MEGAPHONO and Girls+ Rock Ottawa present the first Women+ in Music Mentorship Program

By Emma Kenny and Ariane Bell Vila

Photo by Ariane Bell Vila

Photo by Ariane Bell Vila

Amidst all the music and educational events happening during MEGAPHONO 2019, we brought together a group of industry professionals, artists, and Rock Camp alumni for the first ever Women+ in Music Mentorship program! Hosted by Coworkly and the Vanier BIA, and with support from MEGAPHONO and TD, this event set out to connect Rock Camp alumni with artists performing at MEGAPHONO and industry professionals to share skills and knowledge, all accompanied by refreshing drinks from Buchipop and excellent food from Habesha Ethiopian restaurant!

After some lunch and casual networking, we kicked off the event with a get-to-know-you panel for our industry professionals, asking them to introduce themselves and describe their roles in the music industry. During this panel we also asked our mentors about their favourite things about their work, misconceptions about their jobs they’d like to clear up, and what their go-to karaoke song is (which was shockingly contentious - most panelists said they don’t like or do karaoke, but Francella did hit on a popular choice with Shania Twain). The conversation was fun and free-flowing, full of life lessons and laughter. We seized on three key takeaways to share with you, so we can all learn from these powerful pros.

1. Get involved in the music scene

Any role in the music industry requires A LOT of listening to music and attending shows, which can be hard if you’re introverted. It can also be hard to make a logical pitch for a new band to sign or book, when music is such an emotional thing.

2. Multi-tasking is crucial to your success

In our current industry climate, artists aren’t just artists: they also have a hand in marketing, booking, and crafting deals. Those who work behind the scenes are always on the go, and have to make space in their brains for new music as well as be able to answer all the many emails they receive daily.

3. Stand your ground and stay true to your values

Everything is political and sometimes, you have to fight for what you believe is right. Whether you’re a booking agent fighting for your artist to get what they deserve, or a promoter trying to get your artist on a bill, you have to be prepared to stand your ground.

After the panel, participants were split into groups of three people each: one industry professional, one artist, and one Rock Camp alumnus. They had the opportunity to chat and ask any questions they’d brought with them or had thought of during the panel. The brightly-lit space was full of focused discussion and energy, and everyone looked so engaged that it was hard to interrupt to tell them when time was up! The conversations continued as everyone collected their things and started the process of layering back up for the weather outside before heading to another MEGAPHONO show.

Rock Camp alumni Victoria who attended the event said that she learned a lot from interacting with the industry professionals and artists.

“What I learned the most from the Women+ in Music Mentorship program is that working in music, while involving direct engagement with artists or producing content, also means a lot of grunt work like answering emails and making phone calls. In the end, your love and dedication to the former will make the latter worth it.”

Overall, it was a positive and informative experience, and we’re so glad to have been able to run an event like this in the midst of a busy festival! Thank you to MEGAPHONO for partnering on this event, TD for sponsoring, and to the participating delegates and artists for sharing their insights and experiences.

Delegates:

Clotilde Bayle, 4AD

Natalie Davila, Polyvinyl Record Co.

Mira Silvers, FORT Studios

Silke Westera, FKP Scorpio

Francella Fiallos, CJLO

Vivian Barclay, Warner Chappell Music Canada

Artists:

Annie Sama

R. Flex

Felicity DeCarle, Sparklesaurus

Eva Palmar-De Melo, Bad Waitress

Mikayla Gordon, SeiiizMikk

Marie-Claude Sarault, Marie-Clo