Drake and Degrassi comrades  Photo: Huffington Post
Drake and Degrassi comrades Photo: Huffington Post

Music News Digest, June 18, 2018

Drake's latest video, "I'm Upset," is another hit, quickly amassing 12.3M YouTube views in just a few days. Directed by recent Prism Prize winner Karena Evans (“God’s Plan,” “Nice For What”), it prompted a reunion of Drizzy's former fellow cast members from Degrassi: The Next Generation, the hit series that first brought him fame (he starred in the series from 2001 to 2009).

Locations in the video include the Air Canada Centre (Drake's second home) and the Toronto film set where Degrassi is still filmed. Degrassi executive producer Stephen Stohn told Variety that “Back in the day, working with all these wonderful talented people was the highlight of my life; and to revisit those times, and "meeting up on set with all these wonderful talented people again, has been an awesome dream come true.” Sources: Billboard, Variety 

– Billed as The Carters, the superstar couple of Beyonce and Jay-Z delivered a surprise new joint album, Everything Is Love, on Saturday night. The release came on the heels of a show they performed together in London. The album initially appeared only on Tidal, the streaming service in which both artists have a stake, and it was accompanied by a new video, "Apes**t," directed by Ricky Saiz. Source: New York Times

– The winners of the French edition of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize are Loud, RealMind and Ruffsound, for their song “56k" (a hit last year for Loud). This brought the co-writers a $10K  cash prize, a PSR-S970 keyboard from Yamaha Canada, and a $500 gift certificate from Long & McQuade. See a list of the other nine finalists here. Previous winners of the annual Prize have included Karkwa, Klô Pelgag and Karl Gagnon, and Bernard Adamus. Partner won the Anglo version of the Prize this year.

Festival of The Sound is an annual summer classical music festival based in Parry Sound, Ontario. This year (its 39th)  it spans July 20 to Aug. 11, featuring some major jazz and folk acts as well as classical artists. That list includes Patricia O'Callaghan, The New Zealand String Quartet, Stewart Goodyear, Dave Young, Slocan Ramblers, James Keelaghan, and Charles-Richard Hamelin.

–  Last week, Canadian hip-hop producer Murda Beatz competed in the first Fortnite Pro-Am in LA, finishing 11th with his partner, Valkyrae, winning $20K for charity.  On Friday, he visited Councillor Norm Kelly’s office in Toronto City Hall to donate his game winnings for First Book Canada, an organization that helps lower-income students receive books and school supplies. Kelly, nicknamed "Toronto's hip-hop dad," has been enlisting celebrities to this cause.

–  Murda Beatz has worked with the likes of Drake, Migos, French Montana and Zayn Malik. His production is featured on a new track, “Bigger > You” from 2 Chainz featuring Drake and Quavo, one already shaping up as a hit. Source: Toronto Star

–  The Vancouver Mural Festival is expanding this year to include an outdoor concert in Mount Pleasant. The show takes place Aug. 11 at Jonathan Rogers Park, capping off the week-long mural fest. Live Nation Canada is involved and the acts TBA are expected to include international and local talent.

–  The submission deadline for the 2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards has been extended to Wed. June 20 at 5pm EST to ensure no one is left out. Canadian artists and groups whose albums were released in Canada between June 1, 2017 – May 31, 2018 are eligible. For the full list of submission categories and eligibility details, visit folkawards.ca/eligibility/

– In this era, playing the clarinet is not usually a path to fame and fortune, but that has proved to be the case for young Montreal clarinetist Eric Abramovitz. In a case that made major headlines all over North America on the weekend, he was awarded $350K in damages by an Ontario Superior Court judge who ruled that the musician's former partner, Jennifer Lee, had cost him a "unique opportunity" through her interference in his career as a professional musician.

Back in 2014, Abramovitz was accepted into a prestigious — and highly selective — music program in California, but Lee, his girlfriend at the time, intercepted and then deleted the email telling him his application was successful. Abramovitz has won the Canadian Music Competition six times and performed with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the McGill Symphony Orchestra. Source: cbc.ca

–  The annual and free Kultrun World Music Festival has earned a reputation as one of the best for the genre in Canada. This year it runs July 13-15 at Victoria Park in Kitchener. Headliners include Afrikana Soul Sister, Colectro, Aurora and Alysha Brilla. More info at kultrunwmf.com

–  The transition has taken a while, but noted Toronto bar and music venue the Cadillac Lounge will close tomorrow (June 19), and will reopen shortly after as Blind Faith. A music presence will remain there. Original owner Sam Grosso will remain active as a concert promoter, booking shows throughout Ontario via his new company Cadillac Lounge Productions.

– The City of North Vancouver is presenting a new event, the Shipped Waterfront Festival, on Aug. 11. Announced acts include Humans, Leisure Club, and Manatee Commune.

– The Harvest Moon Festival in Clearwater, Manitoba, runs Sept. 14-16, for the 17th year. It hosts a wide range of activities including a strong musical component. The mostly made-in-Manitoba lineup includes Al Simmons, Atlaas, Bo Legged,  Ian La Rue (Heartbeat City),  Ridley Bent and The Killer Tumbleweeds, Slow Leaves, The New Customs, Two Hip, and more.

– On Friday, Toronto hip-hop  trio and OVO affiliates Prime Boys released a new video and single for the new Murda Beatz-produced single, "Hold Me Down." It's the third single from their upcoming album, Prime Forever, out July 6. Press and promo runs in NYC and LA will follow.

 

RIP

Nick Knox (born Nicholas Stephanoff), drummer of seminal US punk/rockabilly band The Cramps, died on June 15 at age 60.

Formerly in the Electric Eels, Knox played with The Cramps from 1977 to 1991. He contributed to their first four LPs, including A Date With Elvis, the band’s most commercially-successful album. Sources: nme.com

Matt "Guitar" Murphy, guitarist for the Blues Brothers and noted sideman for blues legends like Howlin' Wolf, Memphis Slim, Ike Turner, Etta James, Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters, died on June 15 at 88.

Murphy was a veteran of the Chicago blues scene of the Forties and Fifties; Murphy worked alongside artists ranging from Ike Turner and Etta James to James Cotton, Willie Dixon and Sonny Boy Williamson. He had a big impact with a role in the 1980 comedy classic The Blues Brothers, acting alongside Aretha Franklin. He played on the Blues Brothers' 1978 album Briefcase Full of Blues, the 1980 film's soundtrack and 1982's Made in America. In 1998, Murphy reprised his role in Blues Brothers 2000 and its soundtrack.

Between his stints with the Blues Brothers, Murphy served as bandleader of his own project, releasing albums like 1990's Way Down South and 2000's Lucky Charm. Source: Rolling Stone

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