation to HMV.
This past Halloween, diamond recording artist Corey Hart, 2-time JUNO award winner Kim Richardson, up & comer Jonathan Roy (hockey superstar Patrick Roy’s son), multiplatinum songwriter & producer Rob Wells (on keys), guitar ace Martin Bachand, and top percussionist Dorian Sherwood, jammed out an emotionally powerful cover of U2’s “One”. The song was recorded live off the floor during rehearsals for Keyano College’s annual charity arts gala fundraiser to take place November 1st in Fort McMurray, AB. The cover of “One” was released on video and today made available on iTunes.
This has been a busy year for Hart. He released his ninth studio album, Ten Thousand Horses, in April, sold out Montreal’s Bell Centre for his 4-hour “final concert” spectacular in June, and released his handsome coffee table memoir, Chasing the Sun. Having recently signed Jonathan Roy to his record label, Siena Records, Hart is busy writing and producing his protégé’s upcoming album. View the sweeping performance of “One” below and grab a copy of the single on iTunes.
Platinum teen star Victoria Duffield has revealed via a video message on her Facebook page that she will be undergoing surgery in Los Angeles tomorrow to remove a cyst-like lump on her vocal cords which has been interfering with her singing lately. Any kind of surgery is always nerve-racking, and so we send out our best wishes to one of our finest talents. You can drop Victoria a tweet or comment on her Facebook page to provide some reassurance and encouragement. Victoria has thus far released two studio albums with Warner Music Canada, scored five charting singles, been nominated for a JUNO, toured with The Backstreet Boys, and four of her music videos have surpassed a million views. Victoria is also a professional dancer and actress.
Canadian Music Week has announced that Bryan Adams OC will be the 2015 recipient of the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award. Alongside a successful music career which saw sales of 65 million records worldwide, Bryan has been involved in a number of humanitarian pursuits. He helped write and organize Canadian charity single “Tears Are Not Enough” and participated in many fund-raising concerts like Live Aid, A Conspiracy of Hope, and Rock for Amnesty, dedicated to human rights causes that tackled issues of poverty and famine. Bryan has also supported Greenpeace in its efforts to protect and conserve the environment and rainforests. Adams has helped raise funds for disadvantaged youth in the UK, assisted American farmers, supported victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and raised funds to rebuild schools in Pakistan damaged by the 2005 earthquake.
Elise Estrada Pens Tune For Sarah Geronimo
Canadian pop star Elise Estrada co-wrote the title track on Sarah Geronimo’s latest album, Perfectly Imperfect. Geronimo is a diamond-selling music superstar in The Philippines. The team at Elise’s record label XOXO Entertainment in Vancouver had a big hand in the writing and production on the album which recently hit #1 in SE Asia.
Chantal Kreviazuk Featured on SNL
Multiplatinum Winnipegger Chantal Kreviazuk recently performed on U.S. variety show Saturday Night Live which was created by Torontonian Lorne Michaels. A while back, Chantal wrote song “Pay For It” which she shelved. It was later dusted off by American rappers Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar who liked it and recorded a finalized version keeping Chantal’s vocal bits and crediting her as a featured artist. The three performed the song on SNL. It was Kreviazuk’s first time on the show, and having grown up as a fan of Gilda Radner, she was honoured to take its stage.
Our new, bright, young star from Toronto, Shawn Mendes, will be joining Taylor Swift on her North American stadium tour. Hold your horses, though. The tour kicks off in May 2015. Something more immediate is that Shawn will be following up his gold, Top 10 hit “Life of the Party” and debut EP with new single “Something Big” November 10. He already has over 2 million Twitter followers. In other news, Vancouver country superstar Dallas Smith hit #6 on iTunes recently with new single “Wastin’ Gas”. He will be releasing a new LP November 24 entitled Lifted. It will include five songs from his Tippin’ Point EP plus six new ones. Bobby Bazini’s Where I Belong has been certified platinum by Music Canada. It is the second 2014 Canadian album to achieve this, after Serge Fiori’s self-titled ripper. Platinum artist Lisa LeBlanc will be releasing English crossover album this week, Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted.
Track #3 from the upcoming album 1989 by American singer Taylor Swift hit #1 on the iTunes Canada singles chart. The only problem is, the actual music and vocals are not yet available. So many Canadians spent $1.29 to download 8 seconds of white noise yesterday that Track #3 beat out all other actual songs available on iTunes and hit #1. Conspiracy theorists have suggested that Taylor is testing her star power over Canadians and that the track contained secret surveillance encoding by the U.S. National Security Agency. It is more likely that it was a mistake by iTunes. The big question is: will Nielsen SoundScan count the as yet unnamed track towards the charts next week?
Rosaireville, NB’s Lisa LeBlanc rode out of nowhere like a princess on a snowmobile, got nominated for a JUNO, won a Félix, and struck platinum with the release of her debut, self-titled Franco album, with all tracks being self-penned. Lisa calls her genre of music “folk trash”. It’s a mishmash of country, folk, and rock delivered with in-your-face charisma and intense musicianship. Lisa rocks her banjo harder than most heavy metalists rock guitar (she plays guitar too). She has been called Canada’s answer to Janis Joplin.
Now, in smooth Acadian fashion, Lisa is crossing over into Anglo territory with the release of EP Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted. The 6-track English disc will be released on November 4, and LeBlanc will be on tour from Ottawa to Victoria mid-November to mid-December. Album opener, “You Look Like Trouble (But I Guess I Do Too)” is available for digi-download, and the EP can be pre-ordered from iTunes.
No 2014 album has attained platinum sales in the United States so far this year, and the only past album to reach the marker was last year’s various artists soundtrack, Frozen. In contrast, Canada has certified four 2014 albums platinum: Serge Fiori, Pharrell Williams’ Girl, Ed Sheeran’s X, and Coldplay’s Ghost Stories. The United Kingdom has a few including Ed Sheeran’s X (2x platinum) and Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour. Both X and Ghost Stories have been certified platinum in Australia. Unlike a number of other countries, The U.S. has not redefined certifications in light of the digital “download the tracks you want” era.
In order to count as an album sale, the entire album must be purchased either digitally, on CD, or other formats. In early 2008, Music Canada lowered platinum status from 100,000 copies to 80,000. Platinum in the United States has remained at 1 million. Consider too that in order for an album to be certified platinum, more Brits need to buy it than Americans. For every 100,000 Brits, 468 need to buy an album for it to go platinum, whereas in the U.S. only 314 need to buy it. Obviously, Brits buy much more music per capita than Americans. The latest data we have (from 2009) shows that the UK ranks 3rd in the world for per capita spending on music whereas the U.S. ranks 16th. Canada’s platinum standards are lowest among the four countries in the table provided below.
MuchMusic celebrated its 30th anniversary on 31 August 2014. The music video television network launched the same day in 1984 when Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters” was the #1 song in Canada. Prior to Much, a number of established networks began regular MV segments. Local TV in Metro Vancouver had Soundproof and the CBC had Good Rockin’ Tonight with Terry David Mulligan (who later joined Much as a VJ). The channel has helped catapult a number of new recording artists to stardom over the years. Through MuchFACT, MuchMusic funds the creation of new Canadian music videos and produces the popular various artist compilation album series Big Shiny Tunes and MuchDance. The channel has also developed the internationally renowned MMVAs or MuchMusic Video Awards. Much was licensed by the CRTC to CHUM when it debuted. A few years ago it was acquired by Bell Media.
Much celebrated its 30th birthday with a number of special features showing footage from the past, and counting down its picks for “The 100 Greatest Videos Ever”. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was named #1. Many former MuchMusic VJs are now broadcasters for the CBC. These include Sook-Yin Lee, Laurie Brown, and George Stroumboulopoulos. J.D. Roberts is a correspondent for Fox News. Below is a brief 1984 interview with Corey Hart on MuchMusic sending a message as relevant today as it was 30 years ago.
Canada has scored a hat trick in Britain, as a 3rd Canadian act tops their official singles chart in 2014. The first to accomplish this was DVBBS (“Tsunami”) with a little help from Borgeous and Tinie Tempah. “Hideaway” the breakout debut from Calgary’s Kiesza hit #1 in the UK before charting anywhere else. And now, Toronto’s MAGIC! has crowned the chart with reggae-pop treasure “Rude”. The United Kingdom is the world’s 3rd largest music market (after the U.S. and Japan) while Canada ranks 7th. Thus, a Canadian artist doing well in the motherland is certainly a blessing. We hope this invaluable British support for Commonwealth music of the maple persuasion continues!