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In thinking about what it was that made people love him so much, I came to the conclusion that it was because he was completely and utterly himself. He was always authentic to his vision and unafraid to do things exactly his way. He was someone who was truly free.
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One moment, I was in Spain, strolling the Passeig de Gracia, eating tapas and sipping red wine. The next, I was singing for Justin Bieber. Perhaps it was jet lag. Perhaps it was the parade of superheroes that casually strolled by me as I donned my Marie Antoinette wig. Either way, it was the most surreal evening of my life.
Reggae pioneer bass player and singer Leroy Sibbles knows what it means to take that boomerang ride. Born and raised in Jamaica, he moved to Toronto in 1973, married and became a citizen. That was then, now he is back living in Jamaica and visits The Big Smoke whenever he can.
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Where are our friends and fans of black music and black people when the partying stops and the subject turns to the reality of being black? When I attend concerts for some of these artists, non-blacks are the ones front and centre, filling more than half of the seats. Switch to a Black Lives Matter march... these folks are nowhere to be found
There has been a lot of praise across social media for Prince since the news of his death. Even as I write this, I can't quite come to terms with that phrase. As he would say, "something in the water does not compute."
No one can say for certain how many concert works by Canadian composers have been heard at the White House. We do know the University of Toronto's Matthew Emery was surprised in December to learn -- after the fact -- that he had written one of them.
In a cyclical way I feel music discovery now is like it was pre-internet, when people bought singles on 45. The internet and technology have made it easier than ever to record, release, download, stream, share, playlist, shazam, post and blog. There is so much music available -- it is really amazing.
Late in 2015 a band called Disturbed released their dark cover of Simon & Garfunkel's Sound of Silence, the song quickly took hold of me and I couldn't get enough of this dark and well done cover of a classic song. Listening to the lyrics I chose to divide each section of the song to a different type of sadness to be found in abandoned houses.
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Rihanna was once the world's preeminent pop star. And yes, I use past tense. Despite having her hit "Work" firmly ensconced at number one for the past two months, a stat that ties her with the Beatles as second only to Mariah Carey for most weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Rihanna has recently transcended pop stardom.
When Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal launched, they were hailed as digital prophets that promised new ways to monetize the experience. Thus far, their solutions have fallen short of fireworks. Just slightly over a quarter of Spotify's 75 million active users actually pay for the service. And, as The Guardian UK reports, despite pulling in €1.08 bn in revenue, its losses were €162.3m. So why are all these promising platforms sinking?
The City Harmonic
Truly great musicians defy categorization. They often defy adjectives as well, which makes them difficult to write about. That is where Art Bergmann lies: between the facts and the superlatives.
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One of the contenders in this category is Hamilton, Ontario's own band The City Harmonic. The band is composed of four worshipers from four small churches who began by singing hymns and spiritual songs. Since then, The City Harmonic is no stranger to success, having won its first Juno in 2013.
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I had it all figured out. I was going to move to New York or L.A., or wherever TB HQ was located, and I was going to stake my claim as the confessor and confidante to the stars. I was going to be besties with the Brat Pack. I was going to go clubbing with the Culture Club. I was going to discuss the literary merits of The Magus with Simon LeBon and be one of the few to know what The Reflex really is. Or not.
This is a model that Toronto's exports have seemed to follow for years -- when one artist breaks, so do the communities that have birthed them. While not entirely unique to Toronto, it's certainly a trend that has planted roots there and helped grow Canada's music scene immensely, one [Broken Social] scene at a time.