STRAIT AREA: The nominees for this year’s Nova Scotia Music Awards include several performers from the Strait area, including some up and coming artists who have achieved exciting milestones.
Whycocomagh rapper Todd Googoo, who performs under the name SHiFT FROM THA 902, has just received his second Music Nova Scotia nomination for Indigenous Artist of the Year. However, this year marks his first nomination for Hip Hop Recording of the Year for his self-titled debut album.
“It feels pretty good,” Googoo said. “Especially being native and being recognized for having one of the best hip hop albums to come out in Nova Scotia this year. That means a lot.”
Googoo said the album reflects his journey as a young indigenous person.
“It was about getting my story out there, and not just my story, but my friends’ stories and my family’s,” he said. “It took me about a year-and-a-half to make, so I kind of grew up while I was making that album.”
Googoo now has an eight month old son and has just wrapped up two tours of Atlantic Canada, but he doesn’t plan on slowing down. He wants to continue recording and performing. Following a performance at the Atlantic Coast Wrestling event in Port Hawkesbury this Saturday, Googoo will head to Halifax for the Hopscotch Arts Festival, a major hip hop festival in the region.
“They always do the festival the day before Treaty Day,” Googoo said. “So this year they’re actually honouring the Mi’kmaq Nation and doing something for Treaty Day. It’s going to make history for native hip hop.”
Googoo will be a showcased artist at this year’s Nova Scotia Music week in Truro. He will perform alongside friend and fellow Whycocomagh artist Kloud N9. The two friends often perform together and Kloud N9 was featured on Googoo’s album.
This year also marks a milestone for first-time nominee Dara Smith-MacDonald. The Port Hawkesbury based fiddler is up for Traditional/Roots Recording of the Year, along with pianist Adam Young, for their joint album The Lake Sessions.
“It was a surprise,” she said. “We actually found out because someone posted on Facebook to congratulate us.”
The album was recorded at Young’s home on MacCormicks Lake in Cape Breton County by Brent Chaisson, who also played guitar on the album. It features both traditional and contemporary tunes written by Irish, Scottish, and Cape Breton composers.
“It’s a very traditional album, just piano, fiddle and guitar,” said Smith-MacDonald. “It’s live off the floor, just playing the tunes we love to play, the way we love to play them.”
Smith-MacDonald and Young have performed together for many years and are planning to record another album in the near future. Smith-MacDonald said she is looking forward to joining the other nominees at Nova Scotia Music Week this year.
“We’re really looking forward to hearing some great music and to catching up with the other people that are nominated in our category. There’s a lot of great talent,” she said.
Other 2018 nominees include Port Cities, a Halifax-based folk/pop trio with ties to Richmond County. The group took home five Music Nova Scotia Awards in 2017, and they are nominated for 2018 Digital Artist of the Year. The Town Heroes, an alternative rock group with Inverness County roots is also nominated for the award.
A nomination for Music Video of The Year went to Mabou singer Heather Rankin for “Titanically.” The video was nominated for an East Coast Music Award (ECMA) in May.
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Mary Beth Carty of Lanark, Antigonish County and Cheticamp musician and composer Maxim Cormier are both nominated for Acadian/Francophone Artist of the Year. In addition, Cormier is nominated for Traditional/Roots Recording of the Year and Educator of the Year. Tracey MacNeil also received an industry nomination for Educator of the Year.
StFX Jazz Professor Paul Tynan and Aaron Lington are nominated for Jazz Recording of the Year for their ECMA award-winning album Bicoastal Collective: Chapter 5. Makayla Lynn, an ECMA and Music Nova Scotia Award-winning singer with roots in L’Ardoise is nominated for Entertainer of the Year.
Award winners will be announced at Nova Scotia Music Week which will be held in Truro from November 1-4.