Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 20, 2019

Bahamas (pictured) is thrilled to work with Robbie Robertson, Haviah Mighty makes Polaris history, and Bruce Cockburn goes instrumental. Others in the headlines include Celine Dion, Drake, The Band, Live Nation, Elephant Stone, YYC Music Awards, Carl Newman, Taylor Swift, CREEM, and Britney Spears.

Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 20, 2019

By FYI Staff

Polaris Music Prize 2019: Haviah Mighty makes history

The Brampton MC is the first Black woman and first hip-hop artist to win the Canadian music prize for her album 13th Floor. – Michelle Da Silva, NOW

Bruce Cockburn avoids impulse to get political with lyric-less new album

If anyone is looking for activist folk singer Bruce Cockburn to deliver a passionate lyrical rebuke for our tumultuous times, they're not going to find it on his newest album. On his 34th album "Crowing Ignites," due for release on Sept. 20, Cockburn lets the music do the talking. – David Friend, Canadian Press

Robbie Robertson tells his side of the story in Once Were Brothers

He talks about the time he needed a hypnotist to get over what may have been stage fright, and he recalls touring with Bob Dylan. Chris Knight, National Post


‘I was flattered’: Bahamas musician Afie Jurvanen on making music with Robbie Robertson

While Robertson was working on the score and hs album, Robertson’s manager phoned Jurvanen and asked him to come down to Robertson’s studio in Los Angeles. Jurvanen had never met Robertson before, but he knew he was getting an offer he could not refuse. – Brad Wheeler, Globe andMail

Fifty years of 'The Band,' an album that didn't fit the mold then or now

Just after playing Woodstock, The Band released their definitive anti-counterculture document, tackling the ghosts of American past that continue to haunt to this day. – Nate Rogers, Billboard

Celine Dion begs Drake not to get her face tattooed on his body

Her heart may go on, but her skin won't stay supple — and neither will anyone else's. This is the reason Céline Dion doesn't want her face tattooed onto Drake's body: It's not going to look so pretty after 30 years, when gravity catches up to the Toronto rapper and all his ink. – Blog TO

Elephant Stone get heavy on new single (listen), touring around Levitation fest

It’s been three years since Montreal’s Elephant Stone released an album but are working on the follow-up to Ship of Fools as we speak. A new cut shows a heavier side. –  Bill Pearis, Brooklyn Vegan

Fall Arts Preview: Live music calendar 

A host of hot tickets in Halifax that’ll give you earworms ‘till the first snowfall. – Andrew Bethune, The Coast


YYC Music Awards highlight the best of the city's music

The best of the city’s music scene will be honoured on stage at the Palace Theatre Sept. 22. The annual volunteer-run YYC Music Awards, in its fourth year, honours local music in 21 categories. – Jon Roe, Calgary Herald

Who's leading the way toward accessibility in Toronto's music scene?

People with disabilities are often excluded from shows and parties, but a few musicians and promoters are looking to change that. – Rachel Romu, NOW 

New Pornographers’ Carl Newman savours anonymity, recognition

 “I thought of the band as a sort of computer program,” Newman said in an interview at a swank Toronto hotel. “I would feed music into this program and on the other end would be the New Pornographers.” – Chris Arnold,Postmedia


Taylor Swift: The Rolling Stone interview

In her most in-depth and introspective interview in years, Swift tells all about the rocky road to 'Lover' and much, much more. – Brian Hiatt

Assistant AG confirms Live Nation antitrust investigation 

At an antitrust enforcement oversight hearing held by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Makan Delrahim, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, confirmed that Live Nation (NASDAQ: LYV) is under investigation for alleged anti-competitive behaviour and its adherence to a 2010 consent decree. – Sean Burns, TicketNews

The music business wants to blow up copyright—and the Trump Administration is on board

Changing the rules would let composers borrow freely to create new hits. – Vernon Silver, Bloomberg


Taylor Swift to star in SoFi Stadium’s grand opening next July

Two days after SoFi Stadium, the future home of the Rams and Chargers, announced a naming rights deal, the $5-billion Inglewood venue revealed its first event. The most expensive NFL stadium ever built will open July 25 and 26, 2020, with back-to-back Taylor Swift concerts. – Arash Markazi,  LA Times

Singer Breanna Sinclairé moves past homelessness and abuse in pursuit of operatic stardom

Breanna Sinclairé's voice has an enviable four-octave range. The classically trained Bay Area vocalist said she's capable of singing almost any part she likes. In 2015, she became the first transgender vocalist to sing the national anthem at a professional sports event. – Chloe Veltman, KQED


“Rock stars are not our friends!” The wild story of CREEM magazine, America’s countercultural bible

'Boy Howdy: The Story of CREEM' tells the story of the US magazine which reported rock'n'roll from the trenches for 20 years. – Rhys Buchanan, NME

Snarky Puppy turns the focus of jazz toward composition

Catching up with leader and bassist Michael League before the group’s Ryman show. – Ron Wynn, Nashville Scene

Britney Spears hasn’t fully controlled her life for years. Fans insist it’s time to #FreeBritney

In late April, Britney Spears delivered a plea to her 22 million Instagram followers. “Don’t believe everything you read and hear,” she wrote in a caption. – Laura Newberry, LA Times

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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