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ECMA: Big night for P.E.I.

Kinley Dowling of Charlottetown accepts the Rising Star Recording of the Year Award during the 2018 ECMAs in Halifax Thursday night. She also picked up an ECMA for fans choice video of the year for “Microphone”.
Kinley Dowling of Charlottetown accepts the Rising Star Recording of the Year Award during the 2018 ECMAs in Halifax Thursday night. She also picked up an ECMA for fans choice video of the year for “Microphone”. - Submitted

From performances by Rose Cousins, KINLEY and the East Pointers to three P.E.I. winners, Canada’s smallest province shines during 30th anniversary show in Halifax

The spotlight shone brightly on P.E.I. performing artists at the 2018 East Coast Music Awards Gala in Halifax last night.

There were solo performances by KINLEY and Rose Cousins.

There was a rollicking, toe-tapping performance of “John Wallace” by the East Pointers, with KINLEY and Cousins on harmonies.

And, by the end of the show, three Island women walked off the stage of the Scotiabank Centre with major hardware.

Cousins, who had eight nominations, won album of the year for “Natural Conclusion” (producer: Joe Henry) and song of the year for “Grace” (producer: Joe Henry).

“I’m here to have fun tonight … This is my favourite night of the year,” said Cousins, during an interview on the red carpet prior to the show.

A few hours and two award wins later, she was overwhelmed.

“I feel so honoured to be part of this amazing community wherever I go,” said Cousins onstage. “My stuff is dark, but we all need a soundtrack to go through the hard times.”

Rose Cousins accepts the ECMA for song of the year during the 2018 ECMAs in Halifax.
Rose Cousins accepts the ECMA for song of the year during the 2018 ECMAs in Halifax.

KINLEY, who won two ECMAs, including Rising Star Recording of the Year Award for her album, “Letters Never Sent”, was quick to show her appreciation.

“I’ve learned something from everyone. I’m just finding my voice now,” said KINLEY, in her acceptance speech.

when it was announced that she had won fans choice video of the year for “Microphone”, which depicts the true story about being raped after her high school prom, KINLEY asked director Jenna MacMillan to join her on stage.

“(Jenna) is the perfect person to open up and collaborate with. I’m so happy to be part of this shift in our culture,” said KINLEY, as the two of them stepped forward to receive the award.

P.E.I. native Jenn Grant was not to be forgotten.

Seated in the audience, she ran up to the stage in a white flowing gown to pick up pop recording of the year for “Paradise”, her album produced by Dan Ledwell.

“I love this record,” she told the audience. “It’s also the sixth anniversary of my (mother’s death). I had a dream last night that we were looking for parking. So, I think she’s here.”

The 30th edition of the ECMAs was hosted by comedian Jonathan Torrens, who took a bit of time during the two-and-a-half-hour show to pay homage to his Island roots.

“I tried to get Rose Cousins to do a duet with me, ‘Every Rose has its Torrens’,” quips the host, as the audience broke out in laughter.

The program also included performances by Sloan, Measha Brueggergosman, The Joel Plaskett Emergency, Port Cities, The Once, The Barra MacNeils, Universal Soul, Les Hay Babies, City Natives, Quake Matthews, Makayla Lynn and Neon Dreams.

At times, the show became political, with the themes of the #MeToo movement finding its way into the weave of the music.

Besides KINLEY’s performance of “Microphone”, with a full band, Classified performed his single, “Powerless,” which brings to light issues of abuse, sexual assault and missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

The remaining awards will be handed out on May 6 as part of the East Coast Music and Industry Awards celebration taking place at the Nova Scotia Ballroom in the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel at 7 p.m.

The show will feature performances by Lennie Gallant, Ouroboros, Heather Rankin and Jenn Grant.

The winners are:

Album of the year: Rose Cousins – “Natural Conclusion” (producer: Joe Henry)
Bucky Adams Memorial Award: Measha Brueggergosman
Directors’ Special Achievement Award: Sloan
Fans’ Choice Entertainer of the Year: Matt Minglewood
Fans’ Choice Video of the Year: KINLEY - “Microphone” (director: Jenna MacMillan)
Francophone recording of the year: Jacques Jacobus – “Le retour de Jacobus”
Group recording of the year: Les Païens – “Carte noire”
Indigenous artist of the year: City Natives
Pop recording of the year: Jenn Grant – “Paradise”
Rap/hip hop recording of the year: Quake Matthews – “Celebrate the Struggle”
Rising star recording of the year: KINLEY – “Letters Never Sent”
Song of the year: Rose Cousins - "Grace" (producer: Joe Henry)
Songwriter of the year: Joel Plaskett


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