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FYI

ECMAs Celebrate Turning 30 In Halifax This Week

This year’s event boasts more than 60 showcasing artists featuring a mixture of established acts like David Myles and Joel Plaskett with comparatively newer voices from the Atlantic region, such as Fortunate Ones, Port Cities, and Hello Delaware.

ECMAs Celebrate Turning 30 In Halifax This Week

By Ken Kelley

This week in Halifax, musicians and industry folk will come together for the milestone 30th anniversary of the East Coast Music Awards.


In addition to the awards that will be given out over the course of ceremonies on Thursday and Sunday evening, this year’s event boasts more than 60 showcasing artists. Included are a mixture of established acts, like David Myles and Joel Plaskett, with comparatively newer voices from the Atlantic region such as Newfoundland’s Fortunate Ones, Port Cities, Emilie Landry, Hello Delaware, City Natives and Halifax punk band Like A Motorcycle.

For East Coast Music Awards Executive Director Andy McLean, this year’s festival is a valuable opportunity to honour the best of both the past and present.

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“This year’s awards show is one of the most action-packed award shows I’ve been involved with producing,” McLean says. “We’ve got two stages upon which 16 acts will perform, a mixture of heritage artists like Sloan, The Barra MacNeils and Measha Brueggergosman, with newer talent like The East Pointers, Makayla Lynn and Neon Dreams. This year is all about celebrating the diversity of East Coast music, and we feel that the awards show is a good snapshot of all those factors.”

McLean, a former managing director for Toronto’s NXNE Festival, notes another essential aspect of this year’s festival is increasing its footprint via a combination of paid and free events taking place throughout the city over the festival’s six days.

Festivities kick off on Wednesday evening with a free Halifax waterfront performance by Ashley MacIsaac, Mo Kenney and others, while Radio ECMA will spend the duration of the festival broadcasting from a location in the city’s downtown core. 

“One of our main focuses with this year’s festival was to increase its footprint, and one way to do that is to bring people back downtown via free programming,” McLean says.  “We want to make this a banner year for all involved and reinforce the importance of music to both the City of Halifax as well as the Atlantic region in general.”

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For the last 17 years, one of the most popular aspects of each East Coast Music Awards has been the ECMA’s Export Buyers Program. Headed by music industry veteran Shelley Nordstrom, this year’s buyers program will welcome more than 75 delegates from across the U.S., Europe, Canada and Australia, covering related industries such as booking agents, talent buyers, venue and festival programmers, music supervisors and more.

“Seventeen years ago, the Export Buyers Program was started with 13 people helping oversee it,” Nordstrom says. “We’ve grown to the point there are now 140 people involved in this aspect of the program and conference.”

With more than 900 one-on-one meetings slated to take place between delegates and industry over the course of this year’s ECMAs, the Export Buyers Program is a far-reaching initiative touching upon nearly every facet of the festival, including musical showcases, business development export sessions, workshops and more.  

In addition to the plethora of live entertainment that will be featured at the ECMA Awards Show on Thursday night and on showcase stages throughout the festival, competition for the awards is, arguably, as fierce as ever.

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Rose Cousins heads into the awards with a total of eight nominations - the most of any artist this year - while Jenn Grant follows with six. Ria Mae, Kinley and Joel Plaskett each garnered four nominations.

Other music nominees include New Brunswick’s Mike Biggar, P.E.I. native Whitney Rose, Cape Breton’s Pretty Archie, Newfoundland’s Amelia Curran, Nova Scotian songwriter Ian Janes, mantra-doom duo Zaum and Juno-nominated Celtic folk duo Cassie and Maggie.

On the industry side of the awards, acclaimed Halifax bar The Carleton, celebrating its 10th anniversary in May with performances from Jimmy Rankin, Matt Andersen and others, is up for Venue of the Year, against P.E.I.’s The Mack, Fredericton’s Capital Complex, Halifax’s Seahorse Tavern and St. John’s bar The Ship.

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Other nominees for industry awards include Dale Murray (Producer of the Year, Studio Engineer of the Year), Joel Plaskett’s New Scotland Yard (Studio of the Year), The Chronicle Herald’s Stephen Cooke (Media Person of the Year), Louis Thomas’ Sonic Entertainment Group (Management / Manager of the Year) and Saint John’s Jessica Rhaye (Graphic / Media Artist of the Year). 

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Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services
Rb Hip Hop

Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services

There's a more explicit Biggie verse in the vault, according to the NBA legend.

Shaq’s classic with Biggie is finally available on streaming services. The news was broken by FakeShoreDrive on X earlier this week, and the Hall of Fame big man confirmed the news Thursday afternoon (June 13).

The year is 1996 and Shaquille O’Neal and the Notorious B.I.G. are two of the biggest figures in their respective fields. Shaq was entering the last year of his deal with the Orlando Magic before he headed west to the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 1995-1996 season. Biggie was getting ready to release his sophomore album, Life After Death, while in the throws of a beef with 2Pac. Big name-dropped the NBA player on the song “Gimme the Loot” off his debut album, Ready to Die, and the two had a mutual respect for each other ever since.

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