On a sunny Saturday morning in March, a girl rushed into the basement of an old repurposed office building. Inside the open space, a speaker had already started their presentation while participants sat in a semi-circle facing a large projector screen resting on the brick wall. The topic of the symposium, hosted by Coalition Canada and Youth4Music, was Youth Leadership in Music. That girl was me.
Ever since I’d started performing more at cafés and restaurants around the city, I noticed that many live music venues required performers to be at least 19 years-old and have extensive performance experience. So, I had the idea of hosting a small concert featuring some of my friends who were all, like me, young, upcoming and talented musicians looking for more performance opportunities. I was inspired by another group of teenagers who had hosted their own show in one of the city’s parks. Their show was only one day long and many youth musicians competed for the limited performance spots. At the symposium, I had a chance to talk to the founders of that show and they gave me some advice on how I could start my own show. From there, I began forming a team, making a plan and looking for possible venues.
I was lucky enough to have connections with a new development complex called Downtown Markham, which hosts its own music festival every summer. So, after a few email exchanges, they agreed to give us a three-hour slot every Saturday afternoon in August. They would provide the stage and production crew and we just had to find performers to fill the slots. That’s how the Youth Showcase Concert Series was born.
When I began thinking about the mission for Youth Showcase Concert, I wanted to make it different from any other music festival I knew. A lot of the time, music festivals are grouped by genre, “Toronto Jazz Festival”, “Boots and Hearts”, “Bluesfest”, you get the idea. Our main focuses were on diversity, inclusion, giving back to the community and, of course, featuring youth musicians. So, we opened up applications to all artists and bands under the age of 25 from any genre. We had submissions from many talented performers including eight-piece funk bands, country singer-songwriters, rappers and even a DJ. In total, we received over sixty submissions and had to narrow it down to twenty. When selecting the performers, we particularly looked for acts that performed original music, were female, or represented a variety of different ethnic backgrounds. For me, it was so important to create a diverse and representative lineup because the current music industry is still predominantly male, especially in certain genres and roles such as producers. The music industry should reflect our society as a whole and therefore, should feature a wide variety of people from different backgrounds. As an Asian, female producer myself, it was so important for me to showcase the diverse new wave of young talent in the Greater Toronto Area. I also hoped that through the festival, younger musicians could see themselves represented in the music industry and that they belong here. There has been a longstanding notion that art is elitist but music is a universal language and therefore, it should be universally represented.
Whenever I tell people that I founded a music festival, they’re always very surprised by the accomplishments we’ve had. But it was a struggle at first and a huge learning curve. Since the team was mainly run by my best friend, Natasha Steele, and I, we had to manage everything and everyone from the volunteers to the performers. There were a lot of times when I was running around trying to get everything sorted while also trying to listen to each performance. It can get quite overwhelming but I always keep a calm mind so that I can focus and remember everything that I need to do. There were also times when we didn’t know how many people would show up to watch the show and we stood in the burning sun handing out brochures to people who walked by, hoping they would stay and watch the performances. But the most rewarding thing is when everything falls into place and I can see the audience enjoying the performances.
On May 1st, we opened submissions for our 2020 Summer Concert Series which will be held in August. However, due to COVID-19 we are still unsure of whether we will be able to host live, in-person shows or if we’ll have to livestream it. Regardless, we want to continue to bring the community together through music and showcase youth talents so we’ve decided to continue the festival as planned. For more information about the festival, you can visit https://www.youthshowcaseconcert.com/.
This was a guest post by Senaida Ng.
Toronto-born, SENAIDA, is a classically-trained pianist, singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist. She has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Roy Thomson Hall, Nathan Phillips Square, Koerner Hall, Indie Week, the Burdock and the Downtown Markham Music Festival. She is not confined by any genre, writing and performing indie pop, alternative, classical, jazz, and electronic music. SENAIDA has released three singles and is currently working on her debut EP, First Love. She also has a music and bubble tea review blog called Tea n’ Tunes.
With COVID-19 slowly lifting, many within society are searching for things that uplift their spirits rather than depress their souls after being overwhelmingly bombarded by the press. So, it is an inspiring thing when society can just put on a record to untwist themselves from being tightly wound. “I Don’t Know Where My Home Is” is just that type of song.
“I Don’t Know Where My Home Is” is a song by Liokness – a Folk/Rock/Pop artist from the City of Angels (LA) who is writing music that is testifying and meditative. Her latest track opens with a nice R&B piano chord that soon becomes joined by wide-ranging percussions and a vocal that is strong and airy.
The overall vocal on the track is deep in its register, yet, the catchy, fun-loving, FX, guitars, and synths create an I-HEART-THE-WORLD type of hook which is 100% liberating!
Liokness’ threading theme is about searching for a home with “home” being a physical destination or residence, a state of mind, or a statement of the heart. She sings, reminiscing on the times of old, the world once beautiful, now I’ve got no control of where my life will go . . . will do anything to have you by my side . . . Oh I don’t know where my home is anymore. This theme makes for a song with a far-reaching arm that will connect with anyone on any continent. The “O” alliteration in the hook makes this song sticks to you like a tattoo. Great technique!
Liokness makes sure to keep it quite simplistic with the FX, but creatively spares no expense. That splash of POP created by the echoes like Annie Lennox makes the song just float. Moreover, Liokness’ voice sits right in the middle of Amy Winehouse and Katy Perry giving her a unique prowess. On this track, she is subduing her powerhouse voice by being tender in some spots yet forceful in others showcasing her range.
Liokness is leaving some signature footprints ladies and gents – best to keep track of her to see where else her music takes us!
Written by: Lakisha Deneen Skinner
Lakisha "KiKi" Skinner is a USA-based Indie Music journalist and freelance writer who has been crowned a "word-crafting artist" by her global following of Independent Music artists. She is a part of an Alt. Rock band and is the owner of Klef Notes entertainment business blog. Lakisha has been the editor for a Backstreet Boy and has written pieces for Dr. Jimmy Star. If she is not crafting words, you can find her buying another pair of shoes to place inside of her over-cluttered closet. You can read her work at www.KlefNotes.com and follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/The0riginalKiKi.
#WCM is so excited to be hosting our first webinar with Jammber on Tuesday, May 12th at 1PM EST. Here to tell you more about what Jammber is, how it can help artists and more about our event, is their Regional Community Outreach Lead, Rachel Tripp!
What is Jammber?
Jammber is a payment and ownership platform for the global entertainment industry. The team comprises a diverse group of music creators, business and tech experts - all with one shared mission - to Make Way For Music. At Jammber, we create beautifully designed tools that simplify the burdens of a complicated industry, so creatives can freely express themselves and easily collect all of their revenue streams. Our goal is to put more time and money into the lives of creatives while supporting their art.
The company is based in Chicago and Nashville, and is a graduate of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Project Music Accelerator Program. They currently serve thousands of clients across 15 countries with their Enterprise White Label Split Payments, DIY Split Payments and Global Publishing and Recording Administration services. Some of the projects powered by Jammber include sessions from Paul McCartney, U2, and One Republic, spanning genres from country to hip-hop.
How can Jammber help artists, especially at this time, earn money with live performances on hold?
During this uncertain season, there is more time than ever to invest in yourself and seek education as a music creator. Live performance opportunities may be scarce over the coming months, but there are other music revenue streams to take advantage of during this season. That’s where Jammber comes in!
Our mission as a company is to design beautiful tools that streamline the administration process making global collections and payments seamless among creative teams.
If you want to learn more about our administration services and qualify for first access, please fill out this quick questionnaire here.
As an independent creator, managing ownership and royalties becomes your responsibility, and we’re here to help ensure you collect all the money you deserve so you can continue to share your musical brilliance with the world. Since there are various types of royalties and different collecting societies for each, it’s easy to leave money uncollected. This is the time to really understand your music data and where your money is coming from. In our webinar we will go into the different royalties types every independent music creator should know and be collecting .
#1 Tip all Artists Should Know About Royalties?
The world of music administration and royalties can seem like the wild wild west, so it’s important to do your research and ensure you collect all revenue streams. At the end of the day, you and your music are a business!
The #1 thing to understand as any music creator is that there are two different copyrights or parts of a song: the composition and the sound recording. Knowing the difference between the two, the different collection societies for each, is the first step in understanding how to make money as an artist and songwriter.
The Composition is the song’s music and lyrics, and is associated with music publishing. Once a composition is registered to a Performing Rights Organization ( a PRO is an organization that helps songwriters and publishers get paid for the usage of their music by collecting Public Performance Royalties), a composition is assigned an ISWC (a unique identifier for the composition) to help collect these royalties.
A Sound Recording is the artist or performer's voice, and is a recorded performance. A recording will be assigned an ISRC (a unique identifier for sound recordings) by a distributor or other approved registrant to help collect royalties.
A perfect example of the difference between the two copyrights is the song “I Will Always Love You.” The song was made famous by Whitney Houston’s recorded version, but in fact, the songwriter and composition owner is Dolly Parton. There can be thousands of different sound recordings associated with one composition.
Want to learn more?
The tip above is just scratching the surface of royalty collection! We invite you to dive in deeper with us and join our educational webinar “The Basics of Music Copyright & Royalties,” on Tuesday, May 12th at 1PM EST. RSVP HERE!
We’ll simplify a complex topic and share how technology can help #MakeWayForMusic. Come with questions because the Jammber team can’t wait to dive in and simplify the ways to monetize your music!
We’re about two months into lock-down, live shows have been cancelled, many artists can’t record from home and because of social distancing have not been in the studio to record. Longtime #WomenCrush Music ambassador aka Portland’s Queen of Pop, Kingsley - is not letting that stop her from showing off what she’s been working on. In this Q & A celebrating the release of her newest single, “I’m Fine”, learn about she shifted her mindset & put the needs of her followers first, in order to keep momentum and show appreciation to her supporters.
Can you tell us a little more about your newest project, Crying on Holidays?
Crying On Holidays will be a 15 track album releasing SOME TIME either in fall or early Jan 2021 (depending on when I can get in the studio to finish tracking my vocals). This project is everything you feel during the holiday season in a relationship. The good, the bad, and the ugly crier. I worked strictly with Portland producers on this one, and I am very excited to showcase the pop talent PDX has to offer.
What was the original timeline/plan for the release and how did COVID-19 affect it?
Everything has been to shits for this project. I got fully funded in Feb via Kickstarter (shout of to the 105 donors, love ya’ll) and went into pre-production/demoing out 20 at the start of March with a plan to pick the top 15 and do final vocal tracking in April. And so now, I have the 15 songs I want but I am unable to get in the studio to track.
What are you doing to keep your followers & supporters engaged since you won’t be able to release on time?
Honestly, the first 5 weeks I went into a hibernation mood, I stayed TF off social media for my sanity. It’s hard seeing people release things when you LITERALLY CANNOT! I worked on my mediation practice and read the self-help books I’ve been meaning to read but never had time. After that, I chatted with a few folks about if I should or shouldn’t go live and how to keep my fans engaged for the time being. It all came down to the same things, which I also do, put out meaningful content. Don’t just go live to go live.
What made you think of releasing the songs as demos and recording videos along with it?
This cool idea came from chopping it up with my bestie - releasing the raw version of songs is something special and something folks aren’t doing. I remember listening to Beyonce’s demo version of ‘Sorry’ and I was like ‘damn, there are sooooo many different elements added to it but hearing the skeleton version just brings you closer to the artist.’ It gives you a deep scope of how they create. For my fans, hearing the song as a demo allows them to experience the song in so many different ways they would have never gotten the chance to if I just released the final product.
What is the name of the video you are releasing today and what is the story behind the song?
Today I am releasing ‘I’m Fine’ which will be the first single I release prior to the entire album. This one was produced by my band-mate Jack Mortensen, it has a Chicago house style with a jazzy vocal layer on top, I know my dad is shedding a tear of joy just listening to it right now! This song hits home for A LOT of ladies - who hasn’t said ‘I’m fine’?!!? This song is about letting the guy who broke your heart know you are going to be alright, so step out the way and let me find something bigger (wink, wink) and better!!
What do you hope to get out of releasing the demo videos?
Giving my fans content that means something, allowing them to connect with me on a deeper, more intimate level. Showing songs as a demo is something incredibly vulnerable for me. I hate giving out songs when they are the final product, so I hope they love the beginning stages of the songs just as much as I do.
What advice can you give to our #WCM songwriters who might be struggling to find ways to connect with their fans during COVID-19?
Ask yourself what you would need as a fan if the roles were opposite and roll with it. Your fans really reflect and represent you. Be creative, everyone is LIVE, what else can you do?
How can your fans support you right now?
Keep streaming my tunes ya’ll, add them to any Rona playlist that you have! Keep sending me pics of rocking my merch around your crib!
Do you have any live streams coming up?
My first one (finally, some have said) will be on Friday, May 8th on FB/IG on Roseland Theater’s (@roselandpdx) socials. Doing Crying On Holidays (Demo) Live Stream where I am going to chat about the songs and share some funny ass stories. Bring some champagne and come hang with ya girl. xx
Watch “I’m Fine” below and keep up with Kingsley at @yokingsleymus on social media and learn more at https://www.iamkingsley.com/.
Dear #WomenCrush Music community,
First and foremost, I hope that you and your families have stayed safe throughout this time of uncertainty and crisis. When this all first started, I’m sure none of us expected the impact it would have on all of our lives, whether it be losing jobs, not being able to see friends and family, putting projects on hold, etc. We’re all feeling it.
Here at #WomenCrush Music, our small but mighty team of volunteers is doing the best that we can to quickly put together initiatives to help our community. Over the last four weeks, we have hosted weekly Instagram Live showcases featuring artists from our nationwide community, formed partnerships with bigger brands to get our artists in front of their followers and have taken on more contributing writers so that we can feature more artist releases and think pieces on our blog #TheCrush. Starting this month, we're rolling out a webinar series in order to educate our songwriters on ways they can be making money during the pandemic. Our first event “The Basics of Music Copyright & Royalties” will be on Tuesday, May 12th at 1 PM EST in partnership with Jammber (RSVP here). We’ll also be continuing our Supporting Female Artists conversation series on the Quilt platform, and finding other ways to bring inspiration to our community.
Today is #GivingTuesdayNow - a new global day of giving and unity as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. Pre-COVID-19, we had our pitch decks ready to send - to many companies who have now had to let go of their employees and are also facing financial challenges right now. We cannot take donations at the door at live shows and we want to keep our virtual events free to be able to make the most impact. Our budget is exhausted and we need help to continue putting together ways to fulfill our mission.
As we all are facing this global pandemic, generosity is what can bring us together. #GivingTuesdayNow emphasizes opportunities to give back to communities and causes in safe ways that allow for social connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing. If you’re not in the position to give (even the smallest amount helps), please support us by showing us some love on social media or forward this link to a friend who would be interested in making a tax-deductible donation to help create opportunities for rising women songwriters. Donate HERE.
We appreciate your ongoing support & as always, my virtual door is always open for ideas, advice, etc. You can contact me at email@example.com. Thank you & stay safe!
Ashley K. Stoyanov
Founder & CEO of #WomenCrush Music
LiWhile a little nontraditional, we've allowed Allison Leah to do a guest post #FeatureFriday to release her new song "We Can Still Sing'. We believe Allison's message behind the tune is inspiring, beautiful and what we all need right now - a little light in this time of worldwide darkness. Here is her story:
My name is Allison Leah and I am a folk-pop singer-songwriter based in NYC. I’m thrilled to share my new single, “We Can Still Sing” with you through #TheCrush. I wrote this song specifically about the COVID-19 pandemic to spread positivity in the face of hardship.
On March 12th, I was in Nashville, TN excited to head to Louisville, Kentucky to kick off my spring tour the next day. When I woke up on March 13th, the tour was canceled.
At first, I was sad, scared, angry, and confused. With nowhere else to go, I drove straight home to NYC. After a day or two, the gravity of the situation set in, and I refocused my energy to try and find a silver lining. I challenged myself to write a song every day to keep myself creative.
As I sat down to write on March 16th, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw one of the many viral videos of people singing from their balconies in Italy. For the first time in days, I felt a sense of unity and purpose. I started focusing on what actually matters: love, hope, kindness, and family. I had this in mind as I sat down with my guitar, and “We Can Still Sing” spilled out.
The night after I wrote the song, I recorded it through the Voice Memo app on my phone and texted it to my parents. Right after I did, my dad called me and suggested that I release it. He said that he loved the message and that the world needs some positivity right now.
The recording process for this song was very unique and ended up reflecting the themes it was written about. My dad, Jon Altschiller, and I came up with the arrangement and he produced it. I sang the lead vocal, tracked the guitar, piano, and bass parts, and my whole family did percussion. I even had my siblings sing background vocals! Usually, when we create music, there is a studio, a team, and other people to bounce ideas off of. This time, it was a living room, a couple of mics, and a family.
To bring the process full circle, my friend Noah Chichester lives in Spain and has been performing concerts out of his window, just like the folks in the viral video that inspired me in the first place. As you listen, you will hear a chorus of voices, including Noah’s, as heard from the windows of A Coruña, Spain.
“We Can Still Sing” is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, and all music platforms. Listen below!
Connect with Allison Leah @allisonleahmusic on all social media platforms, and visit allisonleahmusic.com for more information.
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