UMC's new digital marketing director Fraser MacKenzie. Pic provided.
UMC's new digital marketing director Fraser MacKenzie. Pic provided.

Music News Digest, April 15, 2021

Yesterday, April 14, the Juno Awards has changed the date for this year's 50th anniversary edition. A press release issued yesterday reads: "Out of an abundance of caution in response to the evolving Covid-19 pandemic, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and its partners, including CBC and Insight Productions, have made the decision to move the 50th Anniversary Juno Awards in Toronto to June. Originally scheduled for May 16, The Awards will now broadcast nationwide on Sunday, June 6 on CBC TV, CBC Gem, CBC Radio One, CBC Music and globally on More info on performers, presenters and Juno Week virtual events will be announced in the coming weeks. Read more about the 50th Anniversary JUNO Awards here. Watch the JUNO 50th Anniversary nominee press conference here.

– The winners of the Western Canadian Music Awards will be announced this Oct., with nominee info to be released soon. Registration and showcase submission for the 2022 BreakOut West Festival are open now here, with early bird pricing until April 30. The deadline for submissions is June 10. Access the festival registration portal here. Produced by The Western Canadian Music Alliance (WCMA), BoW is the major annual festival and conference for western Canada. Submissions for the festival are open to artists from all western Provinces and Territories as well as Nunavut Territory. Following a successful online delivery of their 2020 festival, BreakOut West has scheduled the dates Feb. 2-6, 2022, for the next event, in Winnipeg. 

Fraser MacKenzie, a long-time industry trailblazer in the digital space (who started his career at UMC as an intern more than 10 years ago) has been promoted to Senior Director, Digital Marketing. In this new role, Fraser oversees a team of ten, leading projects across various social platforms, live streaming, e-sports, user-generated-content, video sharing, and more. He and his team are responsible for two core elements of UMC’s digital strategy: digital marketing and consumer engagement.

– He may have been snubbed by The Grammys, but The Weeknd was just shown serious love by US performing rights org ASCAP. After a record-setting year following the release of his double platinum album After Hours, the pop superstar was named ASCAP Songwriter of the Year for the first time in his career. The Weeknd is now a 13-time ASCAP Awards winner. ASCAP Pop Music Awards Song of the Year went to Post Malone’s mega hit Circles, and Warner Chappell Music received Publisher of the Year honours. 

The Weeknd's music video for Save Your Tears has been nominated for the  2021 edition Berlin Music Video Awards, alongside the likes of Cardi B and FKA Twigs.

– The 2021 East Coast Music Awards Festival & Conference, which runs May 5-9 in Sydney and online, has named the  list of 50+ artists who'll be showcasing in Sydney, at events that celebrate the importance of live music while complying with public health measures. Notable names include Catherine MacLellan, Jimmy Rankin, Les Hay Bables, Heather Rankin, Like A Motorcycle, Rachel Cousins, and Rich Aucoin. See a full list here. The 2021 ECMA Industry Conference presented by TD, meanwhile, will be entirely free and online, which has allowed ECMA to book more delegates (from more parts of the world) than ever before. Registration opened last week. Info here

– Entertainment Music Group (EMG) has gathered artists from around the world to create a virtual music-doc to be pre-produced and released on April 22 to help celebrate Earth Day. The project is headed up by Executive Producer Sandy Graham, owner of Cashbox Magazine Canada, in conjunction with Tom Jackson,  who will act as the host for this music initiative. Artists offering video performances include Andy Kim, Gowan, Glass Tiger, and The Julian Taylor Band. More info here.

– The casualty list of Canadian summer music festivals continues to grow. Covid-19 concerns has forced the Edmonton Folk Music Festival to pull the plug on this year's edition of the popular four-day event, originally planned for Aug. 5-8. The festival says in a statement that without full vaccination, people won’t be entirely safe from the spread of Covid, and the impossibility of social distancing at the outdoor event could lead to community spread. It adds that it will continue to offer online content and, if small gatherings are permitted, it hopes to add some community engagement. Source: CP

 –Another victim is Saskatchewan's Country Thunder festival, now cancelled due to the recent rise in Covid numbers. Country Thunder Saskatchewan is making plans to return to the Craven Valley next, July 15-17, 2022, for its 18th edition. Meanwhile, the Calgary Herald reports that the Calgary Folk Music Festival remains 'cautiously optimistic' that it can host a modified event at Prince's Island Park, July 22-25. 

– Montreal rock auteur Alex Henry Foster releases his live album Standing Under Bright Lights tomorrow (April 16), and it is already generating international attention. Here is one of the focus tracks.

– Our congrats to veteran Toronto music supervisor Michael Perlmutter (Instinct Entertainment) and Dondrea Erauw for picking up a prestigious Guild of Music Supervisors Award on April 11, for their work on the score and soundtrack of 2020 Canadian film, The Cuban

 –Toronto’s Royal Conservatory and Koerner Hall continue to offer streamed concerts from many notable artists. ARC Ensemble: Ottoman Treasures is a free concert on April 15, at 3 pm, while New Music in a New World, on April 22, features young Toronto-based artists: Duo Holz (Aysel Taghi-Zada, violin, and Michael Murphy, marimba & vibraphone), VC2 Cello Duo (Amahl Arulanandam and Bryan Holt), Ryan Davis (viola & electronics), and pianists Wesley Shen and Morgan-Paige Melbourne. Upcoming online events include The Glenn Gould School Spring Opera: Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (April 29), Wesli and Kobo Town (May 6), Skratch Bastid with special guests (May 27), Stewart Goodyear with Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Penderecki Quartet (May 16), and Marc-André Hamelin (May 30). More info here.

– Every Sunday at 10 pm, starting April 18, Honey Jam Sessions will present three acts plus a noted headliner (Savannah Re has been announced) in a free streamed concert from the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. Host DJ Mel Boogie has her own DJ set each night. The series is funded by the Government of Ontario and pre-recorded. Link here  

– Members of the New Brunswick music community are invited to submit applications for the 2021 Prix MNB Awards, slated to take place in October. Submissions here close May 14. 

– A half dozen Toronto music legends have added their voices to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, recording a video Public Service Announcement that adapts the classic song Clap Your Hands (a hit for the Beau-Marks in 1960) to Wash Your Hands. The PSA was spearheaded by the Downtown Yonge BIA, after Juno-winning singer-songwriter Cathy Young came to them with the idea. On the adapted version, Young is joined by Ronnie Hawkins, Jay Douglas, George Olliver from Mandala, John Finley from Jon and Lee & the Checkmates and Greg Godovitz of Goddo, along with Adrian Hayles, the artist who created the two BIA murals that celebrate these and other famed T.O. acts.

– The Art Gallery of Hamilton and Zula Music & Arts Collective Hamilton present a  Something Else festival event online tonight (April 15). The free Zoom session features a musically infused announcement of the 2021 Zula program. Register here: 

– Toronto-based singer/songwriter and painter André Ethier releases his new album, Further Up Island on May 28, via the Toronto label, Telephone Explosion (Badge Époque Ensemble, Bernice, Pantayo). After making a splash in rockers The Deadly Snakes, Ethier has been prolific in a solo career that has merited more attention. Here's a brand new single.

– Atlantic Presenters Association (APA) is now accepting applications for 5-7 people to sit on the Contact East 2021 Artist Selection Committee. Their responsibility is to select artists to fill approximately 15 performance spots at the 2021 Contact East conference from Sept. 23-26. Applications are being accepted now through April 30. To apply click here

Orchestras Canada has just opened nominations for the 2021 Betty Webster Award, one recognizing outstanding contributions to the Canadian orchestral community. Deadline to apply here is June 1. 

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