2019 Casino NS Artist in Residence Finalists Announced



(September 3, 2019, Halifax, NS) After interviews, examinations, and deliberation, Casino Nova Scotia is proud and delighted to announce the five finalists for the 2019 Artist in Residence program. Jurors made the selection last week after careful consideration, the final candidates will move onto the performance round of the selection process, September 20, at Casino Nova Scotia.

Finalists are (in alphabetical order):

  • Arsoniste - Halifax, Nova Scotia - Alternative/Indie/Pop

  • Cameron Nickerson - Yarmouth, Nova Scotia - Americana/Country/Singer-Songwriter

  • Keonté Beals - North Preston, Nova Scotia - R&B/Pop

  • MAJE - East Preston, Nova Scotia - HipHop/R&B

  • Tommy Green Jr. - Halifax, Nova Scotia - R&B/Pop

The contest will culminate with a live performance Friday September 20th at Casino Nova Scotia, where the judges with make their final assessment.  Music Nova Scotia Interim Executive Director Lisa Stitt reported that the jury includes: Ashlea Barr - Business Development Manager, Casino Nova Scotia; Erin Costelo - Artist; Jamie Hammond - Halifax Pop Explosion; and Shevy Price - Artist. 

The Casino Nova Scotia Artist in Residence program will provide the selected musician or group with $20,000 in funding to assist with developing their career through recording, marketing, and live performance opportunities.  Music Nova Scotia is working with Casino Nova Scotia to administer the program.

Music lovers and fans will have their chance to vote, which counts towards the selection of the finalist.  
Go to musicnovascotia.ca to vote (click the link on lefthand side of page)

The public is welcome to see the final five perform on Friday, September 20 at Casino Nova Scotia. Free admission. Must be nineteen years of age or older. 

Finalists Showcase:

Friday, September 20 at 8pm

Casino Nova Scotia

Free admission. Must be 19+


For more information on Casino Nova Scotia’s Artist in Residence Program go to:

www.casinonovascotia.com/air/ or www.musicnovascotia.ca

More information on the 2018 Artist in Residence finalists:


Classical pianist and pop vocalist Arsoniste writes melancholic songs about love and mental states. A regular performer at piano bars around Halifax, Arsoniste's sound is inspired by piano-heavy artists like The National and Radiohead, with the pop sensibilities of Lana Del Rey and Sylvan Esso. She layers piano, synth and dreamy harmonies over hip-hop inspired beats.
Website: www.arsoniste.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/arsoniste
Instagram: www.instagram.com/arsoniste

Twitter: www.twitter.com/arsoniste

Cameron Nickerson

Music is often a way for more reserved people to express their inner creativity and passion, and Cameron Nickerson is no exception to this. From humble beginnings, the singer-songwriter has always harboured an affinity for expression through song, and its knack for bringing him out of his bubble. Before going solo, Nickerson was tearing it up with his band The Rockabillys, opening for gargantuan national acts like The Sheepdogs, and playing with local favourites The Stanfields. After a somewhat trying band breakup, Nickerson took a year off before moving back to Halifax and deciding to take a shot at striking out on his own.

Bringing to mind modern outlaw folkers like Sturgill Simpson, but with a delightfully invigorating maritime bent, Cameron’s songs are both poetic and purposeful. Never writing a word he doesn’t mean, his songs are always heavily personal – sometimes deceivingly so. Even his so-called “made-up” tales have a golden nugget of truth and personal struggle. A born storyteller, his live shows are engaging not just because of his captivating stage presence, but the way he spins yarns and tells tales.

His, debut album, Detours, was released January 2018 and has received nominations for ECMA Country Album of the Year (2019) and NSMW Country Album of the Year (2018). It was produced by long-time friend and collaborator Blake Johnston (The Stogies) and features gorgeous harmonies by Christine Campbell and fiddle by Calen Kinney. Beginning as an idea Nickerson and Johnston were throwing around 2015, the record combines Nickerson’s love of modern singer-songwriters with the grit and grime of country outlaw heroes like Willie Nelson or Merle Haggard. Sounding neither totally modern, nor like a retro throwback, Nickerson walks a unique musical path that’s strewn with bluegrass, rock and roll, teenage angst, and world-weary contemplation.

Website: www.cameronnickerson.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cameronnickersonmusic

Instagram: www.instagram.com/cameronnickersonmusic

Twitter: www.twitter.com/camnickmusic14

Keonté Beals

Keonté Beals is a young man, but he’s wise beyond his years. As a 22 year-old singer, songwriter, piano player, and dancer, Keonté is making a splash in the East Coast music scene as a multi-talented, award-winning R&B/Pop artist. His soulful songs are straight from the heart, taking fans back to the early 90’s era of Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton, and Whitney Houston; when R&B/Pop singles dominated the airwaves for the first time.

Born and raised in the community of North Preston in Nova Scotia, Keonté started singing and performing at the age of seven. As a young teen, he joined the choir at his local parish and discovered his true passion for entertainment. The experience lead to more opportunities for Keonté to perform at churches and events in the HRM, all of which helped him develop his skills and build a fanbase for his music.

Keonté continued to invest his energy into vocal training and dance, and after graduating high school, he enrolled in the Music Arts program at NSCC. In 2014, he recorded and released a cover of the song “I’m Here” from the movie soundtrack The Color Purple, and credits this move as the start of his professional music career. The video was an internet sensation and grabbed the attention of Prismatic Arts Festival artistic director, Shahin Sayadi, who booked Keonté for his first festival show. In late 2016, Keonté released his debut single “Man Down” from his self-titled EP, and a second single “4 Ever” in February 2017. He is currently finishing his first full-length album, co-produced by Shawn Downey, to be released in the fall 2019.

Not only is Keonté a natural-born entertainer, he has received awards and nominations from Music Nova Scotia, the African Nova Scotia Music Association, The Coast Halifax, and the East Coast Music Association for his recorded music. Keonté is also a recipient of the Partnership of Hope Award presented by Challenge AIDS and Malaria in Africa (CHAMA), and was recognised by the Honorable Keith Colwell with an MLA Rising Star award for his musical success and community service earlier this year.

Website: www.keontebeals.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/keontebeals16

Instagram: www.instagram.com/keontebeals

Twitter: www.twitter.com/keontebeals


Michael Alexander Jerome Earle (born October 31, 1991) is a Canadian songwriter, performer, and entrepreneur. MAJE gained recognition in 2015 when he entered and won a songwriting competition put on by Music Nova Scotia-based on the black activist Viola Desmond. In the final round of the competition, he beat out Nova Scotian heavyweights Erin Costello, Cindy Cain, and Neon Dreams. 10,000 dollars was awarded to MAJE and his collaborators SammSplash and Ashley Burke.

This victory opened the doors to a halftime performance at the Scotiabank Centre during the AUS basketball tournament in 2015. In early 2016 the MAJE founded the group "Gentlemen Mafia" successfully executed a school tour in Dartmouth and Halifax accompanied by Cunny Ross, Kxng Wooz, and DJ RS Smooth. While touring he released a music video for the Cunny Ross collaboration record "Smile" which was much appreciated because it shone a light on black fathers spending quality time with their daughters. The video was entered in the CBC Searchlight competition and made it to the top 10 in the region. Following the tour, he was nominated by ANSMA for the award Rising Star. In August of 2016, he released his heavily anticipated short film "Outhome". Based on where he was raised (East Preston) the film includes the previously released record ETTG, and vivid descriptions of his current emotion and career direction.

In May of 2017, he was one of 10 Canadian artists chosen to attend the SOCAN Songwriting camp as a part of the ECMAs award weekend. In that same month he covered The Coast magazine to highlight his performance at OBEY. MAJE also received 6 nominations from The CoastBest of Halifaxawards including best solo artist and most likely to make it big`. On June 29th he released his first digital release mixtape Insert Flame Emojis Here on Soundcloud and it has since been nominated for 2 awards including video of the year by Music Nova Scotia.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/majegm

Instagram: www.instagram.com/magic__mic__/

Tommy Green Jr.

Tommy Green Jr is a singer-songwriter from Halifax, Nova Scotia who uses loop pedals and effects (like Ed Sheeran) to built huge acoustic soundscapes. His live shows are a whirlwind of sing-alongs, hilarious stories and audience interaction.

Tommy’s soulful voice, seasoned banter, and the way he involves the audience to bring everyone together and create a feeling of unity and charm will make you a life-long fan.

Tommy released his self-titled debut LP on June 5th, 2015. The 10-track record features 18 prominent Halifax musicians, including Jeff Mosher, Jody Lyne, Silvio Pupo, Brad Conrad, Keith Mullins, JR Smith, Damien Moynihan, and Dale Murray. As of April 2018, the CD has sold over 1700 physical copies.

The album was nominated for two 2016 Music Nova Scotia Awards, “Pop Record Of The Year”, and “New Artist Recording of Year”. Tommy played a captivating NSMW showcase at The Marigold Cultural Centre in Truro, that lead to several bookings, including another show at The Marigold in August of 2017.

In his CBC East Coast Music review of the record, Bob Mersereau stated "It's funky with a groove but relaxed, even a little jazzy at times, and well-produced... it's all intelligent pop with enough funk to put him square in the festival crowd, and lots of hook and smooth jazz moments for folks who like excellent playing. Green Jr deserves to smile over this record."

The CD's first single released to radio, "It's My Turn Now", earned Tommy the title of Radio 99.1's CKXS Emerging Artist of the Month for July 2015, joining the ranks of David Myles and Dan Talevski. The song peaked at #5 on the East Coast Countdown in the months following the release, and was featured on the East Coast Music Hour, hosted by David Myles. The song inspired an uplifting music video about a determined young boy entering his Middle School's science fair with his own home-made jetpack. Tommy both wrote and directed the video, working with Grade 6 students to enforce a positive “Believe-In-Yourself” message. The video currently has over 12,000 views on Youtube.

On August 26th 2016, Tommy hosted a music video release party for "Sand In My Sheets" at The Seahorse Tavern. The video was written and directed by Tommy, and was filmed over the course of a year in exotic locales in Australia, Mexico, St Maartin and ultimately, his hometown of Halifax NS. The final scene zooms in on a sun-soaked music party rocking on a 46-foot catamaran, highlighting the beautiful Halifax Harbour. To promote the release of the music video, Tommy performed on CTV News and GlobalTV, both performances and interviews can be seen on his website. The music video currently has over 11,000 views on Youtube.

Over the holiday season of 2016, Tommy released his first Christmas song, "You Don't Need No Mistletoe (If You Can Sing Christmas Songs)” complete with an animated music video. The song features Jeff Mosher on Saxophone, Jeremiah Sparks as the voice of Santa, and a children’s choir from Princess Elizabeth School in Saint John, NB. The song garnered moderate radio play across Canada.

Tommy has spent the last few years touring Atlantic Canada and performing a music and comedy show aboard some of the biggest cruise ships in the world- Anthem Of The Seas, Oasis Of The Seas and Allure Of The Seas, all while writing and recording new songs with Halifax-based producer Alex Meade.

His new full length record is called “In Stereo” and will be released later in 2019.

Website: www.tommygreenjr.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tommygreenjr

Instagram: www.instagram.com/tommygreenjr

Twitter: twitter.com/tommygreenjr

For information on Casino Nova Scotia:
Contact: Ashlea Barr
1983 Upper Water Street, Halifax

For information on Music Nova Scotia: 
Contact: Lisa Stitt
2157 Gottingen Street, Halifax
Phone: 902-423-6271, ext. 101
About Casino Nova Scotia: Through business and community partnerships we work to build and nurture the economic and cultural health of our community. In 2013 we contributed over $27 million to the Province of Nova Scotia and its programs. As an entertainment destination we are proud to showcase Atlantic Canadian, national, and international talent and invests over $1,000,000 in entertainment annually. Casino Nova Scotia is a tourism driver and supporter. Each year we welcome over one million visitors, many of whom arrived from outside the province. Ensuring we have a positive impact on the quality of life in our province is important to us. With a focus on the arts, culture and entertainment we support organizations and events that help make our province a vibrant place to live.
Music Nova Scotia is a non-profit organization that has worked since 1989 with a mandate to encourage the creation, development, growth and promotion of Nova Scotia’s music industry. Music Nova Scotia exists to grow and nurture the Nova Scotia music industry, to retain Nova Scotia’s natural resource and promote investment, by: Providing education, information and resources to members. Acting as the advocate for the industry to all levels of government and private enterprise Supporting membership in the promotion of the export of Nova Scotia music regionally, nationally and internationally.
About the Artist in Residence Program 
Casino Nova Scotia is working with Music Nova Scotia to continue to build the profile of our local music industry. The Artist in Residence program will increase the opportunities for the development of emerging artists in Nova Scotia as well as beneficial for the continued development of our music industry. Casino Nova Scotia is contributing $20,000 to this program to provide a local emerging musician or group with support and opportunities to develop their career. Music Nova Scotia is responsible for administering the fund.

First Round of NSMW 2019 Delegates Announced, Delegate Passes On Sale!

Nova Scotia Music Week (NSMW) 2019 will host delegates from around the world in Truro, Nova Scotia, November 7th-10th, while showcasing and highlighting over 100 Nova Scotian musical acts from a variety of genres. 

Delegates and artists will host panels, round tables, and discussions about the current state of the industry, training, business development, physiology, and international export.

This year's delegates include Dr. Susan Rogers from the Berklee College of Music, Rachel Jackson from Roc Nation, Iggy Amazarray from Marshall Arts, and many other specifically curated and renowned delegates from around the world. 

In addition to expanding their knowledge, delegates, artists, and industry professionals attending NSMW will have the chance to expand their networks. The conference will include peer-to-peer support, one-on-one meetings, mentorships, and various networking opportunities.

In the coming weeks NSMW will announce the complete schedule and further conference components and events. 

View the first round of delegates here

Delegate Passes now on sale

As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to feel like you always need to put your business first, to always prioritize the health of your business...but what about your personal health? It’s not always easy to recognize, but as a business owner (which every musician is) you are the life-blood of your business, and the success of your career is a reflection of your own mental and physical wellness. The NSMW 2019 conference will focus on the intersection between mental, financial, and professional health. 

Panels will touch on business psychology, mental health management, strategies to do better business while taking better care, making room for creative growth, leadership, stress management, and how to achieve personal and professional balance.

A full two days of the Basic Training program will be delivered during the festival, offering delegates the chance to further educate themselves on a broad range of topics from marketing to accounting, royalties to social media, and many more.

In addition to basic training, NSMW will offer a number of discussions and networking events aimed at helping developing artists break down walls and become more comfortable navigating the music business and international showcasing events. 

First Round of #NSMW2019 Artists & Wristbands On Sale!


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