Manitoba Music Launches Series of Virtual Discussions Focusing on Music Business Innovation During COVID

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Alysha Brilla
Athena Demos
Benoit Morier
Doug Jacobson
Flara K
Lisa Leblanc
Zaki Ibrahim

inNOVate Series to Stream via Facebook Live for Thursday Lunch and Learns Throughout November 

COVID-19 has thrown global communities into a whirlwind of uncertainties, and event-based industries are faced with significant and evolving challenges. The music industry is experiencing a rapid influx of changes with artists and music companies working overtime to figure out how to stay positive, maintain connection, keep audiences engaged, and generate revenue.

Manitoba Music is launching a series of four virtual discussions focusing on music business innovation, inNOVate Series: Modifying the Music Experience.

Each Thursday in November, Manitoba Music will host a live chat with creators in the music and entertainment sector who have embraced this unprecedented transition of social gatherings to social distancing. The series will offer a glimpse into their groundbreaking solutions for engaging music fans and keeping their followers entertained and uplifted in a time where we need that human connection the most.

Kicking off November 5, the series will open up ideas around touring the country via Instagram Live with Flara K; virtual reality for events with BRCvr, the team behind Burning Man Festival’s groundbreaking virtual pivot (November 12); the extreme audience engagement of Bingo avec Johanne’s Benoît Morier and Lisa Leblanc (November 19); and cultivating community and healing through artistry with Alysha Brilla and Zaki Ibrahim (November 26).

COVID restrictions may have necessitated changes to the way the music industry does business, but it hasn’t stopped creators from filling the need for human connection and entertainment, nor the critical focus on career development. The inNOVate Series is one of several online pivots for Manitoba Music, including several professional development opportunities through MusicWorks, virtual concerts through Indigenous Music, international showcases through Indigenous Music West, the MB Live online concert series, and upcoming export activities through the Francophone Music Program.

For more info, please visit


NOVEMBER 5 | Instagram Live Cross-Canada Tour with Flara K 

Flara K
Sam Martel and Collin Steinz make up Montreal based Pop/R&B duo Flara K. They just released their sophomore EP titled Anxious, Irrational, Fashionable available now on all streaming platforms and at

NOVEMBER 12 | Virtual Reality for Events with Athena Demos and Doug Jacobsen, BRCvr

Athena Demos, BRCvr 
With “community” at the forefront of everything she does, Athena is a cross-disciplinary producer and creative manager with over 20+ years of experience across the live events and entertainment industry. Lead producer for a series of global iconic events, Athena is known for taking on the most challenging of projects and seeing them through to success by streamlining costs, finding efficiencies and identifying the problems before they emerge. 

Athena is one of the founding members of the Los Angeles Burning Man Decompression Arts and Music Celebration, which launched in 2002, where she continued as Executive Producer until 2016. Taking place in downtown Los Angeles, the event started with 800 people and grew to 8,000 by 2012. In 2009 Athena became the official Burning Man Regional contact for Los Angeles and founded the LA League of Arts (501c3) for the LA Burning Man community in 2011.

Doug Jacobson, BRCvr
Doug has been in Film & Entertainment since graduating from USC Film School in the nineties, with a successful career writing, directing and editing several festival-award winning narratives and documentaries. His career started creating documentaries around the Los Angeles Underground music scene of the 1990s, which led him to his first Burning Man in 1998. 

In 2005, Doug released “Journey to the Flames”, the most popular documentary on Burning Man to date, with annual updates of new content from the previous year’s event. 

Doug is camp leader for “Black Rock Yearbook”, one of the largest and longest-running photography projects in Burning Man’s history. 

A lover of technology and finding new ways to tell stories, Doug has been working in Virtual Reality (VR), leveraging new ways to create and produce content made for the virtual space, building communities in alternate realities.

NOVEMBER 19 | Extreme Audience Engagement with Benoît Morier and Lisa Leblanc

Lisa Leblanc
At 27 years old, the captivating Montreal singer-songwriter who hails from Rosaireville, New Brunswick has toured for five years with her band and sold over 140 000 records on two continents. Her ability to compose rousing, heart-wrenching narratives from everyday tales of love, friendship and heartbreak has been compared to the sharp wit of Courtney Barnett, the rambling honesty of Bob Dylan and the high-flying sincerity of Dolly Parton.

Benoît Morier
Benoît Morier is a Juno Award winning producer, musician and recording engineer from Winnipeg,   Manitoba. Currently living between Moncton, NB and Montreal, QC, Benoit has worked extensively with   artists from all over.  In the last few years, Benoit produced and/or toured with Lisa Leblanc, Daniel Lavoie, Edith Butler, Elisapie, Thomas Hellman and Chic Gamine, to name a few.

NOVEMBER 26 | Cultivating Community + Healing Through Artistry with Alysha Brilla and Zaki Ibrahim

Alysha Brilla
Alysha Brilla is a 3X Juno Award nominated artist and music producer currently working on her fifth self-produced full length record, 'The Body'; blending global roots sounds with expansive lyrical themes and meditative undertones.

Brilla has performed internationally including across Australia, Singapore, Tanzania and Chile. In addition to live performances of music, Brilla has conducted arts education workshops in schools for the past ten years; promoting storytelling through music and mentoring in self-expression through the arts with a focus on developing skills in songwriting and music production. A special focus on encouraging and promoting the voices of youth and young women across the world for their valuable perspectives on environment and social awareness.

Zaki Ibrahim
From one angle, Zaki Ibrahim’s career is punctuated by extended absences from the Toronto scene where she built her name, launched a label and found success. From another vantage, for an artist who is known for her multiplicity of influences and identities, absence from one scene is in fact presence in another. Throughout her career, from Vancouver to South Africa to Toronto and many points in between, Ibrahim has worked against the encroaching systems and machinery that would limit or dilute her vision. Ibrahim’s work pushes back against binaries, against reductiveness, against the clenching muscles of expectation.

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