Meet the Musicworks Panelists: Ariane Jean, Don Amero, Jessica Rae Ayre, JP Hoe, and Nicky Mehta

Posted on

Photo: J.Senft Photography
Nicky Mehta
JP Hoe
Jessica Rae Ayre
Don Amero
Ariane Jean

Touring is a crucial part of many artists’ careers.  It has the potential to be an incredibly exciting time with the highest of highs, but can also come with its lows – being both physically and mentally exhausting. Coming up on Tuesday, May 16, five local touring artists will get together to talk about health and wellness  on the roadAriane Jean, Don Amero, Sweet Alibi’s Jessica Rae Ayre, JP Hoe, and The Wailin’ Jennys’ Nicky Mehta will lead a roundtable discussion about challenges artists face and some strategies that they can use when balancing health and wellness with tour life. Get to know our speakers a little better...

Born into a musical family, Ariane Jean honed her chops singing along to her parents’ record collection and harmonizing with the haunting melodies of her household’s kitchen appliances. Coached by some of the greats via vinyl and tape, Jean developed her instrument; a sweet, honeyed voice that could swing smoothly from note to note, high to low and between genres with ease and precision. Jean stepped into the spotlight for the first time in 1995 and since then, she has made a career of music, as a vocalist and music maker, captivating audiences all across the Americas and Europe. Whether part of a group such as Chic Gamine or Madrigaïa or accompanying such artists as JP Hoe, Slow Leaves, Justin Lacroix, and Daniel Roa, to name a few, Ariane’s soulful voice makes itself at home, much to the delight of all concerned.

Don Amero is a powerful stylist, JUNO nominee, and engaging storyteller. With silky vocals, a lovable stage presence, and a soulful sound that’s been likened to Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, and Keith Urban, Don brings his own brand of percussion‐style guitar play and delightful approachability everywhere he plays. He also has pretty nice salt and pepper hair. 

JP Hoe is a singer/songwriter who continues to share his engaging brand of folk rock in one form or another. Over the years he’s brought the show to Australia, the United States, Iceland, Germany, England, and coast to coast in Canada. His hometown Hoe Hoe Hoe Holiday Show has grown to fill the historic Burton Cummings Theatre, and his most recent release, Hideaway (Cadence Music Group), is receiving praise across the planet including daily heavy rotation on CBC Radio 2, with host Tom Power calling JP “The next Gordon Lightfoot”. Though you’ll happily find him in an airport or tour van, coming home to the frozen prairies is his favourite destination of them all.

Jessica Rae Ayre’s soulful vocals and heartfelt lyrics can already be heard across the country as one of Winnipeg’s own Western Canadian Music Award-winning Sweet Alibi. Her song "Middle Ground",  a light-hearted look back at the decision towards sobriety, made it to the national Top 20 on CBC.

Nicky Mehta is an award-winning singer/songwriter whose solo career, backup and ensemble work have made her one of the most respected and sought after musicians on the folk/roots scene. As a solo artist and founding member of the double JUNO award-winning, Billboard charting folk/roots harmony trio The Wailin' Jennys, she has toured three continents over the last 15 years, garnering critical acclaim and a devoted fanbase around the globe. Their songs have been heard in feature films and television shows as well as sung by choirs all over the world. Nicky's first solo album Weather Vane was nominated for a Canadian Indie Music Award and earned much critical praise with the venerable Sing Out! Magazine naming her one of the most exciting up and coming artists on the folk music scene. She looks forward to returning to that original path with the release of a new solo project.


What is your favourite flavour of potato chip?
Ariane: Any kind of rippled chip with vinegar on it! When it comes to chips I'm not too picky!
Don: Caramelized Onion and Balsamic Vinegar kettle cooked chips. Hands down best chip I've ever had.
Jessica: Salt and vinegar, obvs! (Not that people who are on a wellness panel eat chips.)  
JP: Ketchup
Nicky: BBQ, but only if they're Old Dutch.

What’s the last album you listened to in its entirety?
Ariane: Mon Homesick Heart, les Hay babies
Don: My own. 2015's Refined. I don't listen to a lot of full albums these days, but when prepping for an album release one obviously digs in and listens to their own (more than once). I was my favourite artist of 2015. Ha ha
Jessica: Sarah Harmer You Were Here
JP: Viva La Vida
Nicky: All We Grow - S. Carey

What has been your favourite tour-stop (city)?
Ariane: I am a big fan of Lafayette!
Don: Halifax has been the best tour spot for me. I love the views, the city is lovely, and I have made many friends there.
Jessica: Twinn Butte, Alberta
JP: Hamburg
Nicky: Amsterdam             

Robots or dinosaurs?
Ariane: Tough one!  Robot dinosaurs?! (So, robots, I guess.)
Don: Dinosaurs. I've always been an au natural kinda guy... that makes sense right?
Jessica: Dinosaurs.
JP: Robots
Nicky: Robots

What’s your desert island record of choice?
Ariane: Still Bill, Bill Withers
Don: Continuum by John Mayer. Despite how some feel about him, the guy makes killer music and that one was a defining sound for me and I could sing along to that album any day for the rest of my life.
Jessica: Dance Mix 95
JP: Bear Grylls Book on Tape, How to Survive
Nicky: The Walking - Jane Siberry 

Register online for Roundtable Discussion: Health and Wellness on the Road at,workshop/82275/

If you need more info, please contact:

David Landreth, Professional Development Coordinator
Manitoba Music
P: 204.975.5188

MusicWorks is made possible by the generous support of the Province of Manitoba through Industry Services of Manitoba Jobs and the Economy; the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR) through the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada's Private Radio Broadcasters; The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group; and The SOCAN Foundation.

Read more news