Meet the MusicWorks Panelists: Jess McCauley, Lisa Patterson, Britters, and Kiana Rookz

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Clockwise from top left: Britters, Jess McCauley, Kiana "rookz" Eastmond, Lisa Patterson

What are industry experts listening for when they hear your music for the first time? Step Inside the Listening Room for this DIY Series with Britters (CFox FM), Jess McCauley (Audiotree), Kiana "rookz" Eastmond (Sandbox Studios), and Lisa Patterson (Imaginit Music) for insight into the inner workings of a listening session. Participants will listen to new music alongside the experts, learn what they listen for when hearing new demos, and be part of the discussion about what makes a strong first impression and why. This is a unique opportunity to go inside the listening room and find out what matters most to some of the best ears in the business.

How to submit your music: If you wish to have your music played for the panel, please submit using THIS FORM before 11AM on September 27. Music of all genres and songwriters of all levels are welcome. It is not necessary to bring a song to attend and hear what the panelists have to say. A section of songs will be played for the entire group, followed by comments from the panel.

Britters is the music director and evening announcer at the Vancouver's CFOX . Over her eight years in radio, she has made stops in Victoria, Lloydminster, and Vancouver working in promotions, programming, and on-air for a variety of formats. She is the first female music director at CFOX and three-time nominee for CMW's Music Director of the Year. Britters is a graduate from BCIT's Radio Broadcasting Program, and has a Diploma in Communications Studies from Capilano University.

Jess McCauley is the program director of Audiotree, a music discovery platform and production company based out of Chicago. She manages the booking of over 150 live sessions, music video shoots, and other production work per year as well as managing operations at the Audiotree Music Festival in Kalamazoo, MI. Throughout her 10-year music industry career, McCauley has worked in booking for Live Nation - New England as well as the boutique talent agency International Music Network and many other freelance positions in ticketing, booking, VIP experience, and operations management

Kiana "rookz" Eastmond is the founder and director at Sandbox Studios, one of the most successful urban music Artist Development and recoding facilities in Toronto. With sessions with Cardi B, Tory Lanez, Kid Ink, and most of the city's up-and-coming, Sandbox has become a staple in the scene. Former music manager and now an award-winning serial entrepreneur, rookz is a public speaker, consultant, and innovator, sitting on panels from Toronto to New York, and all over the world, 'rookz' is quickly becoming one of Toronto's stars behind the stars. 

Lisa Patterson is an award-winning songwriter, musician, producer-engineer, and entrepreneur who has been championing diverse collaborations in studios and on stages across four continents for the past 25 years. Founder-director of imaginit music studio, Patterson has worked on 15 commercially-released albums and countless demos, specializing in roots, folk, Indigenous, world, and pop singer/songwriters. Career highlights include co-producing projects with JUNO and Polaris Prize-winning producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda (Buffy Sainte-Marie, Amelia Curran, Barenaked Ladies) and Grammy nominated & Juno award-winning producer Adam Messinger (Magic!, Iggy Azalea, Shakira). She produced and engineered the debut disc for Haitian-Canadian, now European sensation, Melissa Laveaux, that garnered her signing to France's No Format / Universal. Artists gracing her studio include 2017 Polaris Prize winner Lido Pimienta and WOMEX 2016 Artist of the Year Calypso Rose. Collaborators include Canada's Music Incubator prize winner pop/rap artist Esma and 2018 JUNO winner Drew Gonsalves of Kobo Town. As a contemporary roots/pop recording and touring artist, Patterson has released four albums and five videos with singles playlisted nationally and internationally, including a Top 10 single peaking at #1 in the Benelux. She facilitates youth songwriter and cross-cultural songwriting projects and presents showcases for both. In 2017 she launched H.E.R. studio - Heroes of Engineering and Record Production to advocate for women and non-binary audio workers; in 2018 becoming first woman to moderate and curate CMW's producer panel.

Get to know them more with our little Q+A...

Who/what are your three go-to artists or records right now?

Jess: Os Mutantes, Phoebe Bridgers, Hank Wood & the Hammerheads

Lisa: Jessie Reyez, Benjamin Clementine, Lhasa de Sela

Britters: CFOX has been really pleased with music from Greta Van Fleet, Foo Fighters, and The Beaches. Personally, I’ve been loving Beck, Sir Sly and Dear Rouge

Rookz: 1. Eric Bellinger (R&B) 2. Govana (Dancehall) 3. Maranda Curtis (Gospel)

What is your favourite restaurant in your home city and the best thing to order there?

Jess: An old style tallboy and shot of tequila; any dive bar

Lisa: "Tabule". Flat bread with Labni (homemade Lebanese yogurt cheese with garlic and Lebanese spices). Vegetable skewers: marinated & served with müjaddara. Shrimp with tomato garlic sauce OR Tawuk: Ontario farm fresh marinated chicken breast skewers. Marrakesh cocktail with fresh mint (several).

Britters: Burgoo – love the Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup

Rookz: My favourite restaurant is in Toronto is Taccorito, the fish and sweet cauliflower burrito bowl

What is the best part about your job?

Jess: When someone tells us that being on Audiotree is a dream come true.

Lisa: When hunkered down in the creation zone—whether solo or in collaboration—and sparks start flying, time disappears, a revelation elevates the song, and then... it just LANDS. A cerebral and emotional sensation of reward that can't be beat.

Britters: The people I work with, I count myself lucky that I get to ‘play’ radio for a job

Rookz: Spending time with my team, we're like a family.  Going to work is always the best part of my day.

What is the most challenging?

Jess: Turning people down when it's apparent that they're genuine and have worked really hard.

Lisa: On the pragmatic side: staying on top of gear and upgrades on an indie budget. On the artistic side: hearing a client or collaborator say "it'll just take an hour" despite my best attempts at clarifying realistic time required; unfortunately this is often followed by a deadline necessitating an all-nighter.

Britters: Arranging special events with medium to large scale artists. Lots of minutia, negotiating but the end result is usually worth it.

Rookz: The most challenging is when I need a skill that I don't have to run the organization and I have to fail my way through it. But I know that's apart of the learning process.

What is one pro tip you can give about creating a track that will quickly engage a listener?

Jess: If you're overthinking it, we can tell.

Lisa: In most contemporary pop, R&B, rock, and folk the vocal performance and lyric must compel the listener in first few phrases to want to know more about the story. We must feel the essence of a feeling—not an abstract idea from the head—from a conversational lyric, delivered in smart but not complex melodic phrases. Some say get to the chorus before one minute and that can be true in pop but in other genres not always the case. If the singer grabs me with the story, their tone, their attitude, I'll wait all day for the chorus. With beat based songs—hip hop, EDM—I need fresh and interesting right away; trail blazing feels riskier but pays off way more than imitation (i.e. Empire State of Mind; Crabbuckit).

Britters: A great hook

Rookz: My one pro tip is no matter how good or bad a song, a SOLID RECORDING and MIX will make it easier to listen to and enjoy. As soon as I hear a muddy song, or too much going on, or my ears are irritated I just skip it.

Find out more about this workshop and register online

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