Following a sold out two-night run last week at the Danforth Music Hall in her hometown of Toronto, rising singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez was presented with a Double Platinum plaque by Universal Music Canada staff for her breakthrough hit “Figures.”
The 2018 JUNO Breakthrough Artist winner initially released the song in 2016, and included it on her debut EP Kiddo in 2017. During the 2018 JUNO Awards in Vancouver, Reyez was joined by Daniel Caesar to perform the song, with a studio version released following the broadcast.
On Saturday May 12th, Music Canada held its third annual international Music Cities summit The Mastering of a Music City during Canadian Music Week. City professionals, policy-makers, industry executives, and music community members all gathered to discuss topics related to the value of music, its economic impact, and its relationship to innovative city planning and creative entrepreneurship.Click hereto view more recaps from the summit.
The last panel of the day was Making Space in the Public Realm: How Public Spaces Can Contribute to Scenes and Strategies. It examined how cities are utilizing publicly-owned buildings to create partnerships and develop initiatives with the music community. Business and community leaders from Denver, Seattle, Vancouver and Montreal discussed how public facilities can work in collaboration with their local music scene, and touched on issues like how to avoid competition with the private sector.
The panel was moderated by Farzaneh Hemmasi, Assistant Professor of Music & Ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto. Panelists included: Catherine Planet, Artist & Founder of La Chasse-Balcon; Dawn Ibey, Vancouver Public Library; Ismael Guerrero, Executive Director of the Denver Housing Authority, and; Tom Mara, Executive Director, KEXP.
Final panel of 2018 #MusicCities Summit, “Making Space in the Public Realm: How Public Spaces Can Contribute to Scenes and Strategies,” ft. reps from Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Denver, & Seattle. #CMW2018pic.twitter.com/ajTAhFgNJn
The discussion kicked off with Catherine Planet providing some background on La Chasse-Balcon (founded in 2014), a series of music events with the mission of bringing neighbours together in residential areas. She discussed how her time spent living in Louisiana had a profound impact and inspired her to create an initiative that celebrates the musical vivacity of her hometown of Montreal once she returned.
Planet also touched on how these types of events help blur the lines between what is perceived as solely public and private spaces, and highlighted how a balcony can act as a symbolic bridge that enables these two spaces to become connected. Through La Chasse Balcon, free outdoor concerts are staged on balconies in different neighborhoods and have the surrounding community and crowds join in the festivities.
The panel then moved on to Dawn Ibey, who spoke about the role that libraries can play in building a vibrant Music City. She discussed how one of the core business activities of the Vancouver Public Library is to ensure free public programming for adults and children, with programs that support music creation, music education, as well as the staging of performances.
Ibey highlighted some of the major accomplishments of the Vancouver Public Library, such as the partnership with Sun Life Financial in 2016 to establish the city’s first musical instrument lending library. She discussed how public libraries should be included in the development of music strategies, as they contribute towards achieving some of the essential elements featured in The Mastering of a Music City report.
Next, Ismael Guerrero spoke about the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and the impact that arts and music can have in addressing community justice issues. Through partnerships with community organizations as well as private sector initiatives, the DHA has taken steps to rebuild neighborhoods and modernize housing with a focus on building vibrant, mixed-income communities.
Guerrero touched on some of the other social entrepreneurial ventures the DHA has undertaken in recent years that are guided by a community-led, and sometimes, arts-centric framework and priorities. With investments supporting community organizations like Youth on Record, the establishment of community hubs have helped establish spaces where marginalized youth can create art and music.
The final panelist Tom Mara spoke about KEXP, a public radio, listener-supported station and non-profit arts organization in Seattle. Mara discussed the ‘music discovery-centred’ mission of KEXP to design their programming and initiatives in a way that supports music lovers, artists, and the wider arts community.
Mara touched on how one of the key commitments of KEXP is to support live music in Seattle, and highlighted how the organization stages around 300 live music performances every year at their facility. This exciting achievement was partly made possible through a partnership with the City of Seattle that enables KEXP to receive a favorable lease rate on their property, and is a key example of the different kinds of cross-sector collaboration that can exist.
The panelists went on to discuss several different topics and reflected on the unique opportunities that public facilities can provide, and that are currently not being leveraged.
To listen to the full discussion, you can watch the video below.
L to R:Asim Awesome Awan (Co-President, Ultra Music Canada), Kygo, Myles Shear (Manager, Golden Hare Group), Adrian Strong (Co-President, Ultra Music Canada / President, DMD Entertainment) Photographer: Stephen Kazumi
Ahead of his Toronto show at the Air Canada Centre last week, Ultra Music Canada and DMD Entertainment presented Kygo with a 6x Platinum plaque for his single with Selena Gomez, “It Ain’t Me,” which is the highest certification worldwide on this single.
The Norwegian DJ was also given a Platinum plaque for his debut album Cloud Nine, which also included 3 Double Platinum Singles “Firestone (ft. Conrad Sewell)”, “Stole The Show (ft. Parson James)” & “Stay (ft. Maty Noyes), and 2 Gold singles “Raging (ft. Kodaline)” and “Carry Me (ft. Julia Michaels).”
American R&B singer and songwriter Kehlani is currently on tour across North America with Demi Lovato and DJ Khaled. Prior to her opening set Monday at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, the Oakland, CA-born artist was surprised with a custom Gold Single Award plaque by Warner Music Canada. The plaque represents her singles “CRZY,” from 2017 album SweetSexySavage, and “Gangsta,” her contribution to the Suicide Squad original soundtrack.
During the show, Kehlani showed love for her Toronto fanbase and joined DJ Khaled on stage in a custom Toronto Raptors jersey.
The march will take place along Bloor Street West, which is a new route for the annual family-focused march. Participants will depart from the Music Therapy Center (1175 Bloor St. W) at noon and will end at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St. W) around 1:15pm, where amazing entertainment, delicious food, fun activities, and tons of auction prizes await.
This year’s fundraising goal has been set to $25,000 in honour of the charity’s 25th anniversary, which works to enhance our communities by providing accessible music therapy to our nation’s most vulnerable and underserved populations.
The march is free to attend, while the after party at Lee’s Palace will be $25 at door unless the attendee has made a fundraising page. Those who would like to donate to the fund but cannot attend the event can do so at the same page. Stay tuned to the Facebook event page for more information on the afternoon, including the reveal of this year’s musical ambassadors and performers!
Toronto joined an exclusive club made up of 180 cities worldwide last week when the City of Toronto and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) announced that Toronto has been designated a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. While there may not have been much media coverage of the pronouncement, the city’s creative industries ought to be paying attention.
This makes Toronto one of the first cities in Canada to join the network, which was started in 2004 and includes designations for Media Arts, Music, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Design and Crafts and Folk Art. Toronto’s designation of Media Arts is an attempt to capture the city’s achievements in not one, but several disciplines: “film, music, digital media and forms of cultural expression using technology”.
Few people in Canada may be familiar with UNESCO’s Creative City Network and are perhaps more familiar with its historical site designations or research. This is not a surprise as North America has been relatively slower to join this party. In fact, despite much attention given to Music Cities in North America, including many cities that build their brand on the artform, the first UNESCO City of Music in North America (Kansas City) has only just now been designated.
The international recognition of Toronto’s creative sector efforts is cause for celebration. However, the designation should not be seen as the finish line, but as a springboard for further action. Based on our worldwide scan of Music City strategies, it is clear that the UNESCO designation has the potential of falling into the category of a public relations exercise. But only if we let it.
In some cities, the designation has mobilized a comprehensive program for the promotion, protection and growth of the creative industry for which it is earned. The UNESCO designation has, in other cases, ensured sustained political leadership on creative industry development and investment. The network itself has afforded some cities with practical sharing of knowledge and best practices.
Toronto’s entire music community – including artists and industry – has an opportunity to make sure that the UNESCO designation has meaning. We can leverage the UNESCO designation to secure an ongoing commitment to our music strategy and key priorities like venue sustainability, regulatory red tape reduction, livability for artists and musicians and access to spaces and places for the creation, rehearsal and production of music. We can also use it to reinforce music’s equal standing alongside our partners in film and digital media.
UNESCO’s Creative City Network is definitely what we make it. Let’s take ownership of this opportunity, and prove what we already know: Toronto can be the greatest Music City in the world. We define it, and now we have another tool to help us build it.
UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network promotes cooperation between global cities that place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans.
Montreal-based indie rockers Arcade Fire closed the North American leg of Infinite Content tour, which found the band perform in-the-round at more than two dozen arenas across the continent, with two shows last weekend at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Prior to the shows, the band were surprised with Platinum award plaques for their fifth studio album, Everything Now, by Sony Music Canada.
Everything Now is the bands fourth Canadian Platinum certification, joining their landmark 2003 debut Funeral, 2010’s Double Platinum album The Suburbs, and 2013’s Triple Platinum two-disc set Reflektor.
The video for the album’s title track can be viewed below.
On Monday, November 13, Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC) chairs Jeff Cohen (Collective Concerts) and Jesse Kumagai (Live Nation) will moderate an open discussion about the most pressing issues facing live music venues in Toronto, focusing on ongoing venue sustainability and potential revenue growth.
This panel will explore traditional spaces and business models, while a later session will focus on the challenges facing DIY spaces.
In 2016, Toronto City Council unanimously approved TMAC’s Toronto Music Strategy, which aims to guide the short and long-term growth of Toronto’s music sector. Following a public consultation, the music strategy identified six major strategic areas for TMAC and the City of Toronto to focus on for supporting and growing Toronto’s music sector, with many of the key principles from the report expected to be discussed at the November 13 event.
The live music industry forum will run from 4-6pm at Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas St. W), and is open to all live music industry professionals, venue owners and operators, musicians, agents, touring professionals, city councillors and officials. If you are interested in attending the discussion, you can RSVP through the Facebook event or by e-mailing email@example.com.
Toronto is gearing up for Indie Week Canada, with over two hundred acts set to play in more than twenty venues across the city from November 7 – 12, 2017.
On Friday, November 10, six unique and diverse artists will play The Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Ave.) as part of Project ATX6 – a music export and documentary film production that selects six Austin, TX musicians annually to showcase at international music festivals in France, Germany, England, Japan, and Canada.
The ATX6 first traveled to Toronto in 2014 for the North By Northeast festival following the world’s first Music City Alliance signing between the two cities. The ATX6 have since returned to Toronto for the last four years, teaming up with local musicians to support the travelling artists as their backing band. Since 2014, the ATX6 have played venues in Kensington Market, Queen West, and even helped launched Downtown Yonge BIA’s Play The Parks 2015 season with a free showcase in Trinity Square.
Now its fourth year, the 2017 class of the AT6 will feature Taylor Wilkins (Otis The Destroyer), Sisi Berry (Torino Black), Lindsey Verrill (Little Mazarn), Acey Monaro (Go Fever), Mobley, and Corey Baum (Croy and the Boys). Each musician will perform individual sets of original music from their Austin-based bands. As with previous years, the artists will be accompanied by a film crew who will be documenting the group’s travels for a web series, directed and produced by the project’s founder Chris Brecht.
In addition to their Dakota Tavern showcase, the ATX will also play The Cameron House (408 Queen St. W) on Saturday, November 11, at 6pm. Visit the ATX6 website for more information about this year’s group, and you can buy tickets for the shows or festival wristbands at Indie Week’s website.
On July 19, a new initiative called Polyphonic Ground was announced, with the aim of strengthening Toronto’s culturally-diverse music industry. The initiative is spearheaded by Small World Music, and is composed of 12 Toronto live music presenters: Ashkenaz Foundation, Batuki Music Society, Good Kind Productions, iNative, Link Music Lab, Lula Music & Arts Centre, MonstrARTity Creative Community, Music Africa, Revolutions Per Minute, Small World Music Society, Uma Nota Culture, and World Fiddle Day Toronto. The collective plans to foster engagement with a monthly collaborative concert series and diverse professional development programming.
In partnership with Music Ontario, City Hall Live, Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) and Music Canada Live, Polyphonic Ground will be hosting a series of conversations about diversity in the live music industry. To inform these conversations, and ensure as many voices as possible are heard, Polyphonic Ground has launched an online survey.
The survey states:
The lack of gender and cultural diversity reflected by the larger Toronto music industry has been a hot topic of late. Ad hoc conversations around these issues have taken place at recent panels and forums focused on topics such as venue closures, noise bylaws, the media etc. However, there have been few opportunities to deal with these issues head on and explore how inequities can be addressed.
Have your say and help shape these important conversations. The survey closes Friday, August 11th at 5pm.
Industry jobs - @CMRRA is currently hiring for few positions: Senior Manager, Communications and Industry Relations; Copyright and Client Relations Administrator, and; QA Analyst / Software Business Analyst. Learn more: https://t.co/SLCZnuA7qk #MusicMeansJobs
The @cityoftoronto "Amplified Sound" noise bylaw meeting takes place Jan 30th. Come out to have your say on what Toronto’s future noise bylaws should look like. More info: https://t.co/kDr6h3EpPW @GetInvolvedTO
Submissions are now open to share your songs & stories as part of @CCMAOfficial’s Songwriters’ Series during Country Music Week 2019 in Calgary. 12 up-and-coming songwriters will be selected. To apply visit: https://t.co/dGjtYCBApX
“Music is a 365-day-a-year resource. Its power and potential are just beginning to be understood." @Canadian_Live's @erin_benjamin discusses #MusicCities and more with @ottawasuncom https://t.co/68GSv2mBQC
Now, that's what we call multi-tasking! Register to participate in the @ArtsLinkNB Catapult Arts Accelerator, an intensive 3-month program that aims to give NB artists of all disciplines the tools to be prolific & build sustainable careers. https://t.co/lN875y4XKD
An exciting new @RIAA-commissioned report examining how record labels are operating in the modern age has been released. Read more about the report ‘ Same Heart, New Beat: How Record Labels Amplify Talent In The Modern Music Marketplace’ on our blog. https://t.co/frphXcQcXy
Congratulations to Corey Hart, who was announced today as the 2019 inductee to the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame! Watch his induction and see him perform live on @TheJUNOAwards on Sunday March 17, 2019! #JUNOS https://t.co/D6R90p5q3f
Today is the first $1000 draw for participants in @APTN’s first of its kind National Indigenous Music Impact Study. The second draw happens Feb 18. Do you create, promote or support Indigenous music in Canada? To participate visit https://t.co/WbJa6QOI4R
Have fun and raise funds for the music community! Join us on the ice at the #UnisonRocks Charity Bonspiel tournaments in #Toronto Jan. 25 and #Ottawa Feb. 23. 🥌 Sign up as a team or individual here: https://t.co/BhjyqyxJmS