Deserts: Dom Fricot Album Release in Toronto

Sitting along the wall at Burdock, sipping on a kombucha, Dom Fricot was anything but what I was expecting.

I’d received an email from Dom in mid-February, introducing a video for his second release Help is Needed, from his new album Deserts. I wasn’t prepared for what followed. I watched the video, and it touched my heart and brought a tear to my eye. I featured the video in my New Music Spotlight the next day.

Related: New Music  Spotlight with Dallas Smith, Shawn Austin, Dom Fricot, Oh Geronimo and Sarah Cripps

There was a little back and forth in email with Dom, and we agreed to meet up when he arrived in Toronto for his show at Burdock. On show day, we met and chatted for about an hour. He was friendly, warm, open, cheery and funny. I’d done some research, and it felt to me like the drinking musician has been replaced with one who values his health more than impressions. And while we sipped our coffee and kombucha, and got to know each other, his energy was infectious.

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When I asked Fricot about his early influences, he listed off some 90’s grunge/post-grunge bands including Nirvana but the one that stood out was Silverchair. The band was very young when they hit it big, and with that, they showed kids everywhere, including Dom, that this music thing was a real possibility. Fricot made the decision he wanted to be a singer-songwriter. But writing songs isn’t easy. Finding your voice can take time, and when Dom’s dad passed away, he found that voice. Recalling playing his first performance in a coffee house, where he played his first original song, he told me that his mom took him aside afterwards. She told him that he should have let her know beforehand and he expressed that there’s a piece of shame that goes with that.

It was refreshing to talk to someone so open about his emotions and in particular the shame component, it’s something we don’t often discuss openly and Dom gets mad respect from me for this. It’s an important emotion that we tend to sublimate into something else more socially palatable.

Dom Fricot at Burdock March 2018 Desert CD Release
Expressing feelings is something that Fricot is very comfortable with. His lyrics continue to reach deep but, this album is a little less sad. The new album, Deserts was recorded in 3 weeks during “regular” hours with no all-night sessions included, and it works.

Deserts is an album that consists of me, my Rhodes keyboard, and whatever vocal or heavily treated beatbox loop I came up with. I approached David Vertesi (Hey Ocean!), who I’ve wanted to work with since and told him about my flirtation with this vibe that resembled post Genesis/modern Phil Collins or Peter Gabriel. His eyes lit up, and after showing him some demos, he was most eager to dive headfirst into the rabbit hole with me. Alongside David, co-producer Andrew Rasmussen, and engineer Daniel Klenner, I made a record without guitars or live drums – two staples of my previous work.

Although the album was recorded without a band, we had the pleasure of seeing Dom perform with one. In a move that had Fricot maybe moving a little bit out of his comfort zone had him put down the guitar and engage directly with the audience without any barriers. It was fun and intimate and I’m a fan of this move. The room at Burdock was full, and the crowd was fully in. And when some audience participation was requested, it was met with some giggles, followed by a full buy-in.

Dom has a few more dates coming up so check out the schedule and if he’s headed to your city make sure you get out to see him.

Mar 16 – Medicine Hat, AB – Cafe Verve
Mar 18 – Calgary, AB – Ironwood Stage and Grill
Mar 21 – Canmore, AB – House Show
Mar 22 – Edmonton, AB – The Mercury Room
Mar 24 Golden, BC – Rockwater
Mar 30 – Vancouver, BC – Fox Cabaret

Dom Fricot – Desert Track List

1. Echoes
2. Help is Needed
3. Time Flies
4. Measure Up
5. Home
6. Meredith Clark
7. Hold You
8. Slippery Slope

You can pre-order the album here.

Image of Don Fricot's Deserts CD cover on top of the CD

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Sarah Cripps Ticket and CD Giveaway and Q&A

Sarah Cripps has been working on her music since she was a little girl, and now the Brighton, ON native has taken the next step in her artistic evolution with the release of her self-titled 2018 album. And we want you to hear it live and take it home on CD!

Cripps will be playing tracks from her new album at The Piston (937 Bloor St W., Toronto) on Tuesday, March 6 at a pay-what-you-can show along with Zoe Sky Jordan and Dani Nash. Our new contest will send three (3) people to the show and send them home with a CD copy of Sarah Cripps’ new album to listen to on repeat.

The 10 track record serves to introduce the singer/songwriter back to the world after her 2013 debut album, Change. With a wide range of raw emotions, Cripps has laid herself out for the world to see in a deep, personal, captivating album.

Check out the Q&A we did with Sarah recently about the album, The Dakota Tavern, plans for 2018 and more – and use the widget at the bottom of the post to enter for your chance to be a winner!

Sarah Cripps Q&A

Q. With so many artists releasing shorter EPs lately, how did it feel to be able to present a full 10 song album this year?

SC. I feel very fortunate have had the support of the Ontario Arts Council and FACTOR. This allowed me to express a full range of emotion and release a piece of work that relays the journey that I was on while writing these songs. Diving into and becoming obsessed with a full album is how I find myself listening to music for the most part. It felt right to release the type of album I would listen to myself.

Q. You’ve been writing, performing, and playing from a young age… was there anything that you learned about yourself in those areas when you were putting together this new album?

SC. Ever since I can remember, I knew I wanted to make music my career. I have always felt like there’s nothing else I’d rather do. That motivation as well as having very encouraging parents led me to playing in bars and entertaining crowds from a young age. I always feel like those hours and hours of performing and writing music helped prepare me for making it into a career now. Having an EP and a full album already behind me while approaching this new album, I was able to be a little more decisive and make sure I was creating an album that truly represents who I am as an artist. I continue to grow and learn about myself with each album.

Q. You recorded a great video for Heat at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto, what was it about the venue that made you want to put that together?

SC. It has been and continues to be my favourite venue in Toronto. So intimate, warm and inviting. I was so lucky to be able to go down there and capture that energy in a live video. We also chose to film on the dance floor rather than on the iconic stage. The song Heat is one of the more intimate songs on the record and it felt right to stand where the audiences usually stand and play the song with a grass roots and grounded vibe.

Q. With new music out to start the year, what other plans or goals for 2018 can you share with us?

SC. In 2018 I mostly hope to tour a lot. I’d love to keep growing and promoting this album by hitting the road and performing it alongside other emerging artists. At the same time, I’ll be focusing on writing songs for the next album.

Q. In 50 words or so, can you tell us what do you want fans to experience when they listen to your music?

SC. I think that listening to music is highly subjective. I would never want to tell anyone what they should feel while listening to my music. All I can do is offer true raw emotion and hope it translates. There’s a full range on this album and I’m so ecstatic to hear when it touches anyone on any level. That’s all you can hope for.

Now, use the widget to earn up to nine (9) entries for you chance to win 1 of 3 Sarah Cripps CDs and a spot in the crowd at The Piston on Tuesday, March 6.

Four Chords and the Truth: Sylvia Tyson, Russell deCarle, Samantha Martin, Don Amero & Friends

Some nights you just can’t prepare for. Thursday night in Toronto at The Dakota Tavern was one of those nights, as Four Chords and the Truth took the stage.

We’ve said it before, and will say it forever, the power of songs, their stories, and the people that create them is endless. And in a setting like Four Chords provides, legends like Sylvia Tyson and Russell deCarle can share the stage with acclaimed artists like Don Amero and Samantha Martin, and it becomes magical.

Host, and series creator, Andrea England introduced her February 2018 edition lineup to start the show, and played one song of her own to start the night. And from that first song, the full house was treated to some excellent song work, stories, laughs, and even a choral singalong. It was a two hour show that felt like a stopped moment in time.

Andrea England - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018

The original lineup of artists that was announced for the February edition of Four Chords and the Truth was enough to have us excited for the evening. And the surprise guests (a staple of the series) were a special treat that made it all that much sweeter. However, it must be said that the chance to see a living legend in Sylvia Tyson on stage at the Dakota was more than we could ever hoped for.

Tyson, still writing, performing, and being awesome at 77. She is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and was named as a member of the Order of Canada in recognition of her career accomplishments. And on Thursday night, she took her place on stage, sang songs, told stories, and wowed us.

All of that is not to take away from the accomplishments of the other six performers we saw on Thursday night. Russell deCarle, Don Amero, Samantha Martin, and special guests Shakura S’Aida, Joe Pernice, and Joan Besen have all been recognized with award nominations, wins, and critical acclaim for their outstanding artistry.

Thank you to Andrea for having us, and thank you to all of the performers for giving us a night that we won’t soon forget.

Now, check out the setlist from the show, along with the photos captured at The Dakota Tavern during Four Chords and the Truth.

Four Chords and the Truth Setlist – February 22, 2018

Round 1

🎙 Andrea England – Laundry

🎙 Don Amero – Life Gets Better

🎙 Samantha Martin – When You Walk Away

Samantha Martin - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018

🎙 Russell deCarle – Tanqueray

🎙 Sylvia Tyson – Marie Antoinette

Sylvia Tyson - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018

Round 2

🎙 Shakura S’Aida – Tastes Like Honey

Shakura S'Aida and Don Amero - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018

🎙 Don Amero – What Do You Wanna Do

🎙 Samantha Martin – Good Trouble

🎙 Russell deCarle – Under The Big Big Sky

Russel deCarle - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018

🎙 Sylvia Tyson – Donegal Tavern

Round 3

🎙 Shakura S’Aida – Clap Yo Hands & Moan

🎙 Don Amero – Live While I’m Alive

Don Amero and Samantha Martin - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018

🎙 Samantha Martin – Chasing Dreams

🎙 Joe Pernice – The Loving Kind

Joe Pernice - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018

🎙 Russell deCarle – Lock Stock and Sorrow

🎙 Joan Besen – Beautiful Things*

🎙 Sylvia Tyson – At The End Of The Day*

Sylvia Tyson - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018
More Photos from Four Chords and the Truth – February 22, 2018

Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Sylvia Tyson - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Russel deCarle - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Andrea England and Don Amero - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Don Amero and Samantha Martin - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Samantha Martin - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Shakura S'Aida and Don Amero - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Joe Pernice - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Steve and Sylvia Tyson- Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Joan Besen - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Don Amero and Samantha Martin - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Shakura S'Aida and Don Amero - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Don Amero - Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 Four Chords and the Truth at The Dakota Tavern February 2018 The Dakota Tavern

CTV’s The Launch: Season 1 Wrap and Fan Vote

CTV’s The Launch wrapped a successful season one with six singles by six emerging artists released to the world.

Week-by-week we watched as a Canadian talent came to the microphone in front of Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta and his accompanying mentors, hoping to find themselves with the chance to record, perform and release that week’s song. And while we were treated to some very, very talented auditions and performances, only six artists moved on and will forever have the recognition of be launched in season one.

Logan Staats, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, The Static Shift, POESY, Jayd Ink, and Ethan Young all did admirable work in The Launch studio and on the live performance stage. They proved to the mentors, and to music fans, that they had what it took to be the right choice, and they’ve taken advantage of it.

And now, we want to know what you think!

Vote in our poll and tell us who you think did the best job on The Launch. Vote for your favourite song, or artist, and share through your socials to let them know you loved it!

If you don’t have them already, here are their Twitter handles – @LoganStaats | @ewxjfmusic | @TheStaticShift | @poesyofficial | @jayd_ink | @ethanyoungmusic

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If you need a refresher on any of the tracks, or just really want to jam out to your favourite right now, scroll down to your picks and hit play on any/all of the videos.

But don’t forget to vote!

Logan Staats – The Lucky Ones

Logan Staats, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions

Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine – Ain’t Easy

Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions

The Static Shift – Wide Awake

The Static Shift, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions

POESY – Soldier Of Love

POESY, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions

Jayd Ink – Codes

Jayd Ink, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions

Ethan Young – Giants

Ethan Young, Interview, Review & 5 Quick Questions


Giants: The Launch’s Ethan Young Interview, Review, and 5 Quick Questions

CTV’s The Launch brought us our last new artist of season one as Ethan Young’s version of Giants was selected to be released after the sixth episode. The 13-year-old Toronto singer put everything he had into the recording and performing on the song, and it showed through the television screen that he loved what he was doing, and was ready for the opportunity.

We caught up with Ethan on the phone to talk about the show, the song, and what comes next for him.

Right off the top, we asked Ethan about his live performance of Giants, which he nailed. With his past as a member of the Mini Pops in mind, we wanted to know if he was able to rely on that experience. He told us that he has always kind of been the tall kid on stage flailing around a little, but now, with some experience, and on The Launch, he decided that he was just going to go for it. He gave everything he had, and it certainly showed, and it defiantly paid off.

We also asked about the recording process, with its tight time restrictions, and pressure. Ethan said that it was a little daunting to be in the studio space with Scott Borchetta (Big Machine Records), Boy George, Alessia Cara, and Stephan Moccio, but that he was able to get through it and record a vocal that he was happy with.

On the show, and on the phone, the idea of the song becoming his was present. And so we asked Ethan about new music, and what comes next. He told us that he and his manager have started working on an EP that should be ready for the world before the end of 2018. We followed up by asking if he enjoyed the creative process from the start of a song, which he didn’t get to be a part of on the show. Unsurprisingly, he said he does, and he sounds passionate about the project, which always bodes well.

While we were on the phone with Ethan, we got him to play a round of 5 Quick Questions with us. Here we go…

5 Quick Questions with Ethan Young

Q1) Do you remember the first song you performed?

Ethan Young) Rihanna’s Umbrella

Q2) What was your first album?

Ethan Young) Ethan told us that he was given a Taylor Swift album, that he played on repeat… often

Q3) Do you have a dream collaboration partner?

Ethan Young) Miley Cyrus because of her vibe, and her crazy talented voice.

Q4) Is there a City or Venue at the top of your wish list?

Ethan Young) The Air Canada Centre in Toronto is at the top of Ethan’s list… with the chance to play in London, England coming in second.

Q5) Is there an artist that you think people should be listening to more?

Ethan Young) Billie Eilish – he told us that he loves her EP, dont smile at me, and that he thinks more people should be paying attention to her music.

Before we wrapped our call and conversation with Ethan Young, we asked if there was a favourite memory that he’s taken from his experience on The Launch. He told us that his time with Alessia Cara (the Grammy-winning surprise bonus mentor on the episode) was a big highlight. He said that they had the chance to talk for about half an hour about everything that comes with making a career in music at a young age, the changes that it brings in life, and it gave Ethan both some easy to take in advice, as well as an opportunity to talk to someone who could relate to him and what he has already experienced in his young career.

With Giants already tearing up the airwaves, and more new music on the way, we’re sure that we’ll all be seeing more of Ethan Young in the very near future. Keep up with him on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to learn more about him, and to be ready for what he’s got coming!

Giants was written by Stephan Moccio and Talay Riley, and produced by Stephan Moccio.

Four Chords and the Truth February Lineup Announcement and Interview

The power of stripped down, raw, emotional, live music is immeasurable. And, the chance to sit in a special room and listen to songwriters tell their stories and sing their songs is one of the most fantastic experiences a music fan can find. In Toronto, Four Chords and the Truth has been offering that experience at the Dakota Tavern since 2015.

Andrea England, the creator and host of Four Chords and the Truth (FCATT) is a songwriter and music lover, so it makes perfect sense that she has brought together a litany of talented people for FCATT. More than 50 songwriters and guests have taken the Dakota stage so far, including: Donovan Woods, Fred Penner, Tom Cochrane, Jessica Mitchell, Kim Stockwood, Joey Landreth, Serena Ryder, Scott Helman, Madeline Merlo, Bill Bell, Tim Hicks, and more!

Marc Jordan, Tim Hicks, Andrea Ramolo, Bill Bell and Damhnait Doyle at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth

And on February 22, 2018, Andrea and the Dakota Tavern will present Four Chords and the Truth for its 12th edition in Toronto.

Four Chords and the Truth Lineup – February 22, 2018

🎙 Andrea England (host)
🎙 Sylvia Tyson
🎙 Russel deCarle
🎙 Don Amero
🎙 Samantha Martin

This is a serious lineup with a ton of talent, critical acclaim, commercial success, and we have no doubt, a bunch of great stories to tell. We can not wait to take it all in.

But, before we get to the show, we caught up with Andrea England to ask about Four Chords and the Truth, how it got started, what the venue means to her, and even asked her to pick her favourite memories. Check it out!

Four Chords and the Truth Q&A with Andrea England

Q) What was the inspiration that pushed the creation of Four Chords and the Truth?

Andrea) In 2015, I was taking in a great round in Nashville and all I could think of was how many great Canadian writers I knew in Toronto alone who would kill it up on that stage. Although there have been songwriter circles in Toronto over the years, at that time there was really no established non-industry event in Toronto that approached the vibe and gravitas of a round at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe. It certainly wasn’t because we didn’t have the talent pool, and it wasn’t because there wouldn’t be an audience for it; but nonetheless there were none that existed in the consciousness of the community in the way that, say, Bruce Guthro’s Songwriter Circle did on the East Coast. There are so many amazing songwriters in this town – and passing through it – and there are so many music fans who don’t ever get to know the songwriter behind the song… so I decided then and there that I would try to bring those two groups of people together in a meaningful and intimate way. I knew that I might be able to do that at Dakota Tavern, if the stars aligned (no pun intended)!

Q) You’ve built a series of events that now sell out before a lineup is even announced… What is about the Four Chords and the Truth sessions that you think is special to the people that keep coming?

Andrea) No matter how much artifice and icing the world throws at us, at the end of the day, most of us just want to experience something meaningful. As a community, we’ve managed to create that together, and an early sponsorship from Jack Daniel’s really helped get me started. Also, we raise funds and awareness for the Unison Benevolent Fund at our show, so it really is about more than what’s happening in that room once a quarter.

In terms of getting the word out, folks like Stevie and Anne from Blues & Roots Radio, and Mike Highfield – who has captured a complete pictorial history of the show from the start – have been instrumental in our success, and I also have to shout out my friends Liz Rodrigues, Paul Reddick, the Trew’s Colin MacDonald, and his surprise impromptu guest, Serena Ryder, here because they joined me for the first show and set a high bar right from day one.

Andrea England, Bill Bell, Damhnait Doyle and Tim Hicks at The Dakota - Four Chords and the Truth

Q) This may be nearly impossible to answer, but do you have any top memories from Four Chords and the Truth sessions so far?

Andrea) Soooo many: how do you choose your favourite child!? That said, there are a few that jump to mind right away. When Donovan Woods performed “Leaving Nashville” (in my opinion, the ultimate song about the songwriter experience), one by one all of the other writers (Rose Cousins, Joey Landreth, Morgan Cameron Ross and I) joined him on the final refrain of “I ain’t never leaving Nashville…” and the truth, love and pain in that moment was palpable. Then, there are the many moments in which the audience realizes the person on stage wrote “that” song, like when Liz Rodrigues sang her Eminem hook, when Steve Poltz ended the night with his Jewel co-write, “You Were Meant for Me,” or when Andy Kim broke into Sugar Sugar (and Kim Stockwood & Kelly Prescott joined in with perfect back ups).

And I’d be lying if I didn’t say the surprise guests made a huge impact – I’ll never forget Fred Penner leading the entire audience in an impromptu version of “The Cat Came Back” after Damhnait Doyle (who is also a personal and fan favourite) invited him on stage. Or when surprise guest-host Dan Hill told us the story behind “Sometimes When We Touch”… or when Tom Cochrane & Justin Nozuka dropped by to join Bill Bell on his songs… I could go on and on…

Q) We are in love with the Dakota Tavern, and believe that a venue can have a big impact on a performance… How did it become home to the event and what is it about the room that makes it special to you?

Andrea) I couldn’t agree more: I knew that had to be FCATT’s home because it was the only place in Toronto that had all of the elements a show like this needed to be successful: a sense of community, a commitment to quality music and sound, and an intimate setting. But that room is truly great because it’s a reflection of the people behind it: Shawn, Shannon, Andy and the gang are good people and they deeply respect music and musicians. They treat fans and musicians like family – and Shawn is a musician himself so he cares deeply about it being a place with great music, great sound, and great service.

Q) There are many talented songwriters across multiple genres that have performed at Four Chords and the Truth, how do you choose and book the talent?

Andrea) Honestly, I started first by booking my friends and co-writers – I’m blessed to know and work with so many amazing writers. From there, it’s grown to booking people outside my network. In fact, some key members of the music community have really rallied around this series and encouraged their artists to participate. I’m so grateful to companies like RGK and Coalition for being early adopters, and to my friends in the music community (too many to mention) for referring talent and supporting this series!

Q) Do you have a dream lineup of songwriters that you haven’t yet had on stage at Four Chords and the Truth?

Andrea) First let me say that this series has already gifted me with so many dream line-ups that the pressure is certainly on to keep delivering… and if the best predictor of the future is the past, it’s exciting times ahead! I do believe, at this point, that almost anything is possible… did I also mention that our FCATT fans are the best in the world? Many have been to every show and it is for them that we will keep going. We are all a big musical family now!

Thank you again to Andrea for taking the time to answer our questions, and for the invite to Four Chords and the Truth. Stay tuned for all of the highlights, photos, and more!


Cavendish Beach Music Festival Makes Major Lineup Announcement

The Cavendish Beach Music Festival made a pair of major announcements on Tuesday, with a massive lineup addition, and the news that a fourth day is coming to the 10th anniversary of the festival.

17 artists were added to the 2018 festival lineup, joining previously announced Sunday headliner, Luke Bryan. And, in a major twist from tradition, the Cavendish Beach Music Festival has embraced a non-country music spotlight, with pop superstar Shawn Mendes announced as the headliner on the new fourth day of the musical long weekend.

Joining Mendes on Monday, July 9 will be Broods, Lauv, Cashmere Cat, Alec Benjamin, and star country duo, Dan + Shay. It’s certainly a new direction for the festival. But, it’s a change that does nothing to take away from the country music that they have a great history of showcasing over the last decade.

In keeping with their tradition of presenting great country music, the Cavendish Beach Music Festival has a mix of Canadian talent and American stars coming in 2018. With a combination of big stars and homegrown talent, the festival has curated a solid Friday, Saturday, and Sunday country music lineup. Stay tuned for more names to be added before we get to July.

In fact, seven of the 13 country acts announced so far are Canadian, which is fantastic to see. And, we’re happy to see female representation with Meghan Patrick, Lindsay Ell, and Grand Ole Opry member Terri Clark all headed to PEI this summer.

Note: It was also announced Tuesday that one of the three finalists in the newly presented SiriusXM Top of the Country contest will be playing at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival in 2018.

Now, let’s have a look at the lineup so far, broken down by day, and with more names to come…

Learn more about the Cavendish Beach Music Festival and find tickets here -> cavendishbeachmusic.com

Friday, July 6, 2018

🏖 Brett Eldredge

🏖 Chase Rice

🏖 Meghan Patrick

🏖 The Road Hammers

Saturday, July 7, 2018

🏖 Chris Young

🏖 Dallas Smith

🏖 Terri Clark

🏖 Lindsay Ell

Sunday, July 8, 2018

🏖 Luke Bryan

🏖 Granger Smith

🏖 James Barker Band

🏖 Petric

Monday, July 9, 2018

🏖 Shawn Mendes

🏖 Dan + Shay

🏖 Broods

🏖 Lauv

🏖 Cashmere Cat

🏖 Alec Benjamin

Codes: The Launch’s Jayd Ink Interview, Review, and 5 Quick Questions

For the fifth week in a row, The Launch put a spotlight on Canadian music, and one talented music maker was given the opportunity to take their career to the next level. And it very much looks like Jayd Ink is on her way to a new level with Codes.

Scott Borchetta and his week 5 mentors, Grammy nominees, Julia Michaels and Ian Kirkpatrick, found something different in Jayd Ink, a more R&B feel than they have been used to in the series, in a singer who knew exactly who she was as an artist, and what she needed from a song she was going to record and release.

We caught up with Jayd Ink to talk about the show, the song, and what’s coming next from her.

Like many of the singers on The Launch, she isn’t new to the music business and this isn’t the start of her career. Jayd Ink has played shows all over Toronto, and as far away as Japan, releasing her 2015 EP, Invitation Only, as well as 2016 singles, Truth Is, Deep Under, and Darkskin. But even with that experience under her belt, she admitted that the audition on The Launch was different.

She knew that she was walking into the room with a chance to do something special… and told us that the feeling she got from Borchetta, Michaels, and Kirkpatrick was really warm and receptive. She also told us that she had to get used to the room and process, working to ignore the cameras all over the place and focusing on her job as a singer and performer.

We asked Jayd Ink about making music and her favourite part of the process. As a songwriter first, it was no surprise to hear her tell us that the creation of a song is her favourite part. Creating and putting together melodies and lyrics is number one for her, followed by taking a song to the recording process, the completion and the realization of her thoughts, feelings, words, and art.

While we were on the phone with Jayd, we got her to play a round of 5 Quick Questions with us. Here we go…

5 Quick Questions with Jayd Ink

Q1) Do you remember the first song you performed?

Jayd Ink) She couldn’t remember the name of the song, but it was a reggae track… and she was able to sing me a few bars on the phone.

Q2) What was the first album you bought?

Jayd Ink) The Roots

Q3) Do you have a dream collaboration partner?

Jayd Ink) Pharell Williams

We talked about Pharell’s ability to evolve and work with all kinds of music dating back to N.E.R.D., and on a year-to-year basis now. It’s no surprise that Jayd Ink would want to work with Williams.

Q4) Is there a City or Venue at the top of your wish list?

Jayd Ink) Air Canada Centre in Toronto and Madison Square Garden in New York City

Q5) Is there an artist that you think people should be listening to more?

Jayd Ink) Sabrina Claudio, who has a great sound and vibe, and she believes that people should be listening to her music.

We asked Jayd Ink about her music, what comes next, and what she wants people to hear. She told us that she’s been working tirelessly on new music to release, making trips to New York to record, and putting a plan in place for a release. She knows that this next step is an important one, and that following up Codes with something that is fully prepared and polished and ready for the world is required to capitalize on this momentum.

She also told us that she hopes people will find and enjoy her previously released tracks, including Darkskin (September 2016) which she counts as an important, personal, and powerful record.

Have a listen…

As an independent artist, Jayd Ink is used to working closely with every single thing she does in music. It’s why it was so important to her to collaborate (much like Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine did on Ain’t Easy) on Codes, to make it feel like it was her song, to find the compromise between pop and R&B (which she is grateful to Ian and the team for allowing her to find).

She told us that she does feel like Codes became hers and that she really loves what they were able to do with the bridge. And as music fans, and supporters for artists, we’re glad that she was able to make that happen and find that compromise on the song.

Codes was written by Meghan Kabir, Frequency, Ferras, and Jayd Ink, and produced by Ian Kirkpatrick.

Soldier Of Love: The Launch’s POESY Interview, Review, and 5 Quick Questions

The Launch returned to Canadian television screens this week to crown a fourth winner and release another single to the world. And as the show ended and Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta (along with mentors Fergie and Stephan Moccio) told POESY that her version of Soldier Of Love would be launched, another career was kick started. 

From her audition (watch her performance of Radiohead’s Creep below) through to the live performance of her iTunes all-genre #1 hit, POESY commanded the attention of the mentors and the audience. And now that she’s taken this new step in her career, we should all prepare to see her in the spotlight again!

We caught up with POESY to talk about The Launch, the recording of the song, and working with the mentors on the show. We also asked her about her music, influences, and what’s coming next for her.

The Ancaster/London, ON singer told us that she’s been low on sleep over the last few days, but was able to sleep in a little bit on Friday morning. And while we know she’s been busy with interviews, performances, and all that has come with her launch, POESY sounded excited and happy to talk about everything that’s happening.

During this week’s episode, Scott Borchetta made a comment about POESY having another gear to find while she was recording Soldier Of Love. We asked her about that comment, and how she found that gear. She said that a lot of it was about confidence and figuring out what Borchetta and Stephan Moccio were looking for. She compared her process to the visualization techniques that athletes use. She told us that the looks on the faces in the control room when she executed her vision were a clear sign that things were headed in the right direction.

We also asked about the recording itself, and having Moccio in the booth with her as she sang. POESY told us that a lot of that process took place late at night, and she thanks the team for keeping her loose, taking breaks to avoid burnout or straining her voice, and she credits lots of tea for keeping her going.

Now that her episode as aired, the single has been released, and Soldier Of Love has reached #1 on iTunes, there have been a lot of things to take in. We asked about finding out about the going to #1 and POESY told us that it was a little bit of a complicated moment. She had a feeling that it could happen after seeing the first three singles from The Launch (The Lucky Ones, Ain’t Easy, Wide Awake) succeed… but there was no certainty. So to hear that it had happened was exciting and encouraging to think that people liked the song and were supporting it. She added that it was crazy to think that an artist like Justin Timberlake just released a new song, but that she was #1.

While we were talking to POESY we got her to play a round of 5 Quick Questions. Here we go…

5 Quick Questions with POESY

Q1) Do you remember the first song you performed (not including your 9 year old debut at your grandparent’s anniversary party)?

POESY) Dixie Chicks’ Travelin’ Soldier

Q2) What was the first album you bought?

POESY) Avril Lavigne’s Let Go

Q3) Do you have a dream collaboration or duet partner?

POESY) There were three very good answers…

1) A collaboration with Queen guitar player Brian May
2) A duet with Stevie Nicks
3) A duet with Annie Lennox

Q4) Is there a city/venue at the top of your wish list?

POESY) San Francisco is at the top of the city wish list, and Wembley Stadium is at the top of the venue wish list.

Q5) Is there an artist you think people should be listening to more?

POESY) Toronto’s Austra and Nottingham, England’s London Grammar.

We asked POESY about working with Fergie, an artist that has experienced a ton of success in her career, and who understands what it is be to in front of the camera and in the spotlight.

It turns out that the Fergalicious was everything POESY could have hoped for in a mentor, and more. Along with prepping her for the live performance of Soldier Of Love during the recording of The Launch, Fergie offered advice for the future that should serve the young singer well as she moves forward. It was fantastic to hear that this mega-star was kind, sweet, and down to earth. POESY also told us that Fergie genuinely loved the show, the concept, and the process as the entire cast and team worked together to make it all happen.

As we talked about music and what she has planned for the future, POESY told us that she hopes listeners will give a listen to her debut EP, The Spotless Mind, if they count themselves fans of Solider Of Love.

The five track EP was recorded and produced at POESY’s kitchen table, embracing the DIY nature of indie music and allowing her to present her songs and voice to the world.

Give it a listen below.

She also told us that after the recording of the show (and after a period of feeling like time was going by so slowly it caused a lot of frustration) she started writing songs for what she hopes will be her debut full-length album. She was clear that she doesn’t want to be a one hit wonder with Soldier Of Love… and it sounds like she’s willing to do what it takes to make sure she isn’t.

Before we wrapped up our call with POESY we promised to talk to her again in the future, and we asked her if there was anything else she wanted to share with the world. She told us that she can’t make any announcements right now, but promised that when she can, it will all be told on her social media channels.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to stay up to date on everything coming from POESY. We will be,

Soldier Of Love was written by Stephan Moccio and Lindy Robbins, and produced by Stephan Moccio.

Super Bowl LII Musical Prop Bets

Super Bowl LII (52) is coming up… and that means it’s time to start planning out the bets we’ll be making for Sunday!

We’ve combed the internet to find some of our favourite musical performance prop bets that can be made for the big game, and we want to see how you would bet on them.

Use the polls to make your choices for these 10 musical performance prop bets, and leave a comment telling us which bet is your lock/best bet/sure thing.

Oh, and don’t forget to make your choice on the bonus question to tell us who you think will win Super Bowl LII in Minnesota on Sunday, February 4, 2018.

* if you are going to place bets and gamble on the Super Bowl, or anything else, please be responsible and have fun. 

* these polls are designed as entertainment only and is not a gambling instrument or offer. 

Super Bowl LII Pre-Game Prop Bets

Josh’s pick: Over 80.5 seconds
Trish’s pick: Over 80.5 seconds

Josh’s pick: Under 2 minutes
Trish’s pick: Under 2 minutes

Josh’s pick: White/Blonde
Trish’s pick: White/Blonde

Josh’s pick: No
Trish’s pick: No

Josh’s pick: No
Trish’s pick: No

Super Bowl LII Halftime Show Prop Bets

Josh’s pick: Black
Trish’s pick: Black

Josh’s pick: Can’t Stop The Feeling!
Trish’s pick: Can’t Stop The Feeling!

Josh’s pick: Yes
Trish’s pick: No

Josh’s pick: Yes
Trish’s pick: No

Josh’s pick: No
Trish’s pick: No


Josh’s pick: Philadelphia Eagles
Trish’s pick: New England Patriots

Secrets: The Moffatts Reunion Q&A

The Moffats are back! After 18 years, the brothers Moffatt have released new music, and pop fans in Canada and all over the world are rejoicing.

Secrets, the new single from the celebrated pop stars of the late 90s and early 2000s, acts as the reintroduction of Bob, Clint, Dave, and Scott to the musical world. The sound is updated from their earlier work, but this feels like The Moffatts. The voices of the four brothers still work together seamlessly, and there is little doubt that they belong together in the studio making music.

Note: The Moffatts haven’t been entirely out of the music world with Bob and Clint working together on numerous projects, including country act Endless Summer, and Scott producing multiple artists including breakout star Luke Combs.

We caught up with The Moffatts to ask about the new song, what’s next, who inspires them right now, and more. Hit play on the official Secrets lyric video now and enjoy the Q&A!

The Moffatts Q&A

Q: Secrets (the single) feels like it fits both in the current landscape of pop, and like it belongs in The Moffatts’ library – what was it like to find that balance, or did it just happen when the process got started?

The Moffats: The balance really came naturally. When we create music, it’s difficult not to create something that sounds like the Moffatts. We are also music lovers who appreciate a lot of what’s going on in music today. It’s authentically where we are in music right now, it was a very organic process, recording and writing for this EP.

Q: Were there any current artists that you took inspiration from for the Secrets EP?

The Moffats: Artists like Ed Sheeran and Niall Horan who have a simplicity to their music, almost reminiscent of the music from the 90’s but still current in its execution. We love melodic music and songs that are easy to sing along to, and those guys are doing a great job making quality music that will be appreciated for generations to come. We felt if the Moffatts had continued making music, our music would have been more inline to what Ed and Niall are doing today.

Q: You’ve had diehard fans all over the world that haven’t given up hope that a reunion would happen – how much of the decision to make this EP was about them?

The Moffats: The whole reason why we came together to record a new EP was because we wanted to give something back to our fans who never stopped supporting us after all these years. We were all doing our own things, not fully aware that support was even still there. But since the four of us have regrouped, the response has been amazing and it just keeps growing.

Related: 5 Quick Questions with Endless Summer!

Endless Summer 5 Quick Questions Banner

Q: The first time you stepped into the studio all together for Secrets, were there any rushes of memories from back in the day?

The Moffats: For sure! It was very nostalgic, looking over at my brothers, them looking back at me, thinking… this is really happening. The process of making of this album was a bit different from our previous records though, as we were the sole producers and engineers. So even though there were moments of nostalgia, it still very much felt like a new experience.

Q: If you could single out one thing… what do you wish you had known then that you know now about making music?

The Moffats: Nothing really… everything is a process and there has been much learning from our first records till now, and hopefully that learning never ends.

Q: How excited are you, as a band, to reintroduce yourselves to fans all over the world with new music, and maybe introduce your older music to new fans at the same time?

The Moffats: It’s very exciting! We are really proud of this new EP and can’t wait for people to have the chance to hear it. If that success introduces new fans to our older music, hey, that’s awesome! Long live the 90’s!

Q: Last one, what can you tell us about what comes next?! (we know this is tough because of plans and release dates that need to be kept secret) Music Video for Secrets? EP release date? Tour?

The Moffats: Nothing at the moment is set in stone, from the release of the EP to any touring, it’s all still up in the air. The best way to keep tabs on release dates and tour dates is to follow us on our social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. We will let everyone know when things will be happening through those official accounts. But hopefully it will be soon!

Like they said… you can keep up with The Moffatts at these fine online locations…


If you’re a fan of this Canadian pop family, stay tuned for info!

New Music Spotlight: Jason Aldean, Hunter Hayes, DYLYN, Art Of Shades, Lisa Nicole

We’re still only in January, and already we’ve heard some fantastic new music in 2018. Today we’ve got five more new songs to share with you, from the worlds of country, pop, and electronica.

Check out these tracks by Jason Aldean, Hunter Hayes, DYLYN, Art Of Shades, and Lisa Nicole, and leave a comment if any of them are going to land on your playlist.

Ready? Here we go…

Artist: Jason Aldean
Hometown: Macon, GA
Genre: Country
Related: Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Tyler Farr
Single: You Make It Easy
Notes: You Make It Easy is the first single from Aldean’s upcoming album, Rearview Town (April 13, 2018) and gives us the kind sweet love song that country can, while still including the electric guitars and edge in his voice that Jason Aldean is known for.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Hunter Hayes
Hometown: Breaux Bridge, LA
Genre: Country
Related: Brett Eldredge, Scotty McCreery, David Nail
Single: This Girl
Notes: Rolling Stone calls This Girl a declarative new song from the 26 year old, we call it a good listen. And we’re hoping that there’s more music with this kind of sound and energy from Hunter Hayes soon.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: DYLYN
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Genre: Pop
Related: Violet Skies, Mags Duval, Caitlyn Scarlett
Single: Wolf
Notes: There’s something familiar and fun about the beats and rhythms in DYLYN’s Wolf, and we’re into it. After a dozen spins, we’re still bopping along every time.
Links: SoundCloud / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Art Of Shades ft. Sylo Nozra
Hometown: Paris
Genre: Electronic
Related: Recable, Tender Games, Life On Planets
Single: Undone
Notes: The Parisian made beat of Art Of Shades meet the Toronto vocals of Sylo Nozra on this new jam that oceans were crossed to create. The results are smooth and easy, laid back and solid.
Links: SoundCloud / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Lisa Nicole
Hometown: Castlegar, BC
Genre: Country
Related: Tenille Arts, Natalie Stovall, Indigo Summer
Single: Mad About It
Notes: The BC country singer tells a tale of a bad dude in her latest single, with a video that gets just as messy as the situation in the story. Mad About It is a strong start to the year for Lisa Nicole, and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

New Music Spotlight: Taylor Swift, James Barker Band, No Liars, Justin Timberlake, Oh Geronimo

This instalment of the New Music Spotlight offers a varied playlist to give you a taste of some of the tracks we’re into right now. From the top of the world’s playlists to a couple acts we think you should be discovering, we’ve got you covered.

In this spotlight, we’ve got five videos from pop, rock, and country. There are big label productions and indie offerings, and we are digging all of them.

Let’s do this!

Artist: Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran, Future
Hometown: Reading, PA
Genre: Pop
Related Artists: Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez
Single: End Game
Notes: One of my favourite tracks from the reputation era, T.Swift kills it with bff Ed Sheeran and Future on End Game. Honestly, if this is what it sounds like to have a big reputation, we’re in.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: James Barker Band
Hometown: Woodville, ON
Genre: Country
Related: Dierks Bentley, Old Dominion, Kieth Urban
Single: Good Together
Notes: JBB has moved past their 2017 EP, Game On, with their new single, and it’s working. Fans are connecting with Good Together the same way they have to earlier releases – online, and live.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: No Liars
Hometown: Victoria, BC
Genre: Punk
Related: Farewell Letter, MakeWar, Light Fire Down
Single: Guilt Trip
Notes: The second track off their forthcoming album, The Cause & The Cure, Guilt Trip reminds me of the hits and fan favourites I loved earlier in the 2000s from Brand New, The Used and more. Turn this one up.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Justin Timberlake
Hometown: Memphis, TN
Genre: Pop
Related: Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, Beyoncé
Single: Supplies
Notes: This is the second single from the upcoming Man Of The Woods album, and it’s still not what we thought was coming based on the trailer. Timberlake is keeping everyone on their toes with Supplies, bringing some powerful imagery to the screen.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Oh Geronimo
Hometown: Burlington, ON
Genre: Rock/Folk
Related: Hey Rosetta!, Texas King, Ivory Hours
Single: Mountains
Notes: The band explains that Mountains is a song about wholeheartedly pursuing your passions, while straddling the fragile line between ambition and humility. The track comes from the 2018 album, The Sled, and serves as a teaser for what we should all be ready to hear.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Ain’t Easy: The Launch’s Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine Interview, Review, and 5 Quick Questions

The Launch returned to television for its second episode, and brought with it some serious competition, creative juices, and in the end, another #1 single as Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine recorded and released a killer rendition of Ain’t Easy to the world.

The Ottawa-based duo were strong from their audition (including a stripped down and powerful take on Major Lazer’s Lean On) forward in the episode, showing confidence, talent, and a willingness to put in the work required to win the day.

Episode two mentors Jennifer Nettles and Ryan Tedder (along with Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta) worked well with the pair, with Tedder especially willing to collaborate when it came time to record the single.

We asked about the confidence they had to approach the hitmaker with their ideas and suggestions, and they told us they “wanted to walk in the room and say we love this song, here’s how we think we can make it us.” and that Tedder “opened the door for collaboration and he is a pro at that.”. Elijah added that “I think that’s what sets Ryan apart… he’s a leave your ego at the door sorta guy. And that’s exactly how Jamie and I work.”.

Elijah Woods and Jamie Fine from The Launch at Corus Toronto

Our conversation also touched on what the last couple of days have been like, and the duo told us that it’s been busy. They estimate that they had about 30 interviews on Thursday, with more lined up for Friday. They also played a live show on Thursday night, adding to the busyness of their time in Toronto around the show’s airing. It hasn’t left a lot of time for sleep, but they both agree that it could be worse.

They also said that being so busy has cut down on their ability to truly absorb what’s been happening. Ain’t Easy hit #1 on iTunes on Thursday, and as we were talking on Friday morning Elijah and Jamie learned that they had cracked the Top 25 on YouTube Canada’s trending videos list.

Elijah told us that they took a few moments to lock themselves in a bathroom on Thursday night to talk about everything that’s happened, and to realize that it’s all for real. And while it may only have been a few minutes, we’re glad they got it.

Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine (EWxJF) are certainly confident when it comes to their music, but in person they remain kind, open, and a good hang (even in a short amount of time). Those traits will no doubt help them as the continue to make music, make connections, and move forward in their career.

While we were with Elijah and Jamie we got the duo to play a quick round of 5 Quick Questions. Here we go…

Elijah Woods and Jamie Fine from The Launch at Corus Toronto

5 Quick Questions with Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine

Q) What was the first song you performed together for an audience?

EWxJF) Ain’t Easy

It was a surprising answer, but kind of cool that with five singles released before this one, they hadn’t yet performed together.

Q) What was the first album you bought?

Elijah) Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP
Jamie) 50 Cent – Get Rich Or Die Tryin’

Q) Do you have a dream collaboration partner?

EWxJF) Jamie told us that Cher is her queen, but that at the top of their collaboration wishlist is Adele!

Elijah Woods and Jamie Fine from The Launch at Corus Toronto

Q) Is there a city or venue at the top of your wishlist?

EWxJF) Almost immediately, Elijah told us that Red Rocks is at the top of the list for the duo.

Q) Is there an artist that you think people should be paying more attention to?

EWxJF) Bille Eilish, Elijah told us that he found her early and has been listening whenever there’s something new to hear.

As their sixth single, Ain’t Easy looks like it will pave the way for big things for the duo out of Ottawa. They can now claim a #1 single to go with two other songs (Catchin Feels and Wouldn’t Be Enough) boasting more than 1 million spins each on Spotify.

And while they know that life is about to get busier still, they told us that connecting with fans and listeners is still important to them, and they plan to continue to do that as much as they can.

We don’t know exactly what will come next for Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, but we know they’re well prepared to keep making the music they want to make, are willing to put in the work to make it as good as they possibly can, and are looking forward to it all!

Ain’t Easy was written by Ryan Tedder, Zach Skelton, Camila Cabello, and produced by Ryan Tedder.

Elijah Woods and Jamie Fine from The Launch at Corus TorontoElijah Woods and Jamie Fine from The Launch at Corus TorontoElijah Woods and Jamie Fine from The Launch at Corus TorontoElijah Woods and Jamie Fine from The Launch at Corus Toronto

Driving: Emma-Lee Video Premiere

Acclaimed singer and songwriter Emma-Lee is set to release her brand new EP, Fantasies: Volume 2 (Jan. 26. 2018), but we’re getting a head start on the excitement with the exclusive premiere of her music video for Driving!

The Toronto born, Nashville based, artist hit the road with director Paul Steward for the video, showing off scenic views, classic roadside neon and motels, the wonders of route 66, and a couple of spins for good measure. It’s a roadtrip that we wish we’d been on, and are more than a little jealous of.

Enjoy the song, the visuals, and check out Fantasies: Volume 1 now, so you’re ready for V2!

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