ROSE COUSINS IS A FRONT-RUN­NER IN ECMA NOM­I­NA­TIONS.

Women singer-song­writ­ers lead nom­i­na­tions for East Coast Mu­sic Awards

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALY THOM­SON

Women dom­i­nated the East Coast Mu­sic Awards nom­i­na­tions an­nounced Mon­day, in­clud­ing a song-of-the-year nod for a P.E.I. singer-song­writer’s heart­break­ing story of an ado­les­cent sex­ual as­sault.

The front-run­ning women in­clude solo singer-song­writ­ers Rose Cousins, Jenn Grant and KIN­LEY, whose lyrics de­scribe her ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing raped af­ter her high-school prom. KIN­LEY, who has said writ­ing about the as­sault on her de­but solo al­bum “Let­ters Never Sent” helped her work through dif­fi­cult emo­tions, picked up four nods, in­clud­ing ris­ing star record­ing of the year.

Her song “Mi­cro­phone” paints a pic­ture of a boy tak­ing the hand of a girl and lead­ing her to a field, where she was sex­u­ally as­saulted de­spite re­peat­edly say­ing no.

“He was a year older than me and I barely knew him at all and it re­ally, re­ally kind of ru­ined me for years. I’ve been try­ing to fig­ure out how to deal with my emo­tions,” KIN­LEY, whose full name is Kin­ley Dowl­ing, told The Cana­dian Press in 2016. “Peo­ple don’t want to bring it up ... be­cause it’s a re­ally hard thing to talk about and you don’t ever want to feel those feel­ings ever again. But you have to let them out to al­low your­self to be able to get over it and move on with your life.”

KIN­LEY re­leased “Let­ters Never Sent” af­ter spend­ing nine years play­ing vi­o­lin for New­found­land in­die en­sem­ble Hey Rosetta!. Is­land-born, Hal­i­fax-based artist Cousins’s eight nom­i­na­tions lead the pack, in­clud­ing al­bum of the year and solo record­ing of the year for her melan­cholic heart­break record “Nat­u­ral Con­clu­sion.”

In a blog post on her website, Cousins writes that the al­bum came from a place of vul­ner­a­bil­ity, and is the “best thing I’ve made.”

“It came from the depths and I made it with peo­ple I deeply re­spect,” said Cousins, set to em­bark upon a tour with dates in Nova Sco­tia, On­tario and P.E.I. Ryan Free­land and Joao Car­valho’s en­gi­neer­ing work on Cousins’ record was also nom­i­nated for a Grammy along­side al­bums by Bruno Mars and Roger Wa­ters in the cat­e­gory of best en­gi­neered al­bum (non­clas­si­cal), although the award ul­ti­mately went on the week­end to the en­gi­neers of Mars’ “24K Magic.”

Hal­i­fax’s Grant, who weaves folk with am­bi­ent pop on her al­bum “Par­adise,” re­ceived six nods - in­clud­ing song­writer of the year and pop record­ing of the year. Mean­while, fel­low Haligo­nian and chart-top­ping pop artist Ria Mae, whose self-ti­tled al­bum was pro­duced by En­field, N.S., rap­per Clas­si­fied, re­ceived four nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing fans’ choice video of the year for her hit sin­gle “Bend.”

East Coast Mu­sic Awards vet­eran Joel Plas­kett and his fa­ther Bill were nom­i­nated for their col­lab­o­ra­tion al­bum “Sol­i­dar­ity,” a record firmly rooted in Bill’s English folk in­flu­ences, but still up­holds Joel’s sig­na­ture rock swag­ger.

“It was fun to try and make the al­bum work where it sort of told our in­di­vid­ual sto­ries in small frag­ments, and our col­lec­tive sto­ries to­gether,” Joel said dur­ing an in­ter­view with The Cana­dian Press in his Hal­i­fax-area record­ing stu­dio New Scot­land Yard last Fe­bru­ary. “That to me was the fun of it and also the chal­lenge. It was not as easy as I an­tic­i­pated it to be.”

Cape Bre­ton’s Port Cities also scooped up sev­eral nom­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing song of the year for the Gordie Samp­son­pro­duced “Back to the Bot­tom,” from their de­but self-ti­tled al­bum.

The ECMAs are a five-day cel­e­bra­tion of mu­sic show­cas­ing hun­dreds of East Coast artists.

The awards cer­e­mony hosted by co­me­dian Jonathan Tor­rens - is set to take place in Hal­i­fax in May, mark­ing 30 years since the event’s in­cep­tion.

Per­form­ers in­clude Hal­i­fax rock roy­alty Sloan, New­found­land in­die-folk group The Once, and award nom­i­nees Port Cities, Joel Plas­kett, Rose Cousins, and P.E.I. trio The East Point­ers - nom­i­nated for group and folk record­ing of the year for “What We Leave Be­hind.”

CP PHOTO

Prince Ed­ward Is­land singer-song­writer KIN­LEY is shown in a hand­out photo.

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