Indigenous artists from Canada are gathering in the virtual space this fall to focus on music business development in the second edition of the ASKIY Export Residency.
ASKIY means “world” in the Plains Cree language and has been shared by Jerry Roasting from Maskwacîs, Alberta.
Developed and run through the Indigenous Music West program at Manitoba Music, the eight-week project offers participants a chance to build relationships with international industry partners from Germany, the UK, the US, Australia, and Mexico, work one-on-one with professional industry and artist mentors, develop a strong foundation of business skills, and connect with other Indigenous artists from Canada.
Knowledge Keeper Joseph Naytowhow — a gifted Plains/Woodland Cree (nehiyaw) singer/songwriter, storyteller, and voice, stage and film actor from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation Band in Saskatchewan — opened ASKIY in a good way on September 2, followed by a keynote address from acclaimed artist and producer Samantha Crain.
This year’s participants include singer/songwriter Brandi Vezina, Anishinaabe and Nitstiapii artist Curtis Clear Sky, country singer/songwriter Desiree Dorion, singer/songwriter Ila Barker, Americana / roots artists Kyle McKearney, soul folk pop singer/songwriter Lola Parks, and folk rocker Mike Bern.
International music industry consultants working with the participants include Danny Keir and Sam Taylor of ENKI MUSIC (UK), Gabriela Urquiza of GlamRock Agency (Latin America), Hallie Anderson and Hana Mogulescu of We Are Rare Form (USA), Janika Reuter and Christian Holl Buhl of FACTORY 92 (Germany) and Stephen Green of SGC Group (Australia).
Speakers offering masterclasses on critical music business topics include Arts & Crafts’ Amy Eligh, Edwards Creative Law’s Burt Gidaro and Byron Pascoe and Michael Duboff, Honest Agency’s Callum Beattie, Music Publishers Canada’s Margaret McGuffin, MJ Entertainment Canada Inc.’s MJ Dandeneau, and Aye Aye Music’s Tim MacMiller.
Some of this year’s speakers will also be participating in On Track |Indigenous Music Business Basics, a parallel series of live stream workshops focused on entry level career fundamentals. Running Wednesday evenings in September via Facebook and YouTube, the webinars are free and open to all.
Launched in 2019, Indigenous Music West is part of the Indigenous Music Development Program at Manitoba Music, emphasizing export and business development for Indigenous artists and companies. Made possible by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Province of Manitoba, the program's goal is to deliver compelling and relevant programs to music entrepreneurs who identify as Indigenous from across Western Canada to strengthen business capacity and generate opportunities for export. Indigenous Music West has led export development activities in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and across Western Canada.
Joseph Naytowhow is a gifted Plains/Woodland Cree (nehiyaw) singer/songwriter, storyteller, and voice, stage and film actor from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation Band in Saskatchewan. As a child, Joseph was influenced by his grandfather’s traditional and ceremonial chants as well as the sounds of the fiddle and guitar. Today he is renowned for his unique style of Cree/English storytelling, combined with original contemporary music and traditional First Nations drum and rattle songs.
An accomplished performer, Joseph is the recipient of the 2006 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards Keeper of the Tradition Award and the 2005 Commemorative Medal for the Saskatchewan Centennial. In 2009 Joseph also received a Gemini Award for Best Individual or Ensemble Performance in an Animated Program or Series for his role in Wapos Bay series. That same year he was also awarded Best Emerging Male Actor at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival for his role in Run: Broken Yet Brave and won Best Traditional Male Dancer at John Arcand’s Fiddlefest in Saskatchewan. He has performed for the Prince of Wales, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan and many other notables. His demanding schedule continues to take him to conferences, symposia, festivals and art/research projects both nationally and internationally.
Samantha Crain is a Choctaw singer, songwriter, poet, producer, and musician from Oklahoma. She is a two-time Native American Music Award winner and winner of an Indigenous Music Award. Her genre spanning discography has been critically acclaimed by media outlets such as Rolling Stone, SPIN, Paste, No Depression, NPR, PRI, The Guardian, NME, Uncut, and others. She has toured extensively over the past 12 years nationally and internationally, presenting ambitious orchestrated shows with a band and intimate folk leaning solo performances. She has toured with First Aid Kit, Neutral Milk Hotel, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Avett Brothers, The Mountain Goats, Brandi Carlile, Langhorne Slim and many other bands and artists. With her new album, A Small Death, she continues her tradition of keeping things close to the heart and the ground by leaning into the fulfillment of affinity with an audience and the satisfaction of a song with a memorable melody and an honest story.
Brandi Vezina is a Winnipeg singer/songwriter whose authentic country roots are intertwined with rock and the blues. She is a natural born performer who comes from a musical Metis family. Her biggest inspirations include Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and Miranda Lambert.
Curtis Clear Sky
Anishinaabe and Nitstiapii artist Curtis Clear Sky is based out of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsliel Waututh territory in the city of Vancouver and leads his live band Curtis Clear Sky and the Constellationz. He released his album Indigifunk in 2019. The music consists of Hip-hop with Latin-Funk, Soul, Ska, Reggae & Blues. In June 2006 at the World Urban Forum in Vancouver Curtis was given a title of Messenger of Truth by the United Nations. The Messengers of Truth are recognized community based Hip-hop artists from around the world for their focus in community development. Curtis’ music has taken him to Aotearoa-New Zealand where he’s recorded and performed with Indigenous Maori artist’s including Horomoana Horo. Curtis has received mentorship with music industry veteran Robbe Hardnette who is a former background singer for the late Marvin Gaye of Motown Records. Curtis has also worked closely with Kat Hendrix who was played drums on a foundational Hip-hop sampled song “Apache”. Kat plays drums on Curtis’ Indigifunk album. Juno Award winning Mohawk bluesman Murray Porter is featured on the single Turtle Island released in 2019. Curtis is releasing new singles and a music video for the yet to be released song Our Home.
Desiree Dorion grew up a mile and a half from the grounds of Dauphin’s Countryfest, one of the biggest outdoor music festivals in Canada. As a little girl she would ride her bike there when the festival wasn’t on, climb up on the stage, and pretend to play to the thousands of fans that come to watch big country music acts. In 2014 her dream of playing the mainstage came true.
Desiree’s most recent release, “Sometimes I Drink,” was co-written with JUNO Award winner, Crystal Shawanda at her home in Nashville and produced by Chris Burke-Gaffney. It is a full circle song for Dorion as Crystal Shawanda is one of her musical heroes. It showcases her lighter side and serves as an anthem for women who want to let loose and shake off the day.
The JUNO nominee is a proud member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. She recently hosted the Achimotak series with the Canadian Country Music Association and is an artist ambassador with the Downie Wenjack Foundation
With soul and voice as smooth as warm honey, singer songwriter Ila Barker captures audiences with her sweet melodies and dynamic presence. Ila is of mixed Anishinaabe and settler heritage with roots running deep in the Manitoban prairies, seasoning her craft with rich history and powerful textures. Coming from a long line of storytellers, she fuses authentic and timeless notes creating moments of serenity and blissful escape. Ila has brought her craft to an array of national festivals and stages including the Regina Folk Festival, the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the sākihiwē festival. In the summer of 2019 Ila opened up a sold out show for Jeremy Dutcher at the Indian River Festival in PEI.
In February of 2020 Ila released the “Let Go” single, an atmospheric and stripped down collaboration with UK based artist Milan André that was recorded off the floor in one take in the northern Cree nation of Nemaska, Quebec. “Let Go” landed on the National Indigenous Music Countdown, and climbed up the charts for three months straight hitting the top 15. Currently Ila is in the planning stages of a future release.
Kyle McKearney is an Americana / Roots artist who is making an impressive debut with his new album "Down-Home". Recent 2x YYC Music Award nominee & Project Wild Top 12 selectee, Kyle's vibrant artistry has been turning heads around the industry in the short 6 months that he's had original music out. "Down-Home" (co-produced, and written by Kyle) impacts everywhere October 1st, and is being supported with a BC/AB
Lola Parks is an award-winning Soul Folk Pop singer-songwriter with a mission to achieve cultural brokerage through voice and song. She sings with an honesty that inspires her audience to dig deeper and share a genuine connection across diverse barriers.
Lola’s dangerous lyrics and seductive voice compel listeners of all ages to move closer in hopes of capturing every note and word. The music is boho chic, intimate, evocative, fun. She is a skillful and intelligent songwriter straddling genres, staying true to jazz roots while letting world pop sensibilities surface.
This female Indigenous “Most Outstanding Musician – Vocal Jazz" and “Female Songwriter of the Year,” has created a fiercely independent musical history entailing fronting a 17-piece big band, being sole lyricist/vocalist for folk rock’s Sonnenblume, recordings, collaborations, performing globally, leading Western Canada tours, TV/film/radio syncs, incl. CBC "The Early Edition" theme song, and for years staging her own show, LOLA PARKS.
2020 led to 11 FB live streams, premiering a new Indigenous platform, a 4th studio album, numerous peer assessments and new album No Apologies, feat. 2020 ISC semi-finalist “Freight Train,” which is a musical shotgun to your heart - out now.
Tobique First Nation, NB’s Award-Winning Indigenous Folk Rocker MIKE BERN Releases Debut Solo EP, Waponahkew
Tobique First Nation, NB-based, award-winning and 2018 Olympic Games-featured Indigenous singer/songwriter Mike Bern has released his debut solo EP Waponahkew — available now.
Meaning ‘Person of the Dawn,’ Waponahkew and its title track pay stunning homage and gratitude to Bern’s Waponahki Ancestors, while “First Mother draws on the book “The Red Man” for inspiration; the release’s single “Apatapasiq” honours the suffering and stories of residential school survivors — including those in his own family.
At three tracks on the release, Waponahkew wastes no time before showcasing Bern’s masterful roots within the genre set. Previously, he has sung in award-winning bands Kickin Krotch and District Avenue, the Indigenous Music Countdown chart-climbing single “First Mother,” and opened for Seaway, The Trews, One Bad Son, The Motorleague, and more.
Additionally, District Avenue’s music video for song “Revival” was featured at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Between his signature raspy rock vocals harmonizing with traditional folk acoustic melodies, Bern doesn’t leave his penchant to pepper in a hint of Southern Gospel behind; crediting influences in the likes of Chris Otepka, Frankie Miller, and Ben Schneider, it’s of little wonder Mike Bern’s music exudes a purity and pain throughout its soundscape.
Danny Keir ENKI MUSIC (UK)
Danny has worked within the UK music industry since 2005. Initially as part of the management team for Tiny Dancers (Parlaphone / Warner Chappell) and Slow Club (Moshi Moshi / Downtown). Danny Joined Moshi Moshi Records as the Singles Club label Manager in 2008 where he managed releases by Florence & The Machine, Lykke Li, The Drums and Kindness amongst others. Alongside working for the most credible indie label of the time Danny was managing artists in the art punk scene; The Heebie Jeebies & Mad Colours and later signed cinematic elecro-pop group, Glitches (Kissability / Sentric).
As the artist responsibilities grew Danny was invited to join independent artist management company Blackbook Management where he took on the day-today management for indie rock giants Razorlight and was able to spend time developing brand new teenage singer songwriter Lucy Rose. Lucy was discovered performing at open mic nights across London and clearly showcased an early talent for songwriting and performance. Between 2009 and 2012 Danny built a new model for developing talent within the burgeoning digital landscape as music distribution became accessible and promotion more affordable. Danny started a record label and self-release model that enabled Lucy Rose to gain the attention of the major media in the UK and quickly became one of the most desired signings for labels and publishers. Lucy signed to Columbia Records and Universal Publishing in 2012 and between 2012 and 2105 released 2 albums. During this time Danny also worked with The Noisettes (Universal /Transgressive) , Johnny Borrell (Virgin/EMI / Sony ATV) and Ghostcat (Universal / Zadig & Voltaire).
Sam Taylor, ENKI MUSIC (UK)
In 2008 Sam began his career in music working in a London recording studio for Grammy Nominated Producer Andy Chatterley. Through this work, he started to gain traction as a session musician and subsequently toured extensively with various acts, appearing at major festivals, on national radio and television. He has worked with artists around the world and co-written on numerous releases.
In 2015 and 2016 Sam started a new role as a Project Manager for the Artist and Label services arm of Sound Diplomacy where he was given the opportunity to work with artists from all over the world and introduce them to the UK and European markets. Sam left Sound Diplomacy for the role of Project Manager at Hudson Records, an independent record label specialising in folk, indie and world music. The label achieved some major successes during this period including a BBC Folk Award for Karine Polwart’s album ‘ A Pocket of Wind Resistance’. In 2019 Sam moved into the commercial sector working as a music consultant for clients such as Brewdog (multinational brewery and pub chain) and British Land (UK property company, with a portfolio of high quality commercial property).
Gabriela UrquizaGlamRock Agency (Latin America)
Gabriela Urquiza is the Director of Glamrock Agency, a show business company from Mexico City with offices in Argentina. The agency is one of the pioneers in artist development, marketing strategies, booking and management. Gabriela have been working in international management and booking with several successful artists such as multi Grammy Awards winner Calle 13, Plastilina Mosh, Kinky, Draco Rosa, La Beriso y Bersuit Vergarabat and also works with Canadian Acts, developing their careers in Latin America: Afrotronix, Tourist Company, Rayannah, and Elijah Bekk. Gabriela created Mercado (a division of Glamrock Agency) a merchandising and experiences company which worked on the merch licenses of some of the biggest artists such as: Paul Mc Cartney, Metallica, Beyonce and Guns &Roses. Glamrock Agency created two online festivals, Festival Glamrock (Argentina/Canada Edition) which reached 20k views per day and Festival Cardinal (the first Online Continental Festival) with 60 artists from 13 countries that had 93k views during the three days edition.
Hallie Anderson, We Are Rare Form (USA)
Hallie Anderson began her career at AEG Live NW and then moved to New York in 2013 to work in tour marketing at FoundationsArtist Management. She joined Mom + Pop in 2014, where she spent nearly seven years as Head of Marketing,rising to Co-GM alongside Jessica Page in early 2019. During her time at M+P, Hallie helped run global marketing and release strategy for many successful campaigns including Courtney Barnett, Flume, Alice Merton, AlinaBaraz, Sleater-Kinney and many others.
Hana Mogulescu, We Are Rare Form (USA)
Hana Mogulescu started at Beggars Group in NY in 2010, where she rose from an A&R scout to Senior Product Manager. During her nine years at Beggars she oversaw campaigns from artists across all six of their labels, including The xx,Queens of the Stone Age, King Krule, Sampha, Perfume Genius, FKA Twigs, Jungle, and many more. In early 2018,she moved over to September Management as VP of Marketing and Label Manager, where she helped launch theSeptember Recordings label and ran the global marketing campaign for Rex Orange County’s "Pony" alongside company founder and owner, Jonathan Dickens.
Janika Reuter, FACTORY 92 (Germany)
As International Relations and Marketing Manager at Hamburg based PR and marketing agency FACTORY 92, Janika Reuter helps international artists and festivals unravel the German market and develop their export strategies accordingly. She oversees both international and national campaigns within the fields of B2B and B2C promotion, and clients such as Reeperbahn Festival, SZIGET Festival, and various European music export offices. She holds a master’s degree in Management of Creative Business Processes and previously worked for record label Trickser Tonträger, freelanced as PR coordinator and worked at Roskilde-based agency B Group (DK).
Stephen Green, SGC Group (Australia)
Clocking up 20 years in music marketing, Stephen Green and his company The SGC Music Group have created a hub for music marketing including PR companies, a digital agency, the successful websites Purple Sneakers and Countrytown and 24/7 metal radio station The Faction. SGC is also the Australian representative of industry standard radio tools Radio Monitor and Play MPE. The group’s PR projects include Queensland Music Festival, National Indigenous Music Awards, BIGSOUND, Skinnyfish Music, MJR Touring, John Butler Trio, Didirri Sofi Tukker and more.
Amy Eligh, Arts & Crafts
Amy Eligh began her career in Publishing at Casablanca Media / Red Brick Songs in the Copyright and Royalties department, before moving into Creative – where she successfully stationed herself for over a decade before moving to Arts & Crafts Music. Within her role as Director of Publishing & Licensing, Amy pitches large-scale catalogue of songs for film, trailers, advertising, video games, and TV (US & Canada) as well as oversees the day to day within the department. In addition to pitching, Amy organizes showcases for clients / songwriters with TV networks, music supervisors, and advertisers. She also develops new writers, arranges co-writing sessions, coordinates and hosts song-writing camps, and scouts for talent. At Arts & Crafts Music, Amy works with Broken Social Scene, Old Man Saxon, Marcus Paquin, Dan Mangan, Ollie, Sarah MacDougall, The Northern Pikes and many more. Amy is also on the Board of Directors for Music Publishers Canada and Vice-Chair on the FACTOR Board.
Burt Gidaro, Edwards Creative Law
Burt is a passionate entertainment lawyer with extensive music industry, film, television, OTT, and agency/marketing law experience. He began his entertainment career in the business affairs department of Breakthrough Films & Television. He was then recruited by EMI Music Canada to serve as the Head of Business Affairs. He subsequently served in the business affairs department of Universal Music (Canada) and later served as General Counsel to PolyGram Entertainment’s Canadian affiliate (“Once Were Brothers, Robbie Robertson and The Band”), as well as Head of Operations for New Metric Media (“Letterkenny”). Burt’s career has been focused on the cultivation of relationships and building partnerships through growth-driving deals. He is also a musician and a lover of film and television, no matter what medium delivers them.
Byron Pascoe, Edwards Creative Law
Byron Pascoe is an entertainment lawyer with Edwards Creative Law. Byron focuses on music law and works with recording artists, producers, managers, music service businesses and festivals. Before law school, he was a television and new media producer. Based in Ottawa, Byron works with clients across Canada. In Ottawa, he organizes the monthly music professional development series Independent Music Business. He’s also a board member of CityFolk and MEGAPHONO, and was awarded the Impact Award at the inaugural Ottawa Music Awards.
Michael Duboff, Edward’s Creative Law
Michael Duboff is a Canadian entertainment lawyer with a professional focus on film, television, immigration, and litigation. He has worked with a variety of artists helping to facilitate projects, performance opportunities locally and across borders, and organizational matters. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Michael’s practice spans across Manitoba where he carries on clients and representation in addition to the firm’s primary residence in Ontario. Prior to working as a lawyer, Michael worked professionally in both the music and film/tv industries, as a musician in an alternative rock band and as a freelance director/writer/producer in Toronto and Vancouver. His passion for the arts and artists helps drive his practice and makes him grateful to be able to continue to work for and with the vibrant arts communities.
Callum Beattie, Honest Agency
As a teen, Callum remembers watching television commercials thinking, “I could do better than that.” After high school, he decided to put his money where his mouth was and he entered the Faculty of Commerce marketing program. It wasn’t television, but it was a step in the right direction. He excelled at marketing strategy and consumer behaviour, connecting the dots between what, how and why we buy.
Since starting his first agency 20+ years ago, Callum has turned his attention to brand strategy, helping clients accelerate their growth through proven strategic branding principles. With a focus on nurturing relationships with principled, purpose-driven organizations, he hopes to affect the type of change that will see good companies thrive in an ever-changing, ever-challenging marketplace.
When he’s not helping his clients build transformational brand strategies, he can usually be found delivering impactful workshops, speaking engagements and one-on-one consultation.
Margaret McGuffin, Music Publishers Canada
Margaret McGuffin is the CEO of Music Publishers Canada. She loves diving into research and policy development related to the creative industries and has worked with a large number of music industry trade organizations and collective management organizations. She currently is Chair of the Board at Work In Culture and a member of the advisory board at MusiCounts. She is also always happy to talk to you about copyright or how music publishers are leading the way in making sure Canadian songs are heard around the world.
MJ Dandeneau, MJ Entertainment Canada Inc.
MJ DANDENEAU is a Metis woman of French and Anishinaabe descent from the Red River Nation. Her mother comes from the Red River Valley (Ile de la Cross Nation) and her father comes from Penetanguishene, Treaty 61. She is an accomplished bassist, director and producer. Through her business, MJ Entertainment Canada Inc, she has worked and toured with various artists worldwide for the past 16 years. Nationally recognized with recording awards such as JUNO, WCMA, CFM she has recently been awarded the Indigenous Full Circle Award, one of the Manitoba Arts Council prestige prizes in the Arts.
MJ’s extensive music career includes booking agent for Europe and Australia, artistic & musical director for various bands and artist, sound designer and composer for various theatre productions and films. She has assisted artists in music career development and serves as a connecting point into the international touring arena. MJ, continues to compose for theater companies such as Royal MTC, MTYP, Prairie Theatre Exchange, Theatre for young people, Sarasvati Theatre and Cercle Molière. MJ’s key focus and passion are supporting and empowering indigenous artists in successfully navigating the national and international market.
Tim MacMiller, Aye Aye Music
Aye Aye Music was founded by Tim MacMillar in 2019. Tim is a member of the band Protest The Hero. In addition to being a guitar player, he was always the business liaison to their business management and eventually became the day to day bookkeeper for the band. He has also co-founded the publishing company Sheet Happens Publishing and worked in the business management division of Six Shooter Inc.
As an active artist, he brings a different perspective to the business management field. Most accountants haven’t had the real world experience of what it’s like to be in a band and know what it takes to sustain a living doing so. This experience allows him to have a critical understanding of where a musician should be earning and spending and help to plan on how to keep the business running efficiently.