Music News

Music News Digest: Canadian Songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. Earns SOCAN Award for Dua Lipa Hit

Our weekly news roundup also features Sled Island's second wave, the Indie Award nominees, Nickelback's documentary and more.

Tobias Jesso Jr.

Tobias Jesso Jr.

Justin Chung
Canadian Music Week has announced the nominees for the 23rd Anniversary Jim Beam INDIE Awards. Women are well represented, with Allison Russell, Charlotte Cardin and The Beaches leading the way with four nods apiece. Other notable nominees include Aysanabee, William Prince, Karan Aujla, City and Colour, Charlotte Day Wilson and AP Dhillon. The awards are taking place June 6, 2024 at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, as part of CMW.
The Indies will give out trophies in 19 categories, and the evening includes performances by select nominees and the winner of the 2024 Jim Beam National Talent Search. Finger Eleven, the multi-platinum selling Canadian rock band will close the show with a headline set. Tickets are currently on sale and can purchased here. See the full nominees list here.

– After making a splash as a solo recording artist, Canadian singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. has focused upon writing for others, with major international success including the first ever Grammy for Songwriter of the Year. He has a huge catalog of hits, contributed to songs by Adele, Miley Cyrus, Harry Styles, XXXTENTACION and more.

On April 5 in L.A., Jesso received a SOCAN No. 1 Song Award, for co-writing Dua Lipa’s “Houdini.” This smash hit topped the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart for 14 weeks, starting in Nov. 2023, and it has earned more than 380 million plays on Spotify, and more than 104 million views on YouTube.


Festivals News

– Calgary’s Sled Island Music & Arts Festival has announced the second wave of artists playing the 2024 edition of the event, running June 19 - 23 in various Calgary venues. Newly added to the eclectic lineup are indie rocker EKKSTACY, adventurous singer-songwriter Juana Molina, experimental guitarist/composer Jeff Parker (Tortoise), The Serfs, Bad Waitress, Myst Milano, Corridor, Death Valley Girls, HiTech, The Discussion and many more. More info here.

– Riverfest Elora has announced the lineup for its 14th edition this summer, with the event running in Bissell Park, August 16-18. Headliners for the three nights are, in order, Violent Femmes, Fleet Foxes and Josh Ross. The diverse list of other acts includes Wild Rivers, Sudan Archives, Bully, Corb Lund, Chali 2na & Cut Chemist, Treble Charger, Moneen, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, Ombiigizi, Nix & Menno ( Hollerado), The Creepshow and more. Info and tickets here.

Music by the Bay Live is a blues/roots-accented concert series hosted at five locations in the Port Perry, Uxbridge, Brooklin, Ajax and Port Whitby area of Ontario. Performers this year include Stephen Fearing, Steve Strongman, My Son The Hurricane, Sonny Landreth and a Tribute To The Last Waltz. More info here.


– Running in Paterson Park in Ladner, B.C., from Sept. 13 to 15, Barnside Harvest Festival has announced its 2024 lineup of top Canadian rock acts. That list features Sam Roberts Band, Loverboy, The Trews, Sloan, Yukon Blonde, Wide Mouth Mason and Glorious Sons. The action unfolds on three stages, amidst beer and food vendors. Tickets on sale now here.

Industry news

– The Indie101 online music conference has changed its format this year, and will now take place over three consecutive Saturdays: April 20 and 27 and May 4. Each day is dedicated to enhancing different skills and tasks in key facets of a music career. Day 1 focuses on Songwriting and Production education, Day 2 explores the ins and outs of the Music Business, and Day 3 delves into Promoting and Marketing strategies. A list of speakers and ticket info here.

Nickelback has announced that the full-length documentary Hate to Love: Nickelback will premiere on streaming platform Veeps on April 12. A weekend of recent theatre showings across 30 countries reportedly had positive results. The band has also just released behind-the-scenes tour and studio footage. Tickets to view the film are on sale now here.


– As anticipation for the Mariposa Festival heats up, the fest has announced its Mariposa Showcase for Emerging Artists Concert. Set for April 27th at 1 p.m. at St Paul's Centre in downtown Orillia, the free show features 10 up and comers, including Jeff Beadle, Loryn Taggart, School House and Sleepy Jean. Of note: 291 artists applied.

– Music PEI is now accepting applications for its Artist Exchange Program. This year the trade organization will once again partner with English Folk Expo, one of the premier folk, roots and world music conferences in the world. The program puts an artist from Prince Edward Island together with an artist from England to co-write and record songs and showcase at two industry conferences. Apply by completing this form before April 17.


– CIMA’s MAKE IT MUSIC conference returns to STACKT Market in Toronto on April 24 and 25 for its second edition. It promises "to look to the future of our industry, exploring disruptive business models, cutting-edge tech, innovative marketing approaches, and resilient music ecosystems with global industry-leading experts." An impressive list of industry experts has been recruited. Info and tickets here.

Artists news

–Torontonian Grit Laskin is quite the multi-media renaissance man. He has long been one of Canada's most sought after guitar builders and is also a co-founder of both Borealis Records (an acclaimed roots music label) and the Canadian Folk Music Awards. He somehow found the time to become an author too, and his just-published thriller, The Stradivari Formula (out via Fitzhenry & Whiteside), is already notching rave reviews. Fittingly, the book revolves around a musical instrument.

– Acclaimed Americana/roots singer-songwriter Ryan Wayne (ex-The Warped 45s) received deserved kudos for his debut album, Crow Amongst The Sparrows, and he'll release a sophomore full-length later this year. He is previewing it with a brand new single, "No Easy Way Out." Check it out here.

– Hardcore troubadour Fred Eaglesmith has been conspicuous by his absence from live shows of late, but he has announced a June 1 date at The Hotel Wolfe Island (near Kingston), with openers Emilie Steele & The Deal. A welcome return. The gig is part of the 2024 Spring Reverb Festival taking place in downtown Kingston from May 30 to June 2. This includes ticketed concerts by Protest The Hero, Boston Levi, Bleeker, Miesha and The Spanks, Daniel Romano's Outfit and more, plus free shows. Info here.


Arthur Fogel photographed in Los Angeles.
Lane Dorsey

Arthur Fogel photographed in Los Angeles.


Live Nation’s Arthur Fogel is No. 1 on Billboard Canada's Power Players 2024 List

Live Nation's CEO of Global Touring is the secret weapon behind some of the biggest tours of the past year from Beyoncé, Madonna and U2.

Live Nation's Arthur Fogel tops Billboard Canada's 2024 Power Players list, which will be out this Wednesday at 4:30 pm ET. The concert promotion company had an inarguably successful – and controversial year, including some of the biggest global music events of the year.

The industry icon behind many of the biggest world tours of the last year started out at a punk venue in Toronto.

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