Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 25, 2021

Snotty Nose Rez Kids (pictured) tackle Indigenous issues, the TSO introduces a new music director, and Ontario lifts capacity limits on bars and nightclubs. Others in the headlines include Peter Peter Soumalias, the CPO, Joni Mitchell, Ellen McIlwaine, IronFest, Oscar Peterson, K-Riz, Leonard Cohen, WMG, vinyl, Ye, Duran Duran, Trent Reznor, Dave Gahan, and Billy Bragg.

Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 25, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Snotty Nose Rez Kids don’t shy away from tackling the hard issues

This time, it’s personal. Over the past four years, hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids has risen to become one of the most important voices speaking out on issues that affect Indigenous communities. On two Polaris Music Prize-shortlisted albums, the tandem of Darren “Young D” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce has tackled concerns ranging from lack of clean drinking water and pipeline locations to racism and mental health. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star 

Toronto Symphony Orchestra resets the stage with new music director and in-person performances

Gustavo Gimeno makes his pandemic-delayed debut as the new music director of the TSO, which starts its season Nov. 10 at Roy Thomson Hall.  –Aruna Dutt, Globe


Major donations give boost to Calgary Philharmonic

Two substantial donations from longtime supporters have pushed Calgary Philharmonic’s capital campaign over the $6-million mark. Irene and Walt DeBoni made a significant donation to start a fund, New Initiatives, and Robbin Shandel’s gift is endowing two chairs in the violin section. – Calgary Herald

‘Go-to guy’ helped launch Canada’s Walk of Fame

Peter Soumalias, an ebullient, persuasive and charismatic Greek-Canadian entrepreneur, collaborated with powerful partners to create Canada’s Walk of Fame, a celebration of national excellence. His tenacity and self-assurance helped propel a fledgling Toronto-based award into one of national significance, both as a tourist attraction and an annual television event with more than 1M viewers. – Susan Ferrier MacKay, Globe and Mail

Ontario to lift capacity limits on bars, nightclubs

Ontario has announced that it will continue the reopening of the live music industry, as bars will be permitted to return to full capacity as of midnight on the morning of October 25, with nightclubs to follow on November 15. It's the latest bit of good news for the province's concert industry. – Alex Hudson, Exclaim!

78 revolutions around the sun: A Joni Mitchell reading list

Poet, painter, composer, musician, and so much more, Joni Mitchell has inspired countless feature stories. Here are some of the best. – Longreads

Ellen McIlwaine's Toronto band reminisces about their boss's brilliance 

The potency of an artist’s gift can be assessed by the radiance that it transmits through time and space and by the character of the residue that endures on record. In the wake of her sudden departure, from cancer, this past June, Ellen McIlwaine’s music continues to pulse with a unique primacy. In performance, she was robust, playful and meditative. – Paul Corby, blogspot


The Coastal Jazz & Blues Society has just announced IronFest

The  Fall Jazz Concert Series, takes place November 18 to 20 at the Ironworks. Performers include the Bill Coon Quartet with Campbell Ryga, Krystle Dos Santos and Jodi Proznick. – Georgia Straight

Filmmaker says he wants to showcase Oscar Peterson's brilliance, highlight his lasting impact

Barry Avrich's new documentary about late Montreal jazz legend Oscar Peterson harkens back to the era of black and white television but seeks to situate the legacy of the great Canadian pianist firmly in the present. "There's no needle in the arm, there's no huge bouts of alcoholism. This was just an extraordinary musician who, as he says in the beginning of the film: 'I came to play,'" said the filmmaker. - Josh Grant, CBC News

Rapper K-Riz returns to the stage, finds peace and purpose after cheating death

 Before the car accident, he had completed work on a full-length album called Peace & Love. As he lay in hospital, he realized that some of the songs didn’t seem to resonate anymore, even the ones that tackled darker subject areas such as breakups, heartbreak, forgiveness and family strife.  –Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald


A look at the Leonard Cohen graphic biography ‘On A Wire’

The graphic bio  is ‘entertainment with an undercurrent of sadness and introspection.’ Much like the bard himself.  – Mike Donachie, Toronto Star

The jazz season's finally returned with sounds across the spectrum

As musicians of all stripes struggle to find performance opportunities, three of the city’s most accomplished saxophonist bandleaders have cooked up some great options for fans of jazz and blues. – Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal


WMG is worth $10B more than a year ago

Warner Music Group finished the trading day of Oct. 21 with a share price of $48.06, the highest point since WMG floated a portion of its company on the NASDAQ in June 2020. WMG’s share price translated to an Enterprise Value (EV) for WMG of $27.66. The surge in Warner’s value since Universal floated in Amsterdam has been something to behold, with WMG’s EV growing by a full $4B. – MBW


The major labels in the UK are taking a beating

But breaking a British music star across the globe is getting verifiably harder. The BPI  warns: “The UK’s overall share of global music revenue is slipping… the UK currently accounts for around 10% of the global total, down from a peak of 17% in 2015.” Indeed, 2020 was the first year in history that a British act didn’t place in the IFPI‘s Top 10 of the biggest-selling acts in the world. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Vinyl is selling so well that it's getting hard to sell vinyl

Left for dead in the 1980s, vinyl records are now the music industry’s most popular and highest-grossing physical format. Getting them manufactured, however, is increasingly a challenge. – New York Times

The artist formerly known as Kanye West is bringing creepy face masks to the masses

When a man changes his name, radically alters his hair and skulks through airports in a prosthetic mask that conceals his entire head, he’s usually wanted by Interpol. But as far as I know, Kanye West is not a person of interest, except maybe to baffled behavioural scientists. Oops. I just referred to the rapper, designer, incoherent philosopher king and billionaire missionary as “Kanye West.” I regret the error. His legal name is now Ye. – Vinay Menon, Toronto Star

The enduring story of Duran Duran

Next year will be 40 years since the “Rio” video, and Duran Duran is still around. Simon Le Bon: We’ve hammered into each other the fact that we make better music together than as individuals. We’ve rammed that nail well and truly right through each other’s skulls. And it’s true, by the way." – Rob Tannenbaum, LA Times

Trent Reznor says producing Halsey’s album “changed” him “in a good way”

'If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power' came out in the summer. – Damian Jones, NME


Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode: ‘Regret is a weird word. I don’t look back on my life like that’

The Depeche Mode frontman answers your questions, on his new covers' album, taking early dance lessons from Mick Jagger and the right way to load a dishwasher. – Dave Simpson, The Guardian

Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Billy Bragg

In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz an artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. – Gary Ryan, NME

Mask exemption is music to the ears of banned players

Thousands of community musicians can now return to rehearsals after NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard issued an exemption to public health orders, removing the requirement for vaccinated players and singers to wear masks while practising. – Nick Galvin,  Sydney Morning Herald

Meet 3 unsung, pioneering heroes of music whose names you probably didn’t know

The history of music is littered with unsung heroes who have not received the appropriate credit. Moondog and Grady Martin, for example. – Alan Cross, Global News

Big Boi

Big Boi


CNE Bandshell Gets Big Boi, Sloan, Big Wreck And More For Throwback Summer Concerts

The headliners tie together the Toronto waterfront series' '90s and 2000s revival theme, while contemporary acts like MacKenzie Porter, Ruby Waters, Tynomi Banks and more will keep things current.

Toronto's CNE Bandshell concert series is leaning into big nostalgia this summer, with major '90s and 2000s acts headlining the throwback-themed lineup.

OutKast rapper Big Boi, Canadian-American rock band Big Wreck, and east coasters Sloan are leading the summer music programming at the Canadian National Exhibition, a major entertainment fair that takes over the Exhibition Place grounds every August.

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