Seamus O’Regan returns to East Coast roots

Newfoundland native as host of 2014 EastLink ECMA gala Sunday

Published on April 4, 2014

Host Seamus O’Regan, left, shares the stage with his good friend Alan Doyle, of Great Big Sea during Rootstock Live Auction 2011.

©Submitted photo

Seamus O’Regan will host the 2014 Eastlink East Coast Music Awards gala Sunday at the P.E.I. Convention Centre in Charlottetown at 8 p.m. The live show will be carried on Rogers TV and EastLink TV, beginning with EastLink on the Red Carpet at 7:30 p.m.

Seamus O’Regan has played many roles in his lifetime.

As the former co-host of CTV’s morning show, Canada AM, he covered breaking news and cultural affairs worldwide.

Then, as the correspondent for CTV National News he brought stories to Canadians every night.

Currently, he’s working as a media innovator-in-residence at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone and leading the 2014 Let’s Talk Campaign for mental illness. After dealing with depression in his own life, he is using his communication skills to help people.

But the role he’s most passionate about right now is the one he will be playing Sunday night.

“I’m really, really excited. Anybody who knows me knows that I am a huge music aficionado. And I’m very, very proud of the music that we produce on the East Coast,” says the host of the 2014 Eastlink East Coast Music Awards gala, which will get underway at the P.E.I. Convention Centre in Charlottetown at 8 p.m.

O’Regan comes by his love of music honestly.

“It’s in (my) blood. It courses through (my) veins. I’m a Newfoundlander and a Labradorian and music is so integral to our culture. Live music was something that I just grew up with. I am blessed.

“(Because of this) it becomes ... an actual priority in (my) life. To see new bands with so many different genres come out and succeed and some being able to make a living and gain notoriety and explode on the national and world stages is unbelievable.”

The popular Newfoundland-based band, Great Big Sea, is a good example.

“(Frontman) Alan Doyle has become a good friend. He’s somebody I really admire because he’s such a dog-at-heart worker and so talented. And he still enjoys it so much. Alan has created his own industry. And he’s proven that you can have national and international success doing what you love but staying in the place that you love. And that’s really amazing,” says O’Regan, during a telephone interview.

And because of this deep respect for the East Coast performers, don’t expect him to hog the limelight as the host on Sunday night.

“I’m a minimalist. I’m not someone who thinks award shows are about the host. I think they’re about the musicians and they’re about the fans. I might have a joke here and there, but they’ll be spontaneous. So, there will be some ring-leading. But this is something I’ve (done) for a long time and feel really comfortable doing,” says O’Regan who, throughout the evening, will be introducing the award presenters, as well as performances by Amelia Curran, Ashley Condon, Dave Gunning, David Myles, Jimmy Rankin, Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, Meaghan Blanchard, Mo Kenney, Old Man Luedecke, Paper Lions, Tonya Kennedy, The Motorleague and The Town Heroes.

ECMA co-chair Pat Deighan is thrilled to have O’Regan leading the show.

“With his East Coast roots and background as co-host for Canada AM, Seamus O’Regan is a natural for the job ... I’m looking forward to seeing what he will bring to the show,” he says.

O’Regan sees his role as a facilitator.

“My job is to keep it moving and give people a sense of momentum. Maybe it’s crazy for a Newfoundlander, but I don’t talk a lot when I’m in a position like that because I believe the sooner you get to the music the better.

“I also want to reflect that excitement that I know is going to be in the audience and for everybody who is watching that night,” says O’Regan who feels a great deal of responsibility in writing the script.

“The ECMAs have really gained a reputation now and I don’t want to screw it up.”

Fast facts on Seamus O’Regan

• Favourite band: Hey Rosetta!

• Current book he’s reading: An Alice Munroe anthology.

• Cats or dogs: Dogs.

• Five things to take on a camping trip: iPad, charger, merino wool long johns, good pair of hiking boots, hat.

• Favourite East Coast moment: Sharing the stage with Newfoundland band, Hey Rosetta! “That was a mind-blowing experience for me.”

• Musical instruments: Spoons.