Music News Digest, Aug. 28, 2017

Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran Dominate the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards

INGLEWOOD, CA: Ed Sheeran was named Artist of the Year and Kendrick Lamar tallied up six Moonies for "Humble" at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards ceremony last night, held at the Los Angeles Forum.

Lamar's "Humble" won Video of the Year, Best Cinematography, Best Direction, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects and Best Hip-Hop Video at the bash, hosted by Katy Perry.

P!nk was named the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard recipient and a few Canadians also fared well, with Alessia Cara's "Stay" collaboration with Zedd named Best Dance video and her own "Scars To The Beautiful" featured as one of six winning videos in the Best Fight Against The System category.

The 2017 MTV VMAs was also a visual coming out party for Taylor Swift's latest creation, the video for her new single "Look What You Made Me Do," that serves for the November release of her new album Reputation. It was additional icing for the cake that came with her collaborative victory with One Direction's Zayn for "I Don't Want To Live Forever (from Fifty Shades Darker.)"

Canadians also received some much treasured TV time, with both Cara and Shawn Mendes performing their hits on the show. One previously advertised performer who ended up being a no-show was The Weeknd. No reason was offered for the absence of the Scarborough crooner.

Life Without Peart?

An article in the Toronto Sun speculates that Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson may be planning to continue without their Rush compadre Neil Peart on a completely fresh project called LeeLifeson.

According to WAXQ and Sirius XM Radio host Eddie Trunk, the Rush singer and bass player told him that "(Geddy) is reinvigorated," mentioning that Lee had "made some changes to his diet, which helped his voice, and (that) he had a ton of energy and he wanted to make music and continue in some way."

Rush fan site Cygnus-X1 reports that Trunk said, “There has been talk about a band called LeeLifeson, which would be the two of them (Geddy and Alex) going out and doing stuff together.” 

As for drummer Neil Peart, Trunk says: “I’ve heard that he doesn’t even have drums in his house anymore.” 

Nothing has been confirmed or commented on by the Rush camp.

Although no one has officially announced it, Rush reportedly retired from massive worldwide touring after completing R40, the band's 40th anniversary tour.  A Paul Rudd-narrated documentary of that possibly final outing called Rush/Time Stands Still, debuts at Cineplex and Landmark Theatres on November 3.

When management media rights giant ole purchased Anthem Entertainment Group, coinciding with the launch of ole Label Services, company co-founder and CEO Robert Ott had mentioned that there was an understanding that Rush would continue creating new music.

ole is also releasing a deluxe edition of the trio's watershed album A Farewell To Kings to mark the recording's 40th anniversary on September 01.

Shania's Brad Pitt moment 

Remember Shania Twain's huge chart-topper "That Don't Impress Me Much?" quotes the Windsor-born, Timmins-raised singer sourcing the inspiration for the tune: Brad Pitt - who is name-checked in the song - fiancee-at-the-time Gwyneth Paltrow and a Playgirl Magazine photo scandal.

“I remember I had a girlfriend visiting me and it was near Christmas and we were baking cookies," Twain recently told Spotify. "I was writing this album and there was a scandal of Brad and Gwyneth, where there was naked photos of him ... and this was, like, all the rage. I just thought, ‘I don’t know what all the fuss is about.’

“I’m like, ‘Well, that don’t impress me much, I mean what is all the fuss (about)? We see people naked every day.’ That’s really what I thought.

“I wasn’t picking on Brad Pitt. But that was just the association in that moment and things we make fusses about and whatever. Of course, it could have been any gorgeous guy.”

Twain, on the comeback trail, releases her first Mutt Lange-free album Now next month, with post-retirement concert tour dates to follow in 2018.

Wishing UMC a "Murray" Christmas

Universal Music Canada has announced plans to release Anne Murray: The Ultimate Collection, a new double-disc greatest hits set by the legendary, beloved and now-retired Canadian singer, on September 29.

Aside from the expected hits like "Snowbird," "You Needed Me," and "Could I Have This Dance," there are a number of unexpected duets with Glen Campbell, Michael Bublé, Emmylou Harris and Bryan Adams.

"The original idea was to come up with a greatest hits compilation along with several of the songs that many people wouldn’t have heard but were particular favourites of mine,” Anne Murray explains in a press release. “The hits were easy but then to decide what should go on the second disc, I went over the songs that I used to do in sound check, things I used to do in the unplugged segment of the show, personal favourites of mine. Some of them are from early on in my career so they have kind of a special meaning for me too.”

By the way, although she retired from touring 10 years ago, Murray still reunites occasionally for impromptu jams with her band members.

“When I retired I was ready to do so. I knew it and everyone around me knew it. I miss the people on the road,” she admits, “I miss some of the fan interaction. I keep in touch with the people in my band who were family to me and still are. We are having a reunion this summer – we have a reunion every three years – getting together to sing and play and have fun.”

The double-vinyl release of Anne Murray: The Ultimate Collection drops November 17.

Montreal's Dominicana Scores 3 Latin Awards Canada Noms

Montreal-based Latin music singer, songwriter, bandleader Wilsikin Medina Arias, a.k.a. Rafael Energía Dominicana, has scored three Latin Awards Canada noms, with his manager, Vivo Musique Internationale's Glenda Rush, nabbing a fourth.

The artist, who records both solo and with his band, Rafael and Energía Dominicana, has been recognized for Merengue of the Year for "Nous allons danser Bailame," Male Vocalist of the Year and Artist Public, while Rush is up for Manager of the Year.

The awards ceremony is set for Montreal's Rialto Theatre on September 3.

Paul Brandt signs with Warner Music Canada

For his new album The Journey, Canadian country music veteran Paul Brandt is enjoying a bit of a homecoming by signing with Warner Music Canada.

Back when he started out in the late 1990s with "My Heart Has A History," Brandt was directly signed to U.S. affiliate Reprise Nashville, making Warner Music Canada his domestic home. Now carrying the double mantle of  "the most played Canadian country artists in Nielsen BDS history" and "the most awarded Canadian male country artist in history," according to the Warner press release, Brandt returns to the label mere weeks before he is deservedly inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame on September 9.

“It is a honour for the label to once again get to work with Paul,” said Steve Kane, president of Warner Music Canada, in a statement.  “He not only set the standard for all Canadian country music artists but, through his philanthropic endeavors, he has set an example for what all artists can do with their voices beyond music.”

Brandt's new single "The Journey" is out now, with the album to follow in 2018.



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