Music News Digest, May 22, 2020

Paul Brandt (pictured) chairs a human trafficking task force, Sydney features on Unsinkable Youth, and the Homebody Music Festival starts tomorrow. Also in the news are Junos 365 Songwriters’ Circle, Barenaked Ladies, The Coalition for Music Education, Torquil Campbell, Creative Manitoba, One Earth Live, DT Concert Series, Ontario Creates, Caveboy, Pleasure Craft, August Rigo, and farewell John Cumming. With video.

Music News Digest, May 22, 2020

By FYI Staff

On May 19, Canadian country music star Paul Brandt was named Chair of Alberta’s human trafficking task force, one set up to find ways to prevent human trafficking in Alberta and protect and empower survivors. The seven-member task force, which also includes Edmonton police Chief Dale McFee, will provide guidance and recommendations on how to best implement the government’s nine-point action plan to combat human trafficking.

Brandt, who grew up in Calgary, is the founder of #NotInMyCity, an organization that focuses on disrupting human trafficking by raising awareness, creating a platform for action and mobilizing communities to act. He said he was honoured to be named chair of the task force, which met for the first time on Wednesday. In 2019, Brandt received the Slaight Music Humanitarian Award for his work with #NotInMyCity. Source: Global TV


– Joining Lennon Stella, The Reklaws, Johnny Orlando and others appearing on this afternoon’s Unsinkable Youth event across all CTV platforms, Facebook and Youtube (May 22) at 1 pm is Sydney, the latest Quebec sensation. Sydney was discovered at the age of 11 two years ago by Quebeckers on La Voix Version 2 - the children version of The Voice - and she won the competition. Concurrent with the release of a new single, a cover of BTS' Fake Love, today in North America and Asia, Sydney’s video for the song (also featuring East2West) has garnered over 1.32M  views on YouTube.

– Episode three of Junos 365 Songwriters’ Circle will feature Joel Plaskett, Buffy Sainte-Marie, City and Colour, and Sarah Harmer, and it will begin streaming Friday, May 29 at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT on CBC Gem and world-wide at Launched by CBC Music and CARAS, and presented by SOCAN, in association with Music Publishers Canada, the Circle comprises five virtual events featuring some of Canada’s best songwriters.


– Francesco Yates, The Reklaws, Courage My Love, Allan Rayman, and Ezra Jordan (who also hosts) are all featured in the upcoming Homebody Music Festival. The fest will feature more than 50+ artists in many genres, and the performances will stream on YouTube Live over two weekends, May 22-24, and May 29-31. Homebody aims to raise funds and awareness for three charitable organizations — Jack(dot)org, Meals to Heal, and Unison Benevolent Fund.

– Barenaked Ladies have postponed their extensive 2020 Last Summer On Earth tour of North America until 2021. It was originally set to kick-off next month in Florida. Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket will join BNL for the new dates next year. Tickets purchased for 2020 will remain valid for 2021, though 4 US shows were unable to be rescheduled.

– The Coalition for Music Education has launched their new study A 2020 Landscape of Music Education in Canada. This research will help establish a national understanding of access to quality music education in every province and territory. Music Canada serves as partner on this research, alongside the Canadian Music Educators’ Association, MusiCounts, the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning, and People for Education.


Teachers and administrators are invited to take part in the survey. Upon completion, you will be entered for a chance to receive one of three available $5K MusiCounts Band Aid Program instrument grants for your school's music program. More info here 

– Stars frontman Torquil Campbell live streams as part of the ongoing National Arts Centre Canada Performs series tonight (May 22) at 7 pm, via Facebook. On at 6 pm is rising star Witch Prophet.

– Creative Manitoba and Manitoba Music are partnering together to offer digital marketing and social media training for artists from all creative practices. These accelerator sessions run May 27-30, and are open to members of the two orgs only. Register here by May 24.


– The One Earth Live fest will take place online via streaming partner PORTL on May 23 and 24. Headliners include John Butler, Michael Franti, Nahko and Trevor Hall,and the fest aims to promote a positive outlook in a world currently facing many challenges

– The popular DT Concert Series in Paris, ON, has been forced to take the live streaming route this year. On May 29, it will present Terra Lightfoot on stage at the Dominion Telegraph venue, with the ticketed digital concert being available via Zoom. Other concerts in the following weeks come from Justin Rutledge, Jully Black, Royal Wood, and Skydiggers. More info here.

– Ontario Creates presents a Film Fund information session Webinar on May 26, 1-2 pm. Registration required here 

– Midem has announced the selection in its debut Talent Exporter programme, a music accelerator spotlighting fresh worldwide talent, and Canadian rock band Caveboy made the cut of 30 artists. Midem activities are being conducted digitally this year, June 2-5.

– Pleasure Craft is the brainchild of Toronto producer Sam Lewis, who cites the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads as influences. His new single, Nothing Ever Happens, features guest vocals from Mingjia Chen. 

– The covid-19 crisis has forced the Music Business Association to cancel its Music Biz 2020 Conference, which was to take place Aug. 16-19 in Nashville. 

– As a composer and producer, Toronto-based August Rigo has worked for some of the biggest stars in both the Western music scene and in K-Pop. Over the past 10 years, he has built a strong discography, with songs written for the likes of Justin Bieber, One Direction, Chris Brown and BTS. Rigo recently told the Philippine Daily Inquirer he is now keen to connect with his Filipino roots and has been keeping an eye on the music scene there. Read more here



John Cumming, co-founder of British arts organization Serious Productions, and the London Jazz Festival, has died after a battle with cancer.. He was 71.

Cumming was a founding member of the European Jazz Network and leveraged his connections to launch the London Jazz Festival in 1992 with the help of the London Arts Board. Source:

In the 1980s Cumming partnered with John Ellson to launch Serious Productions, managing the careers of artists such as Orphy Robinson, Andy Sheppard and John Surman. Source: Celebrity Access




Toronto Queer Music Festival Lavender Wild Gets Slayyyter, Rebecca Black for Summer Dance Party

Ari Hicks, Makayla Couture and more will take the stage at History for a sweaty August event, with proceeds going towards 2SLGBTQI+ charity The Get Real Movement as well as Toronto's Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest queer bookstore in the world.

With Pride month in full swing, Toronto queer music festival Lavender Wild has announced a sizzling new event for later this summer.

"Starfucker" singer Slayyyter will headline the August 24 celebration at Toronto's History club, with queer musician and "Friday" singer Rebecca Black DJing, while Canadian drag queens Makayla Couture and Naomi Leone also bringing their star quality to the stage.

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