Haida Gwaii’s award-winning singer Carsen Gray counts blessings in her latest single ‘Sah ‘Laana’

Hailing from Haida Gwaii, B.C., Carsen Gray is a Haida Indigenous and mixed descent award-winning singer/songwriter.

Earlier this year Carsen released the official music video for her latest single ‘Sah ‘Laana’. The lyrics, supported by the beats of Vancouver-based producer Vago, thank God for the beauty of the land on Haida Gwaii and the blessings Carsen counts in her life, including her four-year-old son Matisse and one-year-old daughter Josette.

The accompanying music video, directed by Patrick Shannon’s InnoNative company and sponsored by the Taking It Global non-governmental organization, features visuals of Gray surrounded by nature and family.

Carsen Gray – Sah ‘Laana (Official Music Video)

Carsen’s early career took off when she became a regional finalist in the CBC 2015 Searchlight contest leading her to the creation of her debut self-titled album, released in 2017. Following the debut release of her singles, “Supernatural” and “Wanna See You” reached number one on the NCI FM Indigenous Music Countdown.

That same year, Carsen was awarded “Best New Artist” presented by SiriusXM, at the 2017 Indigenous Music Awards. Since then Carsen has performed at National Aboriginal Day for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and JunoFest Vancouver the following year.


Photo by Liz Rosa 

An unstoppable force with her soulful lyrics, captivating voice, and energetic sound, Carsen proves to be paving the way as an artist infusing Pop with Trap, Indigenous sounds, R&B and Soul.

Listen to Carsen’s music on Spotify and learn more about her here.

Krystle Dos Santos creates community through her daily Feed My Soul streams

Every morning at 10:00AM PST, Krystle Dos Santos hosts an Instagram Live morning conversation, Feed My Soul, where she connects and creates a community with artists, musicians, and creatives in Vancouver and across Canada. We invite you to listen and engage by sharing. You can tune into her daily chats here on her Instagram page.

 

Krystle Dos Santos is a Western Canadian Music Award-winning blues, jazz and soul singer based in Vancouver with Guyanese roots. She has been performing for more than a decade across Canada and is known for her powerful voice and infectious warmth, pairing original soul music with beloved Motown classics. With a voice that is commanding, powerful and rich with talent, her music, inspired by classic and neo-soul combined with contemporary hip-hop and R&B elements, is executed brilliantly. It’s simultaneously elegant, bold and sensual similar to modern legends Erykah Badu and Ms. Lauryn Hill. Her performances are mesmerizing; she sings with sheer heart-wrenching dominion about falling in love, heartbreak and struggle. Her approach to music is unmistakably genuine.

 

Buried Alive by Krystle Dos Santos (2019)

Released earlier from her album, BLOOM|BURN, Buried Alive is a call-to-action awareness video about domestic violence. Directed by Thomas Affolter with co-collaborators, Dixon Transition Society, Buried Alive brings to light the harsh realities that many people face in abusive relationships, with the message that “you are not alone”.

 

Krystle Dos Santos

 

YES MAMA, A Tribute to all Mothers by Missy D

This Mother’s Day, Missy D released a video for YES MAMA, a tribute to all mothers. This physically-distanced music video will leave you dancing.

 

YES MAMA Artistic Team
Written by Missy D
Mixed and Mastered by David Tallarico
Beats by Mantra

Directors: Alexander Farah and Lawrence Le Lam
Cinematographer: Leonardo Harim
Production Designer: Elizabeth Cairns
Colourist: Tomasz Wagner
Production Company: Wallop Film

Stream, Search and Submit Live Made-in-B.C. Events on Showcase BC

Introducing Showcase BC, a new relief program and online content hub. The Showcase BC program provides immediate support in the form of micro-grants to eligible emerging and established B.C. musicians who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by the Province of British Columbia, this program will be administered by Creative BC and focuses on live-streaming, songwriting and professional development.

 

 

Online performances by recipients will be free and available to the public via the new hub that aggregates access to streaming events, showcasebc.ca, and through the hashtag #ShowcaseBC.

Creative BC will immediately offer grants to all previously eligible Amplify BC applicants, including those who applied for Amplify BC funds through Music BC and First Peoples’ Cultural Council programs, so artists can start creating at home.

Those from the interactive and digital media, motion picture, music and sound recording and publishing industries are welcome to submit their virtual events to Showcase BC to feature and promote their online event in the calendar.

Celebrate International Women’s Day at Let’s Hear It!


Mamarudegyal MTHC

On March 7th, Music BC and Cushy Entertainment are hosting a live showcase in celebration of International Women’s Day. The line-up features Turunesh, Mamarudegyal MTHC,  Missy D, DJ Denise and special guest host Tonye. This event is brought to us in part by Music BC’s Let’s Hear It! showcases.


Tonye

The showcase series offers a unique chance for artists to establish a sense of community by connecting with fans and members of the music industry through live performances and meaningful networking experiences. Let’s Hear It! champions the development of emerging artists and encourages inclusion and diversity in BC’s music industry.

 

 


Missy D (bottom left) Turunesh (top right)

Music BC is a non-profit society serving the British Columbia music industry by providing essential information, education, funding, advocacy, showcasing, and networking opportunities. Music BC is dedicated to developing the spirit, growth, and sustainability of the BC music community by supporting artists of all genres and music professionals throughout the industry.

Let’s Hear It! Live is supported by Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia, The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Recordings (FACTOR) and the Government of Canada.

Purchase tickets here.

The B.C. Artists nominated for 2020 JUNO Awards

 

Canada’s West Coast sweeps up multiple JUNO Award nominations for Canada’s biggest night in music.

 

Among the nominees are namesake and rising talent from British Columbia. View the full list of British Columbian nominees below.


Steve Bays

Producer of the Year

bbno$
Juno Fan Choice, Breakthrough Artist of the Year

Bryan Adams
Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Adult Contemporary Album of the Year

Michael Buble
Album of the Year

Black Mountain
Alternative Album of the Year

Ben Kaplan 
Jack Richardson Producer of the Year

Dan Bremnes 
Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year

Ryan Worsley 
Recording Engineer of the Year

Bria Skonberg
Vocal Jazz Album of the Year 

Chor Leoni
Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral

Felix Cartal & Lights
Dance Recording of the Year

Johnny Jansen
Music Video of the Year

April Verch
Traditional Roots Album of the Year

 

The Juno Awards take place in March 2020 in Saskatoon. For the full list of nominees, visit the official JUNO website.

Rob Thomson, Music Curator, Full Circle

Rob Thomson has been playing music since 2003, yet music has been a part of his life since he was born. His dad’s a musician, his sister’s a musician, and music has always been in their house. 

As a teenager, Rob didn’t talk much with his dad, and so music became a way for them to connect. “I remember seeing him up on stage, this long-haired, Native dude playing guitar, and realizing, my dad’s pretty cool! I guess it was a natural progression to form a family band.”

Music has always been a way for Rob to connect with his heritage. Music helped him find bits and pieces of his culture, and it showed him that music could help tell a story. Rob believes that the story is growing. “When I started to play music, it was about myself. Then, it was about the people around me and my life experiences. Now that I’m in my 30s, with a daughter, I see now that it’s also about making a better world.”

When Rob first stepped into Full Circle more than ten years ago, it was as a performer. When the Olympics came to town, he had the opportunity to play in the house band at the Roundhouse Community Centre, in Vancouver. He was then asked to take on the role of music curator. He immediately connected with Creative BC to get some funding to do the kind of work he envisioned. “I had all of these ideas I wanted to do, and Creative BC helped make them a reality. I started to organize showcases and workshops, cultural training and outreach, all the while working on building relationships and collaborations. All of these things came together.”

When Rob first started teaching workshops, he wasn’t sure it was for him. “When I first started facilitating, it was the hardest thing I ever did. I was afraid I was inadequate. I was mostly self-taught, and was going into situations I knew nothing about.”

Rob now runs workshops around the province and beyond, providing resources, training, and best practices to Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists. For Rob, this path is one of constant learnings. He is always learning from his mentors who share with him what he did well and what he can do differently.

According to Rob, the best leaders are those who are compassionate and understanding while also holding people accountable. “When I lead a workshop, it’s a big balance of supporting people while also holding them responsible. I want to give people agency and then see what they can do.”

Rob believes the conversation around reconciliation has created a groundswell, as people are becoming more and more aware of Indigenous history and culture. “We are rich with artists and Indigenous music, people just didn’t know about us for many years. Now we have a studio space to create and to gather, and that’s been huge. We are starting to see the next wave in Indigenous music, built on the years and years of work that programmers and artists have done.”

In order to best support Indigenous artists, Rob believes we have to slow down. “We need time to develop healthy relationships, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Music connects all of us together, and can make us stronger. I didn’t realize that the work I do is community-based, that it’s grassroots, but it is. It’s the seed of development and a reflection of what’s going on in the world around us.”

Rob is a curator for Full Circle: First Nations Performance. They are hosting Talking Stick Festival from February 18-29.

An Interview with Rae Spoon, Musician, Author and Founder, Owner of Coax Records

“It’s important to lead by being open to learning things you don’t know.”
– Rae Spoon

Growing up, Rae Spoon was actually quite shy. Rae sang in a choir and started playing the guitar when they were 11. Music became their way of relating to other people, a social tool for personal expression. “When I decided to play music for a living, there was no holding me back. I just went for it!”

When Rae started in the music industry over 20 years ago, there didn’t seem to be much focus on a diversity of voices. While that has begun to change, there is still a long way to go. “I started my career out as queer in the 90s, and it wasn’t as open as it now feels in Calgary. I moved to Vancouver and came out as transgender in my 20s and had to navigate that. I had to find my identity, where I was from.”

Rae started Coax Records to support artists who are underrepresented. “I work with artists to present their music in a way that represents their story, not their identity. Many times, I’ve been invited to share my story, and people want a simple break down of one part of my identity – being trans took over everything. Everybody has complicated pieces of different things, where they are from, how they were raised, who they’ve met along the way. People need to be able to tell their own story.”

There are numerous barriers facing underrepresented artists, and most of them go unnoticed by those not directly impacted. “Most things I’ve learned have been through people facing different issues than me, and it’s made me open to learning things that I might be doing that are limiting others,” Rae states.

“Oppression is a series of decisions people make. To get a record in a music store, it needs to go through this chain of mostly white men – from recording to distribution, there are so many prejudices that are unconscious. Even preference is prejudice.”

There are so many people in Canada making world-class music, and there is so much talent in our province. Rae hopes that people realize that just because they haven’t heard of it, doesn’t mean it isn’t great. It likely means that there isn’t as much money behind it. “I want people to explore where there’s less funding.”

Rae has seen how much time and investment is being poured into the music industry in B.C. Rae received a grant from Creative BC, and that grant changed how Rae normally approaches making a record. “Creative BC wanted me to hire B.C. musicians, and that gave me pause to look around and see musicians that are closer to me. Everyone on my record was either a woman or non-binary. I was conscious with who I hired to create new opportunities.”

Since Rae started out, they are excited by the acceptance and space that young artists are growing up with, yet there’s still work to be done. “We have this opportunity to create these ambitious moments to make space for people. I’m happy with my career, I get to play music the way I want to. That’s my goal for other people now.”

Image by Dave Todon

An Interview With Warren Dean Flandez, Musician and Founder of Studio Cloud 30

“We need leaders who are fearless.”– Warren Dean Flandez

Warren Dean Flandez was born in Yellowknife, which he describes as ‘the coldest place on Earth.’ He then went on to live in Edmonton and Vancouver, he remembers the cold, and he also remembers the music.

“There was always music spinning in our household, and it’s been a big part of my life ever since.” When Warren was 15, he was diagnosed with asthma and someone told him to try voice lessons to help improve his lung capacity. He started taking lessons and discovered he loved singing. “My first vocal coach told me I was awful and that I should stop and try something different. It’s horrible that they can do that – break your spirit. I hit a crossroads – do I give up, like so many people do, or say screw it and follow through.”

Warren’s love of music persevered and has continued to hold a powerful place in his life. Upon moving to Vancouver without having many friends, he thinks he could have fallen into depression had it not been for music. “That summer, I joined a choir. Music saved me in a lot of ways.”

Warren started singing professionally. Despite the fact that it is not always smooth sailing in this industry, he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  “I’ve been dropped, albums have been shelved, it’s been an insane ride. I’ve had so many highs and lows in my career, and I just kept dusting myself off and trying again after every fall.”

That was his inspiration when he launched Studio Cloud 30, a music school for novice and professional musicians. Within four months of launching the school, he had outgrown his space. Eight years later, he has three locations around Greater Vancouver, countless instructors and students, and a message that music is medicine. “People come to us for so many different reasons. They might have dreams of being a pop star or they might be suffering from PTSD, they might be going through a divorce or be on the autism spectrum. We know that music and songwriting can be very therapeutic.”

A few years ago, Warren became a father and thought that he might stop playing music professionally. Instead, he followed his heart and found his way back to the music that first inspired him as a musician.
“My wife inspired me to go back to my gospel roots, and so I did an independent, self-released gospel crossover album. The response was insane!”

As an artist, Warren believes that none of this would have been possible without the support of organizations like Creative BC. “Creative BC has been incredible. The music industry can change like the wind, and Creative BC gives you the flexibility you need. Dates get pushed, the climate changes, you don’t get the producer you wanted – things change. Yet, they are supportive of the journey, not of a singular outcome.”

Warren truly believes that music is for everyone. “My music falls between so many different sounds. There’s a mixed bag of influences, combined with my ethnicity or cultural ambiguity, and it’s been a blessing and a curse. For years, no one got me, but I’m excited to see the music industry coming back to appreciate music from the soul, music you can feel.”

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VIFF 2019 is Here at Last!

VIFF is back again exposing B.C. to the filmmakers of the world and proving that the motion picture industry here is thriving. With over 320 films spanning across the globe, exclusive masterclasses and creator talks, the integration of music, comedy and theatre this festival is one of the largest industry events in Vancouver.

Kicking this year off with the Opening Gala film “Guest of Honor” a Canadian psychological drama starring David Thewlis, Laysla De Oliveira, Luke Wilson, Rossif Sutherland, Alexandre Bourgeois and Arsinee Khanjian. Start planning your festival schedule now and take a look at the Creative BC sponsored events as well as the five Creative BC supported films we are proud to announce will be screening at this years festival. We look forward to seeing you there!

We’re celebrating B.C. at VIFF! Check out the some of the incredible work our B.C. filmmakers have to offer with over 25 films in this years B.C. Spotlight.

A special shout out to these Creative BC supported films:

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

Discovering Rosie (Violet Nelson), a pregnant teenager, sobbing and barefoot on a rainy East Vancouver street, Áila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers) swiftly intercedes, initially offering shelter in her own apartment before working feverishly to get the girl access to proper support networks so that she needn’t return to her abusive home. As these two Indigenous women embark on a revelatory odyssey to a safe house, they must confront society’s assumptions about them, overcome their preconceptions about one another, and reflect on their own respective self-images.

My Dads, My Moms and Me

In the 2007 documentary Fatherhood Dreams, Julia Ivanova chronicled the touching and challenging journeys of four gay men who each made the decision to become parents after Canada legalized same-sex marriage. Married couple Randy and Drew adopted baby Jack. Scott connected with a surrogate to have twins Ella and Mac. Stephen decided to co-parent his daughters Jazz and Zea with lesbian couple Coreen and Wendy. In My Dads, My Moms and Me, the filmmaker revisits the lives of these men and their children, now teenagers, with a decade’s worth of insight.

Red Snow

When captured by the Taliban, a Gwich’in soldier (Asivak Koostachin) must confront tormenting memories he believed he’d left behind in the Canadian north. In turn, when he strikes up an alliance with a Pashtun family, he discovers an affinity with these ethnic Afghans beyond their shared bid for survival. Shifting between striking arctic and arid landscapes, and tapping into a universal need for belonging, Marie Clements delivers an enthralling thriller that’s as poignant as it is pulse-quickening.

This Ink Runs Deep

All across Canada, Indigenous artists are reawakening traditional tattoo practices – and sometimes lending them a contemporary twist – as a way to reclaim their cultures and identities.

The Whale and the Raven

Journeying into BC’s Great Bear Rainforest, German documentarian and cultural anthropologist Mirjam Leuze investigates the potential impact of a liquefied natural gas exporting plant and increased tanker traffic on this stunning ecosystem. Not only are we introduced to the remarkable people who call this place home and oppose the plant’s construction, including whale researchers Hermann Meuter and Janie Wray and elders of the Gitga’at First Nation, but also the humpbacks, orcas, and porpoises who use the Kitimat fjord system as a feeding- and playground.

Creative BC sponsored events:

VIFF Immersed

A two-day conference (September 28–29), Immersed features case-studies, roundtable discussions and hands-on workshops with some of the world’s leading immersive content creators.

September 28-29

Pyatt Hall and The Annex

VIFF Immersed Exhibition

VIFF Immersed Exhibition is a public marketplace exhibition featuring the finalists of this year’s International VIFF Immersed Competition and special features from the creative nexus that is British Columbia.

Sunday, September 29

Pyatt Hall

VIFF Immersed – BC 

A day of valuable workshops for producers, directors, technologists and content commissioners wishing to understand multiple aspects of immersive production.

September 28-29

VIFF AMP

Over a three day summit, October 3-5, world-class experts will weigh in on subjects such as diversity in the music marketplace, the art of music supervision and how music rights management victories around the world are benefiting songwriters and composers.

October 3-5

Visit the VIFF website to get your tickets now!