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FYI

Music News Digest, March 2, 2020

Drake releases two surprise new tracks, Curve Music signs The Western Swing Authority (pictured), and a name change for Director X. Also in the news are Canadian Blast, Mikhail Laxton, Forge Fest, Music Canada certifications, Loud Luxury, Music BC, FIMPRO, and MusicNL.

Music News Digest, March 2, 2020

By Kerry Doole

With no advance fanfare, Drake released two new tracks on the weekend, When To Say When and Chicago Freestyle, delivering them along with a video incorporating both tracks. Variety reports that the clip, directed and filmed by Theo Skudra, was shot in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, and Toronto.


– Curve Music has announced the signing of The Western Swing Authority. As part of the deal, the label will re-release the band's catalogue worldwide and the group will shortly begin work on a new album. Starting today (March 2), the band's catalogue (Big Deal, All Dolled Up, Now Playing, and the self-titled debut) will be available worldwide both digitally and physically through Curve Music.

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– The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) is now accepting submissions here for its seventh Canadian Blast showcase and business mission to Nashville for the Americana Music Festival and Conference, Sept. 15-20. Deadline is May 1. Presented by Music Export Canada, CIMA hosts a two-hour Canadian Blast showcase at InDo on Sept 17 or 18 (TBC), presenting 4-5 Canadian bands to fest delegates and attendees. A  Buyers Summit, focusing on industry buyers, is set for Sept 18. 

– Toronto indie label Acronym has signed singer/songwriter Mikhail Laxton. He made a splash in his native Australia prior to relocating to Ottawa three years ago, and he has recently been collaborating with Maia Davies (Serena Ryder, Ladies Of The Canyon) and recording in Morin Heights. Stay tuned.

– Goodbye Director X, hello Julien Christian Lutz. In a recent extensive profile in Variety, the noted Toronto hip-hop video director and filmmaker explained that he now wants to be referred to by his real name. “There comes a point where you have to be Dwayne Johnson, not The Rock. You have to be Will Smith, not Fresh Prince,” he says. As Little X, then Director X, Lutz found fame working extensively with Drake, Rihanna, Future, Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, Justin Bieber DMX, 112, and more. He received the Prism Prize's Special Achievement Award in 2016. He is now concentrating on films and television shows. Read more here.

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–  Now in its third year, Tillsonburg, ON’s Forge Fest will be held July 25 at eight downtown venues. The just-announced lineup includes Kevin Seconds (of 7 Seconds), Jonah Matranga, Danbert Nobacon (of Chumbawamba),  B.A. Johnston, The Drew Thomson Foundation, K-Man and The 45s, The Matadors, In My Coma, and many more. Details here. Proceeds from 2020's Forge Fest will again be donated to CMHA Oxford. Last year it raised over $3500. 

–  Recent Music Canada certifications have included a double-platinum single for The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights, platinum singles for Tenille Townes’ Somebody’s Daughter and Justin Bieber’s Yummy, and a gold single for Brett Kissel’s Drink About Me.

–  Hit EDM duo Loud Luxury has released the second single off a forthcoming EP Nights Like This  (out March 27). Sharing its name both with the EP and the group's past live tour, Nights Like This features New York City’s Grammy-winning DJ/producer CID.

–  Music BC is returning to FIMPRO in Guadalajara, Mexico, in May, and is inviting BC musicians and industry representatives to attend.Industry professionals can join Music BC as part of a trade mission, while artists are offered a chance to showcase alongside other Canadian artists there. Apply here by March 13.

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– MusicNL and the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival commemorate International Women’s Day 2020 with two events on March 8 featuring musical performances, short films and music videos. The LSPU Hall in St. John’s (2-4 pm) presents Jenina MacGillivray, Danielle Hamel, Rachel Cousins, and Rozalind MacPhail. The Rotary Arts Centre in Corner Brook (8-10 pm) presents Bridget & Dahlia, Geraldine Hollett (The Once), Kacie Callahan, and Emma Peckford. More info here.

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