Oshawa artist wins country music award

Oshawa artist Brandon Heard is the winner of the Canadian Country Music Award for best album design for his work on The Boom Chucka Boys’ Ramble. Heard was also nominated in the same category for his work on Chad Brownlee’s The Fighters.


Securing two of the five nominations in his category was a good sign that Oshawa artist Brandon Heard was going to come away a winner.

Heard was bestowed the honour for best album design for his work on The Boom Chucka Boys’ album Ramble at the recent Canadian Country Music Awards in Halifax.

The Oshawa-based artist was also nominated for his work on Chad Brownlee’s The Fighters.

Heard wasn’t the only Oshawa resident to be nominated for an award, with KX96’s Peter Walker receiving a nomination for musical director of the year for a small or medium market. That award went to Paul Ferguson of Belleville’s Cool 100.1 FM.


Port Hope artists gets CCMA nomination

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today

PORT HOPE – The Canadian Country Music Association Awards have a category honouring excellence among those behind the music.

When the CBC airs this awards show from Halifax Sept. 13, a Port Hope artist will be among those nominated for album design of the year.

Sheila Hash is on the list for her design work for Kelowna artist Chad Brownlee’s release The Fighters.

“I love what I do, and obviously it’s a huge honour to be nominated — and very humbling. It’s nice to be recognized by our peers in the industry,” Hash said in an interview.

“And of course, I couldn’t do it without the artists.”

This is her fourth year being nominated for this honour, and she hopes the fourth time is the charm.

Originally from Ottawa, later from Oshawa, she and her husband Brandon Heard moved to Port Hope in recent years, bringing along their business Media Vandals.

The glory days of album art for the larger canvas of an LP is past, except for those rare artists who want to press on vinyl. Those opportunities are fun, Hash allowed, but there’s more to CD design than just the art on the square in front.

“I think in the majority of albums, the major aspect that catches people’s attention is always the cover. But for art lovers, obviously, it’s the overall design once you open up the album and see both sides and pull out the layout and look at the lyrics,” she said.

“Myself, after I get my hands on a CD, I am always looking at the art.”

The rise of mp3s has been unfortunate in their taking away of this wonderful outlet, she said.

“I’m not a digital person — I love to get that finished artwork in my hands and look at it. I’m still thankful for that.”

Though nominated four times, she only attended her first ceremony last year. It was in Edmonton, since locations rotate. Next year it will be in London. This year it will be in Halifax.

“It will be my first time there since I was a child, so we will make a bit of a vacation out of it,” she said.




Oshawa artist up for country music award

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

Country music fans may be a fan of his work, but not know his name. However, they may get an introduction to Oshawa’s own Brandon Heard at the upcoming Canadian Country Music Awards next month.

Heard has been nominated not once, but twice for best album cover.

“It’s huge. It’s one of the best honours in the industry,” Heard tells The Oshawa Express. “It means I chose the right calling and being recognized for it. It’s pretty awesome.”

Heard has his name listed twice in the best album art category for his work on Chad Brownlee’s The Fighters and The Boom Chucka Boys’ Ramble.

While this is the first time Heard has been nominated twice in one year, this will mark his fourth year in a row that he has been up for a Canadian Country Music Award.

“It was 2012 for Chad Brownlee’s last album Love Me or Leave Me. Year after that, we got nominated for Hey Romeo’s Twist of Fate. Last year was Jess Moskaluke’s Light Up The Night,” he says. “But this year is two nominations on two different labels. It’s kind of neat. I guess I’m up against myself in the final balloting.”

Heard first got into the world of designing albums back in 2009, joining Sheila, now his wife, who had been to school for music business management, going to work for MDM Recordings, an independent Canadian label that focuses on country music.

Heard’s work with MDM Recordings saw him working with various Canadian country music artists, including those for which he received CCMA nominations, such as Chad Brownlee and Jess Moskaluke.

However, as Heard’s name became known in the industry, other labels came calling.

“Since then, it’s been one after another. And it’s awesome,” he says.

The award for best album art will be presented at a lunch ceremony on Sept. 11 during Country Music Week in Halifax, ahead of the main awards show on Sept. 13.


Gas Prices Lowest In Years

gaspricesI am driving down the street, I look to my left at a bright digital sign and I cannot believe my eyes. I must be dreaming! There is no way that I just saw gas prices at barely over a dollar!

Last week gas was is the lowest it has been in FIVE YEARS and I was not hearing any complaints, only more good rumours of it dropping even more. It is hard to believe that just a few short months ago we were swimming just under 150 a litre.

Although the last couple days it has been fluctuating at on average 5-8 cents higher, so what is going on? Are the big rig oil companies messing with us again, itching to get our hopes up only to drag us back down to reality. Some cities in Ontario, especially the GTA, watched gas prices jump 11 cents in 24 hours.

Gas is expected to continue to drop and hit its lowest between mid-November to mid-January, and comparatively gas prices are still much lower than usual even after a price increase, the public is befuddled at the continuous game that is the global gas market.

First we are being told that gas is high because of conflicts overseas and low supplies, now we’re told that Iraq and Russia are not effecting our supply and because of some wonderful deal with another country that probably has been manipulated, we are seeing the results at the pump.

Blah, blah, blah…

“Gas prices are the lowest they’ve been since 2012.”

“Gas expected to continue to plummet.”

Wait for it…

Gas skyrockets after…”

“Gas too expensive, Americans learn to commute.”

“Non-Work Trucks OUTLAWED”


… Well, maybe not those last ones, but we can dream right.

Fat Cats want their money, and the weather is crappy and getting cold, so oil production is up but the market is down because people aren’t interested in road trips in the winter time. Some are attributing it all to a wonderful combination of a strong dollar, and too large of a reserve.

This all adds up to a reduction in the prices we see, because at the end of the day the money still needs to be made and smart businessmen would rather drop the prices a few cents and still see those profit margins with everyone running to the pumps to fill up, than gouging pockets even more by sucking up those extra dollars and risk further enraging consumers.

I say let them drop! Just like a strippers panties, who wants to see them stay up. Even if only until after the holiday season, commuters will be more than grateful for the few extra dollars they get to keep at the end of every week and that influx will result in a stronger financial system. Sounds too good to be true.

So if I wake up to an increase I’m staging a coup d’etat! I know there will be some crazy Canucks out there praying for these prices to stay down, hopeful to enjoy a winter full of snowmobiling and maybe making some chainsaw ice sculptures. If they continue to rise over the winter were all going to need to work on our igloo building skills, because we’re going to be living in them.

Port Hope designers up for CCMA Award


Photo Credit: DARKO - New Port Hope residents Brandon Heard and Sheila Hash, who run Mediavandals, are nominated this week for a Canadian Country Music Association award for Album Design of the Year - Jess Moskaluke's Light Up the Night.

Photo Credit: DARKO – New Port Hope residents Brandon Heard and Sheila Hash, who run Mediavandals, are nominated this week for a Canadian Country Music Association award for Album Design of the Year – Jess Moskaluke’s Light Up the Night.

By JEFF GARD, Northumberland Today
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 2:14:49 EDT PM

PORT HOPE – Still being new to town, Sheila Hash and Brandon Heard may not yet be well known in Port Hope, but they certainly are making a name for themselves nationally.

More specifically, with their company Mediavandals – a website and graphic design agency – and on the Canadian country music scene.

They are headed on Thursday to Edmonton where they are nominated for a Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Award this week for Album Design of the Year (Jessica Moskaluke’s Light Up the Night).

This is the third CCMA Award nomination for Mediavandals following previous album design nominations for Chad Brownlee’s Love Me or Leave Me and Hey Romeo’s Twist of Fate.

“Everyone who makes the final ballot has excellent work. It’s nice to be recognized by our peers for the work that we’ve done,” Hash said. “It’s a great feeling and we’re really proud of the work that we do for all of our artists – not just the ones that are nominated.”

To get through the balloting system with several rounds of voting and emerge as an award nominee, Heard said it’s rewarding to be considered “one of the best in Canada” in that category.

After arriving in Edmonton today, there are a few different award shows leading to the main televised broadcast on Sunday night. The awards ceremony that will include the Album Design of the Year award will be held on Friday.

Hash and Heard said there are plenty of conferences, seminars and showcases to attend. The CCMA nomination only helps them grow their business.

“When we go to the award shows, you’re bumping elbows with some of the best in the industry,” Heard said. “This gives (the artists) even more exposure too.”

While they work with numerous country music artists now, Hash and Heard started out with independent of any genre.

“We got Chad Brownlee when he was just starting out and everything just kind of snowballed from there,” Hash said.

“Typically we offer website and all different types of graphic design and album artwork,” Heard noted. “We’ve worked with musicians since the very beginning and musicians need albums design, poster design, logo design, all the social media banners and of course the website. We can offer them the full package. Not only musicians, we do work for small businesses, lawyers, accountants, NHL players.”

Now Mediavandals is based out of Port Hope after the couple relocated from Oshawa. Heard likes that the work can be done from any location while Hash appreciates still being close enough to Toronto and have the chance to meet with clients face-to-face on a regular basis.

They certainly are enjoying being Port Hope residents since moving here in July.

“Absolutely amazing. People are great, friendly – big difference from big cities,” Heard remarked.

Added Hash, “mainly just the small-town vibe,” is what they enjoy.

“I mean, it’s obviously not a small town with 16,000 people but it’s got a small-town vibe,” she continued. “Everyone is really friendly, the landscaping is gorgeous, we love the community. When we were doing our house hunt, we pretty much went everywhere between here and Toronto and all the way up to Peterborough and something kept bringing us back to Port Hope.”

jeff.gard@sunmedia.ca | [GO TO FULL ARTICLE]

Mediavandals featured in Reflections Magazine

Mediavandals was featured in this months issue of Reflections magazine on page 16, check out a snippet below!

For Durham College Web Developer grad Sheila Hash, success isn’t just about being your own boss — it’s about doing something that you love to do. And, in her case, what’s not to love? After all, her company, Mediavandals, has successfully synergized the music and web design industries and scored a nomination for the 2012 Canadian Country Music Awards album design of the year for Chad Brownlee’s Love Me or Leave Me. [Read full article here]