Headlines and Footdots for May 19, 2018

It has been quite a week. The Eurovision song contest declared a winner; there was a major plane crash near the city where half of Camila Cabello’s heart is; a Laurel versus Yanny debate surged; the “never again” slogan proved presumptuous via Santa Fe, Texas; beloved Canadian actress Margot Kidder, best known for playing Lois Lane in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, has departed from this world; and there was a Royal Wedding which attracted far more fans than the current US President’s inauguration. Regarding Canadian music, here’s the latest…

She Had to Work for the Prism Prize

Canadian R&B singer CDW a.k.a. Charlotte Day Wilson was crowed winner of the 2018 Prism Prize which grants a cash reward to what is deemed the best/most artistic Canadian music video of the year. Her MV for song “Work”, the whole of which features pedestrians on an escalator, pleased the judges most.

Surrounding the awards was talk of the potential demise of higher-budget music videos made for Canadian B-list artists due to the folding up of muscular funding bodies like MuchFACT. Since its inauguration in 1984, The Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent awarded $100 million to 9,000 projects.

The gala proceeded at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox at which the 10 shortlisted MVs were screened, the artists being Grimes, Jessie Reyez, Leonard Cohen, Daniel Caesar, Feist, PUP, CRi, Alvvays, Alice Glass, and Charlotte Day Wilson.

Director Fantavious Fritz, director of Charlotte’s “Work”, won the grand prize of $15,000 for best Canadian music video. He declared that part of the money would be used to create a one-time music video grant for a female director.

Three other awards were given out at the shindig: The audience award, selected by public vote from the top 20 long-list, which went to directors Keaven Yazdani and Sean Brown for Daniel Caesar’s “Freudian, a Visual”; The hi-fidelity award, “presented to a Canadian recording artist with a strong visual identity in music video art,” that went to Grimes; and The Lipsett award for “an innovative and unique approach to music video art” that went to Karena Evans, who directed Drake’s “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What,” as well as Belly’s “The Come Down Is Real Too.”

The Furious Five Populate 2018 BBMA Nominations

If you have been following Canadian Music Blog, you know who we mean by “the furious five” – Alessia Cara, Drake, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and The Weeknd – currently the most internationally charting of Canadian recording artists. The 2018 Billboard Music Awards will take place tomorrow night (Sunday, May 20) at 5 p.m. Pacific, broadcast from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and hosted by U.S. singer Kelly Clarkson. Canada’s Shawn Mendes will be one of the performers. He is nominated for Top Social Artist. Drake has 9 nominations, Justin Bieber 8, The Weeknd 4, and Alessia Cara 1 (Top Dance/Electronic song with Zedd).

CCMA Awards: First Three Performers Announced

As far as Canadian award shows go, there have been more announcements regarding the CCMAs (Canadian Country Music Association awards). The top selling female country artist of all-time internationally, Shania Twain, will do hosting duties. This week, the first three performers were announced: Lindsay Ell, High Valley, and New Zealand born Keith Urban. The nationwide broadcast (CBC) happens from FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton on Sunday, September 9, at 5 p.m. Pacific.

Lindsay Ell recently pulled off a feat that no other Canadian female soloist has been able to muster for a full decade: she scored a number one country radio hit for her song “Criminal”. It also cracked into the Top 20 in the United States. Her album The Project was named the #1 Critic’s Choice Country Album of the Year by Billboard magazine. Lindsay is from Calgary, hometown of such other aces as Paul Brandt, Jann Arden, Kiesza, and Tegan & Sara.

Also from Alberta is two-time CCMA Award Group of the Year winning bro-duo High Valley. Song “She’s with Me” reached #7 on the Billboard US Country Airplay chart (yes, you read that right). Since 2011, the brothers have placed 10 songs on the Canadian Hot 100. “I Be U Be” made it to #1 at Canadian country radio.

Eric Lapointe and Loud Luxury Rip Up the Charts

Rocker Eric Lapointe scored a #2 album with Delivrance this week, outshone only by Post Malone. On the Digital Chart, Celine Dion‘s “Ashes” from the Deadpool 2 soundtrack, debuted at #5; it appeared on the Hot 100 at #72. Great news for Loud Luxury‘s “Body”, the big success story of the year. The single, now a double platinum one, is #10 on the Hot 100 and currently sits at #2 on iTunes just behind the new release from The Backstreet Boys. Shawn Mendes‘ “Youth” debuted at #22.

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Headlines and Footdots April 22, 2018

Serena Ryder Guesting on The Voice

La Voix is into the quarter finals. The talent search show has been going strong since the beginning and this year enjoys its sixth season. This year’s coaches are Garou, Lara Fabian, Éric Lapointe, and Alex Nevsky. Tonight, Serena Ryder will be guesting on the second quarterfinal episode to play a number of her hits.

Felix Cartal Dropping New Album

Avicii is no longer with us, Zedd is busy drooling over his newly constructed unsightly colourless mansion, and we haven’t heard much from deadmau5. Stepping up to the EDM plate is Vancouver’s own Felix Cartal who will be releasing new LP Next Season on so-called Star Wars Day. The album will include many of his previous single releases such as hit “Get What You Give” and plenty of new pieces.

Loreena McKennitt and Facebook’s Lost Souls

Celtic/new age/world music star Loreena McKennitt, hailing from the same hometown as Justin Bieber, will be releasing a new album as well. Lost Souls, out May 11, will be her 10th. She managed to attract some press, no so much with the upcoming work but with her statement that she will be deleting her Facebook account after the album comes out due to the social media platform’s breaches of privacy.

Shawn Mendes at Queen’s 92nd Birthday

Britain is treating Canada better since the fiasco that was the Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012 when no Canadian artist was included in the performance lineup and artists from non-Commonwealth nations were invited. For the Queen’s 92nd birthday, the lineup made more sense. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch in British history. Canada’s Shawn Mendes performed along with Sting from England, Tom Jones Wales, Jamie Cullum England, Kylie Minogue Australia, Shaggy Jamaica, and Craig David England.

Tom Cochrane’s “Big League” Makes a Comeback

Tom Cochrane’s song “Big League”, 75th of 1988, has picked up a number of radio spins since the Humbolt Broncos tragedy. He has also released a simplified version of the song – acoustic guitar and voice only – which is Top 40 at iTunes. The song tells the story of a young hockey player headed into the big leagues but crashes into a truck.

All the right moves when he turned eighteen
Scholarship and school on a big U.S. team
Out with his girl near Lake McClean
Hit a truck doing seventy in the wrong lane
To the big league

Benefit Concert for the Broncos

Country stars Brett Kissel, Chad Brownlee, Dallas Smith, Gord Bamford, The Hunter Brothers, and Jess Moskaluke are going to play a big fundraising concert for the victims of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy April 27 in Saskatoon. Sixteen were killed in a bus crash when a lorry struck it on the highway.

Other Canadian artists have paid tribute to the victims including Paul Brandt who performed a powerful song on CBC’s q, as well as rap superstar Drake who wore a Broncos jersey at a recent Toronto Raptors (basketball) game. After the match, he and the Raptors signed the jersey, which will be auctioned to raise funds for the families.

A Go Fund Me page that has raised $14 million — one of the largest sums ever on the site — will close on Wednesday.

Lindsay Ell Scores First Female Canadian #1 Country Song in 10 Years!

From the city of Crowchild Trail, Benny the Bear, and the Saddledome, Calgary’s Lindsay Ell, discovered by Randy Bachman when she was just 15, has just done something no other female Canadian artist has been able to do for 10 long years.

Releasing her gold, magenta, and vermillion tinged album The Project in 2017, hailed by Billboard magazine as the best country album of the year, Lindsay let loose the blistering track “Criminal”, and it has decimated the charts. It is the number one country radio single in the land, and the first from a maple-femme artist since Terri Clark’s “In My Next Life” from 2008. “Criminal” has also entered the Top 20 in the United States’ nationwide country airplay chart!

For many years, a Canadian artist was unable to scratch the surface of the country charts until Gord Bamford’s fireball, “When Your Lips Are So Close” in November 2013. This was followed by a string of number ones by Canadians, but all gentlemen: “Bounty” by Dean Brody, “Wastin’ Gas” by Dallas Smith, “Airwaves” by Brett Kissel, “Autograph” by Dallas Smith, “Side Effects” by Dallas Smith, “I Be U Be” by High Valley, “Chills” by James Barker Band, “Sky Stays This Blue” by Dallas Smith, “Sleepin’ Around” by Dallas Smith, and “8th Day” by Dean Brody.

On the accomplishment, Lindsay states, “I am humbled and grateful to be the first female artist to have a #1 since 2008 on the Canadian country radio charts. Sometimes you work so hard for the things you want, they feel surreal when they happen. Thank you country radio for believing in me and making this possible. Thank you to each and every fan for never giving up on me. I will try my best to continue to make you proud.”

Ell is currently on tour with Brad Paisely and will join Sugarland for 20+ dates in the summer. She is set to play with Keith Urban in Canadian arenas in September. Check out her website for dates.

By scoring a number one country hit, Lindsay Ell has blown the field wide open for Canadian women. 

We embed the MV for “Criminal” below. As you can hear, it’s very catchy with delicious vocal hooks and excellent guitar work from Lindsay Ell herself.

More JUNO Performers Added to the Bill

Platinum recording artist and double JUNO winner Lights will be onstage to perform at the 2018 JUNO awards as announced by CARAS today. Hamilton group Arkells with four JUNO trophies to boast will do the honours as well. In a special tribute to Gord Downie, the Tragically Hip frontman who succumbed to glioblastoma last year, Dallas Green (a.k.a. City and Colour) and Sarah Harmer will sing together.

These slayers join the lineup along with previously announced Arcade Fire, Daniel Caesar, and Jessie Reyez.

New Releases – Feb 23, 2018: Dumas and OLP

Canadian Athletes Set New Winter Olympic Record

Canada’s Winter Olympic medals haul has smashed all records, the previous number being 26. We’re up to 29 with potentially a few more medals by the closing of the games this weekend. There may have been some disappointments, especially with the hockey and curling, but athletes in other departments made up for it. Here is a list of all 29 medals won by Team Canada:

Sebastien Toutant – Gold – Snowboard: Men’s Big Air
Team Canada – Bronze – Ice Hockey: Men
Brittany Phelan – Silver – Freestyle Skiing: Ladies’ Ski Cross
Kelsey Serwa – Gold – Freestyle Skiing: Ladies’ Ski Cross
Kaetlyn Osmond – Bronze – Figure Skating: Ladies Single Skating
Team Canada – Bronze – Short Track Speed Skating: Men’s 5,000m Relay
Kim Boutin – Silver – Short Track Speed Skating: Ladies’ 1,000m
Team Canada – Silver – Ice Hockey: Women
Brady Leman – Gold – Freestyle Skiing: Men’s Ski Cross
Team Canada – Bronze – Bobsleigh: Women
Alex Beaulieu-Marchand – Bronze – Freestyle Skiing: Men’s Ski Slopestyle
Team Canada – Gold – Bobsleigh: 2-man
Cassie Sharpe – Gold – Freestyle Skiing: Ladies’ Ski Halfpipe
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir – Gold – Figure Skating: Ice Dance
Kim Boutin – Bronze – Short Track Speed Skating: Ladies’ 1,500m
Samuel Girard – Gold – Short Track Speed Skating: Men’s 1,000m
Justine Dufour-Lapointe – Silver – Freestyle Skiing: Ladies’ Moguls
Max Parrot – Silver – Snowboard: Men’s Slopestyle
Mark McMorris – Bronze – Snowboard: Men’s Slopestyle
Ted-Jan Bloemen – Silver – Speed Skating: Men’s 5,000m
Team Canada – Gold – Figure Skating: Team Event
Mikael Kingsbury – Gold – Freestyle Skiing: Men’s Moguls
Laurie Blouin – Silver – Snowboard: Ladies’ Slopestyle
Team Canada – Gold – Curling: Mixed Doubles
Alex Gough – Bronze – Luge – Women’s Singles
Kim Boutin – Bronze – Short Track Speed Skating: Ladies’ 500m
Team Canada – Bronze – Figure Skating: Pair Skating
Team Canada – Silver – Luge: Team Relay
Ted-Jan Bloemen – Gold – Speed Skating: Men’s 10,000m

Kim Boutin to Carry the Flag for Canada

Sherbrooke’s Kim Boutin has been selected as Canada’s flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. While she did not earn a gold medal, the short-track speed skater outshone the other athletes by winning three – one silver (1,000m) and two bronze (1,500m and 500m). Kim was a sentimental favourite as well, having to put up with online vitriol and death threats, being blamed for the disqualification of a Korean skating ace in the 500m. Boutin was in a position to win a fourth medal, as Team Canada had snagged bronze in the 3,000m relay but later disqualified in a ruling of impeding other skaters on the track.

Arkells in Concert for Team Canada

“Giants” by Lights became somewhat of an unofficial anthem for Canadian athletes at the games, and now Canadian music is coming in person to the athletes thanks to Virtue and Moir’s invitation of their favourite act Arkells to perform for Team Canada. The Hamilton band has nabbed three gold certified albums, two gold singles, and won four JUNO Awards. Members are excited, as it is their first time to visit Asia. The group says it will include a cover of an Alanis Morissette song in its set.

Arcade Fire to Perform at JUNO Gala

Speaking of performances, a third act has been confirmed to perform at the JUNO Awards gala on March 25 – Arcade Fire. The Montreal collective is up for four awards this year – Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Group of the Year, and Alternative Album of the Year. Its disc is also up for the Album Artwork of the Year trophy. For AF’s global success (the group has for example won both Grammy and BRIT awards), the JUNOs will also be presenting the band with the 2018 International Achievement Award. As the JUNO Awards have dropped Hedley from the bill, Arcade Fire will join the presently short roster which also consists of new acts Jessie Reyez and Daniel Caesar.

New Releases Include OLP and Dumas

We’re back to a strong showing for new Canadian artist releases. Find a table of 24 below. Highlights include Somethingness from diamond certified quadruple JUNO winning group Our Lady Peace, containing the catchiest songs the band has written in years. Slightly outselling the album on the current iTunes chart is Nos idéaux from gold certified talent Dumas – bursting with choice flavours including some electropop. We also like Coffee and Jam by alternative group Grounders (which we previously reviewed), Chrome by dance floor shaker Debbie Tebbs, Sauvignon and a Kimono (EP) by pop slayer DYLYN, and Stone Woman by critically acclaimed R&B specialist Charlotte Day Wilson. Below the table, check out a brand new Canadian artist MV from guess who?

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
Alive and Well Big Little Lions S-S/Folk
Basic Behaviour Frigs Alt
Chrome Debbie Tebbs Pop
Coffee and Jam Grounders   Alt
Daiva Stephane Moraille World
Echos Joshua Hyslop S-S/Folk
La femme taupe Victime Alt
The Game Ronley Teper Alt
Imitation Gold Louize Alt
In a State Shy Kids Alt
Lost Touch We Were Sharks Punk
Mon herbier du monde entier Ponctuation Alt
Nos ideaux Dumas Pop
People Person Everett Bird Alt
Realm of Human Illusions Necrotic Mutation Metal
Skip Land Mayhemingways  S-S/Folk
Somethingness Our Lady Peace Rock
Teach Me to Love Beams Alt
Tempus Fugit Marc-André Pépin Classical
These Flowers Are for You ChessClub Rap
O La Si (EP) Carine Au Micro World
Sauvignon and a Kimono (EP) DYLYN Pop
Six In 6/8 (EP) David Leask Country
Stone Woman (EP) Charlotte Day Wilson R&B

“I Don’t Wanna Know” Tugs at the Heartstrings

We leave you with the brand new MV for Kira Isabella‘s beautiful heartbreaking acoustic guitar ballad “I Don’t Wanna Know” below. Feel the stings to the heart in lines like, “I’m wearing that dress from our first date, and you don’t notice”.

The Launch Wraps Up with a Big Distribution Deal

Bell Media’s The Launch, produced by the Big Machine Label Group, has wrapped up Season One after seven episodes broadcast on CTV. Six singles voiced by winning contestants saw success in terms of digital downloads and picked up radio spins across the country. The most successful on the charts has been “Ain’t Easy” by Ottawa’s Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine. Below are the six tracks.

The show’s 7th episode, titled “Just Launched”, was a followup on how things have gone for the singers.

An international distribution deal has been inked by Sony Pictures Television who will look into releasing the program’s format in foreign countries. It may also mean that the Canadian series will be aired on networks around the world. The Launch debuted at number one in its timeslot on CTV.

Mentors, songwriters, and producers appearing through Season One included Alessia Cara, Boy George, busbee (P!nk, Shakira, Blake Shelton), Dann Huff, Fergie, Ian Kirkpatrick (Jason Derulo, Selena Gomez), Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland), Julia Michaels (Mötley Crüe), Ryan Tedder (One Republic), Shania Twain, and Stephan Moccio (Nikki Yanofsky, Miley Cyrus).

For those who were unable to tune into The Launch, its format involved the introduction of a new original song composed by a hit songwriter in each episode. Five aspiring recording artists auditioned. Two were selected whom the mentors felt had the most potential and worked over the next 48 hours to record their version of it. The two contestants then performed their rendition before a live audience and one was chosen. The resulting digital single was launched that night.

Stratford, Ontario Cuts the Ribbon to Exhibit Biebs

From boy busker to global pop superstar, Justin Bieber is honoured by his hometown of Stratford, Ontario with the opening of a dedicated exhibit at the town’s Perth Museum. While annual visitors normally number around 7,000, traffic is expected to rise dramatically until the exhibit closes at the end of the year. According to the museum’s general manager, the phone has been ringing off the hook with calls and emails originating from all over Canada, The United States, and from far off lands like South Korea, Spain, Italy, and Japan. “From Thursday to Sunday morning, I had about a thousand emails from either media outlets or fans, or people interested in coming here.”

Bearing the name Justin Bieber Exhibit — Steps to Stardom, inspired by his posting videos on YouTube of busking on the steps of the Avon Theatre a decade ago, the display features an assortment of items: his drum set, running shoes, stage outfits, a Stratford Warriors jacket from his junior hockey days, a letter from former First Lady Michelle Obama, and Ellen underwear, a take home gift after appearing on the popular chat show. The 60 pieces were provided by Bieber and his relatives, as well as other Stratford residents and fans. Through the year, they will be continually refreshed from the museum’s access to 125 Bieber items.

Justin was unable to attend the opening, as he was busy playing in the celebrity NBA all-star game in Los Angeles, USA Friday night. Last night he talked with high school junior Cameron Kasky who, in the wake of the Florida school shooting, is organizing March for Our Lives, a nationwide protest in the States March 24 to demand gun regulation and condemn American politicians’ acceptance of bribes from the country’s National Rifle Association.

Besides the exhibit, visitors to Stratford can also check out Bieber landmarks around town: the pop star’s former high school of Northwestern, the steps to the Avon Theatre from his busking days, his favourite eateries: candy shop Rhéo Thompson Candies, ice cream parlour Scooper’s, and “his table” at Madelyn’s Diner.

News and New Releases: February 16, 2018

Canadian Athletes Rock

A couple more Olympic medals from Canadian athletes were added to the tally yesterday as follows:

Kim Boutin – Bronze – Short Track Speed Skating: Ladies’ 1,500m
Samuel Girard – Gold – Short Track Speed Skating: Men’s 1,000m

They join 13 medals previously won as per below.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe – Silver – Freestyle Skiing: Ladies’ Moguls
Max Parrot – Silver – Snowboard: Men’s Slopestyle
Mark McMorris – Bronze – Snowboard: Men’s Slopestyle
Ted-Jan Bloemen – Silver – Speed Skating: Men’s 5,000m
Team Canada – Gold – Figure Skating: Team Event
Mikael Kingsbury – Gold – Freestyle Skiing: Men’s Moguls
Laurie Blouin – Silver – Snowboard: Ladies’ Slopestyle
Team Canada – Gold – Curling: Mixed Doubles
Alex Gough – Bronze – Luge – Women’s Singles
Kim Boutin – Bronze – Short Track Speed Skating: Ladies’ 500m
Team Canada – Bronze – Figure Skating: Pair Skating
Team Canada – Silver – Luge: Team Relay
Ted-Jan Bloemen – Gold – Speed Skating: Men’s 10,000m

Canada, in third place with 15 medals, has 5 gold, 5 silver, and 5 bronze.

Support for Hedley Pulled from Many Sides

Based on insinuations posted on social media where identity is concealed, where males can pose as females, where a single individual can, through the creation of multiple accounts, pose as many, support for Hedley has been pulled quickly on many fronts.

Watchdog Management and the Feldman Agency have both terminated their business relationships with the band. Both opening acts on the Cageless tour Shawn Hook and Neon Dreams have pulled out. Many radio stations have stopped spinning Hedley’s records.

The pop group will be continuing on with its tour with many fans refusing to be swayed by the defamatory rumours and gossip.

If such rumours are true, the repercussions would be unsettling and may serve as a catalyst for change. We have seen the consequences of society’s choice to accommodate alcohol consumption – marriage and family breakdown, millions of automobile deaths – and choice, since the 1960s, to revert back to the old ways of fornication – destabilizing human relationships and the foundation on which raising the next generation rests. Both are written off as justified in the so-called rock and roll lifestyle. Many male artists and bands promote alcohol consumption in their song lyrics and then use alcohol to take advantage of young women. How convenient. There is no doubt that such practices have happened and are still happening.

It is unfortunate too that speculation over Hedley’s affairs has resulted in division, pitting people into two camps of opposing opinions, something that would please the likes of Russia’s beloved Internet Research Agency.

Drake Comes Up with a New Plan

Drake has put smiles on many faces and maybe caused the odd teardrop to appear with his newly released MV for “God’s Plan”, the current number one single in the land.

Unnerved by a school shooting – the 290th in the U.S. since 2013 – an incident that killed 17, Florida was the recipient of something from Drake a little more practical than thoughts and prayers.

The video opens by saying that its budget was $996,631.90 and that Drake decided to give it all away to the needy. It shows him surprising local residents of the city of Miami with wads of cash. He tells shoppers that anything they buy in the store is on him. He donates $25,000 to a high school. And there are some other surprises. On Instagram he commented that it was “the most important thing I have ever done in my career.”

You can find and watch the video on the usual platforms.

New Releases

Not a huge amount but a fair number of new releases are out this week. Find the Canadian artist works in the table below.

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
Avant de crever Olivier Couture Rock
Fiesta Étienne Drapeau World
Grosso-Modo Séba et Horg Rap
Playing Chess Elise LeGrow Blues
Robert de Visée à Versailles Duo Baroque La Tour Classical
Room Inside the World Ought Alternative
Rule 62 Whitney Rose Country
Uncle, Duke & The Chief Born Ruffians Alternative
Weatherman Blaze Velluto Collection Alternative
Long Live the Night (EP) The Reklaws Country
The Projektor III (EP) Alex St. Kitts R&B
Le sens perd le nord (EP) Les DeadZ Alternative
Trouble (EP) Robby Johnson Country

Victoria Duffield Discloses Why She Hasn’t Released New Music

One of the finest, brightest young stars to sweep the nation over the past few years, Victoria Duffield, hasn’t released new music since 2014. Her two albums spawned a number of hits including platinum certified “Shut Up and Dance”. As a teen triple threat – singer, actress, and dancer (and oh what a dancer!) – Victoria was an immense inspiration across the nation picking up fans of all ages. She collaborated with Cody Simpson and toured with The Backstreet Boys. But something happened. Victoria who has been sharing her story in bits and pieces on her social networking sites opened up today in a post we quote below. Warning: For those of you who love Victoria and her music, this is not an easy read.

“As you’ve read, I’ve been giving you highlights (and lowlights) of my past years getting to do what I love. I am so thankful for the amazing years I had and getting to meet and perform for my fans across the country. Following my tour with the Backstreet Boys, I had hurt myself vocally. I had to get vocal cord surgery. This was a scary time. As a singer, you never know with vocal surgery if you’re going to be okay after. Singing is what I love and was terrified of losing it. Thankfully I was able to work with some incredible doctors in Los Angeles who helped me get back to full strength. My voice was back and it was time to work on the next release.

“Now let’s fast forward 2.5 years of writing and writing and writing….
🎵
Year: 2017
Month: May
Feeling: At A Complete Loss
Title: Now What
🎵

“After flying to multiple countries and writing tons of songs, I had plans lined up with a new team for a new song release. We were ready to go and I had booked a final photo shoot in Toronto to complete the project. Just before I was supposed to leave, in a matter of one phone call, that new team quit and the release plan was canceled. Everything I was depending on, planning, and preparing for vanished in seconds. I hung up the phone. I just sat on the couch and cried. For the first time, I Googled for other job options. I typed in ‘what do I do with my life?’. No matter what I looked up, nothing felt right. There was no go-to Plan B that I was okay with. Music is my everything but I wasn’t finding a way to make it work. How could I keep the dream alive? I’ve never felt so lost.”

For sure this is heartbreaking news for all Victoria Duffield fans and it certainly is for us. While her first two albums were released under Warner Music, the label no longer lists her as one of their artists.

We cherish the hope that new doors will open and she will continue her career as a recording artist.

Update: Victoria Duffield bounces back!

JUNOs Gear Up Amidst Grammys Backlash + Charts and Other News

Shawn Hook Reaches a New Plateau

First off, some very good news concerning British Columbian singer and songwriter Shawn Hook. Music Canada has certified his hit “Sound of Your Heart” a DOUBLE PLATINUM single elevating his rank to a multiplatinum recording artist. Huge congrats to the gentleman.

Alessia Cara … Shouldn’t Have to Defend Herself

Honours, as we previously reported, have also been given to Ontarian Alessia Cara who, on Sunday, became the first Canadian ever to win a Best New Artist Grammy. Unfortunately, a handful of vocal naysayers attempted to rain on her parade calling into question whether or not she should be considered new since she has been releasing music since 2015. Cara took to social media having to defend herself.

She pointed out that she did not submit her music for contention and does not make the Grammy Award rules. We point out that her fellow nominees with the exception of only one have been releasing music since before her: Lil Uzi Vert since 2014, Sza since 2012, and Julia Michaels since 2010.

We also call into question the motivations of the naysayers given that Alessia Cara was the only female who accepted an award onstage during the three-plus-hour live broadcast.

Grammys So Male

The above phenomenon caused hashtag #GrammysSoMale to trend on Twitter for hours following the telecast compelling Recording Academy president Neil Portnow to respond, saying that if women want to win Grammy Awards, they need to “step up”. This resulted in a huge backlash. Platinum, multiple JUNO winner LIGHTS pointed out that women have been stepping up for years, working tirelessly and that “power and talent oozes from every woman I know in this industry”. Of the 84 Grammy awards, only 11 went out to women. The New York Times determined that in the last six years only 9 percent of Grammy Awards have gone to women.

Grammy Ratings Tumble

Perhaps due to the large gender imbalance on Sunday, ratings for the show tumbled. While 26.1 million tuned in last year, the numbers fell to 19.8 million this year, a drop of 24%. Billboard suggested another reason may be the over emphasis on rap music, which is only the tenth most popular at radio in The United States. The lacklustre audience is the lowest in numbers since 2009.

JUNO Awards Gear Up

The JUNO Awards have their work cut out for them if they want to impress following on the heels of this. Nominations will be announced Tuesday, February 6.

The JUNOs also announced that the 2019 awards will be held in London. This year’s awards will be held March 25 in Vancouver and hosted by the king of swing, Michael Bublé.

This Week’s Charts

Last week we reported that Logan Staats failed to make the Billboard Hot 100 despite reaching #1 at iTunes. Drake, however, sees better luck on the Hot 100, as “God’s Plan” crowns it. B-side “Diplomatic Immunity” finishes the week at #6. Staats fellow The Launch victor Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine squeaks into the Top 40 with “Ain’t Easy”. The latter tops the Emerging Artists chart. The three new tracks save the Top 40 from an annihilation of CanCon which charred last week’s chart. Bahamas scores the first Top Ten 2018 Canadian artist album as Earthtones debuts at #5.

Alessia Cara Becomes the First Canadian Ever to win a Best New Artist Grammy

January 28, 2018, New York City – Brampton, Ontario Italian Canadian R&B singer Alessia Cara wins the United States’ Grammy Award for Best New Artist over other nominees Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Julia Michaels, and SZA. She is the first Canadian ever since the inception of the awards ceremony in 1959 to win the trophy in the category. “Holy cow,” she remarked upon taking the Madison Square Garden stage, “I’ve been pretend-winning Grammys since I was a kind in my shower. You think I’d have the speech thing down, but I absolutely don’t.”

Other Canadians who won Grammy Awards were The Weeknd whose album Starboy was named Best Urban Contemporary Album. It is the Toronto native’s third trophy. The deceased Leonard Cohen picked up the award for his song “You Want It Darker,” a bit misplaced in the category Best Rock Performance. He had previously received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy.

Nova Scotian soprano Barbara Hannigan won the award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album thanks to Crazy Girl Crazy, and Burlington, Ontario’s Charles Moniz, co-nominated for his work on Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic, won a Grammy for Best Engineered Album.

The Launch of 2018, Part 2

Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine Pin a Number One

With Logan Staats taking care of business last week, the second semaine of CTV’s The Launch saw a pair from Ottawa take the tiara. Mentors Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Group (tent of Taylor Swift), OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder, and Sugarland singer-songwriter Jennifer Nettles oversaw the launch of electro-pop music master Elijah Woods and singer Jamie Fine with their treatment of the Tedder-penned song “Ain’t Easy”. Borchetta was completely bowled over by Fine’s vocals describing her as a “street Adele”. Woods discovered her four years ago hearing her sing over a friend’s smartphone, and the two began working together a few days later. The song topped iTunes immediately upon release. Watch how things came together in the studio via the video embedded below.

Drake Bowls a Spare

There is only one thing that can knock out a pinned number one – a perfectly aimed bowling ball, and Drake let one loose. The above “Ain’t Easy” was knocked to #2 at iTunes by the Drake fastball, a new song entitled “God’s Plan”, part of a traditional (i.e. two-track) single. (“Diplomatic Immunity” sits on the B-Side.) In the new #1 song in Canada, Drake raps about how he thinks a higher power will not let him fail despite ill-will from his haters.

The JUNOs Get Bare Naked

The JUNO Awards recently announced this year’s inductee into the Music Hall of Fame – Barenaked Ladies along with ex-member Steven Page. BNL became extremely popular in Toronto long before breaking out nationally, and then internationally. The collective, that initially received some heat for its name, scored two Top 40 hits in Britain including “One Week” which made it to #5 there. Album Gordon was certified Diamond in Canada. BNL has won eight JUNO Awards to date. The group’s popularity was at its peak in the 1990s.

Gord Bamford and the New releases

Albertan platinum country star Gord Bamford releases his latest album Neon Smoke this week. JUNO winner Dubmatix joins Jamaican act Sly & Robbie for some reggae on Overdubbed. Heavy metal group Anvil is still rockin’ releasing its 17th studio album Pounding the Pavement. Singer-songwriter discs this week include one from two-time JUNO winner Bahamas (Earthtone) and newcomer Sarah Cripps, a self-titled work. A couple of sumptuous jazz albums are out. Chillout instrumental city jazz comes by way of The Francois Richard Quartet and Liberation. A New Standard from Thompson Egbo-Egbo is a bright piano-led sizzler. Rap LPs include Oddball Slang from Ontarian Fresh Air and an eponymous disc from Alberta’s Cadence Weapon.

Chillout R&B is at its finest on EP Joseph from Birthday Boy & Trish. Indie rock flies on Cycles deux from L’Indice. In the kingdom of pop, find excellence on La tristesse n’est qu’une saison by Eric Charland and T’écrire by Mégane Cyr.

We leave you with the brand new single/MV from good ol’ Coeur de pirate, “Prémonition”.

Headlines and Footdots: The Launch of 2018 Edition

Ontario indigenous artist Logan Staats tops iTunes Canada with “The Lucky Ones (The Launch)”. CTV’s much hyped The Launch … launched … January 10, a six-part television series, in which five promising new artists showcase their vocals on cover songs. Two finalists are selected, and big-name mentors prep them to compete through the performance of a song that will, within 48 hours, be released as a single. Advisers for Episode 1 were Shania Twain (as main mentor), Scott Borchetta, and busbee. Logan was chosen over fellow finalist Vivian Hicks for his soulful treatment of song “The Lucky Ones”. Released as a single, the track skyrocketed to the summit of iTunes surging past Ed Sheeran, Camila Cabello, and Justin Timberlake. Staats is from Six Nations, Ontario. Performances from the two finalists embedded below.

Meghan Patrick releases her sophomore album Country Music Made Me Do It. The Ontarian 2017 CCMA Female Artist of the Year winner has served the public her second country delicacy, and it has been well received, landing a spot in the iTunes Top 10 and receiving a score of 9/10 over at Exclaim! Magazine.

The Weeknd takes offence to H&M advertisement stating he will no longer be sponsoring the brand. The Stefan Persson (personal net worth $18.9 billion) retail clothier shot a promo photo of a hoodie that reads, “Coolest monkey in the jungle.” Because it was worn by a non-White child, many chose to take offence including The Weeknd, who had formerly inked a deal with the company to model for them and develop pieces under his XO brand. Now regarding H&M as the uncoolest monkey in the jungle, he remarked on Twitter, “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”

Alessia Cara will be performing at the 2018 United States’ Grammy Awards on January 28. The Ontario native has been nominated for three awards. She will be joining Khalid and Logic to deliver song “1-800-273-8255”. The shindig is to take place in New York City this year.

Two Canadian acts are nominated for 2018 BRIT Awards. The United Kingdom’s JUNOs, The Brits, recently unmasked the 2018 nominations. There are three international award categories and two of them have a Canadian artist in the running. Up for Best International Group is Arcade Fire and International Male Solo Artist is Drake.

Multiplatinum Albertan Jann Arden is releasing new album These Are the Days in mid-March. Jann joins a number of artists with album release dates set for the next few months: Grounders, Mild & Bone, Bahamas, Dumas, The Sheepdogs, Gord Bamford, Adrian Underhill, Hubert Lenoir, Jonathan Kawchuk, Good Lovelies, Séba et Horg, Cadence Weapon, The Fugitives, Leaving Thomas, Collette Savard, The Jim Cuddy Band, Grand Analog, Zaki Ibrahim, Ellen Doty, Suuns, Born Ruffians, U.S. Girls, Ought, Young Galaxy, and many more!