Music News Digest, Dec. 2, 2019

Scooter Braun hints at new music from Justin Bieber (pictured), Gowan discusses Styx, and the Women's Blues Revue is a hit. Also in the news are Rosemary Siemens, Tones and I, Kurt Swinghammer, Creative BC, Jerry Leger, Lindy Vopnfjord, Genevieve Marentette, Don Francks, and farewell Irving Burgie.

Music News Digest, Dec. 2, 2019

By FYI Staff


”We felt that we had the licence to do another concept record because for any band with a lineage and legacy like Styx — stretching back to the ’70s — it’s perfectly acceptable to continue making big album statements. Hit singles don’t exist anymore for bands from that era, but as we found, the album is an art form. And I can speak of it that way because it’s lasted this long. [Laughs]

I’ve noticed that it’s been particularly embraced by younger people. They’re the ones that keep buying all the vinyl and playing it on turntables, too. The Mission was designed to be listened to that way. It was recorded analog. We used clunky old tape machines. Pretty much anything that existed prior to the digital age is what we used to record it on. We even did it in Nashville.” — Lawrence Gowan in conversation with Adam Wallis, Global News


— It has been four years since Justin Bieber released Purpose, his last studio album, but the star's manager, Scooter Braun, hints that new music could be soon. Speaking at the 2019 Entertainment Industry Conference in Hollywood, Braun is quoted by Hollywood Life as saying, “I definitely think [Justin] will have new music soon. He is in a really good place and knows what is important, and I think even now he is making music he wants to make."

For a brief instance Sunday, two new tracks from the Stratford singer appeared on YouTube, and then mysteriously disappeared.

— Plum Coulee, Manitoba violinist and singer Rosemary Siemens has made history, becoming the first violinist to play the Sistine Chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City. Her story below:

The Toronto Blues Society’s celebrated the 33rd edition of the Women's Blues Revue Friday night at Roy Thomson Hall. Taking the stage for this year's revue were Tanika Charles, Miss Emily, Angelique Francis, Raha Javanfar, Taborah Johnson, Ellen McIlwaine and Melissa McClelland, backed by an all-star, all-women house band. Now magazine’s Chaka V. Grier offers a first-rate account of highlights from the evening with some powerful photo images provided by Jag Gundu.


— Music Canada certifications for domestic releases last month included a gold album for Roxane Bruneau's Dysphorie (sic), a triple-platinum single for Shawn Mendes' If I Can't Have You, and a platinum single for Alessia Cara's Out Of Love.

Warner Music Canada is seeking a publicist with qualifications that include 4 years of relevant industry experience, a strong knowledge of all music genres, with a special focus on Hip Hop and R&B, and an ability to calmly manage crisis situations. Everything you need to know about the job can be found online here.

— Australian singer-songwriter Toni Watson quit her job as a sales clerk to become a busker under the name Tones and I and in May of this year released the 2nd single from her debut EP, titled Dance Monkey. It has topped the Aussie Songs chart for 18 weeks and blown up around the world, and that includes here in Canada. In the video below, she tells her story and it is inspiring.


— Toronto musician Kurt Swinghammer is also a renowned visual artist. Through the True North Gallery, he sold 13 paintings from his Medicine Hat series for a total of  $7,800, with proceeds recently donated to the Downie Wenjack Fund. In a FB post, the artist states that the gift was "inspired by Gord & Chanie, acknowledging our shameful history of the systematic inhumane treatment of first nation kids." Kudos to Kurt.


— On Dec. 3, Creative BC, along with Music BC and SOCAN, hosts a free Artist Drop-in session at its HQ in Vancouver (5.30 pm) to answer any queries. Register here

— Last Thursday, roots troubadour Jerry Leger played his biggest hometown show to date, headlining at Lee's Palace in Toronto. The following night, he played Hamilton's Mills Hardware, to a smaller but very appreciative crowd. With longtime band The Situation in tow, he stressed material from new album Time Out For Tomorrow. Fellow songsmith Lindy Vopnfjord opened, his first show in his newly adopted hometown. His big-hearted love songs impressed, and things got emotional when he introduced Ethiopian human rights activist Kidus Mehalu, whose family Vopnfjord has helped bring to safety in Canada. Force Of Nature is a Vopnfjord number inspired by Mehalu. 

— 6ix hip-hop artist Roney has released a full-length project Versatile: The Album. Hip-Hop Canada reports that "the 17-track release features guest appearances by Tay 600, Yung Mal, and Jayy Brown." 

— Noted T.O. bassist/producer George Koller, vocalist Genevieve Marentette, and pianist Steve Hunter carry on the musical legacy of their singer/composer/actor friend Don Francks with a recording of the previously unreleased ballad, While There's Still Time, inspired by the classic Moon River. Since Francks' passing in 2016, the song has become a staple of Marentette's performances. Listen for it during her The Music Of Don Francks concert at Toronto's Jazz Bistro on Dec. 13.


Irving Burgie, a US composer who helped to popularise Caribbean music with hit songs like Day-O, died Nov. 29, at age 95, of complications from heart failure.

His death was confirmed by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who called for a moment of silence for the man who wrote its national anthem.

Burgie is best known for helping singer Harry Belafonte bring calypso music to the mainstream. The 1950s song Day-O went on to be used in films, adverts and even as a wake-up call for astronauts in space. The calypso hit, also known as The Banana Boat Song, featured in the popular film Beetlejuice and has been sampled by rapper Lil Wayne and singer Jason Derulo.


His website says Burgie songs have sold more than 100 million records worldwide. He wrote eight of the 11 songs on Harry Belafonte's 1956 album Calypso, which was the first album in the US to sell more than a million copies.

During his career, the composer worked with artists including Jimmy Buffett, Chuck Berry and Sam Cooke. His other well-known songs include Island in the Sun, Jamaica Farewell and Mary's Boy Child, which he co-wrote. Source: BBC

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The Weeknd Spotted at Kendrick Lamar's 'Pop Out' Concert in Los Angeles

Unlike former Toronto Raptor DeMar DeRozan, the Scarborough-born artist never got onstage, but he was in the audience of the show that featured Drake diss tracks 'Not Like Us' and 'Euphoria.'

Kendrick Lamar took over the internet last night (June. 19) with his "Pop Out" concert live-streamed on Prime Video from the Kia Forum in Los Angeles. If it wasn't clear Kendrick had won public opinion in his beef with Drake, it was when the stage united cultural figures from L.A. — from up-and-comers to legends like Dr. Dre, basketball stars like Russell Westbrook, even someone Drake name-dropped in one of his diss tracks, DJ Mustard — to dance along to the scathing "Not Like Us."

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