Music Biz Headlines, March 15, 2021

Ebonnie Rowe (pictured) is placed on the hot seat, Serena Ryder gets candid, and Nasri returns with a solo project. Others in the headlines include The Weeknd, The Grammys, David Hart, JP Saxe, My Son The Hurricane, Danko Jones, NFTs, Epidemic Sound, Dinosaur Jr., Bob Dylan, Crowded House, Willie Nelson, and Sam Smith.

Music Biz Headlines, March 15, 2021

By FYI Staff

When the music’s over: Covid-19 decimated the arts in Canada, and the worst may be yet to come

Unemployment among arts workers is soaring, venues are closing down and some fear government support will come too late. What will be left of the culture industry when this is all over? –  Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

‘You don’t get breaks and it breaks you’ - Serena Ryder on touring, living hard and the mistakes that aren’t mistakes

As a recording artist who used to tour relentlessly, the six-time Juno Award winner found the incessant grind of the road personally damaging as she relied on a steady diet of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes to cope and carry on. “Being a touring musician can be one of the most draining things you can do if you do it in the way that’s expected of you, like sort of label, pedal-to-the-metal stuff,” said Ryder recently. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star


Nasri almost gave up writing for other artists. Now he’s reintroducing himself

The Canadian MAGIC! frontman has a new solo project — and Grammy recognition for his work with some of R&B’s coolest acts. – Katie Bain, Billboard

Eight ways to fix the arts industry, postpandemic

The past year exposed some of the sector’s vulnerabilities, but the pause and subsequent workarounds have created an opportunity to identify deeper problems and create meaningful change in the long term. – Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail

In The Hot Seat With Larry LeBlanc:  Ebonnie Rowe

Ebonnie Rowe is executive dir. of PhemPhat Entertainment Group, producers of Honey Jam. While Rowe has a very impressive mind, its quality is not in a conventional mold. A self-described “Boss Bitch”—though one with a twinkle in her eyes, and a radiant smile–Rowe speaks with persistent precision. Her poise is fruit of a long struggle for personal identity. – Larry LeBlanc, Celebrity Access

The Weeknd is boycotting the Grammys and its "secret committees."

The singer drew a line in the sand Thursday saying he'll boycott the awards show from now on "because of the secret committees" he believes are responsible for selecting nominees. Grammys chief honcho Harvey Mason Jr. is responding to The Weeknd's boycott, saying the Grammys is disappointed when anyone is upset. – TMZ


Has The Weeknd delivered a fatal blow to the racist Grammys?

The Grammys have found themselves in trouble again, but a big move by The Weeknd ahead of Sunday’s broadcast has music fans wondering whether the Grammys could finally clean up its act. – Kyndall Cunningham, The Daily Beast

Inside the complicated battle to save Alberta's live music venues

Chris Hewitt doesn’t mince words. As the owner of Calgary’s Dickens Pub, he says he and fellow owners of Alberta for-profit, live music venues were “in absolute, utter disbelief” after learning about a provincial grant called the Stabilize Program that left them out of the equation. – Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

RIP: David Egan Hart

David Hart grew up loving music, and he developed that love into a long and successful career in the Canadian music industry that has earned warm words from artists that include Bruce Cockburn and Colin Linden.. –

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Theory of Ice

Both blazingly intellectual and wildly artistic, Theory of Ice offers entry at any point you come into contact with it. – Jim Di Gioia, Dominionated

The perfect timing of Toronto singer JP Saxe’s ballad about lovers in an apocalypse

JP Saxe doesn’t want to sound pretentious, but he says it’s impossible to ignore how fate might’ve led him to the Grammy Awards on Sunday. Even before the Toronto singer-songwriter’s ethereal duet “If the World Was Ending” landed a song of the year nomination, it was nothing short of a pop enigma, written amid some pivotal life junctures and unbelievable coincidences. – David Friend, CP


Five questions with My Son The Hurricane

The multi-horn, multi-drummer, multi-singer, brass funk band My Son The Hurricane has sold out shows at Canadian, American, and European venues, and they continue to solidify themselves as one of Canada’s premier live music acts.T he band has unveiled their funky new single, Mississippi ’88. – Jenna Melanson, Canadian Beats

 Danko Jones reveal new album Power Trio

The full-throttle album, coming in August, sees the band reunited with powerhouse Canadian independent label Sonic Unyon. It follows the band's electrifying, world charting album, A Rock Supreme, released in 2019. – KNAC


From Newfoundland to Nunavut: for Mary Piercey-Lewis, teaching music in Canada’s North is noteworthy

An old pump organ in Fortune helped chart her life’s direction, leading to what's been a fulfilling career far from her hometown. – Paul Herridge, Journal Pioneer

10 Canadian heroes who have used arts and culture to help us through the pandemic

We look back at some of the folks we've highlighted the past year and ask: who's your pandemic art hero? – CBC

Purity Ring announces fall concert at Revolution Live

The Canadian synthpop duo Purity Ring will be heading to South Florida this fall. – Jose Duran, Miami New Times

Indie Roundup | 102 songs that will bring you to your knees (Part 5)

Franz Kirmann & Roberto Grosso make waves, Valleyheart won’t be your stepping stone, Zola is not like the other girls, Jon Klages is going places — and sadly, that brings us to the end of another mega-mondo Weekend Roundup. But don’t worry; I’m sure there will be another hundred-plus new songs to check out at this time next week. See you then. – Darryl Sterdan, The Tinnitist

The Underplayed beat is growing: Movie Review

Looking for a unique lesson for Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day? You probably don’t know much about the role women have played in the electronic music industry. The new (Canadian-made!) documentary Underplayed wants to change that, and it turns out this music is the perfect allegory between what women have accomplished and how overdue their recognition truly is. – Tyler Collins, Oakville News


Music-related NFTs have topped $25M in the past month

The jury’s out on whether non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a music industry fad – or a transformative harbinger of the business’s future. Either way, they’re booming. Last month it was reported that the digital collectables had generated over $100 million in sales in just 30 days across various entertainment formats. Now, NFTs are starting to gain mainstream traction in the music industry. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Epidemic Sound valued at $1.4bn as Blackstone joins $450m investment round in Swedish company

Much talked-about Swedish music company Epidemic Sound has just secured a $450m funding round – including money from investment giant Blackstone. The investment sees Blackstone Growth (BXG) team up with EQT Growth in the round, which gives Epidemic Sound a $1.4b valuation. Epidemic Sounds’ existing investors before today included Creandum and EQT Mid-Market, as well as Atwater Capital. – Tim Ingham, MBW


The best-selling Grammy winners of all time

While many of the 2021 Grammy nominees top the Billboard charts and are some of the best-selling musicians today, only a few rank among the best-selling artists ever. These artists, having extraordinary commercial and critical success, are often among the most famous musicians in recent history. – Charles Stockdale, 247WallStreet

Album of the year is the Grammy that nobody deserved to win

Albums are supposed to be dead, but surprise, they’re back like zombies, dominating the streaming landscape with their bulky tracklists and pseudo-grandeur. Why so bloated? Because today’s streaming services pay artists by streams per song, which means longer tracklists beget bigger paydays, making this year’s most-hyped pop albums puffy by design. – Chris Richards, Washington Post

Dinosaur Jr. announce 2021 tour dates and Camp Fuzz retreat

The band’s new album Sweep It Into Space is out in April. Canadian dates are included in the fall tour sked. – Evan Minsker, Pitchfork

The story behind the song: Bob Dylan’s revolutionary rock ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’

The secret of staying relevant is perhaps to not stick to the formula. The legacy of Bob Dylan’s oeuvre tells us that he mastered this tact quite well. Here's a look at one of his classics.  – Far Out


Crowded House dedicate Don’t Dream Its Over to Michael Gudinski

Neil Finn dedicated his Crowded House classic ‘Don’t Dream Its Over’ to Mushroom founder Michael Gudinski at the first Crowded House show of 2021 in New Zealand last week. Gudinski passed away in his sleep at his home in Toorak on 2 March 2021. He was 68. Neil Finn’s first ever record came via Gudinski’s Mushroom Records when he joined his brother Tim’s band Split Enz  in 1977.  – Paul Cashmere, Noise11

The Taite Music Prize 2021 finalists are announced

The Taite Music Prize highlights outstanding New Zealand albums released in the past year. The award is open to all genres of music and judged on artistic merit regardless of genre or sales. Call it the Kiwi equivalent of the Polaris Music Prize.  – Scoop

From Britney to Billie: The evolution of young female pop stardom

Both women just got the documentary treatment, and while the films and the singers have little in common, their stories are very much the same —  young women navigating stardom, an inimitable connection with fans, probing press that seems to never get enough and an air of sadness about the price each has paid and is paying for fame. – Lina Lecaro, LA Weekly

Willie Nelson atop the Jazz Albums chart

Willie Nelson’s new Frank Sinatra-inspired album That’s Life opens at No. 1 on Billboard’s Jazz Albums chart (dated March 13). It’s his third leader on the list. The set also bows atop the Traditional Jazz Albums tally -- his fourth No. 1 there. (On both charts, Sinatra himself is runner-up at No. 2, with his popular 2015 hits set Ultimate Sinatra. – Billboard

Sam Smith blasts the BRIT Awards for keeping their Male and Female categories

The non-binary star - who uses the pronouns they/them - is upset that the BRITS have decided against introducing a gender-neutral alternative to the awards. In a statement on Instagram, Sam said: "Music for me has always been about unification not division. – MusicNews

Rick Ross performs during the "Miami Jazz In The Gardens" music festival at Hard Rock Stadium on March 09, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

Rick Ross performs during the "Miami Jazz In The Gardens" music festival at Hard Rock Stadium on March 09, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Rb Hip Hop

Rick Ross Keeps Drake Beef Going, Updates ‘Champagne Moments’ Cover Art

The Miami rapper continues to troll his former friend.

Rick Ross isn’t done beefing with Drake.

The Miami rapper recently updated the cover art to his “Champagne Moments” diss track aimed at his former friend and collaborator. The original artwork was from a 2014 tweet that read, “please take a moment to enjoy: white guy who looks like drake.”

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