Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 22, 2018

Swedish music has been dominating global charts, and the Grammys recognise that hip-hop is here to stay. Also in today's look at the headlines, John Mann, Lindi Ortega, Justin Timberlake, rising Toronto stars, Andre Ethier, Lee Ann Womack, the Beatles, The Black Eyed Peas, protest music, and Sass Jordan.

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 22, 2018

By Kerry Doole

Sweden makes music: How diversity, education and tech propel Swedish artists onto the world stage

Sweden may be a small country but its artistic community has been a dominating force on the Billboard charts for decades, and the national government is investing more money in providing the same global resources to the smaller, local acts who need it most –  Cherie Hu, Billboard

Grammys finally admit hip-hop is here to stay

The genre rules the top categories, including Record, Album and Song of the Year –  Lorraine Ali, LA Times

Toronto musicians to watch in 2018: indie edition

By our slippery definition, the genre includes everything from synth ballads to sunny psych rock to lo-fi R&B gong punk. Here are six bands to keep an eye on – Richard Trapunski, NOW


Forget About Tomorrow puts John Mann’s spirit on the stage

The former Deadly Snakes member finds he had things to say in his 20s and now in his 40s, but not in between – Ben Rayner, Toronto Star

The creative integrity of Lindi Ortega

The country music siren has found her place in the world of music. It might not have all the trappings of stardom, but its comfort level can’t be beat  – Jeff DeDekker, Regina Leader-Post

Let's hear it for the banned

The once infamously shunned Barenaked Ladies are now Canadian Music Hall of Fame-bound  – David Friend, CP

Justin Timberlake made peace with Janet Jackson after Nipplegate scandal at Super Bowl 

Justin Timberlake was involved in the biggest controversy in Super Bowl halftime history, but he returns for the show this year – Peter Sblendorio, NY Daily News

Pop-punk bassist accused of $27M fraud scheme

Former Ataris member Michael Davenport was indicted in December for allegedly defrauding 100,000 people in every US state over a period of seven years  –

All along, Waxahatchee 

Katie Crutchfield, maker of one of last year’s best records, is taking that buzz and going home  – Tara Thorne, The Coast


Lee Ann Womack wants to remind us what country music is about

The 51-year-old Grammy winner and 2001 Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year returns to her Texan roots on her fine new album. She plays The Horseshoe in Toronto on Jan. 24 – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

The Black Eyed Peas return to their radical roots

A dark and poignant new track focuses on gun control, prison reform and institutional racism  –  August Brown, LA Times

Victory for live music as venues are given protection from future Bristol city centre flats

The agent of change principle will come into law meaning developers must properly soundproof new properties  –  Patrick Daly, Bristol Post

Stop children, what’s that sound?: Trump-wave protest music

A new generation of American songwriters answer the call for musical dissidence  – Dean Van Nguyen, Irish Times

Sass Jordan reimagines her past in Racine Revisited

'I got to pretend that I was a kid, recording a record the way I would have loved to have recorded a record back then'  – Bill Brownstein, Montreal Gazette

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

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