Neon Dreams Marching To The Top

Posted by: Kerry Doole

JANUARY 25 2017

Halifax band Neon Dreams now shines brightly in the spotlight, as they rapidly write one of the most compelling success stories by a fully independent Canadian act in quite some time.

Their fresh take on electronic pop combines EDM with live instrumentation, and that is proving an irresistible combination.

Their breakthrough track, "Marching Bands," is a collaboration with Kardinal Offishall that has become a bonafide crossover hit, while another track, "Beat Of Your Heart," has quickly earned almost a million Spotify streams.

To get an update on the fast-moving world of Neon Dreams, FYI contacted manager Daryl Flood, of Surefire Entertainment. He tells us that “we are hoping to continue the momentum of "Marching Bands" with the release of another single off our EP titled "Find A Way." So far the response from radio and industry insiders has been very positive.”

Flood explains: “It`s hard to predict a timeline for a new project until we see how far our EP can take us, but the guys are writing new music everyday.

“After spending four months on the road promoting and touring their first single, they were eager to get back in the studio. Charting top 20 in Canada has put them on the radar and given them a lot of writing opportunities. They just finished an amazing track with Trevor Guthrie and have sessions lined up with other established writers.

"We are taking the next couple months off to focus on writing sessions and label meetings. We will be touring Ontario in March to surround the Junos, plus we have half a dozen festivals booked this spring and summer. We signed with CAA in the US and will be touring there in the near future."

The loud buzz surrounding Neon Dreams isn`t confined to Canada, says Flood. "The reach that online streaming has given `Marching Bands` is amazing and we constantly get new inquiries from record labels and imprints all over the world. Currently we are talking to labels in Canada, Australia, France, UK, and traveling to LA for meetings in a couple weeks."

A crucial component in the group`s success story has been their status as one of the three winners of the 2016 Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class, Canada’s premiere artist development program.

As well as bringing the band increased industry attention, the win has given Neon Dreams a serious injection of self-confidence, and has helped sharpen their skills. Part of their Master Class prize is a trip to Ottawa for the 2017 Juno Awards and a performance slot at JUNOfest.

One of the members of the Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class Super Jury was Kardinal Offishall, but Daryl Flood informs us that "`Marching Bands` was made in April 2016 - before we knew anything about Master Class."

In an earlier interview with FYI’s Jason Schneider, Neon Dreams DJ Corey LeRue explained that, “through connections we have made in the music world, we were able to get ‘Marching Bands’ into Kardinal Offishall’s hands.

“He loved the vibe that we created and the next step was to fly out to Toronto to meet with him at his office at Universal Music. We both shared the same vision of the song and passion to create a great track that could be played all summer long.”

Alessia Cara Scores Second Pop Songs No. 1 With 'Scars to Your Beautiful'

Posted by: Gary Trust
Photography by: Meredith Jenks


The singer-songwriter is the first artist since Iggy Azalea with two No. 1s from a debut full-length album.

Alessia Cara crowns Billboard`s Pop Songs radio airplay chart (dated Feb. 4) with "Scars to Your Beautiful." As the song lifts 2-1, it becomes her second Pop Songs leader her breakthrough hit "Here" led a year ago to the week, topping the Feb. 6, 2016, tally. Both tracks are from her first LP, Know-It-All.

Cara is the first artist to notch two Pop Songs No. 1s from a debut full-length since Iggy Azalea. The rapper`s The New Classic yielded "Fancy" (featuring Charli XCX three weeks at No. 1) and "Black Widow" (featuring Rita Ora one) in 2014.

A second Pop Songs No. 1 follows the Rule Breaker honor that Cara earned in December at Billboard`s 2016 Women in Music celebration, claimed in part for the novel, anti-party "Here" storyline. Meanwhile, at the MTV Video Music Awards pre-show in August, she performed "Scars" without wearing makeup, saying, "I`m not doing it just to be a rebel. I want to show people alternatives to [conventional> standards of beauty. I always find power in struggles. You end up a lot happier that way."

All charts will update tomorrow (Jan. 24) on

CBC Music Names "Gord Downie Person of the Year"

Posted by: CBC Music Jesse Kinos-Goodin
Photography by: David Bastedo


Gord Downie did the seemingly impossible this year. And then he did it again.

It’s a rare, if not completely unachievable moment to experience in one’s life, to get the kind of exposure Downie had performing in Kingston with the Tragically Hip on the final night of the band’s Man Machine Poem tour. To have that type of audience, one-third of the country, staring at your sweating brow as you hold the microphone and look for the proper words to say during this, possibly your band’s final performance after 30 years on the road. A career cut off by a cancer diagnosis, a gruelling city-by-city tour across the country during which your fatigue is clearly showing, matched only by your verve to get the job done, and now you’re standing centre stage at your hometown arena and speaking to a nation. It’s the stuff of myth-making, the kind of unique moment Downie made a career singing about and which, through some twisted sense of poetic fate, his career seemed to lead up to.

“Wait a second, there’s 20 million people watching, I can say whatever I want,” he later told CBC News, reflecting on the moment when that spotlight shone down on him with the weight of everything he’s ever been through to get here and to come. And what he said was, “We’re in good hands, folks. Real good hands,” just as the cameras showed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, wearing a Tragically Hip shirt, in the crowd. “He cares about the people way up North that we were trained our entire lives to ignore.”

“Wait a second, there’s 20 million people watching, I can say whatever I want.”

Rather than reflect on his career, or even, as some presumed he would, ask for donations to cancer research at this final show, Downie called out the prime minister, and the entire country, to act on the problems facing Indigenous people in the North.

“What’s going on up there ain’t good,” he said. “It may be worse than it’s ever been.”

As extraordinary as that was — a moment of selflessness that was immediately heralded as heroic — it’s what Downie did next that truly showed how one man managed to revive a country’s guilty conscience long laid dormant.

Because cancer or not, Downie had already planned his next move. Three years ago, his brother, Mike, showed him an article in Maclean’s magazine about Chanie Wenjack, an Ojibwa boy who, in 1966, ran away from a residential school in northern Ontario and attempted to walk home some 600 kilometres. He was found dead days later, having succumbed to starvation and exposure.

Downie, along with his brother and the author Joseph Boyden, were so struck by the story that they planned to mark its 50th anniversary, a dark moment in Canadian history too few knew about, with an outpouring of creativity. The twin projects — Downie’s, an album called Secret Path paired with a graphic novel of the same name by Jeff Lemire and an animated film, also broadcast on CBC, and Boyden’s, a novella called Wenjack (followed by a full-length novel, Seven Matches, in 2017) — were always going to come out in October. Just as the Hip was always going to tour its new album, well before people were calling it the band’s last. What no one could ever have accounted for were the events leading up to that night in Kingston, with Downie staring down his legacy and somehow coming up with the exact right words to say.

Secret Path, recorded over three years with producers Kevin Drew and Dave Hamelin, features Downie, over 10 songs, embodying the 12-year-old Wenjack during his final moments. Downie performed the album twice, in Ottawa and Toronto, with Chanie’s sister, Pearl Wenjack, onstage with him the significance of this, one of the most important gestures of Downie’s career, driving him, “filling him up,” as his brother told CBC.

Then there was the launch of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, dedicated to improving the lives of First Nations in Canada, and the Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation, which received the proceeds from Secret Path. The graphic novel is even being used in classrooms, and educators from each province have already met with the Wenjack family, Lemire, Gord and Mike Downie in Ottawa to see how it can be officially integrated into the curriculum.

Secret Path is a legacy project for Downie, more so than 14 Tragically Hip albums, the diamond and platinum records, the awards. But even more than that, it’s the culmination of everything combined, all leading up to the awkward conversation our country, after 150 years, needs to have so desperately. One we needed someone like Downie to pick up and drop on the table in front of everyone, daring us all to look away. It’s all we’ve been able to talk about since.


Alessia Cara to Receive 'Rule Breaker' Award at Billboard Women in Music 2016

Posted by: Billboard
Photography by: Austin Hargrave


Billboard is excited to announce today that singer-songwriter Alessia Cara will be honored at this year`s Women in Music event with the "Rule Breaker" award. Cara will receive the designation, which celebrates a boundary-pushing female music star whose approach defies the conventional, at the New York City gala on December 9, before the event airs December 12 on Lifetime.

Cara first broke into the Top 40 world in late 2015 with her anxious, spellbinding crossover hit "Here," which eventually peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February of 2016, and also topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Pop Songs charts. The artist has scored three further top 40 hits on Pop Songs in 2016: "Wild Things" (No. 14, June), the Troye Sivan duet "Wild" (No. 30, Aug), and "Scars to Your Beautiful" (No. 7, Dec), the last of which just hit a new peak of No. 15 on the Hot 100.

In addition to her many chart achievements, Cara also graced the cover of Billboard Magazine`s Grammy Preview issue in October. The singer-songwriter appeared besides fellow breakout artists Maren Morris and Chance the Rapper, as representatives of the "Class of 2017."

With the "Rule Breaker" award, Cara joins a star-studded list of 2016 Women in Music honorees, headlined by "Woman of the Year" recipient Madonna and "Icon" Shania Twain. Also to be awarded at the event are Halsey ("Rising Star"), Andra Day ("Powerhouse"), Meghan Trainor ("Chart Topper"), Maren Morris ("Breakthrough Artist") and Kesha ("Trailblazer"). Day, Halsey, Morris and Trainor will also perform at the event.

Billboard Women in Music 2016 will air on Lifetime on Dec. 12.


SixInThe6ix Full Recap and Interview with USS

Posted by: Tom Schenck
Photography by: Tom Schenck

NOVEMBER 21, 2016

Toronto, ON, Canada / 102.1 the Edge
Tom Schenck

November 21, 2016 05:09 pm

USS wrapped up their #SixInThe6ix-mini tour on Saturday, in front of a sold-out crowd at The Danforth Music Hall. Over six crazy nights, USS played to over 3,500 adoring fans, across six venues, in the city that this band calls home. It was truly a special experience to be a part of, and may live in the Toronto music scene’s folklore as a “you-had-to-be-there” moments, but here are a few thoughts from USS’ #SixInThe6ix Tour…

– Tom Schenck

The Band

Playing six shows, in six consecutive days, may sound like another week for most bands, but when you play them all in the same city, the expectations to deliver are much higher. If you have an off-night, in a town halfway across the world, you might be able to brush it off, but on home turf? People are going to talk about it.

For USS’ #SixInThe6ix, the hard work and months of preparation paid off, as the only thing anyone could say is how the band continued to outdo themselves each performance, more inspiring than the last. From venue to venue, small venue to massive concert hall, Ash and Human Kebab made the experience of each show as original as possible. Each night brought it’s own setlist, and the venue helped to transfigure the personality of each performance.
There are many that might have struggled with the countless stage dives, crowd surfs, headstands,late nights, and sprints across the stage, but, like a runaway train rolling down the tracks, USS seemed to only gain momentum the further along they went.

I had a chance to talk with Ash and Human Kebab, at the Danforth Music Hall, hours before they hit the stage. We discussed #SixInThe6ix, the new album, New World Alphabet, and which of Human Kebab’s outfits from the week he thought smelled the most funky. Have a listen here…

The Fans

When tickets went on sale for the #SixInThe6ix tour, I don’t think anyone was expecting the tickets to sell-out so fast. Whether it was for the 66 at Cameron House, or the 1,500 at Danforth Music Hall, fans were clamouring over each other for tickets to any show that they could get. The smaller venues sold-out in minutes, but it only took two days for USS fans to claim every available ticket for the six night escapade through Toronto.

For someone who was lucky enough to be able to attend all of the #SixInThe6ix shows, I was in a unique position to be able to compare each of the shows against each other, with first-hand experience. As the week progressed, I slowly began to realize that I was not the only fortunate soul in this predicament. After each of the nights, our posse of “USS #SixInThe6ix Soldiers” (As I like to call them) would gather to reminisce about the previous shows, and weigh them against each other.

Almost unanimously, we would declare that that night’s show had been the best so-far, and wondered how they would be able to top themselves (again!). At the beginning of the week, we were mere strangers, but by the end of the last show, there were hugs and high-fives in celebration of a great week together.

I was able to snap the picture below, just outside of the Danforth Music Hall, just as I was leaving the venue. (There were more than the people in this photo!) Many of the fans had gone, but our group of Soldiers had remained, looking unsure of what to do next. After a week of waking up, knowing that they were going to see their favourite band, it was definitely going to be a shock, come Monday. Is it possible to do #FourHundredSixteenInThe416?

The Impact/Moving Forward

Now that #SixInThe6ix has come to its close, it is hard not to feel inspired by the efforts and successes of USS.

For a band that does not sell it short when it comes to the love for their adapted hometown, the city emphatically reciprocated that love to them over the past week. From honouring the throwback tracks to playing the new favourites, to the surprises smoothies and “Wall(s) of Death”, to the friendships enhanced and friendships made, the real story of #SixInThe6ix is that music is still a catalyst for uniting people from all different facets of society. Music is still the universal language. For USS, that language is spoken through thought-provoking lyrics, dance-ready beats, and the occasional “1, 2, 3…JUMP!”.

Now, as we settle back into normalcy, in the ‘post-#SixInThe6ix’-world, the music and memories will live on. Thank you Ash, Human Kebab, Matt Murphy, and the rest of the USS family, for providing your fans with one of the best weeks of 2016!



Posted by: DREW YORKE
Photography by: DREW YORKE

DECEMBER 3, 2016

Last night, the Phoenix was packed full of fans and flower children alike for the concluding and homecoming show of Coleman Hell’s “Summerland Tour.”

Opening support was provided by Toronto electro-indie pop duo Featurette and Nova Scotia-based singer songwriter Ria Mae. Both openers played a wide range of material, keeping fans interested and attentive while they waited to meet the “flower daddy.”

After a long animated sequence featuring cryptic messages from an unknown narrator, Coleman Hell made his way to the stage. Adorning a long white coat, white boots and a key-tar, the singer ran through an energetic set of his hits including “2 Heads,” “Fireproof” and “Flowerchild.”

Source :

Don’t Do What #DonnieDont Does - TFA Tips for Upping Your Social Media Game

Posted by: Heather Murphy

DECEMBER 9, 2015

Social media is the most valuable marketing tool out there. I mean, think about it… How much time do you spend online checking your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts? Word of mouth isn’t dead it’s just found a new voice on social media.

Through platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and, more recently, Periscope, it’s so much easier for bands to share experiences and to connect with fans. So how do you use social media to your advantage? There are tons of resources out there… countless top ten lists and common dos and don’ts. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with what you “should do”. So rather than give you yet another set of rules, I’ll give you one simple rule. This is the one thing we at TFA consider to be “the big one”. Millions are guilty of breaking it… hell… even we did until recently.




Why am I so insistent? It’s simple… no two social networks are built the same. Users consume the content on each platform differently. Period.

This pattern of posting the exact same content on all the social networks (read: using features that allow you to push Tweets to Facebook or posting all your Instagram photos on Twitter) is something I call “blanket posting”. Although easy, blanket posting smacks of laziness. You are basically communicating to your followers that you can’t be bothered to come up with new, compelling content that is specially designed for the specific social media channel. You and I both know that isn’t the case, so why portray it online?

Plus, chances are your followers are following you on more than one social media account, hoping to see new and unique posts. They don’t want to see the same, regurgitated material all over the place. They deserve more than that. And yes, I know staying true to your brand is important. Just don’t be afraid to mix it up so that your message fits the medium, know what I’m saying?

So you’re guilty of “blanket posting”. So what? Well, we here at TFA realized the error of our “blanket posting” ways, and you can too. Why not use this as opportunity to create more effective social media content and share more information with our followers? That’s what we did.

Here’s how we got there:

1) Know your channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat and Periscope all reach different audiences in different ways. Each has different features. While there are times where there will be obvious crossover, that doesn’t give you license to share your tweets to your timeline and call it a day. Each platform is special and needs to be treated that way. Explore the features and figure out how they’re going to benefit you — create Facebook events, share random creative thoughts on Twitter, post short videos from shows or the studio to your Instagram. Whatever’s a clever way to represent yourself.

2) Tailor each of your posts to the right channel. And audience. It’s important to choose the right outlet for the right content. For example:

a. Twitter is all about the character limit. Save your tweets for show announcements, album news or other promos or share quick links or photos. And for the love of god, take it easy on the hashtags. Twitter is more popular with those aged 18-29 making up the highest percentage of users. Who has the most followed accounts? Seven out of the top ten belong to musicians (Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake to name a few), making Twitter a great way to reach music fans (sources: The Demographics of Social Media Users and Twitter top 20: most followers).

b. Facebook doesn’t have those pesky character limits. It lets you go into more detail than any of the other social media channels out there, so if you have something important to say, say it here. Don’t forget to include photos or video with your posts to make them more appealing. 62% of the entire adult population (over the age of 18) is on Facebook, so this is where you’re going to reach the bulk of your adult audience (source: The Demographics of Social Media Users).

c. Instagram is definitely photo-heavy, but also gives the option to share video content (think more Vine than YouTube) so take advantage! Keep in mind, you’re working with very limited space (I’m talking a 2.5” x 2.5” box that fits on a phone screen) in a very saturated market. You need to make your posts worth your follower’s while. Also, they can’t always be counted on to read the caption so your image has to tell most of the story. And, unlike Twitter, there’s less sensitivity to hashtags on Instagram, so feel free to tag your little heart out.

3) Pictures are your friends! Chances are there’s a camera on your phone. Why not snap a few behind-the-scenes pictures? Remember, photo sharing is a feature that can be taken advantage of across the board on social media. Take a few shots from different points of view, but don’t feel like you need to be featured in all your photos. Selfies are great, but not a requirement. And, while the things you see on the regular may seem routine to you, most people would give anything to see what you see. Give them a peek!

4) Plan and schedule your posts. There are lots of tools out there that are awesome for this kind of thing (think Hootsuite or Sprout Social). Some even allow you to update multiple pages at once. Just be careful not to fall into the “blanket post” trap here. Plan out your posts for each of your accounts, keep the content unique, and coordinate your posting schedules so as to not overwhelm your audience.

5) Consistency is important! Keep your posts coming, and keep them as regularly scheduled as possible same bat-time, same bat-channel. It will give your audience something to look forward to, as well as keep them in the know. Are you more comfortable on Twitter? Tweet on! Just don’t forget to update your Facebook every now and again. Remember, it’s ok to play favourites with one account, so long as you don’t neglect the other ones.

See? It’s totally fixable. You just need to know where to start. And, if you’re looking for some more advice on how to up your social media game, check out THIS WHITE PAPER.

TFA's Dearbhla Trainor Launches The One Sheet

Posted by: Amber Authier

NOVEMBER 9, 2015

There are so many traits that make the staff here at TFA some of the best in the business, but unquenchable curiosity has to be close to the top of that list. That`s why we`re so proud of our very own Dearbhla Trainor on the launch of her brand new podcast, The One Sheet.

The One Sheet is a one-on-one conversation between Dearbhla and music industry leaders who have been a part of the success of some of the biggest names in the industry. In each episode, guests will share insights, advice and a few memorable rock `n` roll stories along the way. Born of Dearbhla`s deep curiosity about the industry she works in, and the characters that work in it, The One Sheet is sure to shine a spotlight on

In the first episode, Dearbhla sits down with DMD Entertainment/Strong Songs/Ultra Music`s Adrian Strong to talk about his many job titles, how he decides to commit to working with an artist, and that one time he got smacked in the rear by Britney Spears. Take a listen and follow The One Sheet on Soundcloud.

Welcome to the new

Posted by: Amber Authier

NOVEMBER 9, 2015

Recently, TFA has been quietly working on a little construction project. We poured the foundation, assembled the scaffolding and built the walls. We picked paint colours and finished the rooms in a way that reflects who we are. That`s why we`re so excited to throw open the doors and invite you into our brand new online home —

Although there are many changes on the site, the most significant can been seen on our artist profile pages. As well as being updated with our latest signings, each artist profile now includes their latest videos, promotional photos, career highlights and links, giving buyers easy access to the information that counts.

For those curious about what TFA does, and how we do it, our new blog will give you an inside look at life here. Full of informative interviews, exclusive artist content and helpful tips written by industry pros from our inner circle, the blog is your source for everything TFA.

Our brand new mailing list will allow fans, promoters, buyers and bands access to valuable content. Fans will be updated with tour dates, contest news and videos while promoters and buyers will have access to information on new agency signings, routing for the latest tours and the hottest acts. Bands will be kept up-to-date with industry news and touring trends.

The re-launch of our website is just the beginning. We`ve got big things in the works for the new year. Pop in for a visit to see what we`ve got cooking.