Music and memories as East Coast Music Awards make roaring return in Fredericton

·3 min read
Morgan Toney won Indigenous artist of the year at the East Coast Music Awards held in Fredericton. (Ed Hunter/CBC - image credit)
Morgan Toney won Indigenous artist of the year at the East Coast Music Awards held in Fredericton. (Ed Hunter/CBC - image credit)

More than 2,000 musicians and music lovers gathered Thursday night at the Aitken University Centre in Fredericton to celebrate the finest musical talent in the Maritimes.

The celebration was long-awaited as Thursday/'s award show marked the first time in three years the event was held in-person since the pandemic was declared in 2020.

Chloé Breault did the village of Bertrand proud by bringing home an award for francophone recording of the year for her album, Plage des morons.

She was last nominated for the same category in 2019.

"We worked hard for this album, and with the pandemic, just not being able to bring musicians in studio and having a small team to make this album ... to win it tonight is really, really cool." said the artist from the Acadian Peninsula.

Breault attributed part of the album's success to her producer Benoit Morier and said it was unique process working on the album because of where she was in life.

"[The album] is about my whole life ... It's a funny thing with this album because I wrote it in two weeks, so I had a deadline and I was just arriving from a big tour and everything."

Autre Banques D'Images/Le Grenier Musique
Autre Banques D'Images/Le Grenier Musique

Teah Bailey, known as One8tea, won rap/hip-hop recording of the year for his album Ventilation 2.

The artist was born in Halifax but lives in Moncton with his family, who he said were cheering him on.

"I will single out my grandmother just because she's the boss of all," Bailey said with a laugh as he spoke about his win.

Bailey was thankful the show made its in-person return.

"Music. It's a thing that creates feeling and it's really nice to be in environments where you can actually enjoy it together, and it's just a joyful time and everybody's excited to be together again."

This win has Bailey optimistic for the future and the upcoming release of his next album Under the Hood on Aug 26.

"If you lift up the hood of a car, you can see the nuts and bolts and how it works, what makes it go underneath the shell. So for me, I just wanted to take an opportunity to peel the shell back, and talk to people. Just be real," Bailey said on what inspired him to create the album.

Cape Breton also made a strong showing at the awards.

Morgan Toney won Indigenous artist of the year and was up for three nominations.

The Mi'kmaw fiddler recently re-released his debut album, First Flight, on Ishkōdé Records and said, "I started playing the fiddle maybe three years ago and to see myself here three years later, up for three awards is insane."

Not everyone ended the night with an award.

The Town Heroes, with duo Mike Ryan and Bruce Gillis, were nominated for five awards, but they spoke about how winning wasn't the point.

"The support people give us, win or lose awards, just being nominated and being part of the celebration of East Coast Music Awards ... It's not a competition. It's a celebration," Gillis said.

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