Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes

Music News Digest, Oct. 15, 2018

In honour of the life and legacy of Freddie Mercury and Queen, and celebrating the upcoming biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, Shawn Mendes has released an acoustic interpretation of the 1981 No. 1 hit, “Under Pressure”. The track came out on Friday via Virgin EMI Records/UMC and was produced by Teddy Geiger, who also sings on the cut. This is the first of an upcoming series of artist covers in support of the Mercury Phoenix Trust (MPT).

– At the 2018 Western Canadian Music Industry Awards Industry Brunch on Saturday, held during BreakOut West, the classic Spirit of the West tune Home for a Rest was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall Of Fame. The Hall's executive director Vanessa Thomas stated that “The CSHF is partnering with music festivals and events across Canada to celebrate local songwriters and their songs, and we are thrilled to partner with our friends at BreakOut West. It is an honour for the CSHF to celebrate John Mann and Geoffrey Kelly’s skilled songwriting and Spirit of the West’s amazing execution of this iconic song.”  

–  St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador will host the East Coast Music Awards: Festival & Conference (ECMAs) in 2020. The event’s return, slated to take place from April 29-May 03, 2020, was announced last evening at the 2018 MusicNL Award Show in Twillingate, NL. "We’re very excited to head back to St. John’s for the 32nd annual ECMAs," says Andy McLean, CEO of the East Coast Music Association. "Known for its lively spirit, its deep roots in music and culture, and its undeniable hospitality, we are very much looking forward to working with the host team in Newfoundland and Labrador to create an unforgettable week come 2020."

–  Last week, MusicNL’s annual NewFound Talent Contest, MusicNL Week Edition, took place at the Performing Arts Centre in Twillingate. Ally Noseworthy, Noah Hamilton and Kaden White took first, second and third place in the contest, respectively. The competition offers professional development prizes valued at over $6K.

–  Toronto Cocktail Week’s six days of festivities has a musical component this year in the form of a Gord Downie tribute concert. It takes place Oct. 17 at The Horseshoe Tavern and features Hip cover band Practically Hip.  A portion of proceeds from tickets sold will be donated to The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.

– Apple has fully acquired Asaii, a San Francisco-based startup which specializes in A&R-boosting music analytics. The platforms allows artists, labels and managers to “discover, track, and manage talent using machine learning” and is based in San Francisco. It processes data from the likes of Spotify, SoundCloud, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, offering both streaming and social media analysis. this allows users to compare daily, weekly and total playcounts of tracks across multiple artists. This acquisition follows Apple's recent buyout of audio recognition platform Shazam for $400m. Source: MBW

– After eliciting a buzz with his acclaimed hip-hop band The Posterz, Montrealer Nate Husser broke out as a solo act with his 2017 debut EP Geto Rock for the Youth. A follow-up EP, , has just come out, alongside a new video for the song "Oldie."

–  The long saga of the attempt to reopen historic Toronto club venue the Matador Ballroom has just taken another twist. Owner Paul McCaughey announced on Friday that he is stepping away from the venture. In what he termed a "final press release," McCaughey posted on FB that "it is with a heavy heart that I announce that after eight years of winning every battle save one, the Matador Ballroom will be listed for sale shortly due to investor fatigue." On Sunday an updated post read "interest has been shown since my press release around preserving the Matador. I remain open to inquiries. Investor inquiries may be directed to"

–  In other Toronto venue news, Adelaide Hall, one of the city's premier live music clubs, has rebranded itself as RADIO, under the new management of Noel Copeman. A press release issued Friday stated the 400-capacity club is "switching things up into something a little different. RADIO will keep Toronto dancing by bringing live music back to the entertainment district on the weekends with this unique venue." Starting Oct. 12, cover bands play every Friday and Saturday nights. NOW reports that MRG will continue to book live music in the room.

–  Canadian rock duo The Standstills recently released a new single, "Shaker Down," taken from a  full-length album, Badlands, set to release next spring. The band also recently announced a cross-Canada tour, co-headlining with Aussie rock renegades The Lazys. The tour begins Wednesday at the Casbah in Hamilton.

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