Blog Posts by Grace Stanisci

  • Abdominal and The Obliques rap with awesome seniors

    These aren't your average grannies!

    Last month, Toronto rapper Abdominal (also known as Andy Bernstein) and his band The Obliques performed with a seniors’ group from Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto for the first time and proved that you are never too old to be a hip-hop star.

    Bernstein tells Yahoo Canada Music that his mother works as a part-time librarian at Holy Blossom Temple and it was her idea to bring him and his band in to perform for the group, which features roughly 60 seniors.

    “They all know my mom so they were very happy to meet me,” the rapper said. “I guess that she had, obviously, talked about me [to them].” Adding with a laugh, “Being the proud mom that she is.”

    A week prior to the recital, Bernstein visited Holy Blossom Temple to conduct a workshop with the seniors featured in the video to compose lyrics for their own performance. What he found during the writing session was that the group was very enthusiastic about participating.

    “Bev [who performs last in the clip]

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  • 2014 Juno Awards: Snubs and surprises

    Serena Ryder and Classified perform during the Juno Awards in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 30, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
    We have to admit, this year’s Juno Awards were better than expected.

    The Canadian music awards show kicked off on a high note with a great performance by co-hosts Serena Ryder and Classified.

    However, as the night progressed there was plenty to talk about and many snubs and surprises along the way. Here are some of the most notable of the night:

    Snub: Drake loses Album of the Year

    It’s been a major year for Toronto rapper Drake with the release of his No.1 album “Nothing Was The Same.” At this year’s Juno Awards, Drizzy was nominated in four categories, including, Rap Recording of the Year, Artist of the Year, Juno Fan Choice Award and Album of the Year. However, he only walked away with one trophy (for Rap Recording of the Year), losing out to Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor” for Album of the Year.

    Surprise: Winnipeg is not a fan of Justin Bieber

    After it was announced that Justin Bieber had won the Juno Fan Choice Award (for the fourth time in a row), resounding boos made it clear that the

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  • Best and worst moments of the 2014 Juno Awards

    This year’s Juno Awards were full of great Canadian moments and performances. We got to see things like our Olympians return home, the honouring of Bachman–Turner Overdrive and lots and lots of Serena Ryder! Check out the evening’s best and worst moments below.

    Serena Ryder and Classified perform during the Juno Awards in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 30, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)
    Best: The opening performance
    Co-hosts Serena Ryder and Classified opened the 2014 Juno Awards with an awesome mash up of their respective songs “What I Wouldn’t Do” and “3 Foot Tall.” A children’s choir joined the two singers on stage for the performance and started off the night with a bang.

    Worst: Justin Bieber gets booed after winning Juno Fan Choice Award
    Justin Bieber has taken home the Juno Fan Choice Award in 2011, 2012 and 2013. It wasn’t a huge shock when he won it this year, but what did surprise us was the grumblings that could be heard from the audience during the broadcast after his name was announced. Bieber beat out fellow nominees Arcade Fire, Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion, Drake, Hedley, Michael Bublé, Robin

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  • Canada’s greatest contributions to music throughout history

    Carly Rae Jepsen performing at the 2013 Junos in Regina, Sask. (Photo by Jag Gundu/Getty Images)
    Canadian musicians have taken the music world by storm more than once -- and you can thank them for some of the greatest singer/songwriter tracks, pop tunes and rock anthems of all time.

    For instance, it wasn’t so long ago that Canadian Idol alum Carly Rae Jepsen went viral with her catchy song “Call Me Maybe” -- and it’s hard to make it through the day without hearing Justin Bieber's name uttered in one context or another.

    The Canadian music landscape is also filled with long-lasting artists who have contributed to the soundtrack of our lives. We are proud that we still care about bands like Rush, Great Big Sea, Barenaked Ladies and this year’s Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee, Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

    Fans of “The Big Bang Theory” can also thank BNL for writing the theme song to their favourite sitcom.

    Canada is also home to some of the most amazingly talented female artists like k.d. lang, Joni Mitchell, Celine Dion, Anne Murray, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Feist, Shania

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  • Five reasons why the Juno Awards matter

    OK, we'll admit it: the Juno Awards don’t have the greatest reputation for being the world’s most entertaining awards show.

    We can probably count on more than one cheesy joke, a performance by a band or two that your parents never heard of and someone screaming “Thank you, Canada!” at least once during the night -- but the Junos are actually so much more than that.

    You might not know it, but the Juno Awards go above and beyond that two-hour show that you watch on TV. Here are five reasons why

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  • Five reasons why you should care about Juno host Serena Ryder

    Serena Ryder receives the Juno for Adult Alternative Album of the year during the 2013 Juno Awards in Regina on Sunday, April 21, 2013. (The Canadian Press/Liam Richards)
    Singer/songwriter Serena Ryder will co-host this year’s Juno Awards with fellow Canadian artists Classified and Johnny Reid and we could not be more excited. A four-time Juno winner, Ryder is one of the coolest and most inspirational musicians around.

    Don't believe us? Here are five reasons why you should care about Serena Ryder:

    1) She dances to her own music.

    Seeing a musician stand still and sing can sometimes be excruciatingly boring to watch. Luckily, when Ryder hits the stage, she rocks out to her own tunes and usually has a pretty cool guitar. Need proof? Take a look at her performance of “Stompa” at the 2013 Juno Awards.

    2) She cares about others.

    In addition to being an incredible musician, Ryder also lends herself to philanthropic efforts --  like donating a painting she created called “Away From Home” to The Kidney Foundation of Canada. Last year, she was also present at Woodbine Jr. High School for a surprise performance and to help MusiCounts announce $1 million in music

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  • Past Juno stars: Where are they now?

    Getty Images

    Winning a Juno Award or landing a nomination doesn’t guarantee that you will have a long-lasting career in music. After being named alongside the Canadian music award, some musicians flourish while others fade away.

    Check out these artists who appear on both ends of the scale.

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  • Matt Webb
    Last year, Vancouver rockers Marianas Trench picked up their first Juno Award for Group of the Year. Looking back, guitarist Matt Webb tells Yahoo Canada Music that the experience was full of surprises.

    “When we won, I was sort of expecting Josh [Ramsay] (lead singer) to take the reins and everybody sort of froze [and] I was the only one who had actually prepared a speech,” Webb said. Adding with a laugh, “I got the microphone and the limelight, which I deserve.”

    Since winning one of the Canadian music industry’s highest honours, the musician has released his sophomore solo EP “Right Direction” and fulfilled his creative goal of making what he has dubbed “late night driving music.”

    “My favourite kind of music is the kind that you put on in your car when you’re having a sh---y night and you just go for a drive just to chill out and centre yourself,” he explains. “Lyrically [the album is] definitely a reflection on the last couple of years of my life.”

    Webb likes to call “Right

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  • Sam Roberts Band scores with Olympic track ‘Broken Teeth’ and new album ‘Lo-Fantasy’

    Getty ImagesJust like a great movie needs a great soundtrack, winter sports need some great Canadian tunes.

    Musicians from the Great White North like Fefe Dobson, Down With Webster and Montreal's Sam Roberts Band have joined forces with CBC to release new tracks, which will drop during the network’s coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

    Sam Roberts Band’s song “Broken Teeth” will make its debut on Feb. 15. This moment sounds like something frontman Sam Roberts has been looking forward to -- especially since the song’s future on group’s new album seemed uncertain.

    “’Broken Teeth’ found itself without a home and, luckily, it found a pretty amazing one that I could never have imagined,” Roberts told Yahoo Canada Music. “It’s a song about picking up the pieces at your lowest moments and finding that you’re still alive and breathing and have something to live for.”

    Like many of us, the lead singer has been paying close attention to this year’s Olympics.

    “I love the downhill skiing, hockey and I

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  • Canadian artists you might not have known were behind a few 2014 Grammy Award nominees

    Even though they both lost in their respective categories, we’d like to take a minute to shine a light on Canadian artists Henry ‘Cirkut’ Walter and WondaGurl, who were each recognized at this year’s Grammy Awards.

    In previous years, the award for Song of the Year has gone to tracks like Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep,” Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven” and Tina Turner’s "What's Love Got to Do with It."

    In 2014, tunes like Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason” featuring Nate Ruess, Bruno Mars’s “Locked Out of Heaven,” Lorde’s “Royals,” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” featuring Mary Lambert and Katy Perry’s “Roar” were up for the prestigious award -- with “Royals” coming out on top.

    Even though "Roar" didn’t win, Halifax-born songwriter/producer Henry ‘Cirkut’ Walter was still among those who contributed to Perry’s powerful Grammy-nominated anthem, and it sounds like the musician is already onto his next adventure.

    “It’s a great

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