Mentorship Shapes the Music Industry: The 2022 MusiCounts Accelerate Scholarship in Action
November 22, 2022
From left to right: Helen Britton, Rachel Cragg, Jamelia Campbell, Laura Wilson-Lewis, Matt Webb, Margaret McGuffin, Jen Ochej, Keziah Myers, Jackie Dean, Nathan Wiszniak, Erin Benjamin, Dr. Catherine Moore, Noah Schwartz, Kathleen Reid, Annie Cantin, Alysha Brilla, J. Spencer Mussellam.
The 2022 MusiCounts Accelerate Scholarship recipients represent the bright, promising future of Canada’s music industry. Their passion, determination, and talent is undeniable, but finding success in such a competitive industry often requires more than those qualities alone. In particular, young professionals look to industry veterans to provide insight and guidance. That’s why a two-week intensive mentorship experience is an integral component of the MusiCounts Accelerate Scholarship; it gives young people the networks and knowledge they need to accelerate their careers.
This year’s impressive roster of mentors shines a light on the diverse opportunities available to the budding artists and moguls participating in the program. With sessions on the functions of key roles in the industry, revenue streams, songwriting, and more, scholarship recipients are soaking in a wealth of knowledge while facilitating important connections, all through the graciousness of the mentors who’ve given their time to participate.
“I mentor with MusiCounts out of my personal duty and pleasure to give back to the community and lift others up as I climb professionally,” said Jamelia Campbell, a returning mentor for this year’s program. “Teaching the next generation about the ins and outs of the industry sets them up for success and alleviates unnecessary stress and confusion early on in their career. I hope the information scholarship recipients take from my sessions aids them in avoiding pitfalls and in navigating through the industry.”
Thank You to the 2022 MusiCounts Accelerate Scholarship Mentors
- Keziah Myers (Executive Director, ADVANCE, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective)
- Jamelia Campbell (Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, CARAS/ The JUNO Awards)
- Dr. Catherine Moore (University of Toronto Faculty of Music)
- Rachel Cragg (Director of A&R and Management, Nettwerk Music Group)
- Helen Britton (President & CEO, Management, Six Shooter Inc.)
- Matt Webb (Marianas Trench)
- Jen Ochej (freelance Tour Manager - Lights, Jessie Reyez, Ria Mae, etc.)
- Laura Wilson-Lewis (Taylor Oballa Murray Leyland LLP)
- Noah Schwartz (Director, ArtHaus Community)
- Kathleen Reid (Agent & Managing Director, The Feldman Agency)
- Jackie Dean (COO, Music Canada | President, Connect Music Licensing)
- Erin Benjamin (President & CEO, Canadian Live Music Association)
- Margaret McGuffin (President & CEO, Music Publishers Canada)
- Nathan Wiszniak (Head of Artist & Label Partnerships, Spotify Canada)
- Alysha Brilla
- Annie Cantin (Label Manager, Believe Music)
- J. Spencer Mussellam (Sr Label Manager, Believe Music)
This experience is sure to have a lasting impact on the lives and careers of this year’s scholarship recipients. With their experience coming to an end in just a few days, we checked in with them to learn more about what mentorship means to them.
Note: some responses have been edited for clarity.
From left to right: Mathew Magneson, Emily Dakin, Brianna Lizotte, Darius Crump, Spencer Mackenzie, Alexandr Zelenskiy, Katherine Ahlf.
What has your mentorship experience been like so far?
Spencer Mackenzie: I have been nothing but impressed with the amount of information and dedication the mentors and MusiCounts team have given us. They are really by our side and want what’s best for everyone. It feels like one big family.
Katherine Ahlf: I already feel like I've gotten more from it than I ever expected. It requires a lot of time and attention, but the information and feedback I've received have been more helpful in understanding areas of the music business than some classes I took for an entire university semester.
Emily Dakin: The mentorship experience has been absolutely phenomenal so far. The mentors have been great and the information they presented us with has been incredibly valuable. Even just having the opportunity to talk with industry professionals and ask them questions has been such a great experience.
What has been your favourite session, and why?
Darius Crump: This is a hard question because all of the sessions are so amazing in their own way, and it’s hard to just choose one, so I chose two. The first one was with Matt Webb, “Breaking Out and Getting Started”. He used the term “it’s very doable” and that really stuck with me. I [also] really enjoyed talking with Jen [Ochej] (Tour Management); she’s very business but also lighthearted and it’s really good to have both of those sides. It was easy for me to understand what she was saying because she was giving out the basic information and also relating that to her own experience. Obviously all the sessions are amazing and thank you so much to all of the people who are running these sessions, I very much appreciate it.
Alexandr Zelenskiy: It's hard to pinpoint a single favorite session because all of them are so unique and valuable. But having been studying the technological and creative part of the industry for the last couple of years, the session with Rachel Cragg of Nettwerk Music Group opened a whole new world of business that I haven't explored before.
Katherine Ahlf: So far, my favorite session has been with Jen Ochej, a freelance Tour Manager. She was an incredibly open person to talk to that really helped demystify the process of touring and what an essential role tour managers play in the success of an artist getting on stage. Pursuing tour management isn't my primary focus at this point in my career, but I've definitely considered it. After talking with Jen, I think I would really enjoy being able to help performers with my business and organization skills.
How will you apply what you've learned to your musical practice?
Alexandr Zelenskiy: I think implementing the business side of things into my music production career will be one of the next steps. That will be through writing better pitches, marketing myself, creating contracts with clients, and being aware of the rights that I have.
Spencer Mackenzie: I will primarily use what I have learned from this mentorship program for a European tour I have next year, and for years to come as I grow my career.
Darius Crump: In every way. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve slowly been making notes [and] I’m researching what [the mentors] are talking about… I’m getting the information from them and directly applying it to my music as it’s happening. I’ll continue doing that as I go about in my career just by using these notes and contacting these mentors and asking them more questions.