The FYI News Bulletin

Toronto native Daenan Kofi Gyimah, currently with an NCAA Volleyball Scholarship at UCLA, lives in a five-bedroom home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles that he rents with five other Bruin V Ballers (it’s actually 9 of them, but he can’t have the landlord knowing). When he’s not playing V Ball, he’s making a name for himself as a rapper/singer/beat maker/engineer/writer. Growing up in the GTA suburb of Scarborough, similarities with Drake have emanated from friends: “We’re both half black, half Jewish, from Toronto,” Kofi told the New York Times earlier this year. “We weren’t the brokest kids growing up, but always, for some reason, grew up in ’hoods.

On Jan. 2, Kofi officially signed with Red Bull Records and launched with Came Up (initially an indie release in Jan 2019) that's a sunny autobiographical rap ballad. Since then he’s added another 17 rhythmic raps to his YouTube channel and rung up close to 11M streams across Spotify and Apple Music.

Describing how his upbringing has affected his music, Kofi is specific: “If you’re black in LA, you’re African American, and that’s your history,” he explains. “Whereas in Toronto if you’re black it’s like, ‘Are you Caribbean or are you African?’ So, the music there is so much more heavily African, Caribbean and Haitian influenced.” 

Toronto music promoter and volleyball enthusiast Elie Shermer is managing through Kofi Music Inc.

Juliette Jagger is starting an interview series with CelebrityAccess called Disruptors, focused on those in the music industry 35 and under moving the needle. She has been regularly contributing news from Canada for the US publication for several years. To e-mail:   jjagger@celebrityaccess.com

– Pandemic blues: Gary Muth, Al Mair, Tom Wilson, Jim Campbell, and Doug Chappell, the host committee for the annual summer Radio and Records reunion, have collectively announced that this year’s old-geezers bash is furloughed (for the obvious reason). From the e-mail: “We, your committee, have every intention of having our event again in 2021 and you will all certainly be on the list. To quote the title of that great song Till We Meet Again. Stay well folks....”

 – In case you missed the fact, Bruce Allen’s 75th was given frontpage treatment in the Vancouver and Toronto editions of the Sun newspaper. John Mackie penned the illuminating feature that spins a few good stories, including the fact that longstanding partner Sam Feldman and he are dealing with old divisions with newfound tact by taking regular strolls together. 

“We go for a walk now every Sunday,” Allen tells Mackie. “Like two old lions with no teeth.”

One wonders what this means for Trooper’s long-overlooked bid for Hall of Fame status?

– Canadian jazz pianist and singer-singer Elizabeth Shepherd provides eloquence in writing about musicians in modern times in a recent Facebook entry. In part, she writes: “We watched as journalism moved to a digitized platform, eliminating so much of the thoughtful critique and long-form pieces on music that we relied on, but we keep playing and find new ways to get the music out there. We have seen public radio narrow its mandate and curatorship become less and less bold, as programmers have their hands tied - but we keep playing, singing what we feel is on our hearts to say. We've watched nearly all revenue from album sales go up in smoke – ‘but we can still play!’ we told ourselves, however tenuous and tiring the road can be, however small the remuneration at times... and we connected, and it was all worthwhile.

“Now that's gone. It's one thing to know that it's just for a couple of months, but we're looking at a year, maybe longer before we can tour again. Even then - there are too many unknowns to even begin to speculate about what it might look like when airfare will be exorbitant, people wary of heading to the club, the country / world in a depression, countless venues having closed their doors, and some of us are suddenly embroiled in a completely new reality / job to stay afloat. I don't know a single musician who has the kind of personal funds squirrelled away to survive a 12-18-month hiatus from work. I really don't know anyone, in any field, for that matter."

Shepherd's latest, entitled Montréal, will appeal to fans of Sade. You can listen or purchase it on Bandcamp now.

Suzi Kory follows up her country crossover-heartbreaker Settle of the Dust with Outlaw that features a punchier edge and more forceful lyrics The video was shot a few weeks ago in LA and features guitarist Matt Fuller and drummer Dave Moreno from Puddle of Mudd, as my guitarist and drummer respectively. The idea for the song came from sharing a flight with Billy Ray Cyrus. Both were flying out of Toronto for LA where she planned to shoot the accompanying video. During their conversation she explained that she is an indie artist, and he was impressed with her outlook and brass, at one point suggesting that she has an ‘outlaw outlook’.

Kory is already planning her next move––an online concert she’s calling Love Revolution, which just happens to be the title of her next single that is scheduled for release in July.

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