Meghan Patrick and students at the James MacDonald Elementary School in Hamilton
Meghan Patrick and students at the James MacDonald Elementary School in Hamilton

Music News Digest, Sept. 10, 2018

On Friday, dual CCMA Award winner Meghan Patrick helped kick off CCMA Country Music Week 2018 with MusiCounts, Canada’s leading music education charity, to surprise a local Hamilton school. To celebrate the CCMA's and SiriusXM Canada's support of MusiCounts, Patrick took the stage at James MacDonald Elementary School for a special performance, before announcing $5K worth of new instruments for the school’s music program. She also spoke about the impact that music education had on her own career. At the CCMA Awards last night, Paul Brandt spoke in support of MusiCounts, and he was joined by Kira Le, a student from James MacDonald Elementary School who explained that their grant has enabled her to play the ukulele, and that "playing music makes me feel better and focus on my other classes."

– Here's an interesting crossover attempt: Shawn Mendes heads to Nashville this month to tape the popular CMT (Country Music Television) series CMT Crossroads. Mendes gets to perform with the multi-platinum Zac Brown Band on the show, which debuts on Oct. 24. Source: The Music Universe

– Celine Dion continues to rake in serious coin from her performances. Billboard reports that her 2018 summer tour grossed $56.5M (US). Playing 22 shows in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, Dion sold 250,000 tickets. The biggest engagement of the tour was a three-night stay at Taiwan’s Taipei Arena with $10.7M grossed, though her one show at the Tokyo Dome delivered the biggest attendance tally, at 42,748.

–  Edmonton rock band Royal Tusk has signed a worldwide deal with Entertainment One (eOne), with plans to release a new LP, Tusk 11,  on Oct. 26. The group debuted with an EP, Mountain, in 2014, followed by the full-length DealBreaker in 2016.

– The Manitoba Country Music Association has announced that the third annual Manitoba Country Music Awards gala is set for Nov. 10 at The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre in Winnipeg. It is presented with Dauphin's Countryfest. Hosted by QX104's Leanne Carter, the event will hand out the hardware and feature performances by local acts and nominees, including Doc Walker, David Pestrak, Don Amero, Kayla Luky, Kendra Kay, Petric, Quinton Blair, Renee Lamoureux, Ryan Keown, and more. See the list of nominees here. Voting for the 2018 MCMA Fans' Choice Award is open until Sept. 28.

– Music BC has announced the Let’s Hear It! Concert Series at The Fox Cabaret in Vancouver. It will take place over 6 dates in 2018 and 2019. Unsigned artists from all genres and all regions across BC are encouraged to apply and the submissions intake will be ongoing until May 10, 2019, with three different artists being selected by a jury of local industry tastemakers for each showcase night. The first event is on Sept. 20 at The Fox Cabaret. There is a $500 guarantee for all artists selected to perform. 

– Andrew Hyatt is the winner of the inaugural SiriusXM Top of the Country contest. He beat out Jason Benoit and Leaving Thomas in the finals, with all three acts battling it out on stage before a Tim Hicks-headlined concert in Hamilton as part of Country Music Week. The prize is $25K.

– The Financial Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) in Saskatchewan is reminding the public to take precautions when purchasing tickets. It advises buying tickets only from a primary seller such as Live Nation or Ticketmaster in the first 48 hours of going on sale. “Saskatchewan residents and surrounding jurisdictions have exclusive access to tickets for concerts held in this province in the first hour of sale to the general public. After this hour, the primary seller can sell tickets to areas outside of Saskatchewan and surrounding jurisdictions,” the FCAA said in a press release. Source: Regina Leader-Post

 La Force, the solo project of Broken Social Scene vocalist Ariel Engle, released a self-titled debut album on Friday, along with a video for the track "TBT" (below). La Force will be playing select shows in the US and Europe this fall, including dates opening for Feist and Patrick Watson. All tour dates here 


Mac Miller (born Malcolm McCormick), a Pittsburgh rapper who built a cult following with low-key charisma and intimate verses, died on Sept. 7 at his home in the San Fernando Valley in California. He was 26.

His family released a statement confirming the death but said it had “no further details as to the cause of his death at this time.” Miller had been very open about his struggles with addiction.

He had recently released his fifth full-length album, Swimming, which opened at No. 3 on the Billboard album chart. An early internet success story, he topped the chart with his independent debut, Blue Slide Park, in 2011, the first indie album to do so in 16 years.

In 2016, Miller found a form of celebrity fame through a romantic relationship with pop star Ariana Grande. He appeared on “The Way,” a 2013 collaboration with Grande that reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, his highest-charting single. Grande announced this year that the couple had broken up. 

On learning of his death, Miller's peers were quick to pay tribute. On the weekend at his Boston concert, Drake told the audience "Tonight, I wanna dedicate this show to my late friend Mac Miller, who was always a kind man to me.”

G-Eazy also honoured Miller during his concert at Tampa Bay’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. As Eazy performed his song “Everything Will Be OK,” a photo of Miller appeared on the screen behind the stage. Sources: Toronto Star, NY Times, USA Today, Variety 

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