Music News Digest, July 16, 2020

July Talk (pictured) outlines its drive-in concerts, new non-profit org Advance moves forward, and Music Nova Scotia creates two new investment programs. Also in the news are Music Publishers Canada, Audiam, Toronto Shines, John Finley, Bob Wiseman, Melissa Payne, Lawson Vocal Studios, Owen Barney, Jay Douglas, Kyle Meagher, Nikko DeTranquilli, and farewell Lil Marlo.

Music News Digest, July 16, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Advance, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, is a new non-profit org aiming to provide a unified voice and create change for Black people working within all sectors of the Canadian music industry. The group says it wants to develop an infrastructure for the betterment, upliftment and retention of Black people in Canada’s music industry. It also wants to build “a more equitable Canadian music industry that grants Canada’s Black music communities a fair and valued voice in a consistently growing music nation.” On its website, Advance vows to hold the corporate, private and government sectors accountable, and create “conditions for long-term success by addressing racial equality and inclusivity through four areas.” Those areas are advocacy, mentorship, community outreach, and business development and entrepreneurship.


On Twitter, CARAS said it welcomes the creation of the organization and looks forward to working with it and supporting its goals. Advance tweeted this: "At the heart of the Canadian music industry lives brilliant artists, passionate creators and a vibrant mosaic of Black voices that have launched the biggest talents in the world. Today, more than ever, these voices need to be amplified.” Source: CP 

– On Tuesday Pete and Leah of July Talk presided over a fake press conference on YouTube to announce a few details of the band's two upcoming Live At A Drive-In shows (Aug. 12 and 13) (promoted by Live Nation) at an outdoor theatre near Newmarket, ON.  "The only safe way to see rock 'n roll this summer," they stated. Tickets on sale Friday (July 17) at noon. 

– Music Publishers Canada has announced the second cohort of its Women in the Studio National Accelerator program. The initiative supports the development of eight talented producer-songwriters from across the country, in partnership with Women in Music Canada and She Is The Music. Funding is provided by Ontario Creates, FACTOR and RBC.


This year, the program offers a series of curated virtual events and individually tailored experiences from now to Jan. 2021. This year’s participants are Teddi Jones (British Columbia), Melody McKiver (Ontario), iaamSaam(Ontario), Carmen Elle (Ontario), Camille Poliquin (Quebec), Isabelle Banos (Quebec), Reeny Smith (Nova Scotia) and Breagh Isabel (Nova Scotia). To learn more about the producers, click here

– SOCAN has announced that Jeff Price has departed wholly-owned Audiam, effective immediately. SOCAN COO Jeff King has assumed the duties of CEO. "SOCAN and Audiam will continue to work to represent rights holders and ensure they are being paid transparently and efficiently," said Jennifer Brown, Interim-CEO of SOCAN. King has served as a board member of Audiam, playing a key role in establishing the company as a leader in digital rights administration since it was acquired by SOCAN in 2016. Audiam licenses, monitors, audits, researches, collects and distributes digital mechanical and YouTube royalties for music creators and publishers.

– After consultation with the province, industry leaders, and artists, Music Nova Scotia has created two new one-time Investment Programs. Applications for these programs are now open, with a July 20 deadline. The Covid-19 Response Program is available to Artists II, III, and Export Ready Companies, and the Songwriter Mentorship Program is available to artists.  Information on program levels is available here


– The concept of live music at drive-ins continues to take hold. Beginning tomorrow (July 17), Toronto Shines presents a mix of live entertainment and films in the central locale of Ontario Place. The venture is spearheaded by award-winning music producer Farley Flex and entertainment mogul Jeffrey Latimer and will feature live DJs, standup comics, and musical artists. The opening night features host/comedian Evan Carter and music from  Rory Taillon and Steph La Rochelle, while host/comedian Kate Davis and soul singer Sean Jones entertain on July 18. More details at


– John Finley is a Toronto-based R&B singer/songwriter who came to prominence in the '60s with Jon and Lee & The Checkmates and later with the rock band Rhinoceros. He has had songs covered by Three Dog Night and Ivan Neville and continues to perform and record. Now signed to local label Vesuvius Music (headed by Jaymz Bee and Lorenzo DiGianfelice), Finley releases a new album, Soul Singer, tomorrow (July 17), one produced and arranged by Lou Pomanti. Bee informs us that "one of my greatest joys is working closely with John Finley who, at 75, has never sung better!" 

– After a stint as the keyboardist in the first incarnation of Blue Rodeo, Bob Wiseman has pursued a multi-faceted music career in an idiosyncratic fashion. He has used his experiences to write a book, Music Lessons, now published by ECW Press. A press release states that "each entry is unique and compellingly written, but the themes throughout — on improvisational music, life lessons, and conflict — are ubiquitous." Expect plenty of original thinking within.

– Ontario roots artist Melissa Payne released her latest album, Darker Than Your Dark, back in March, but the covid-forced cancellation of a tour prevented it from getting the attention it deserves. The record features the work of three producers and co-writers, Greg Keelor (Blue Rodeo), James McKenty (The Spades), and Maia Davies (Ladies of the Canyon). Here’s the title track.

– Toronto-based vocal and performance studio Lawson Vocal Studios (LVS) has announced a contest for emerging artists, Becoming. Created in celebration of LVS's 5th anniversary, Becoming takes place from July to August. Conducted online, it will feature artists ages 12-14 and 18 and above. Find out more about LVS and the contest here. Lawson and Mary-LuZahalan, the creator and head of the Commercial Vocal department at Sheridan College, recently wrote a book entitled The Power of Performance. It is designed to help singers and musicians evolve by developing a solid work process to become a unique and memorable performer. 


– Rising country artist Owen Barney has just released a video for his hit single, Thank Her For That. The track has been climbing the Canadian Country charts quickly, and is currently #35 at Country Radio, with play on 27 stations across Canada. Barney has earned over 4.5 million streams, with the new single landing top spots on some highly coveted playlists. 

– Juno-nominated Canadian reggae veteran Jay Douglas has released a new double-single, Muschange (out on Slammin Media), with Lord Sassafrass guesting. Sly Dunbar (Sly and Robbie) produced, and Carl Harvey (Toots and the Maytals) plays guitar.

– Kyle Meagher has released a music video for his new pop-rock single Know Better. The clip features upcoming actress and influencer Bella Martinez (Date of Honor, yA). Directed by Zachary Spence (Capital Arts Productions), the music video was shot in the homes of Meagher and Martinez in LA and Ottawa, following covid-19 quarantine and lockdown orders. Meagher has earned onscreen attention as a star of the CBC and Netflix series Anne with an E.


– With many fest wins and nominations, including Best Original Score at Toronto’s Blood In The Snow Film Festival, dark comedy Asking For A Friend has made a mark, and it's now available to watch on horror platform Alter. Toronto-raised composer (and former hip-hop artist) Nikko DeTranquilli wrote the film's soundtrack, which took home an award at Horror Hound Film Festival.  Edelweiss Productions has now made the song to one of the most infamous scenes of the movie (blood rave scene) available for free dl throughout July, available on its website.


Lil Marlo (Rudolph Johnson), an Atlanta-based rap artist, was shot and killed on July 11, age 30.

His label, Quality Control Music, announced the death of Johnson in a social media post, saying he will be remembered as “a man of great talent who feared nothing.”

Johnson emerged in 2017 collaborating with rapper and friend Lil Baby on 2 The Hard Way. Earlier this year, the up-and-coming rapper released his project 1st & 3rd featuring Future, Gucci Mane and Lil Baby.

Rapper Lil Yachty, Johnson’s label mate, said on social media that he and Johnson had worked on four songs the morning of his death. Sources: AP,All Access 

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.”

keep readingShow less