Music and memories as the East Coast Music Awards make a comeback in Fredericton

More than 2,000 musicians and music lovers gathered Thursday night at the Aitken University Center in Fredericton to celebrate the best musical talent in the Maritimes.

The celebration was long overdue as Thursday’s awards show marked the first time in three years the event had been held in person since the pandemic was declared in 2020.

Chloé Breault made the village of Bertrand proud by winning the Francophone record of the year award for her album, Beach of morons.

She was last nominated in the same category in 2019.

“We’ve been working hard on this album, and with the pandemic, not being able to get musicians in the studio and having a small crew to do this album…to win it tonight is really, really cool.” says the artist from the Acadian Peninsula.

Breault credited some of the album’s success to her producer Benoit Morier and said it was a unique process to work on the album due to where she was in life.

“[The album] talks about my whole life… It’s funny with this album because I wrote it in two weeks, so I had a deadline and I just came back from a big tour and everything.”

Chloé Breault won the French record of the year at the 2022. (Other Image Banks/Le Grenier Musique)

Teah Bailey, known as One8tea, won rap/hip-hop recording of the year for her album Ventilation 2.

The artist was born in Halifax but lives in Moncton with his family, who he says encouraged him.

“I’ll choose my grandma just because she’s the boss of everyone,” Bailey said with a laugh of her win.

Bailey was grateful the show made its in-person return.

“Music. It’s a thing that creates feelings and it’s really nice to be in environments where you can actually enjoy it together, and it’s just a joyful time and everyone is happy to be together again.”

This victory makes Bailey optimistic for the future and the upcoming release of his next album under the hood August 26.

“If you lift the hood of a car, you can see the nuts and bolts and how it works, what gets it under the shell. So for me, I just wanted to take the opportunity to peel the shell off and talk to people. Just be real,” Bailey said of what inspired him to create the album.

Cape Breton also fared well at the awards.

Morgan Toney won Indigenous Artist of the Year and was up for three nominations.

The Mi’kmaq fiddler recently reissued his debut album, First flighton Ishkōdé Records and said, “I started playing the violin maybe three years ago and to see myself here three years later, up for three awards, it’s crazy.”

The Cape Breton Town Heroes have been nominated for five ECMA awards. (thetownheroes.com)

Not everyone ended the evening with a prize.

The Town Heroes, with duo Mike Ryan and Bruce Gillis, were nominated for five awards, but they explained winning was not the goal.

“The support people give us, win or lose awards, just being nominated and being part of the East Coast Music Awards celebration… It’s not a competition. It’s a celebration,” Gillis said.