Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 24, 2022

Toronto songstress Charlotte Cornfield (pictured) gets a boost from Rolling Stone, Billy Talent show they’re survivors, and Drake is now on the syllabus. Others in the headlines include R. Dean Taylor, Sony Music, Tanya Tagaq, Hunter Brothers, Kiefer Sutherland, Ultra Records, Neil Young, Adele, WMG, Taylor Swift, Lorde, Gibson, Weird Al, Brian Eno, and music docs.

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 24, 2022

By Kerry Doole

Charlotte Cornfield is Canada’s best-kept secret

Ontario singer-songwriter’s ‘Highs in the Minuses’ is full of sharp observations and potent memories. – Jonathan Bernstein, Rolling Stone

Motown songwriter, Toronto’s R. Dean Taylor dies at age 82

Taylor who penned songs about ‘real-life things’ died Jan. 7 at his Los Angeles home. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Punk-pop survivors Billy Talent outlast the haters

“We’ve travelled and we’ve got some miles behind us,” says Billy Talent lead singer Benjamin Kowalewicz. “We’re flirting with our 30th year of playing together. With the pandemic, we’ve finally had the opportunity to look back.” – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

When Drake is on your course syllabus

It’s the start of the winter term at Toronto’s Ryerson University, and most students are preparing for another semester of courses like mechanical engineering, economics and English literature. But 30 budding scholars will be studying what is perhaps a less traditional subject: the ins-and-outs of the hip-hop megastar Drake, as taught by Dalton Higgins. – Vjosa Isai, New York Times


It's time to buckle down on Covid compliance so Conway The Machine can play Halifax in February

The buzziest MC of the decade is coming to The Marquee—as long as we don't screw it up. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

Hunter Brothers discuss Album of the Year win, virtual Sask. Music Awards

"I think when you’re making music, you’re making it because you want to connect with people." –  Jocelyn Bennett, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The Neil Young hit that bothered Bob Dylan

"Heart of Gold" rose swiftly to the top of the charts, becoming Young's only No. 1 U.S. single. One of his primary influences, however, did not think the track sounded "completely Neil." Bob Dylan, in between albums at the time and living in Phoenix, could not shake the feeling that the song sounded like something he himself would write. – Allison Rapp, Ultimate Classic Rock

“Who has heard of a pianist my age putting out a new album?” 

Pianist Ruth Slenczynska has just turned 97 and in less than two months she will release her new album, “My life in music”. OI Canadian

Tanya Tagaq said she expressed herself without inhibition on new album, ‘Tongues’

Tagaq, as her fans are accustomed, is pulling no punches on her fifth album, released Friday. –  Nick Krewen, Toronto Star 

This Week in History, 1973: A lost album is resurrected, 48 years after it wasn't released

Psychedelic folk album with links to the Lower Mainland was discovered in a thrift store in Alberta. – John Mackie, Vancouver Sun


Let them eat popcorn: Ontario’s movie theatre snacks ban is latest nonsensical arts policy

While some Ontario moviegoers might be thrilled to simply head back to theatres again after another closure, concessions will be off-limits, even though restaurants and bars will be operating. – Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail 

Kiefer Sutherland revisits old haunts on third album, ‘Bloor Street’

Award-winning Canadian actor, who has just released his third album, says storytelling is central to both his passions. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star 


Sony buys full ownership of Ultra Records. David Waxman in as President 

MBW has learned that Sony Music has made another interesting acquisition. The major has snapped up a remaining minority stake in famed dance label, Ultra Records. The move means that Sony Music now fully owns Ultra Records, following its acquisition of a controlling stake in the label in 2013. –Murray Stassen,  MBW

Warner Music Group names 15 new recipients of grants from its $100m social justice fund

The Warner Music Group/Blavatnik Family Foundation Social Justice Fund (WMG/BFF SJF) has announced its third set of grantee partners. This new round of grants further advances WMG/BFF SJF’s vision of “addressing systemic racism and making real progress." – MBW

Meet Sony Music’s new global merch arm: Ceremony of Roses

Sony Music Entertainment has confirmed that it’s made a strategic investment in Ceremony of Roses (CoR), a “boutique” merchandising company founded by music and fashion entrepreneur Brad Scoffern. In doing so, SME launches a new global media, branding, design and events company, which will maintain the Ceremony of Roses brand. Sony’s merch businesses around the globe will now become part of the new Ceremony of Roses. – Murray Stassen, MBW


Are music awards still relevant in the age of Spotify Wrapped?

In a week when The Grammys and CMT awards were forced to shift dates and venues, MIDiA analyst Keith Jopling asks if awards ceremonies are still relevant in today’s entertainment. – Hypebot

Taylor Swift named Record Store Day 2022 Ambassador

“The places we go to discover music new and old have always been sacred to me,” says Swift. – Jazz Monroe, Pitchfork

Lorde admits she “shouldn’t have gone” on Antarctica trip that inspired ‘Solar Power’

She also called it "the best five days of my entire life." – Ali Shutler, NME


Adele’s last minute cancellation leaves Vegas, fans wondering: What went wrong?

While rescheduling may be difficult, the singer is not expected to face any serious liability despite the last-minute decision. – Billboard

The 10 Best New Songs

Featuring Nilüfer Yanya, Canadian rockers PUP, Fly Anakin and more. – Scott Russell & Paste Staff 

“Weird Al” Yankovic biopic to star Daniel Radcliffe

Weird: The “Weird Al” Yankovic Story is a Funny or Die–produced film coming to the Roku Channel. – Evan Minsker, Pitchfork

Gibson partners with the guy from Greta Van Fleet to honour the SG guitar on its 61st anniversary

Where's Angus and Tony? Apparently the guys from AC/DC and Black Sabbath weren't available. – Georgia Straight

Brian Eno on NFTs: “Now artists can become little capitalist assholes!”

Cryptography resource site The Crypto Syllabus has published a new interview with producer, composer, artist & provocateur Brian Eno, discussing the opportunities for artists with NFTs. – Synthopia

Proving once again that pop-culture tends to go in cycles, When We Were Young Festival goes full emo in Las Vegas

2022 has brought a return to the days when Hot Topic, Alternative Press, and Victory Records were revered cultural touchstones in underground America. Start packing your suitcase for the When We Were Young Festival, scheduled for October 22 in Las Vegas. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

25 best documentaries about musicians

Stacker looked at the most highly rated documentaries on Metacritic and ranked the top 25 music documentaries on the list. These films are uplifting, informative, entertaining, inspiring, and tragic. Each is a reminder of just how extraordinary these musicians are and how they have influenced our lives. – The Indiana Gazette

Mélanie Renaud
Courtesy photo

Mélanie Renaud


Obituaries: Quebec Singer Mélanie Renaud, Saxophone Legend David Sanborn

This week we also acknowledge the passing of English keyboardist John Hawken and soul/ska singer Jimmy James of The Vagabonds.

Mélanie Renaud, a Quebec singer, died on May 14, at age 42, from ovarian cancer.

The Haiti-born artist, who was adopted by Quebecois parents when she was eight months old, was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer more than seven years ago.

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