Jessie Reyez
Jessie Reyez

Music News Digest, Jan. 29, 2017

Reports suggest that rising young Canadian R&B artist Jessie Reyez made a splash at Universal Music Group’s annual pre-Grammy showcase in NYC on Saturday night. The Associated Press singled out Reyez and country star Kacey Musgraves for special praise, with writer Mesfin Fekadu noting that "Reyez also played her guitar — singing onstage alone — winning over the crowd as her scratchy vocals and deep lyrics took centre stage."

–  Formerly the GroundSwell Music Festival, Halifax's Into The Night Music Fest has announced some of its 2018 lineup. Notables include The Town Heroes, Like A Motorcycle, The Flatliners and Said the Whale, with more tba. The action hits Olympic Hall March 16 and 17. Info here

– SOCAN Chief Québec Affairs Officer Geneviève Côté is joining the Board of Directors of The Polaris Music Prize, the first-ever Québec-based board member. The other Polaris Board members are Steve Jordan (Polaris Founder), Katherine Duncan (CBC), Lyndsay Lynch (YouTube), Jesse Kumagai (Massey Hall), Miro Oballa (Taylor Klein Oballa), Derrick Ross (Slaight Music), Jamie Schouela (Blue Ant Media), Mark Steinmetz (CBC), and Amy Terrill (Music Canada).

–  Beginning March 30th, Netflix will screen Rapture, an 8-part documentary series exploring hip-hop culture. The diverse swath of artists includes Nas and Dave East, T.I., Rapsody, Logic, G-Eazy, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, 2 Chainz and Just Blaze. 

– The Saskatchewan Country Music Association has announced the 29th annual edition of its Awards and festival will take place in Prince Albert, April 27-29. Further info and tickets here

– Oscar-nominated director Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven) has been announced as the man at the helm of The Velvet Underground, a feature documentary on one of the most influential rock bands ever. It will be produced by Polygram Entertainment and Verve Label Group. This is Haynes’ first documentary project, though music has been a key component in some of his dramatic feature films, including SuperstarI'm Not There, and his earlier 'Velvet' film, Velvet Goldmine, set in the glam rock scene. Source:

Manitoba Music and Creative Manitoba are presenting the 2018 edition of the Careers in the Arts youth mentorship program in music management. The project is now accepting submissions from young Manitoba bands and solo artists, with a Feb. 12 deadline. Several artists will also be selected to perform at the compilation release concert in early May. More info here

MGM has confirmed its intention to make a movie about the ‘Queen of Soul’, Aretha Franklin. The singer is believed to have approved the choice of Jennifer Hudson for the lead role. The news was broken at a pre-Grammy party in NYC on Saturday night.

–  Nigerian-born, Toronto-based Toronto jazz pianist/composer/arranger Thompson Egbo-Egbo has long been heralded locally, and a recent signing to Entertainment One Music Canada will boost his national profile. A new trio album, A New Standard, came out on Jan. 19 and it breathes new life into tunes by Radiohead, Bob Dylan, John Coltrane and more. His Thompson T. Egbo-Egbo Arts Foundation has taught composition to kids in the Jane/Finch neighbourhood, and he has participated in the revitalization of the Regent Park area.

Egbo-Egbo plays a free show at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern on Feb. 13. Check out the album's lead single here

–  Canadian soprano star Measha Brueggergosman is returning to Toronto's Opera Atelier for its just announced 2018-19 season. She will reprise the role in which she won a Dora Award in 2008 (her Atelier debut), that of Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo. It will run April 4-13, 2019.

–  SaskMusic is presenting a Skills Lab series with entertainment lawyer and musician Kurt Dahl. He will cover the essential contracts artists are likely to encounter in their careers. The events take place in Saskatoon on Jan. 30 and Regina, Jan. 31, with the latter also streaming online. Free for SaskMusic members, $20 for non-members. Register here

–  Toronto-based indie-rock quartet Birds Of Bellwoods has just signed to Entertainment One Music. A debut full-length album, Victoria, will be preceded by new singles and videos. The group released an EP, The Fifth, in 2015, and has been active in playing local clubs and festivals. Here's the first single from the new album.


John Leonard Morris, a US film composer best known for his work with Mel Brooks, died on Jan. 25 at age 91. Films he scored included Blazing Saddles, Springtime for Hitler, Life Stinks, Spaceballs, Johnny Dangerously, The Woman in Red, To Be or Not to Be, and Yellowbeard.

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