Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 9, 2021

Drake has dominated music news for the past week, Ontario music venues welcome a vaccine mandate, and Ottawa’s Rainbow Bistro is in peril. Also in the headlines are Ontario Place, Buffy MacNeil, Chan Centre concerts, Roger Mooking, Glenn Dixon, ESO, Kanye West, AWAL, Jeremy Sirota, ABBA, Charlie Watts, David Crosby, Finneas, The Faces, Anita Baker, and Radiohead.

Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 9, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Vaccine mandate offers hope for Ontario’s devastated live music scene, but industry is still incapacitated

Across the board, representatives of the live music industry such as managers, promoters, venue owners and booking agents we contacted by applauded the measure. They also had this to say: It’s not enough. As long as crowd sizes are capped at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing, Ontario’s live music industry is in a holding pattern at best.–  Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Drake raps about owning his masters on 'Certified Lover Boy,' his first full OVO album

The new album is Drake's first official full-length album released on his own OVO label -- in partnership with UMG's Republic Records. Certified Lover Boy, which arrived Friday (Sept. 3), is now certified as his first official release under his label, OVO Sound, which he founded in 2012. – Heran Mamo, Billboard 


Drake’s still untouchable on ‘Certified Lover Boy’

A pregnant pause seems to have placed Drizzy in an overall darker mood and perhaps at a personal crossroads, something that many will probably find relatable or, depending on the subject matter, totally unrelatable, like when he seemingly whines about not making as much money as people think during “CLB”s final track The Remorse. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

‘Donda’ was pure psychodrama; Drake’s ‘Certified Lover Boy’ is irresistible even at its bleakest

One depressing way to assess the rivalry between hip-hop’s dueling alpha males is to compare why each of them involved an accused sexual predator in his new album. For Kanye West, with Marilyn Manson, the motivation appears to have been West’s trollish thirst for controversy. For Drake, whose album carries a songwriting credit for R. Kelly, the reason seems more like blinkered thoughtlessness. – Mikael Wood, LA Times

First impression: Drake’s new album Certified Lover Boy isn’t his best, but the timing is perfect

Overall, I’m not sure Drake has much to say on the 21-track Certified Lover Boy. With all the guest artists (including Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Lil Baby, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Travis Scott, Young Thug and Future), there are more features to the album than on an iPhone. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail


From the Raptors to The Bridle Path, here are some Toronto references from Drake’s ‘Certified Lover Boy’ album

Drake, released his highly-anticipated album ‘Certified Lover Boy’ on Sept. 3. Amid the usual deep synth basses and moody rhythms, Drake didn’t disappoint in reiterating his Canadian roots. Here are some of local Toronto references that Drake included in his newest release. – Cheyenne Bholla, Toronto Star

Hear’s to you, Halifax

After a year without concerts, it's essential to pad your playlists with the local groups you'll chase to the pub after class. Listed below is some of the immense amount of local talent Halifax calls its own. – Isabel Buckmaster, The Coast

Unless a buyer steps up, Rainbow Bistro in Ottawa's ByWard Market to close after 37 years

Owner Danny Sivyer said he’s running out of money, and doesn’t see the situation getting any better so long as physical-distancing advice limits the capacity to just 40 people. The second-floor bar at the corner of Murray Street and Parent Avenue was licensed for 148 people before the pandemic. – Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen

The Debate: Is the Ontario Place redevelopment plan the right one?

The Ford government’s plan for a renewed Ontario Place is hardly perfect, writes David Israelson. “But I'd give a qualified Yes to moving ahead." The plan promises “three discrete, imported private attractions behind expensive paywalls,” writes Ken Greenberg, arguing against the plan. – Toronto Star

Chan Centre announces fall concerts celebrating local, Indigenous, and emerging artists

Vancouver's Chan Centre and UBC School of Music have announced a batch of fall 2021 performances--with live audiences--in the Chan Shun Concert Hall. Performers include vocalist and baritone-ukulele player Desirée Dawson (Sept. 24), clarinetist Jose Franch-Ballester presenting tango music and dance (Oct. 1), Filipinx rapper and singer Kimmortal (Oct. 22), and Afro-Cuban folk band Locarno (Oct. 30). – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight


Buffy MacNeil sings for the innocent and silenced voices on Somebody Pray

MacNeil’s new release Somebody Pray is the kind of song you’ll remember long after you’ve heard it. Written at the start of the year, the Isle Madame singer and teacher wanted to create a composition to honour and give voice to the Indigenous children who were taken from their homes by Canada’s residential school system. – Stephen Cooke, Chronicle-Herald


Fresh Tracks: Hunting down Edmonton's newest music

As the seasons shift, so do the emotions. The sentimentality that arises as summer draws to a close is a common feeling, and one often captured in the work of country music. Here are a few local talents in this genre that have all recently released new songs that settle in well with the times. – Jenny Feniak, Edmonton Journal

A grape catch-up with celebrity chef and musician Roger Mooking

I’ve always known this award-winning chef, TV celebrity, restaurateur, cookbook author and Juno-winning musician (yes, he wears many hats) to always give back to the community. – Rita DeMontis, Toronto Sun

Q&A: Glenn Dixon brings the imaginary band he documents in Bootleg Stardust to life

Writing his first fictional novel about a '70s rock band led author Glenn Dixon back to music. – Stuart Derdeyn, Calgary Herald

Five concerts around Saskatoon in September

Live concerts are popping up in venues around Saskatoon once more. – Jocelyn Bennett, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Music on Main has announced the first shows of its 16th annual concert series

First up in the schedule are Music on Main’s weekly digital releases, with online performances by the likes of Infamy Too!, Julia Ulehla, Aram Bajakian, and Saina Khaledi being streamed every Tuesday from Sept. 14 to Nov. 2. – Georgia Straight

Review: Symphony Under the Sky stays true to tradition over two lovely nights

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s mini festival, Symphony Under the Sky, much missed last year, is back to herald the end of the summer and the traditional start of Edmonton’s classical music scene. – Mark Morris, Edmonton Journal


Kanye West hits 775m streams in Donda's first week... as Drake smashes his own Spotify record

Blockbuster albums have been in short supply these past 18 months. For a minute there, it looked like no new albums would ever smash play-count records on major streaming platforms again. But then Kanye West returned. Soon followed by Drake. And records did shatter all over the land.. – MBW

UK watchdog says Sony Music's AWAL buyout raises competition concerns

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has decided that Sony Music’s completed purchase of recorded music services firm AWAL from Kobalt Music Group raises competition concerns, following a Phase 1 investigation into the buyout. Sony must now address the CMA’s concerns within five working days. If unable to do so, the deal will be referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation. – MBW


Artists and bands must swap private jets for trains to cut their climate impact, study warns

To cut the climate impacts of music, artists and bands should swap private jets for trains and festivals should be looking to generate more renewable energy. These are among the recommendations of a new roadmap for 'super low carbon live music'  – Daily Mail

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Jeremy Sirota, CEO, Merlin

While Jeremy Sirota may be a traditional music man at heart, he has a digital heartbeat. As a former Orange Country, California ‘90s coder kid, a 2000s Flash designer, a tech lawyer, and early member of the Facebook music team, tech has always been his parallel passion to music. – Celebrity Access

David Crosby on love, music and rancour

"Neil Young is probably the most selfish person I know," declares Young's loudmouthed former bandmate. – The Guardian

What Stones drummer Charlie Watts can teach us about investing

 Investors can be prone to the same emotional highs and lows as rock stars. The best lessons that investors can learn from the Stones do not come from the charismatic lead singer, they come from Charlie Watts. – CNBC

ABBA reunite to announce a new album and future concerts

Swedish supergroup ABBA announced their first new album in four decades last Thursday and said they would stage a series of virtual concerts using digital avatars of themselves in London next year. The album “Voyage” will come out on Nov. 5, the band said during the streamed launch. – Reuters


Finneas flies solo

After years helping others find their muse — and picking up eight Grammys along the way — Billie Eilish’s big brother Finneas is ready for his close up. – Laura Robinson, NEXT

Kenney Jones says The Faces have reunited and been recording

Drummer Kenney Jones says that Faces have recorded “about 14 songs” for a yet to be officially announced release. The band -- whose surviving members include Jones, singer Rod Stewart and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood -- released four studio albums in the ‘70s, the last of which was 1973’s Ooh La La. – Ultimate Classic Rock

Taylor Swift celebrates Anita Baker getting her masters back

Taylor Swift is caught up in the rapture! The singer-songwriter shared her joy after Anita Baker announced that the fight for her masters had been resolved. "What a beautiful moment, CONGRATULATIONS ANITA!!" the "Willow" singer tweeted Saturday, along with two happy-crying and clapping emojis.– Anna Chan Billboard

Radiohead to reissue Kid A and Amnesiac as triple album Kid A Mnesia

Radiohead is set to reissue both albums with bonus tracks in a new package called ‘Kid A Mnesia’.  Noise11

Allison Russell at an interview with iHeartRadio for Billboard Canada Women in Music on June 19, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

Allison Russell at an interview with iHeartRadio for Billboard Canada Women in Music on June 19, 2024


Allison Russell, Charlotte Cardin, DijahSB Shortlisted for 2024 Polaris Music Prize

The Beaches, rapper TOBi, indie experimentalist Cindy Lee, and previous winner Jeremy Dutcher are also amongst the ten artists in contention for the $50,000 prize, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year based solely on artistic merit. See the whole list here.

Some of Canadian music's biggest breakthroughs of the last year are facing off for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

Charlotte Cardin for 99 Nights, The Beaches for Blame My Ex, Allison Russell for The Returner and Cindy Lee for Diamond Jubilee are among the ten artists shortlisted for the 2024 award, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year.

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