Meet the January Music Meeting Mentors & Speakers

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January Music Meeting 2019 (Photo: BNB Studios)

The seventh edition of January Music Meeting (JMM) welcomes music industry pros in a conference format that includes specialized and interactive training through presentations, discussion groups, networking mixers, and mentor meetings. Music industry reps will converge on Winnipeg to discuss the state of the independent music industry and provide concrete advice on how to succeed in the constantly evolving music business. JMM offers Manitoba's music community a rare opportunity to network with a cross section of tastemakers and experts while connecting with local artists and industry peers.

Get all the JMM details at and get to know our speakers and mentors a bit better right here...

Alethea Beetson (kabi kabi + wiradjuri) is an artist and producer who has worked extensively with Indigenous communities across multiple art forms to inspire new works responding to societal issues, cultural heritage and colonisation. More recently she worked as the Indigenous Engagement Coordinator at the Queensland Museum and was the Curator of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program for Festival 2018 Brisbane. Her research explores the function of ritual, resistance and resurgence in the creative development and production of Indigenous performance. Alethea is currently the First Nations Producer of BIGSOUND, Artistic Director of Digi Youth Arts and First Nations Producer of Horizon Festival.

Andrea Kessler is the Manager of Musician Services at MROC – a not-for-profit organization that distributes neighbouring rights royalties to musicians. Since joining MROC in 2014 Andrea has worked tirelessly to connect musicians with the royalties available to them. In addition to her work with MROC, Andrea has been part of the team at DevilDuck Records Canada since 2017. 

Ashley Au is a Winnipeg-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and queer creative on Treaty 1 Territory. A multifaceted musician, Ashley specializes in the upright and electric basses as a sessional musician and composer, working with artists across a range of disciplines. Current and past projects include work with Weakerthans frontman, John K. Samson; folk roots songstress, Carly Dow; internationally-acclaimed Americana tastemaker, Scott Nolan; Juno award-winning songwriter, William Prince; Ojibway-composer & jazz trumpeter Chuck Copenace; Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers; and Canadian live hip-hop outfit, Super Duty Tough Work.

Beth Cavanagh launched What’s The Story? publicity services in January 2017 to help discover new talent, reconnect established artists with the ever changing media landscape, and first and foremost, for the love of music. Since its inception she has worked with the likes of Caveboy, Five Alarm Funk, Good Lovelies, iskwē, Leela Gilday, Lydia Persaud, Madison Violet, Mise en Scene, Prozzak, Roaring Girl Records (Harrow Fair, Tim Moxam, Liz Stringer), Rosie & The Riveters, Sarah Slean, Skydiggers, and the Muskoka Music Festival. From the cover of Canadian Musician, to performances on CBC q and The Strombo Show - you’re sure to find Beth at the forefront of what is up and coming in the Canadian entertainment industry. 

Building bridges across cultures, continents, and styles, Twin Flames brings together a richness of personal history and musical experience. Multi-Award-Winning Artists; 2x CFMA’s Aboriginal Songwriters of the year and 3x NAMA Winners their songs tell stories of courage and survival. Honoring their ancestor’s history and representing all three of their Indigenous Backgrounds, they sing songs in English, Inuttitut, and French. Pushing the boundaries of “Contemporary Folk”, their songs incorporate both Western and traditional instruments. Prepare to dive into the hearts and minds of the beloved powerhouse couple Chelsey and Jaaji, you are guaranteed to be transported on a journey like no other.

Curtis Running Rabbit-Lefthand is an Indigenous multimedia creative producer, musician, spoken word artist, and scholar. He is the founder and Executive Artistic Director of Indigenous Resilience in Music - an Indigenous-led organization creating insight into the lives of Indigenous musicians and empowering Indigenous youth in reclaiming their identity in music and the arts. As an artist and musician, he performs as the front person in the aggressive hardcore punk band Signatory and performs as a solo musician outside of his band. Curtis is a proud member of the Blackfoot Confederacy and comes from the Amskaapipikuni, Siksika and Stoney Nakoda nations.

Darryl Hurs recently hired by CD Baby for market development  in Canada, has a 25+ year history in the music business including launching and running one of Canada’s largest emerging artist showcase festivals and conference, Indie Week Canada. Past positions include graphic design/branding for Live Nation as a freelancer (corporate branding, event marketing assets, including work for known artists such as U2, Nickelback, Madonna, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Dave Matthews and the launching of, retail buyer at HMV, booker for one of Toronto’s top live music venues (The Rivoli), and performing in various musical acts.

David Amar focuses his practice at CoveyLaw on preparing O and P visa petitions within the firm’s performing arts division. As a Canadian citizen, he has first-hand experience negotiating the U.S. immigration process. David has worked in various facets of entertainment, IP and employment law, where he has advised entities ranging from independent musicians, to a major publishing corporation, to an early-stage tech startup. He has provided pro bono services to his local food cooperative, and with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. David is also a multi-instrumentalist who has performed in various ensembles in Vancouver, Toronto, and New York, and was a professional chef before moving to Brooklyn.

David McLeod is a member of the Pine Creek First Nation, MB. He is the CEO of Native Communications Incorporated (NCI-FM), which owns and operates a Manitoba wide radio network with 57 transmitters. NCI also runs another station that serves Winnipeg, NOW Country 104.7 FM. David is also the Executive Producer of the multiple-award winning Indigenous Music Countdown (IMC) a weekly two-hour top #40 program heard on 13 stations across Canada including SiriusXM (three-times a week). David studied media at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary and television at Ryerson University in Toronto. He co-chairs the Indigenous Music Programming Advisory Committee for the National Music Centre based in Calgary. David has given music presentations at the Canada Council of the Arts in Ottawa, the University of Manitoba, the Vancouver Academy of Music and the National Music Centre in Calgary. In 2019 he curated the SPEAK-UP! Exhibition that highlights the voices of ten Indigenous trailblazers from across Canada at the NMC, expected to be seen by over 50,000 people. David also sits on the board of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and the Winnipeg Folk Festival. He has appeared in music documentaries and hosted an Indigenous music series entitled “Our Music” on APTN. He is also an avid collector of Indigenous vinyl recordings and has met hundreds upon hundreds of Indigenous artists over a twenty-year period.

Elaine Bomberry is Anishinabe and Cayuga, from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, in southern Ontario Ontario.  She has worked as a freelance Indigenous Performing Arts activist/promoter/manager/TV and radio producer over her 34 year career.  She now makes her home on the Capilano Reserve, Squamish Nation territory in North Vancouver, British Columbia, for the last 14 years. She is Manager for JUNO winner, Mohawk blues piano man Murray Porter, also from Six Nations, full-time for the past 14 years, but has worked with him throughout the years since 1990.  She was also Associate Producer on his JUNO award-winning CD, `Songs Lived & Life Played’, and has emerged as a lyricist on his recordings, with a couple of songwriting credits on this release and his new album release, and is now a member of SOCAN. She’s Associate Producer on his new album, ‘STAND UP!’, and co-wrote with him two new songs, which was released in February 2019. She helped create the `Best Music of Aboriginal Canada’ recording category for the JUNO Awards in 1994, with Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Curtis ‘Shingoose’ Jonnie, and was the first Chairperson. Elaine is also an award-winning radio and television producer who was also a producer, writer/host for both ‘Rez Bluez’ on APTN, and ‘The Aboriginal Music Experience, her radio documentary series.

Gil Carroll is a Winnipeg-born musician, booking agent, concert promoter, composer, and community organizer. Carroll is a founding member and guitarist of Winnipeg-based bands Living Hour and Palm Trees and is the co-founder of Real Love Winnipeg, Real Love Summer Fest, and Slow Shine Records. Carroll is vice president of the Winnipeg-based boutique booking agency, First Date Touring - he has booked tours for bands and solo artists all over Canada, the US, and the UK. He has toured extensively in the US, Canada, UK, and Europe with Living Hour. He is also the editor of Manitoba’s only music magazine, Stylus Magazine, and has been a volunteer DJ for the show Space Cadet and staff member with CKUW 95.9 FM for the past six years. Carroll was the 2018 recipient of the Kevin Walter’s Legacy Award presented by Manitoba Music. 

To say Jeff Leake knows music is an understatement. He has interviewed the biggest names in entertainment over his 25 years in radio. Leake, made a true impact in the Canadian Music industry when he signed on to launch the Canadian indie music channel The Verge for then XM Satellite Radio. His day-to-day is spent directing Canadian Music programming on SiriusXM, providing exposure to today’s most influential and independent Canadian bands to a North American audience. Leake is also venerable personality when it comes to his many hosting and industry jury panel duties. While attending over 150 live shows per year, Leake has hosted live broadcast recordings, awards shows and has sat on his share of panels across the country.

Jheanelle Henry is an Artist Manager based in Toronto, Canada. She lends herself to multiple facets of the music and entertainment industry including A&R, and brand management/partnerships. Having a 10-year background working at major Advertising agencies has given her a solid foundation in communication and strategies for clients in all major sectors of the industry. Jheanelle's passion for the Music Industry made it a smooth transition. Priding herself with a diligent work ethic has lead her to great achievements in her career. Creating and cultivating one of the first brand partnerships that aligned Goodlife Fitness with the Music industry was just the beginning. Since then clients have been featured on Spotify's Northern Bars cover, Complex, XXL, and Billboard. In 2019 becoming an Artist Manager and A&R for Music Executive Nick Jarjour, a partner at Industry-leading management company Maverick.

Julia Ryckman is an intellectual property lawyer and litigator at Pitblado LLP and previously taught Copyright Law at the University of Manitoba Law School in Fall, 2018. Her interest in intellectual property matters stemmed from her days fronting Winnipeg bands This Hisses, Slattern and The Gorgon. Passionate about the arts, she is on the board of directors of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and is Chair of Video Pool Media Arts Centre’s board.

Malcolm-Jay is a Winnipeg-based hip hop artist that has been active for the past decade, bringing a soulful and energetic presence to the rap scene nationally and around the world.He has performed at festivals such as Focus Wales (UK), New Skool Rules (Netherlands), Richmond World Festival (BC), Real Love and BreakOut West (YK/BC). He has released several projects, among them The Enemy Within, which charted number 2 on Canadian campus hip hop radio. Malcolm-Jay is equally engaged helping others find their voice in music. He offers hands-on production/songwriting workshops on a regular basis to inner city youth, working with organizations such as Ndinawe Youth Outreach, Studio 393, Northern Touch Music Festival, The Manitoba Youth Centre, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and Sarasvati Productions. He produces for local artists and mentors emerging producers, recently showcasing them at his self-made event, the Winnipeg Producer Series. Malcolm-Jay’s next effort will be starting his very own hip-hop school in the heart of the exchange. 

Matt Gorman is a Halifax-based lawyer and owner of Ocean Town Music, a consulting firm that specializes in music industry contract drafting/review and general legal advisory for artists and businesses in the music industry. Matt is a frequent speaker on music related legal issues, presenting at conferences and events all over the country. Matt is a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, Canadian Bar Association, and International Association of Entertainment Lawyers.   Aside from practicing law, Matt plays drums and performs with various east coast bands/artists.

Morgan Coates is the Marketing Manager for Six Shooter Records in Toronto. He works closely with the artists on the label’s active roster to enhance their online presence in creative ways. From developing release strategies around new music to producing digital content, analyzing data to advertising, Morgan is always working on a way to engage and develop fans, increase sales and drive streaming + social media growth. He brings digital marketing know-how, boundless curiosity and forward-thinking ideas to the projects he is involved with. His recent work at Six Shooter includes international album marketing campaigns for The Dead South, Whitehorse, William Prince and Riit. 

Raised in the East Coast, Sam Rayner has been in the music scene for over eight years as an artist and industry professional. He moved to Toronto in pursuit of more experience and later began working for True North Records, concentrating in Digital Assets and A&R. Sam joined the CIMA & MusicOntario team in 2016 as Membership Services Coordinator where he oversees day-to-day membership relations, Road Gold Certification, National Professional Development and CIMA’s 20/40 Independent Music Charts. Sam also serves as FACTOR’s Regional Educational Coordinator (REC).

Sara Franczyk is the founder of ZYK, a music marketing company based in Toronto that provides artists with digital marketing, advertising and playlisting consulting as well as Canadian radio promotion. Sara began her career interning for Manitoba Music and then moved across the pond to Liverpool UK to attend the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, specializing in music management and digital marketing. After gaining more work experience at UK artist management companies as well as Sony Music Canada, she made the full move to Toronto to work in radio promotion with Dale Speaking. After 3 years, Sara decided to go back to her roots in music management and digital marketing, helping build the careers of both independent and signed artists.

Stephen Carroll is the Director of music programs for Manitoba Film and Music. Stephen achieved international recognition as a member of the JUNO-nominated band The Weakerthans (Epitaph/Anti Records). After joining the group in 1998, he managed all of the business affairs and helped steer the group to fame. In 2009 he began managing the Manitoba band Imaginary Cities and went on to form Empirical Artist Services Inc. Stephen was awarded Manager of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards in 2013, after garnering nominations for the award the two previous years. Stephen was a member of the Board of Directors for FACTOR and currently serves on the Board of Manitoba Music.

Born and raised former Winnipegger Vanessa Kuzina works in artist management based in downtown Toronto. Vanessa is part of the artist management team at Six Shooter Records whose growing client roster includes Tanya Tagaq, Whitehorse, July Talk, The Dead South, William Prince, Zaki Ibrahim and Riit. Before moving to Toronto Vanessa worked at Interstellar Rodeo music festival in Winnipeg and Edmonton as Community Development Manager and Artist Liaison. Before her life on the industry side of music Vanessa had a successful career as a songwriter and international performing and recording  artist with acclaimed group Oh My Darling. Vanessa is devoted to helping build safer and more inclusive spaces for the artists she works with and for the music community as a whole.  

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