Music News Digest, Oct. 13, 2020

Tory Lanez (pictured) is facing felony charges, We Are The City break up, and the results of the Niagara Music Awards are in. Others in the news include Unison, Indie Week, Downchild, OKAN, Terra Lightfoot, Madisyn Gifford, Samian, John Lennon, Gord Sinclair, the Glenn Gould Prize Laureate, #MondoNYC, Bahamas, Paul Hyde, and farewell Erin Wall, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, and Zoe Chilco.

Music News Digest, Oct. 13, 2020

By Kerry Doole

The legal woes of Canadian hip-hop bad boy Tory Lanez have just got worse. He has now been charged with assaulting a woman believed to be fellow star Megan Thee Stallion, per information provided by the Los Angeles district attorney’s office. Lanez (real name Daystar Peterson) faces a possible maximum sentence of 22 years and eight months in prison, according to the announcement. The charge stems from a July 12 incident in LA in which MTS claimed he fired a gun at her as she exited the car in which they had been travelling, resulting in injuries to her feet that required surgery. Lanez faces a felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm – personal use of a firearm – and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm in a vehicle. He also faces a gun allegation and that he personally inflicted "great bodily injury.” His arraignment is scheduled for today (Oct. 13). Source: Variety


– Noted Canadian indie label 604 Records (home of  Carly Rae Jepsen, Marianas Trench, and Dallas Smith) has signed pop singer/songwriter Madisyn Gifford. She releases a debut single, Without You, on Oct. 23. "The first time I heard her voice, I was floored. Her voice is simply arresting," stated 604 prez, Jonathan Simkin, in a press release.

– The 13th annual awards Niagara Music Awards were held online on Saturday night. Roots rocker Gravley James was the night’s biggest winner, with three trophies. Winning two awards apiece were VALERIE, Ryan Langdon, and The Maysides. The show included two Global Achievement Awards, for producer Murda Beatz (Drake, Nicki Minaj), and pianist/songwriter Stephan Moccio (Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus, The Weeknd). Canadian artists sending videotaped well wishes included Jann Arden, Karl Wolf, Cone from Sum 41 and Neil Sanderson of Three Days Grace. A full list of winners here. Source: Niagara Falls Review


– The covid-19 pandemic has caused increased mental health hardship for many employed in the Canadian music industry including artists, crew, behind-the-scenes support teams and more.  In 2020, industry charity org Unison Benevolent Fund has seen a 29% increase in demand for counselling services and a 61% increase in urgent mental health crisis intervention cases. To help meet this need, Unison has announced an emergency mental health relief GoFundMe campaign (with a $50K goal) to aid music workers during the pandemic.

– A reminder that blues veterans Downchild play a virtual live-stream concert from the Empire Theatre in Belleville on Oct. 16, at 8 pm (ET), with special guest Miss Emily. Tix on sale here.

– Toronto-based, Juno-nominated Afro-Cuban ensemble OKAN released a new album, Espiral, on Friday., via Lulaworld Records. Members of the group first gained attention as part of the Jane Bunnett-led Maqueque. View OKAN's first music video, for the title track, here.

– Highly-regarded Vancouver-based experimental prog-pop band We Are The City has announced that, amicably, it is breaking up, after 12 years together. In Jan. 2020, WATC released a final album, RIP, alongside the opening of public creative space in Vancouver. One last track, Lover Is Dead, came out on Oct. 11, and a final band event will live-stream on Oct. 23. Tix here


– Award-winning Algonquin rapper Samian is one of many Quebec artists that have raised their voice following the passing of Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year old Atikamekw woman who died in a public hospital after being insulted and humiliated by nurses. “[Mistreatments in Quebec public hospitals] is something that happened to people I know,” Samian said in an interview with Radio-Canada. “In my grandmother’s time, the hospital was a place where Indigenous kids were stolen, where people disappeared and died.” Samian has often addressed social and political issues in his work, as on his 2012 hit Plan Nord.


– To celebrate what would have been John Lennon's 80th birthday on Oct. 9, peers and fans have offered scores of tributes. In a fascinating exercise, Sean Ono Lennon interviewed Elton John, Julian Lennon and Paul McCartney about John Lennon. Check the results out on YouTube, here and here.

– An '80s CanRock double bill featuring Platinum Blonde and The Spoons plays the CityView Drive-In concert series in Toronto on Oct. 30. Tix here.

– Set for today (Oct. 13) at 10 am EST, The 13th episode of Indie Week's online series explores the topic of Doing Business in Europe. The guest speaker is Martin Atkins, of Nine Inch Nails and Pigface fame. He is one of the music industry’s foremost speakers on DIY marketing and touring. Free registration here 

Gord Downie may no longer be with us, but his comrades in The Tragically Hip remain active. Allan Cross reported in his Journal of Musical Things that guitarist Gord Sinclair recently staged an acoustic show at the Neat Coffee Shop in Burnstown, Ontario. Read more here.

– On Oct 15 at 12 noon EDT, the winner of the Glenn Gould Prize Laureate will be announced by a prestigious international jury which includes Jury Chair Laurie Anderson,  Neil Gaiman, Harry Gregson-Williams, Philippe Starck, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Tatiana Maslany, A.R. Rahman, and Canadian composers Chilly Gonzales and Richard Reed Parry.

– Sadly, the rise in covid numbers in Ontario has forced the cancellation of Hamilton rocker Terra Lightfoot’s eagerly-awaited hometown concerts this month. Instead, a full-band live-stream will take place on Oct. 17, at 7 pm. Tix are available through Side Door here. Lightfoot will feature material off her new album Consider The Speed, releasing on Oct. 16.


– Celebrating its fifth Anniversary, #MondoNYC is a four-day global interactive meeting and livestream conference and showcase festival, a pipeline of information, connectivity and curation of new music, cutting edge technology and innovators in the music, tech and academic world. The Consulate General of Canada & CIMA are Mondo 2020 partners and are offering Canadian music and tech industry professionals and artists 25% off registration price by using the code "mondocanada25". CIMA will be a speaker on Oct. 13 at 2 pm EDT. More info here 

– As part of its Wednesday Noon Hour series, UBC Music presents an online tribute to Hans-Karl Piltz at the Chan Centre tomorrow (Oct. 14), featuring his friend, violist Marina Thibeault. Piltz was a longtime UBC Music faculty member who passed away in April of this year. Source: Georgia Straight

– Fans of the excellent BC rock singer/songwriter Paul Hyde (Payola$, Rock & Hyde) may not be aware he is also a visual artist. His debut Montreal art exhibition, Because I Say So, opens at the city's BBAM! Gallery on Oct. 15 at 4 pm (PDT), with Hyde on hand virtually to discuss his work. The gallery is run by Ralph Alfonso, who released three solo albums by Hyde on his Bongo Beat label. More info on the exhibit here.


– It has taken nearly a full decade, but Bahamas track Lost in the Light has just officially surpassed 100M streams on Spotify. It was the first track on the folk-rock troubadour's breakthrough 2012 album, Barchords. Bahamas' producer/manager Robbie Lackritz explains that the tune "became the true beginning of Bahamas’ story. That song sold wedding rings for Zales at Christmas, scored the finale of a season of Parenthood, and was the theme song for a Vatican’s tithing."


Erin Wall, an internationally acclaimed Canadian soprano, died on Oct. 8, at age 44, of complications from metastatic breast cancer.

With a repertoire ranging from Mozart to modern opera, Wall held top roles in some of the most prestigious operas in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Vienne State Opera, Paris Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Her vocal versatility has been featured on several recordings, including a rendition of Mahler's Eighth Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony that won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Album in 2010.

Christopher Deacon, the president and CEO of Canada’s National Arts Centre, wrote that Wall "shone brightly on stages around the world, inspiring and moving so many.” The National Arts Centre Orchestra also wrote that it was “devastated” by the loss of Wall, who it said will be “deeply missed and remembered for her vivacious spirit and infectious laugh.”

Wall was raised in Vancouver, where her parents, both American musicians, played in the local symphony. She studied piano at the Vancouver Academy of Music and went on to study singing at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., Rice University in Houston, the Aspen Music Festival and Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Calif.

In 2001, she launched her professional career as a member of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She returned to Canada in 2009, and settled down with her family in Toronto.

She appeared in concerts with the Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Nashville symphony orchestras in the United States, as well as the London Symphonic Orchestra and the Paris Orchestra.

In Canada, in addition to the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Montreal Metropolitan Orchestra, she sang with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic, and the Edmonton Symphony. Wall won awards and scholarships from several major arts organizations.

She continued performing across the globe as she was treated for breast cancer in 2018, and in her spare time, trained to complete the New York City Marathon.

Wall leaves behind her husband and two children. In honour of her passion for mentoring young artists, her family is establishing an Erin Wall Tribute Fund at the Canadian Opera Company. Source: CP

– Mohammad Reza Shajarian, a Persian singing master, has died, at age 80.

Described as one of Iran's national treasures, he found controversy by criticizing the nation’s leadership.  Early in his career he sang in support of Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979, but, before his death, authorities banned him from holding concerts and releasing music due to his support for anti-government protests in 2009.

Shajarian was best known for his soaring interpretations of Sufi poetry that captivated his nation and the Iranian diaspora for decades.

“Sometimes you don’t even have to understand the lyrics, you just have to understand the voice,” Mohammad Reza Shajarian told the Georgia Straight in 2008. Sources: BBC, Georgia Straight

– Zoe Chilco, a Toronto singer/songwriter, radio host and writer, died on Oct. 6, age 75, of cancer. 

Chilco performed and recorded jazz and blues, standards, and originals, releasing nine albums, with one in the works.

Chilco’s music/narrative show Zootcase, a loving tribute to the great Zoot Sims featuring songs she wrote in homage to him, is currently on Youtube here.

She was a finalist in the 2002 UK Songwriting Contest and was voted one of the top ten listeners’ choices for Blues Radio Germany. She performed internationally, including at the Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland a year ago. Sources:, The Old Mill

Five Finger Death Punch
Travis Shinn

Five Finger Death Punch

Chart Beat

Five Finger Death Punch’s ‘This Is the Way’ Scores DMX His First Mainstream Rock Airplay No. 1

The band extends its record for the longest streak of No. 1s in the chart's history, while the rapper earns a posthumous ruler.

Five Finger Death Punch extends its record streak of No. 1s on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Airplay chart, while featured artist DMX achieves a posthumous leader, as “This Is the Way” tops the June 15-dated survey.

The song is Five Finger Death Punch’s 11th straight Mainstream Rock Airplay No. 1, lengthening the longest streak of leaders in the chart’s 43-year history. The Ivan Moody-fronted band’s run began in 2018 with “Sham Pain.”

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