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NS artists Classified, Ria Mae lead East Coast Music Awards nominations

Halifax artist Ria Mae received seven nominations for the upcoming East Coast Music Awards.
Halifax artist Ria Mae received seven nominations for the upcoming East Coast Music Awards. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Eduardo Lima

Two Halifax-area hit-makers dominated East Coast Music Awards nominations announced Tuesday.

READ MORE: Saint John, N.B. to host 2017 East Coast Music Awards in April

Rapper Classified leads with nine nominations, followed by frequent collaborator Ria Mae, who received seven nods for her alternative brand of pop.

“This means the world,” Mae tweeted. “Can’t wait to see you in April.”

The front-runners have brought fresh attention to Atlantic Canada’s music scene, both maintaining their local roots while touring widely.

Classified produced Mae’s self-titled album featuring “Clothes Off,” which went on to become a smash hit on the Canadian radio charts and grabbed a Juno nomination for single of the year — a category based on sales — alongside songs by Justin Bieber, Drake and the Weeknd.

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The electro-pop mashup has been certified gold in Canada with more than 50,000 sales, and its music video has garnered more than 2.3 million views.

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“Coming from the East Coast, everyone has that traditional guitar-based, drums (sound) and I was listening to pop radio,” Mae told The Canadian Press in June. “I just wanted to have more fun with it.”

Mae said she and Classified may have never teamed up had it not been for their shared hometown.

“(Halifax) makes for some really funny collaborations,” said Mae, who is currently touring with Vancouver duo Tegan and Sara. “If I grew up in Toronto I wouldn’t necessarily be collaborating with the most famous hip-hop artist (in that city).”

Classified, who lives in nearby Enfield, N.S., “repped his coast” in hip-hop tribute entitled “The Maritimes,” rapping about fiddle players, Alexander Keiths and donairs and extolling the region as “the home of the innocents.”

His latest album, “Greatful,” was released last January and included a collaboration with Snoop Dogg, “No Pressure.” It also reunited him with David Myles, who sang on his biggest hit, 2013’s “Inner Ninja.”

Mae and Classified were in good company on Thursday, with five of 13 fans’ choice nominees hailing from Nova Scotia and the province earning 113 nominations in total.

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Newfoundland electronic band REPARTEE racked up five nominations. Francophone musicians also saw acclaim – with Acadian artists Caroline Savoie and Les Hotesses d’Hilaire each picking up four nominations.

The 2017 East Coast Music Awards show will take place on April 27 in Saint John, N.B.

The ECMAs are a five-day celebration of music showcasing more than 500 East Coast artists.

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