NBers off to P.E.I. for ECMAs

This week, Charlottetown has the honour of hosting the latest round of the East Coast Music Awards, an annual celebration of Atlantic Canadian musical talent.

On Sunday evening, the ECMA gala awards show will take place. Hosted by Canadian country star George Canyon, the show will offer the audience in attendance a show that shines a light on the best of what Atlantic Canada has to offer, including entertainment from The Trews, Slowcoaster, Ashley MacIsaac and Haunted Hearts. A handful of New Brunswick musicians were lucky enough to have received nominations in various categories for this year’s East Coast Music Awards.

Although he now calls Halifax his home, Fredericton native David Myles tops the nomination count heading into Sunday’s awards with five nominations to his credit. Matt Andersen, arguably one of New Brunswick’s finest bluesmen, has a very respectable four ECMA nominations while Moncton’s own Chris Colepaugh and the Cosmic Crew head into Sunday’s ceremony with a pair of nominations.

Jean Surette, executive director of Music New Brunswick, feels that the province’s musicians are well positioned heading into the weekend’s festivities.

“Not only are our province’s acts getting better musically, they are getting better prepared for the event and taking advantage of the conference. We had an export training workshop in March, the goal of which is to help artists and those who represent them to acquire the skills needed when attending events like the ECMAs. We ended up having a full house for the workshop, which tells me that our musicians and professionals want to learn more about the business side of these events,” Surette says.

Lovestorm member Nina Khosla says that the group is hoping to raise their profile with their Pop Recording of the Year nomination.

Otherwise, Khosla echoes Surette’s comments saying, “There are so many workshops on different aspects of the music business. I am looking forward to attending and learning something new. It is fantastic that they are looking to help musicians help themselves.”

The East Coast Music Awards celebrate much more than simply music however.

Local DJ and radio personality Marc Xavier Leblanc (better known as DJ Bones to most) is nominated in the category of Media Person of the Year. Leblanc is no stranger to being an ECMA nominee, having been nominated an impressive 10 times in the past in two categories: Photographer of the Year and Media Person of the Year.

He says that despite his not having yet brought home any awards, there is a nice validation that comes from the East Coast Music Awards nominations.

“It is nice to be validated for my work but my parents and friends tend to make more of a fuss about me being nominated,” Leblanc says. “I have found that with every nomination I receive, it has opened up opportunities for me which is great because then those artists that I am working with or working to promote get exposure in turn.”

Marty Surette of Moncton band Tempting Tragedy says that his group’s nomination in the category of Loud Recording of the Year was a pleasant surprise, stating they had little in the way of expectations prior to the nominees being announced in February.

Surette says that the band’s goal has always been to reach a broad audience, something he feels the ECMA nomination could help the group in achieving.

“We’re honestly just hoping that the nomination can help us open a few more doors and help boost our profile somewhat.

“Our goal has always been trying to reach a broader audience that might otherwise not know that we are out there,” Surette says.

When he is not busy performing with the likes of Roch Voisine, Riverview native Chris Colepaugh can be found promoting and playing with his own group, the Cosmic Crew.

In spite of the fact that Colepaugh has yet to bring home an ECMA, he feels the annual celebration of the region’s talent still has its place, 22 years after the first awards were presented.

“In my opinion, the ECMAs shine a light on the amazing talent that is here on the east coast,” Colepaugh says. “Over the past 10 plus years, I have toured through Canada, the United States and Europe, and I have yet to be able to see and hear the extent of talent and varied musical styles that reside here on the east coast.”

Other New Brunswick musical acts that received nominations for this year’s awards include Naomi Striemer, Ross Neilsen and the Sufferin’ Bastards, Art Richard, Zany Lane, Scotty and The Stars, Bruno Jacques Pelletier, Measha Brueggergosman, Heather Allison, Jessica Rhaye, The New Brunswick Youth Orchestra, Daniel Goguen, Marie Phillipe Bergeron, Tradition, Becka deHaan, Richard Paul, Samantha Robichaud, Lina Boudreau, Thom Swift, The Arka Teks, Hotbox, Kathlenn Gorey-McSorley and Sleepy Driver.

If by chance you are not able to make it over to Charlottetown next weekend to take in the 2011 edition of the East Coast Music Awards, we have good news for you: Moncton is set to host the 2012 edition of the awards, the first time the Hub City will have hosted the music showcases and awards ceremony show since 1997.

Article published in April 15, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript