Shawn Hook’s last album, 2012’s Cosmonaut and the Girl, was out of this world, yielding three Top 20 hits, “Every Red Light,” “So Close” and “Two Hearts Set On Fire,” and setting him up for a promising career. His electro-injected dance-pop earned a Juno nomination for Breakthrough Artist, a national tour with Midway State, and a dedicated fan-base proudly named Hooksters. The accomplished singer-pianist has now finished working on his new album for Universal Music Canada, due June-2015.
The first single, “Million Ways,” shows the Vancouver native moving even further from his acoustic roots. The song is a mix of pop, disco, soul, R&B and electronica and showcases Shawn’s enviable falsetto.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of indie electronic music since I put out Cosmonaut and the Girl — like Phantogram, Capital Cities, M83, Empire of the Sun and Disclosure,” says Shawn of his new influence. “It’s still electronic, but not dance. It has old school synths, cool programmed beats and some real instrumentation mixed in.”
For the past two years Shawn has been non-stop writing music with A-listers Jeff Trott (Sheryl Crow, Jason Mraz), The Fliptones (Jason Derulo, Jake Miller), Jimmy Harry (Pink, Hedley), Todd Clark (Phillip Phillips, Serena Ryder, Lucy Hale), Stephen Kozmeniuk (Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Nelly Furtado), his Canadian peers from The Midway State, Mike Wise and Nathan Ferraro as well as finding confidence in writing on his own.
Highlights on Shawn’s new album include the electronic R&B-styled “Analog Love,” faster dance-pop “Bad Girls,” 90s house-vibe “In Over My Head,” and, of course, current chart topping smash single “Sound of Your Heart.” Over 8 million streams and counting for “Sound of Your Heart” on Spotify worldwide.
“My last album was a stepping stone, but I’ve evolved a lot and become a lot more comfortable with how I write and how I sing,” says Shawn. “I’m more self-assured. So moving forward with the new record, these songs are fresh and new.”
LITEYEARS is a five-piece pop band hailing from Toronto, Ontario and is the latest project from long-time collaborators and brother duo Brent and Brian Wirth (formerly of Thought Beneath Film). After garnering a surplus of accolades with their previous band , which includes winning the $50,000 grand prize of Slaight Music’s coveted “It’s Your Shot” competition, working with industry heavyweights Tom Lord-Alge (Blink 182, P!NK, Weezer) and Bob Ludwig (Daft Punk, Nirvana, Queen) on two records, completing several Canadian and North American tours, and receiving commercial radio play and video rotation on MuchLOUD for three of the band’s singles, the Wirth brothers are embarking on a new sonic path with LITEYEARS, one that features a more mature, focused, and accessible sound.
“We felt severely stifled by the two guitars, bass and drums formula and realized that we were itching to do something that was lightyears away from TBF musically,” says frontman Brent Wirth – hence the band’s moniker. While inevitably exposing their rock roots via stark dynamic shifts and explosively anthemic choruses, LITEYEARS’ sound is a significant departure from their previous work. Built upon a foundation of strong, expansive percussion, the band’s sound meshes programmed electronic loops, ethereal keyboards, and delicately understated guitar counterpoint with traditional, organic instrumentation: namely piano, symphonic strings, and glockenspiel. “Freeing ourselves from working exclusively with a specific set of instruments was the inspirational jolt we needed” says Wirth, “every song was a blank canvas that we could fill with any sonic palette we wanted to.” Ultimately, the band was able to expand on this philosophy with their five-part live video series “The Zoetic Sessions”, which was filmed at the iconic Zoetic Theatre in Hamilton, Ontario and features various large-scale collaborations (ie. the band performing with a 10 piece drumline, 40+ piece orchestra, world percussion ensemble, string quartet, etc.) and alternate musical arrangements for each song from the band’s debut EP. At this time, the band has released the first three instalments from the series, which have already accumulated over 250,000 combined views online to date.
The band is comprised of university music graduates, music scene veterans, well-worn touring musicians, and recording engineers/studio owners. This combined experience ultimately dictates the thought, care, and personal standards each band member expects not only from each other, but, most importantly, the music as well. After a year spent in studio hibernation, LITEYEARS debut EP American Towns showcases a band with unrelenting perseverance and the drive to create a record that doesn’t compromise. Joining lead vocalist/pianist Brent and guitarist Brian are bassist Nick Haberer, keyboardist/percussionist Adam Slinn, and drummer Joey Muha, who has notably attained viral fame, a loyal online fanbase of 520,000+ users and over 120 million combined views users via his distinctive drum cover videos.
LITEYEARS’ debut EP American Towns was released on August 12, 2016 via Slaight Music and features the band’s debut single “Rhythm In The Stars”, which was serviced to Canadian national radio on July 29, 2016 by RPM Promotion and has since received airplay on Sirius XM Radio and Virgin Radio as well as a variety of college/university radio stations. Mixed by JUNO Award winning mixing engineer Vic Florencia (Jason Mraz, Nelly Furtado, Tyler Shaw) and mastered by 11-time Grammy Award winner and industry legend Bob Ludwig, American Towns is a finely tuned machine that has lost none of the human heart and its five songs promise to be the perfect soundtrack to your wild, restless nights and quiet, dreamy mornings after. One can expect to see LITEYEARS on the road this spring as the band embarks on a nationwide tour in support of their debut effort in March 2017.
Cassie Dasilva is a singer-songwriter from smalltown Ontario. Several hilariously failed attempts at a love life have inspired her committed relationship with music. The young artist is clumsily navigating the world, writing songs and preparing for her debut release.
Biography Bryan Finlay (born August 31st, 1993) is a Canadian Pop recording artist. His inspiration comes from such pop artists as Jessie J and Bruno Mars, rock acts such as Maroon 5 and Neon Trees, and Soul performers including Adele, Michael Buble, Ray Charles, and John Legend.
Bryan got his start competing against 140 other local musicians in a local radio contest. He was named the winner of the “7th Annual 91.7 The Bounce Showdown.” It was here that Canadian pop/R&B recording artist, Shawn Desman, and the production duo of Hipjoint Music Group Vancouver discovered Bryan’ s talents. This win gave Bryan the opportunity to record with world-class record producers, Mike James and Troy Samson (Hipjoint Music Group).
From there on in, Bryan has been spiralling up within the industry. In February 2011, Finlay released his first self-titled EP through a digital distribution deal with Hipjoint Music Group/Universal Music. Later that year, Bryan signed a Worldwide Licensing Deal with ‘ DMX Music licensing’ for Hollister/Abercrombie & Fitch C.O. They would later add his single Sentimental Fool to the Hollister Summer 2011 Playlist where it was featured globally. Sentimental Fool, went on to be a Top 20 radio hit, playing up against artists such as Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, and Adele. Bryan’ s second single from his debut EP, All I Can Do, was picked up by Epitome Pictures in July 2011 and featured on the MuchMusic (Canada)/TeenNick (US) multiple-award winning hit Canadian teen drama television series, DEGRASSI .
Bryan’ s latest surge of international interest occurred after receiving an unbelievable 7,600,000+ spins on his single “Good Times” on Spotify in late 2015 as he ended up on some popular trending playlists. Watch for a new EP from Bryan Finlay this spring!
Calgarian singer/songwriter, Tareya Green, is best known for her role as lead singer in the pop-country duo Autumn Hill. Their debut studio album, Favourite Mistake, was released in 2013 and produced four country radio airplay hits. With “Anything at All” charting at both the adult contemporary and country formats, the duo earned the distinction of being the first Canadian country music act to crossover to pop radio since Shania Twain. Their sophomore album included the smash hit “Blame” which was the duo’s first Top 5 charting single. They have thrice topped the CMT Canada chart with their hits “Anything At All”, “Can’t Keep Waiting”, and “Blame.Championed by their industry peers, Autumn Hill received multiple nominations from the JUNO Awards and the CCMA Awards.
Tareya is following up the success of Autumn Hill with her long-anticipated solo album release, expected in 2017.
Sometimes, things just click. They certainly have for Dan Talevski. At the tender age of 27, he’s already accomplished more than some artists twice his age. Millions of people have seen him sing on YouTube. He’s been signed to a major record label. Groomed for stardom alongside Justin Bieber. Toured with Backstreet Boys. Worked in the studio with will.i.am. Written songs for Shawn Desman, Danny Fernandes, Keshia Chante and others. And now, with Guilty As Sin, his debut single for eOne Music Canada, he’s poised to take his rightful place as Canada’s next musical sensation.
Allen’s DIY ability and optimistic attitude have served him well. He’s scored three Top 10 hits in Canada, 2009′s “I Wanna Be Your Christmas”, 2011’s “I Want You” and his biggest single released in 2010 “Loving You Tonight,” which was lodged in the upper reaches of the charts for more than 22 weeks and broke the US Top 30 while gaining over 4 million views on YouTube.
A lilting, sunny tune about an ideal romance, “Loving You Tonight” helped put Andrew on tour with acts like The Script, Bruno Mars, One Republic, Train, Joshua Radin and The Barenaked Ladies…
Radio play aside, Andrew is a true live performer with an exceptional voice, incredible songs and limitless energy… not too mention a spatter of comic wit and story-telling ability that helps create a dynamic and interactive live show. He’s definitely an artist that embodies the term ‘live’.
Also an incredibly accomplished songwriter, Allen’s songs can be heard on the Grammy Nominated record, ‘Atmosphere’ by EDM aritsts KASKADE and Project 46, as well as on The Voice Germany’s winner Nick Howard’s sophomore release. 2015 holds promise with some big releases coming in the Spring!
Voted Toronto’s “Best Female Vocalist” by NOW Magazine, singer and songwriter Emma-Lee enjoyed her first taste of radio success in 2016 with her single “Worst Enemy” reaching #18 on the AC Mediabase chart and #24 Hot AC. The powerful anthem delivered a “be yourself and make no apologies” message, resonating with fans across Canada and beyond.
This holiday season Emma-Lee is excited to share her first original Christmas song titled It Won’t Be Christmas. “I wanted to put out a song that was both sentimental and something people can dance to! My favourite Christmas song is Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, and I wanted to release something that evoked a similar spirit” she says of the single. At radio now and available for sale November 18th, the song cleverly pays homage to a number of Christmas classics while driving home the true meaning of the holidays: being with the people you love.
Emma-Lee is continuing to work on a full length album set for release in late Spring of 2017. Produced by Karen Kosowski, the album will feature songs written on the artist’s travels to Los Angeles and Nashville, as well as music written and recorded in a small 1950’s cabin in north Ontario where Kosowski and Emma-Lee frequent for inspiration.
Eh440, the incredible Toronto-based vocal group has been stunning audiences worldwide since they first hit the stage a few years ago.
With just a beatboxer, bass vocalist, and 3 very different lead singers, this means that they are technically an ‘a cappella’ group but most people think of them as something very different.
“You forget that there aren’t any instruments because they really do sound like a full band!” said one fan. “They sound hip and current. It’s like they magically fuse old and new into a must-hear sound. And I love that they write their own songs because it makes me feel so connected to them as people.”
Following the release of their award-winning 2014 debut release Turn Me Up, Eh440 wanted to step things up to a new level. A level they hadn’t yet achieved – the boss level!
Boss Level is a phrase that stems from gaming culture and is now starting to creep into the mainstream. In a video game, the final level to win the game (where you encounter & battle the biggest & strongest character – the boss) is called the Boss Level. But now, any ultimate level of achievement where you take on your most formidable foe is the boss level.
When they started writing songs for their next album, the band claims that the songs felt very ‘top level’ so when they wrote Boss Level, naturally that was going to be the title track.
Boss Level’s September 2016 release has generated some exciting fan reviews too. Some are saying they can’t stop playing it on repeat. Others are saying that a particular song has inspired them in some way. So this latest release is clearly a step in a new direction for Eh440 and they are getting exactly what the album title says ‘boss level feedback about a boss level album’ and they couldn’t be more excited!
THE JOURNEY STARTED OVER
A DECADE AND A HALF AGO
Eh440 started harmonizing together in 2012.
But their journey really started over a decade and a half ago.
As kids, Janet Turner and Stacey Kay used to compete against each other in singing contests.
The first time they met, Stacey was just 8 years old and Janet a little older. Over the years they each took their turn winning various contests and even though some competitors took it a little too seriously, they actually cheered on the other and became lifelong friends.
While on a North American Broadway Tour for Godspell a while ago, Stacey thought she heard a voice from the heavens. Was it Jesus?! Well, Jake Stern was playing the role of Jesus in the production!
Years later, Stacey approached Jake about joining Eh440 and the fit was perfect. Jake had been performing professionally in theatres, film, and TV since he was in high school, so the opportunity to travel the world while sharing his talents is a dream come true for him.
Luke Stapleton (aka the Human Record) started beatboxing as a small child. Coming from a “show biz family”, Luke would listen to his dad play the drums in their house and recreate the sounds using only his mouth. He also maintains that his childhood stutter was gone upon the introduction of music to his life. “My brain was faster than my mouth“, says Luke. If you see him beatbox now, you can see quite clearly, that his mouth has caught up!
Joe Oliva started his musical journey later than most kids who dream of being on stage. In his last year of high school, Joe joined his school choir after the director heard his bass voice barrelling down the school halls and begged him to join. And he hasn’t stopped singing since.
So in early 2012, Eh440 was born and they got lucky from the start. Most bands’ first gig is at a backyard BBQ or wedding. Eh440’s first gig was performing the national anthems for the Valentine’s Day 2012 Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks NBA game. Singing in an arena for 20,000 people? Pretty good first gig!
So, Eh440 is a mix of 5 people from 5 very different backgrounds and musical genres. Joe’s been a low bass singer his entire life, Luke’s an urban beatboxer, Janet identifies as a country/pop singer, Stacey’s soul/rap/pop, and Jake likes contemporary vocal/pop music.
Together they form “an unforgettable combination of crazy beatboxing, sassy rapping, killer harmonies, and fresh, urban, RnB-influenced compositions”.
Their debut album Turn Me Up exemplifies these many influences, and Boss Level, of course, takes their writing and sound to a whole new level, but performing in front of people gives them their greatest joy.
“I thought I was getting an ‘a cappella’ show but it was much more. I’m still amazed at what they could achieve up there while singing, and they were also so relaxed, personable, and funny while talking.” said one local promoter. “Never before have we had so many people emailing and calling the day after a show and insisting that we bring an act back.”
So the history of Eh440 has been written and the future always remains somewhat uncertain, but doing what they love – writing and recording more music and performing their amazing live shows – is a given!
Born and raised in small-town Alberta, Sarah is a Calgary-based music therapist and singer-songwriter. Though raised on the piano and classically trained, Sarah was able to find a variety of influences in music in her travels through England and Australia. She credits Ella Fitzgerald, Damien Rice, Counting Crows, Madeleine Peyroux, Glen Hansard and Elbow as having an influence on her musical stylings. She likes to purge her house of unused goods, cook with butter, sugar, and gluten, and fall down interior design website wormholes.