History of the East Coast Music Awards By: Gillian Staples
Where it Started….. • From a Halifax bar, to an east coast phenomenon, to a world renowned awards show, the East Coast Music Awards have given a boost to many Atlantic Canadian artists to get where they are today.
Events in History • In 1989 the very first East Coast Music Awards were held in the Flamingo Lounge, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. These awards were organized by the founder of the ECMA’s, Rob Cohn. During these awards there were six artists with national distribution. • In 1990, the second annual awards show was hosted in the Crazy Horse Cabaret organized by Rob Cohn as well.
Events in History • In 1992 the ECMA’s began to receive national recognition as some of the artists that had been nominated began to move on to receive Juno awards. A trade show was added to the awards and what used to be just a weekend event, evolved into a major social gathering. • In 1993 the number of nationally distributed artists increased to thirty, and for the first time all five artists that received “Album of the Year” were all Atlantic Canadians.
Events in History • During the year of 1994 in Halifax awards expanded, and started taking place all around the east coast, starting with St. Johns, Newfoundland. • In 1995 the awards show was hosted in Sydney, Cape Breton, and was held in an arena to seat four thousand people. • The awards were hosted in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island for the first time in 1996. During those award shows a new award was born. The Stompin’ Tom Connors award.
The Stompin’ Tom Connors Award • The Stompin’ Tom Connors award was created when Stompin’ Tom himself was presented with the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993. • He then requested that he return the award, and instead an award be created to honor those who have made a significant, or long term contribution to the East Coast Music Awards Industry. • The Stompin’ Tom Connors Awards is presented to an individual or group from the hosting region.
Events in History • In 2003 the awards returned to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they originated fifteen years before. • To honor and celebrate this anniversary, the city was transformed into a “City of Many Stages.” The Soundwaves Program brought over 30 000 people out to come listen to music of all different genres.
East Coast Music Awards Creator • Valerie J Stone, professional sculptor and artist, was born and raised in Springhill, Nova Scotia. • Valerie was hired by a design company at just age seventeen. • One of her major designs was the ECMA trophy.
The ECMA Trophy • Each part of the trophy has a specific meaning. • The center post of the treble clef has the look of forged metal which is meant to represent how the music of the artist is somewhat shaped by the artists life in the east coast. • The point of the exclamation mark has the Canadian maple leaf, with each of the four points representing a maritime province, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The ECMA Trophy • The representation of water surrounding the forged metal on the exclamation post is symbolizing the course that each artist takes that influences their music; it also shows the connection we have here with the sea. • Finally the base is meant to resemble a rock to symbolize the jagged shoreline of the east coast.
The Awards • The actual awards received at the ECMA’s grew from nine categories in 1989, to fifty in 2008. Twenty seven music awards, and twenty three industry awards. • These awards are awarded only to an individual or group that was born in Atlantic Canada, or have lived in that region for fifteen months.
The Awards • Over time the amount of categories have increased because of the public demand for different awards such as, francophone, aboriginal, children, and classical recording of the year. • Other special awards include the Stompin’ Tom Connors award, and the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award which is awarded to someone that has made a lasting impact on the Atlantic Canadian music industry.
The Awards • Some of the award categories include: DVD of the Year, Male and Female Solo Recording of the Year, Entertainer of the Year, Group Recording of the Year, and Single of the Year. • There are genre specific awards as well such as the Aboriginal Recording of the Year, the African- Canadian Recording of the Year, and Children’s Recording of the Year.
Artists • Some of the artists that the ECMA’s have provided a boost for include Lennie Gallant and Natalie MacMaster who both received fifteen ECMA awards, Great Big Sea with twenty awards, Gordie Sampson who received twelve awards and Joel Plaskett with eleven. Natalie MacMaster Lennie Gallant Great Big Sea Gordie Sampson Joel Plaskett
Bibliography History of events- http://ecma.com/association.asp?section=14 Stompin’ Tom Connors Award history- http://ecma.com/association.asp?section=17 Trophy History and picture- http://ecma.com/association.asp?section=15 List of Awards- http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/emc/east-coast-music-awards East Coast Music Awards Picture- http://exclaim.ca/News/jimmy_rankin_classified_trews_lead_east_coast_music_awards_2012_nominations Halifax Location Picture- http://halifax.foundlocally.com/Travel/Nearby.htm Stompin Tom Connors Picture-http://www.socan.ca/jsp/en/pub/about_socan/Tor20_PU_StompinTomConnors.htm
Bibliography • Natalie MacMaster Picture-http://www.nataliemacmaster.com/media/index.htm • Lennie Gallant Picture- http://folkawards.ca/2010/10/lennie-gallant/ • Great Big Sea Picture-http://quintelive.ca/2011/07/23/empire-square-rockfest-great-big-sea-with-the-trews/ • Gordie Sampson Picture- http://www.ctv.ca/mini/junos2009/Nominee9.html • Joel Plaskett Picture- http://exclaim.ca/News/joel_plaskett_wins_billboard_world_songwriting