Music Biz Headlines, March 15, 2019

Tyler Shaw (pictured) gets inspired by an astronaut, Celine Dion does Aretha proud, and Dallas Green on the perils of touring. Also in the headlines are Jack Pine and The Fire, the Junos, The Strumbellas, Cat Empire, Fist of Facts, Johni Esho, Pointed Sticks, Danielle Todd, Theatre Calgary, Drake, De La Soul, Johnny Rotten, Ryan Cook, Britney Spears, Mötley Crüe, Martin Phillipps, Lou Pearlman, David Byrne, and Gordon Lightfoot.

Music Biz Headlines, March 15, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Pop star Tyler Shaw on how a book by astronaut Chris Hadfield inspired his hit single With You

The platinum-selling singer-songwriter is up for a Juno Award in the pop music of the year category for sophomore album Intuition. – Ryan B. Patrick, CBC

Musicians say touring takes a toll on mental health

Dallas Green is all too familiar with slipping into the deep pits of depression that often go unspoken about in the music industry. It usually happens while he's pushing forward on a gruellingschedule, locked inside a tour bus with City and Colour or Alexisonfire. – David Friend, CP

Watch Celine Dion's show-stopping Aretha Franklin tribute

Aretha Franklin passed away in 2018, but the singer continues to inspire. Over the weekend a tribute to the late Queen of Soul was held, and included a performance by Celine Dion that had members of the audience in tears. – CBC


Fist of Facts return with help from Toronto label Telephone Explosion

“Right now is the time, place and label to do it,” says Sal Principato, co-leader of the resurrected 80s NYC post-punk band. –Jesse Locke, NOW

Ottawa band up for a Juno, but not for its music

Jack Pine and The Fire and artist Emil Mateja are nominated for best album artwork for the group's second album Left To Our Own Devices.  CBC

The Strumbellas - Facing fears head-on with Rattlesnake

On this week's podcast, a wide-ranging conversation with frontman and songwriter Simon Ward and keyboardist Dave Ritter of The Strumbellas, who are about to release one of the most highly-anticipated Canadian albums of the year. – Canadian Musician

Setting the stage: Six-piece Aussie band Cat Empire writes, records music meant to flourish in a live setting

These days Riebl says the six-piece act operate with a basic guiding principle, even when recording in the studio:  Cat Empire shines most brightly in a live setting, so they might as well write songs for a live setting from the get-go. – Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

Assyrian artist's London Ont., studio a big draw for international musicians

London singer, songwriter and producer Johni Esho creates beats from his home studio, following in the footsteps of his Syrian musician parents. – Hala Ghonaim, CBC News ·

The most unique album marketing campaigns

Plenty of major players in the industry have dropped records in unique and extravagant ways, from the Arkells previewing new tracks through a hotline number posted on a billboard to The Flaming Lips burying a USB with an EP inside of a gummy candy skull. – Chelsea Brimstin, indie88 


Artist of the Month: Danielle Todd

The Guelph, ON, native’s first single, Crazy, has been picking up love and support from radio, online outlets and fans since its late January release. – CMAOntario newsletter

saltspringunderground helps send the Pointed Sticks off to Europe

BC punk veterans cross the Atlantic for the first time. –  Allan Macinnis, Georgia Straight

Theatre Calgary’s future includes new Canadian musicals about Marc Hall and based on Maudie

Theatre Calgary will produce the latest version of a Broadway-aimed musical about Hall in January 2020 and is beginning to develop a brand-new musical based on the movie Maudie. – JK Nestruck, Globe and Mail

Luminato 2019 lineup: a mirror maze, a Leonard Cohen tribute and Roomful of Teeth

The 13th annual arts fest lines up two big Indigenous music concerts, a dance tribute to Leonard Cohen and Kazuo Ohno and a theatrical show about Robert Mapplethorpe. – Kevin Ritchie, NOW


Drake review – rap's majestic magpie makes world domination look easy

In front of an army of acolytes at Manchester Arena, the hypnotic superstar delivers a high-density run of hits that draw from every corner of pop. – Ben Beaumont-Thomas, The Guardian

Why you still can’t stream De La Soul’s landmark album

De La Soul should be celebrating the 30th anniversary of its landmark debut album 3 Feet High and Rising, which almost immediately influenced hip hop when it was released March 3, 1989, and has only grown in stature since then — even though it has never been sold digitally and hasn’t been made available on any streaming services. – Glenn Gamboa, Newsday


Who is the biggest pop star? 

Billboard claims the most popular musicians of 2018 were Drake, Post Malone, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, and Cardi B. But neither Sheeran nor Swift released an album in 2018; does this ranking truly represent music culture? – The Pudding

Johnny Rotten forces The Crown to rewrite story by banning them from using Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen

The former anarchist, 63, refused to give his permission as he 'is now a monarchist'— and Netflix had to axe the storyline. – Rod McPhee, The Sun


Country and satire at Boldron with Canadian musician

Nova Scotian Ryan Cook, who mixes classic country music with modern satire is kicking off his 18-date UK tour with a visit to Teesdale as part of the Highlights rural entertainment scheme. – Teesdale Mercury

Liverpool to win the Premier League? Manchester City stars hit by ‘The Drake Curse’

This week several Manchester City stars met up with and had their pictures taken with superstar rapper Drake, after his massive shows at the Manchester Arena. That may seem fairly innocuous, but it appears that every time Drake has a picture with a sports star or shows support for them, their team starts to fail. – Simon Lillicrap,  The Sportsman

The Britney Spears musical is not about her crazy life, but it does sound batshit crazy

Fame, sex, drugs, beauty and power define the  Britney Spears discography, whose themes run the gamut: womanhood, isolation, defiance in the face of staunch criticism. – Helen Holmes, Observer

Mötley Crüe back in business with 'The Dirt' biopic: Interview

 It is already one of the bestselling bands ever, with more than 100 million albums sold, including seven Platinum or Multi-Platinum discs. Now, some two years after ending its live career, Mötley Crüe has a new Netflix movie, The Dirt, and soundtrack album coming on March 22. –Mark Beech, Forbes

Gordon Lightfoot, Canada's folk poet laureate, starts new tour ‘80 Years Strong’

When Canada’s folk-poet laureate Gordon Lightfoot was singled out for a lifetime achievement award at the 1986 Juno Awards, Canadian recording academy officials went straight to the top of the singer-songwriter food chain to find the appropriate person to handle his induction speech: Bob Dylan. – Randy Lewis, LA Times

Raconteurs performing first show in eight years

Third Man Records is celebrating a decade in Nashville with the first Raconteurs performance in eight years, on April 6. The band features Jack White. – Buddy Iahn, The Music Universe

David Byrne details reasons to be cheerful at SXSW

He came to Austin to talk about his Reasons To Be Cheerful project and, in the evening, to screen and answer questions about his 1986 film True Stories. But a little musical discussion was probably inevitable during his 55-minute early afternoon keynote session. – Gary Graff, Billboard


The Chills: The triumph and tragedy of Martin Phillipps

The story of lyrical genius Martin Phillipps and his seminal NZ band, The Chills, is a cautionary tale, a triumph over tragedy, and a statement about the meaning of music in our lives. The film premiered at SXSW. – Jennie Kermode, Eye On Film

Lance Bass unveils scathing documentary about pop mastermind who robbed ‘N Sync and many others blind

Before he was implicated in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history, Lou Pearlman’s lies started to unravel at a meal with ‘N Sync at a Los Angeles steakhouse. – Timothy Bella, Washington Post

Justin Bieber asks for fans’ prayers after revealing he’s been ‘struggling a lot’

Justin Bieber is getting real about his recent struggles. In an emotional Instagram post, the 25-year-old pop star shared that he’s in the midst of the “most human season I’ve ever been in,” adding that he plans to face his challenges “head on.”  – Cydney Henderson, USA Today

The Awfully Big Adventure by Paul Morley review – how (not) to think about Michael Jackson

This flashy cultural deconstruction of the pop star reads oddly in the wake of the documentary Leaving Neverland. – Fiona Sturges,The Guardian

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024


The Beaches, Charlotte Cardin, Allison Russell Make the 2024 Polaris Music Prize Long List

The 40-album long list for the Polaris Prize, which awards $50,000 to the best Canadian record of the year features up-and-comers like punk group NOBRO and producer Bambii, plus rapper TOBi, and legends like Quebec group Karkwa and previous Heritage Prize winner Beverly Glenn-Copeland.

Some of the country's biggest breakthrough artists are in contention for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

The 40-album long list was revealed today (June 11) at Sonic Boom record store in downtown Toronto. It features some of the buzziest names in Canadian music, from The Beaches — who were recently awarded Billboard Canada Women in Music's inaugural Group of the Year award — to Grammy-winner Allison Russell, to Canadian Hot 100 charting acts like Charlotte Cardin and Talk, to underground mainstays like Cindy Lee, who had an organic breakthrough this year with Diamond Jubilee.

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