Strong showing for South Shore companies at this year’s ECMAs

by Mike Girard

Bridgewater based SpinCount has won it's third straight East Coast Music Award for Best Company of the Year.

The boutique media company specializing in promoting Canadian musical talent took the honour earlier this month at the awards ceremony hosted in Halifax.

SpinCount, founded by two former New Yorkers turned Bluenosers, has been a labour of love for Kimberly and Kevin Sinclair.

"The creation of SpinCount was driven by passion for the arts and the musical landscape that is unique to Nova Scotia - success was never part of our motivation, which in hindsight might not be the best way to start a business, but it worked out," wrote Kimberly Sinclair in an e-mail to the LighthouseNow.

The company was founded 10 years ago after the couple transplanted themselves to the South Shore from New York City. In that decade the local company has racked up an impressive list of industry honours.

In addition to the ECMA hat-trick, the company has also been recognized with multiple honours from Music Nova Scotia and received ECMA nods for music merchant of the year in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

The Sinclairs have been able to stay on the leading edge of rapid changes brought about by technology and the rise of social media in the music industry.

"The music industry is a very dynamic world, based on novelty and innovation while respecting its cultural roots," wrote Sinclair.

"These changes in technology have democratized the industry in many ways, allowing the individual artists to perform for themselves many of the tasks and functions that formerly needed outside professionals, including using platforms like YouTube and Spotify to get their music out, and keeping in touch with their fanbase through social media.

"Our task is to maximize these new technologies while assisting the artist to craft a strategy that will help them attain their creative and professional goal," she added.

SpinCount represents Nova Scotian and Canadian artists and is beginning to connect those musicians in markets throughout the United States.

The company recently secured a record deal in Nashville, Tennessee with Compass Records for Halifax-based Erin Costelo. They have also coordinated a tour of the U.S. from Washington D.C. to Nashville for Costelo.

"There is a real synergy here [on the South Shore] and we really enjoy sharing the music with the rest of Canada."

SpinCount wasn't the only South Shore winner at the ECMA this year; the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival also won the Festival of the Year award.

The Folk Harbour Festival has been a fixture in the town for 35 years, making it Nova Scotia's longest-running music festival and one of the longest-running music festivals in Canada.

This is the first year the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival has received the prestigious industry award.

In recent years, the Folk Harbour Festival has expanded its offerings to include a year long concert series at small, intimate venues throughout Lunenburg. The concert series is billed as a show-case for established and up-and-coming artists.

Many performers with East Coast Music Awards play the Folk Harbour Concert Series.

Rose Cousins, who won numerous awards at this year's ECMA's, including Song of the Year for her track Grace and Album of the Year for Natural Conclusion, will play the stage at St. John's Anglican Church in Lunenburg on May 26.

Cousins first played the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival in 2005 as a largely unknown artist and has continued to play the festival and the concert series regularly as her career has taken off.

Chester-based Old Man Leudecke, a two-time Juno Award winner and 2017 ECMA Album of the Year award played the Concert Series May 12.

Coming up on June 6, the Cape Breton-based Carmel Mikol Trio, winner of the Grand Prize in the Folk category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest will also be playing the St. John Anglican Church venue.

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