Rose Cousins earned the honours for both Album and Folk Recording of the Year, for her critically acclaimed Natural Conclusion, as well as Song of the Year for “Grace,” at the 2018 edition of the East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs), the gala ceremonies of which were held on Thursday, May 3, at the Scotiabank centre in Halifax.

ECMA SOCAN Song House 2018

Participants at the SOCAN Song House at East Coast Music Week 2018. Left to right. Charlie A’Court, Kayo, SOCAN’s Aidan D’Aoust and Melissa Cameron-Passley, Gee Clarke, Andrew Rodgers, Group Leader Ralph Murphy, Emile Landry, Matt Steele, Stephen Green, Hilary Ladd, Daniel Walker, Rachel Beck, and Jordan Musycyn.

SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste presented Joel Plaskett with the award for Songwriter of the Year (Plaskett also won Studio of the Year for his New Scotland Yard), Andrew Staniland won Classical Composition of the Year for The River Within Us, and the Francophone Recording of the Year was Jacques Jacobus’ Le retour de Jacobus. Venue of the Year was The Carleton Music Bar & Grill in Halifax – proudly Licensed To Play by SOCAN – which has persisted against all odds, under the guidance of Mike Campbell.

Besides Plaskett, other double-winners were Atlantic Canadian veteran blues-rocker Matt Minglewood, who won the Fans’ Choice Entertainer of the Year, and whose Fly Like Desperados – his first studio album in more than 10 years – tied with Mike Biggar for Blues Recording of the Year. Opera singer Measha Brueggergosman, originally from Fredericton, earned both the Bucky Adams Memorial Award and Gospel Recording of the Year, for Songs of Freedom.

As part of the week leading up to the awards ceremony, renowned, veteran songwriter Ralph Murphy led the SOCAN Song House at East Coast Music Week 2018, May 2-3. Twelve songwriter participants from Atlantic Canada were selected to participate, gaining valuable insight into the craft of writing a hit song. Daniel Walker, Rachel Beck, Emilie Landry, Kayo, Gee Clark, Matt Steele, Jordyn Musycyn, Andrew Rodgers, Stephen Green, Hillary Ladd, Charlie A’Court, Andrew Waite.

Rachel Beck SOCAN No. 1 Song Award 2018

Rachel Beck enjoys receiving her SOCAN No. 1 Song Award for “Reckless Heart,” presented during the SOCAN “Friends & Family Bash” at the 2018 ECMAs. Left to right: Stan Meissner, President and Chair of the SOCAN Board of Directors; SOCAN’s Melissa Cameron-Passley and Michael McCarty; Rachel Beck; SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste; and SOCAN’s Rodney Murphy.

In addition to the workshop, the East Coast Music Awards, in partnership with the Atlantic Presenters Association, will present the second annual SOCAN Song House Tour –a “block booked” tour that features five of the SOCAN Song House workshop’s participants (one from each Atlantic region), and also features the new work developed during the Song House.

SOCAN presented a Songwriters’ Circle from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, in The Schooner Room at Casino Nova Scotia. Hosted by Alan Doyle, the session featured engaging songs and captivating stories from Doyle, Rose Cousins, Reeny Smith, Jenn Grant, Carleton Stone (of Port Cities), and Lennie Gallant.

SOCAN also hosted a “Friends & Family Bash” on Friday, May 4, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Murphy’s Restaurant, gathering together our East Coast members and local industry friends. The event included a SOCAN No. 1 Song Award presentation for Song House participant Rachel Beck, whose “Reckless Heart” reaching the top of the CBC Radio 2 Top 20 Chart, on March 8, 2018.