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Kellie Loder, Jah’Mila, Lisa LeBlanc, more win at 2023 East Coast Music Awards

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the East Coast Music Awards, and the first of two award nights took place in Halifax on May 4.

Newfoundland songwriter Kellie Loder was the only musician to come away with more than one award so far, for fans’ choice of entertainer of the year and songwriter of the year, while Nova Scotia-based reggae artist Jah’Mila nabbed one for global recording of the year. New Brunswick’s Lisa LeBlanc came away with French recording of the year while PEI’s East Pointers, who tie Classified with the most nominations at six apiece, won songwriter of the year. The remaining awards will be given out on May 7.

The evening was hosted by This Hour Has 22 Minutes‘ Trent McClellan, and performance highlights including rap/hip-hop recording of the year winners City Natives’ powerful “The Honor Song Remix,” featuring Hubert Francis from Elsipogtog First Nation, followed by folk recording winners Fortunate Ones’ bittersweet “Heavy Heart,” and Aquakultre performing his hit “Africanvillean Funk” alongside Trobiz, who is featured on the song, and a stageful of supports including African Canadian artist category winner Zamani. April Wine’s Myles Goodwyn was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and featured a high-energy medley including Jimmy Rankin and Christine Campbell.

Earlier this year, Halifax promotions manager Jocelyn MacLean called the East Coast Music Association an “all-boys club” in an interview with CBC, pointing out “there are categories where there are no women represented.” Those 2023 categories include rap/hip-hop, blues, dance, roots and jazz recordings of the year, as well as producer of the year, among others.

But at the May 4 broadcast, the ECMA winners hit more than gender parity, with eight awards going to acts with women-identifying or non-binary members solely, and seven going to acts with men. We’ll find out how those numbers looked during the second half of the awards on May 7, when the remaining 23 musician-related categories will be handed out.

Below, the winners so far are bolded, and the list will be updated on the weekend.


African Canadian artist of the year

  • Aquaculture
  • Jah’Mila
  • Maggie Andrew
  • Owen O’Sound Lee
  • Zamani Folade


Album of the year

  • Andrew Waite, Andrew Waite (producer: Chris Kirby)
  • classified, Retrospected (producer: Classified)
  • David Myles, It’s Only a Little Loneliness (producers: David Myles, Joshua Van Tassel)
  • Lucky Ones, That Was You and Me (producer: Joshua Van Tassel)
  • Jason Benoit, Time Traveler: Side A (producers: Jason Benoit, Clint Curtis)
  • Kristen Martel, EverySeason (producers: Gabrielle Papillon, Dan Ledwell)


Fans’ choice entertainer of the year

  • classified
  • David Myles
  • Jason Benoit
  • Kellie Loder
  • Lisa LeBlanc
  • Madison Violet
  • Neon Dreams
  • Rich Aucoin
  • Robert Thomas and the Sessionmen
  • The East Pointers

Fans’ choice video of the year

  • Andrew Waite
  • Braden Lam
  • classified
  • Dave Sampson
  • Les Hotesses D’Hilaire
  • Moira & Claire
  • Neon Dreams
  • Nicole Ariana
  • Pineo & Loeb x Sparkee
  • The East Pointers

Directors’ Special Achievement Award

Blues recording of the year

  • Allen Snow, The Quorums
  • Charlie A’Court & Witchitaw, When Country Gets the Blues
  • Mark Riley, PM Blue
  • Mike Trask, TV Dinners
  • Rev. Dave and the Sin Eaters, Beams of Love

Children’s entertainer of the year

  • Bingly and the Rogues (with The Villains Theatre)
  • Heather Feather
  • Matt the Music Man
  • Pete

Choral recording of the year

  • Dr. Zoo Featuring South African Singers Choir, We May Win
  • Halifax Camerata Singers, The Last Evening
  • Luminous Ensemble, I Am an Island That Dreams
  • Men of the Deeps, Remember the Miners
  • sirens, In Her Image

Classical composer of the year

  • Andrew Staniland
  • Derek Charles
  • Edward Enman
  • Grej
  • Natalie Williams Calhoun

Classical recording of the year

  • Andrew Staniland, Reddened by Hammer: Earthquakes & Islands Remixed
  • atlantic String Machine, A Single Juniper Post
  • Duo Concertantes, Ecology of Being
  • Jennifer King, O Mistress Moon (Canadian Edition)
  • SHHH!! ensemble, Meanwhile

Contemporary roots recording of the year

  • Carleton Stone, Paper cut
  • David Myles, It’s Only a Little Loneliness
  • Madison Violet, eleven
  • Rawlins Cross, Sunrise
  • The East Pointers, House of Dreams

Country recording of the year

  • La Patente, L’Illusion d’la perfection
  • Mallory Johnson, Surprise Party
  • Pretty Archie, Pretty Archie
  • Rev. Dave and the Sin Eaters, Beams of Love
  • Willie Stratton, Drugstore Dreamin’

Dance recording of the year

  • Alex Byrne, “Nothing but a Liar”
  • Bishu, “WYGD”
  • Cloverdale & DJ Susan, “Talkin'”
  • Corey LeRue, “IDTYK”
  • Pineo & Loeb x Joel Freck, “Hope” feat. Karl Wolf

Electronic recording of the year

  • It Could Be Franky, “Eden”
  • Maura Whitman, Introspection
  • mear, Soft Chains
  • Rich Aucoin, Synthetic Season 1
  • sparkee, Snack Pack

Folk recording of the year

  • Dylan Menzie, Modern Classic
  • Lucky Ones, That Was You and Me
  • Julie Aubé, Contentement
  • Kristen Martel, EverySeason
  • Madison Violet, eleven


Enregistrement francophone de l’année

  • Caroline Savoie, Bruits blancs
  • Laurie LeBlanc, Long Weekends
  • Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, Pas l’temps d’niaiser
  • Lisa LeBlanc, Chiac Disco
  • Plywood Joe, Et les mangeux de baloni
  • P’tit Belliveau, Un homme et son piano

The Tens54:55Lisa LeBlanc – Chiac Disco

Host A Harmony is your guide to the Polaris Shortlisted album Chiac Disco by Lisa LeBlanc. This is The Ten

Global music recording of the year

  • Andru Branch & Halfway Tree, Weather the Storm
  • Jah’Mila, Roots Girl
  • Jingxia, The Numinous Journey
  • Cubasonics, Cubasongs
  • Vineet Vyas, Satyam


Group recording of the year

  • Lucky Ones, That Was You and Me
  • Moira & Clare, I’m not usually this forward but…
  • Pretty Archie, Pretty Archie
  • The East Pointers, House of Dreams
  • The Trews, Wanderers

Indigenous artist of the year

  • Deantha Edmunds
  • Gearl
  • Jason Benoit
  • Morgan Toney
  • Silver Wolf Band


Inspirational/gospel recording of the year

  • Dr. zoos, 20
  • Elijah MacDougall, The Boy Who Would Be
  • Keith Mullins, Vets for Healing’s Song Camp 1
  • one8tea, I do
  • Yvette Lorraine, Same Story

Instrumental recording of the year

  • atlantic String Machine, A Single Juniper Post
  • Florian Hoefner, Desert Bloom
  • quilting, Quilting
  • Sarah Hagen, Johann Sebastian Bach: Goldberg Variations
  • Shannon Quinn & Tony Quinn, 20 Summers

Jazz recording of the year

  • Behrooz Mihankhah, Lydia
  • BigSpace, In Relations To
  • Duane Andrews and the Hot Club of Conception Bay, Djangology
  • Florian Hoefner, Desert Bloom
  • joyfultalk, FamiliarScience

Loud recording of the year

  • Dalí Van Gogh, New Blood, Old Wounds
  • Electric Spoonful, 2 Poor 4 a Two Four
  • Red Usurper, Abandon
  • swimming, That’s OK
  • Truce., Unentitled

Pop recording of the year

  • Caroline Savoie, Bruits blancs
  • Lisa LeBlanc, Chiac Disco
  • Maura Whitman, Introspection
  • The East Pointers, House of Dreams
  • Yvette Lorraine, Same Story


R&B/soul recording of the year

  • Aquaculture, Don’t Trip
  • Boy T, Ride Your Name
  • Dee Hernandez, Remember Those Days
  • JRDN, Red Eyes
  • Nicole Ariana, Crybaby

Rap/hip-hop recording of the year

  • Albert Daltons, If I Can’t Have It
  • City Natives, The People of the Dawn
  • classified, Retrospected
  • Owen O’Sound Lee, 235
  • Reggie Morales, Regicide

Rising star recording of the year

  • Daniel James McFadyen, “Hot Sun”
  • Dylan Menzie, “A Piece of Me”
  • Isabella Samson, “Love Takes You Home”
  • Marian, “Astral Plane”
  • Moira & Claire, “South Shore”

Rock recording of the year

  • Dalí Van Gogh, New Blood, Old Wound
  • Julie & Dany, Julie & Dany
  • Les Hôtesses d’Hilaire, Pas l’temps d’niaiser
  • motherhood, winded
  • Nick Earle, No More Hiding
  • The Trews, Wanderers

Roots/traditional recording of the year

  • Gina Burgess, ISNOW
  • Jingxia, The Numinous Journey
  • Cubasonics, Cubasongs
  • Les Fireflies, Day by Day
  • Shane Pendergast, The House Before the Bridge

Solo recording of the year

  • Adam Baldwin, Concertos & Serenades
  • David Myles, It’s Only a Little Loneliness
  • Jason Benoit, Time Traveler: Side A
  • Lisa LeBlanc, Chiac Disco
  • Owen O’Sound Lee, 235


Song of the year

  • Adam Baldwin, “Lighthouse in Little Lorraine”
  • Braden Lam, “Silence” feat. Wolf Castle
  • Brandon Howard Roy, “Give Me Love”
  • Daniel James McFadyen, “Hot Sun”
  • Lisa LeBlanc, “Pourquoi faire aujourd’hui”

Songwriter of the year

  • Andrew Waite
  • Kellie Loder
  • Madison Violet
  • Quote the Raven
  • The East Pointers

Artist innovator of the year

  • Carolina East
  • classified
  • Dr. Zoo
  • Hillary Ladd
  • Jason Benoit

Live sound engineer of the year

  • Evan Cormier
  • John Ellingbo
  • Kyle Gallagher
  • Michelle Lacour
  • Peter Green
  • Steve Everett

Producer of the year

  • Chris Kirby
  • classified
  • Clint Curtis
  • Corey LeRue
  • Mark Howard


Studio engineer of the year

  • Scott Ferguson
  • John DS Adams
  • Future Dad
  • Mike “Sheppy” Shepherd
  • Chris Iannetti
  • Thomas Stajcer

Video director of the year

  • Cecil Johnson
  • Harmz
  • Jamie Miller
  • Jeff Miller
  • Matthew Ingraham

Visual artist of the year

  • Alex MacAskill, Midnight Oil Print & Design House
  • Ashley Anne Clark
  • Heidi-Lyn O’Connor
  • Jud Haynes
  • Krista Power