Tag Archives: Music
Today’s post comes to us from Angela Mastrogiacomo, who asked me if she could share her perspective on the Toronto Music Scene as an outsider working in music who lived here briefly. I find her points interesting, especially #2 and #3 which are both big points of contention I’ve heard often from musicians as well.
Every now and again you come across a city that just gets you. All the stars align, and if you believe in such a thing, you find your city soul mate. For me, that city is Toronto.
When I had a chance to combine my forever love, music, with my new love, Toronto, the opportunity was too promising to resist. So I launched a weekly music industry meet up called Balanced Breakfast, originally founded in San Francisco (by Stefan Aronsen and Andy Freeman), and made it my mission to not only learn more about the Toronto music scene, but to help grow it.
But the more time I spent in Toronto, the more I discovered that the way I looked at Toronto’s music scene was completely different from the way those that had been in it for years seemed to.
There were so many discrepancies that I initially thought maybe I’d been wrong about Toronto. But then I thought, what if being an outsider was actually an advantage? What if I could bring a fresh perspective to the industry, and ignite some spark and inspiration into a scene that I could see was quickly becoming frustrated?
Conflict 1: Toronto’s Music Community is Non-Existent.
One of the first things I noticed was the complaint that Toronto’s music community is non-existent. That while there are great artists, and plenty of talent, the feel of community isn’t there. Almost immediately, I disagreed. Having spent 7 months living in San Francisco (which has an amazing music community) and my entire life in Boston (which has a terrible music community) I felt that Toronto had a strong spot right in the middle. While there was room for growth, the community feel was definitely there. And more importantly, people want to build it.
Within my first 2 weeks in Toronto I had reached out to and met with several people within the industry who were more than happy to offer me their time, let me pick their brain, and even invite me to events and meet ups within the music industry that I would have never known about otherwise. From there, I made friendships and connections that I still maintain today.
If you’re thinking this kind of generosity is normal, let me tell you—it’s not. My experience in this industry, in the States, has been that generally speaking, people will only meet with you if A) there’s a strong enough immediate benefit for themselves and B) you’re completely acquiescing to their schedule. Everyone is too busy and “important” all of the time—even when they aren’t.
My advice? Appreciate what you have. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be better, or there isn’t room for improvement, but as an outsider looking in, your music community is definitely there. It just needs a little care to grow.
Conflict 2: Inability to Break Into the States
Another major point of contention seemed to be an inability to break into the States. While it’s true this is difficult, I felt like no one was looking at the benefits of being a Canadian artist. To make a name for yourself in Toronto, or even in the entirety of Canada, is a much more attainable goal than an American band making a name for themselves in the States.
The States are not the be all end all. (Come on guys, do you really want to start using us as a model for things?). An American band can pour their heart and soul into their career, and never really make a name for themselves outside their hometown. But in Canada, the opportunity to make a name for yourself is much stronger. Not to mention all the grants you’re offered…
Conflict 3: FACTOR Politics
The third biggest complaint I heard was the complexity and ever-changing politics behind the FACTOR grants. I get it, no one wants to feel like they’re not being heard, like something that is supposed to be about art and true expression is actually about popularity and numbers and all the things that, let’s be honest, matter when running a business—which your band is. But take a moment to appreciate that you’re in a country that invests in its artists that way. That gives money to its musicians to record, tour, get proper PR, and grow your brand.
We don’t have a “direct to the artist” funding system like that in the US. Every time I mentioned FACTOR to any of my American clients, they couldn’t believe it. It never failed to grab their attention…because for all its flaws, and all the things that could make it better, it’s a truly wonderful opportunity that I think a lot of artists are taking for granted.
And look, it’s not that Toronto’s music scene doesn’t have problems. Every strong community has infrastructure problems now and again. But from this outsider’s perspective looking in, it’s a pretty solid foundation, and I have no doubt that with the proper care, in 5 years Toronto could easily be one of the big city names in music. But first, we need to appreciate what’s here, and learn to nurture it. Let’s put this city on the map, and show ‘em what you’ve got.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the owner of Muddy Paw Public Relations, and the free weekly music industry meet up, Balanced Breakfast, which meets Saturdays from 12-2pm in Toronto. Muddy Paw specializes in working with up and coming artists on personalized campaigns designed to bring their careers to the next level. To date, we’ve secured placements on sites such as AbsolutePunk, Substream, Property Of Zack, PureVolume, Anti-Music, and many more.
Well, after a long hiatus, TGIF is back!
There were a few reasons for the hiatus, and some big news is on the horizon for TTRO. I won’t say too much yet (stay tuned for another post), but changes are coming. Over the past year or so my life has changed quite a bit. I’m spending more and more time building a biz as a freelance writer, social media consultant and now speaker(!), which means TTRO is due for a major overhaul so that it represents my life in its new, slightly more grown up form.
You’ll notice over the coming months that I will be posting somewhat different content from what you’ve come to expect at times, but don’t worry – the music itself will never completely go away. It remains a vital part of my daily existance.
On that note, Canadian Music Week is in full swing in Toronto, and I wrote about Some Shows I Think You Should See at CMW for Notable, if you’re curious about my picks. Get out there and see some live music!
Now, for the link love:
- TourRadar is giving away three trips to Brazil, Cambodia or Australia Just thought you might want to get in on that, since it’s actually open to Canadians (unlike most awesome travel contests!).
- Take the quiz: Ontario’s new sex ed curriculum I have a whole lot to say about the absolutely absurd protests going on about this, but again, I’ll save it for another post. For now, take the quiz if you’re someone still thinking it’s a bad thing to have an educator teach your kids about their own bodies and about inclusivity and non-judgement toward those bodies and the bodies and sexual and gender identities of their peers. An initiative to reduce bullying (and suicide rates associated with bullying) is never a bad thing – no matter what your religion tells you.
- Here’s Why Saving The Mindy Project Would Be the Smartest Thing Ever In devastating TV news, Fox yet again cancelled their best show (I wept both times Arrested Development was cancelled by those monsters). But Mindy is literally my career idol, and her show will definitely be saved by a team that understands television as something more than just an outlet to showcase commercials. We need to see the Castellano baby!
- 14 Pieces Of Advice Mindy Kaling Has For Women Speaking of Mindy, this is great.
- Tattoo Artists Cover Breast Cancer Survivors’ Scars With Beautiful Tattoos This is awesome. Talk about turning battle scars into art. Beautiful.
- University Creates ‘Puppy Room’ To Help Stressed-Out Students There should literally be puppy rooms all around the world. Feeling sad, stressed, or bored? Puppy room to the glorious, adorable rescue. Puppies!
- Love Is In Small Things This artist series is perfect. Love isn’t getting engaged in Paris. It’s surprise hugs, someone to vent to after a bad day, Game of Thrones marathons, and all that perfect doing nothing together stuff.
- More Sex Means More Money Good news, everyone! Get it on more, for your paycheck.
- It was NEVER a dress! Gotta love this modern take on the universal ladies bathroom symbol.
- The Rise of Women on Comedy Central: Female Shows, Standup Specials Comedy Central gets it so much. Fox could learn a ton from them.
- Studies Link Social Anxiety To Empathetic Ability, High IQs, & Sentinel Intelligence Us social anxiety filled introverts will take this and run with it, thank you very much. #somegoodnews
- Lena Dunham Made Me a Feminist I’ve had so many discussions with guys about how they hate Lena, or Hannah, or whoever they think she is, and I just wish I could make them all read this mans words.
- Why Warner Bros. Axed Michelle MacLaren, and What That Tells Us About the State of Female Directors in Hollywood MacLaren directed the best episodes of Breaking Bad, and she probably deserves a better vehicle than a potentially hokey superhero piece as her first feature anyway. This piece is a great read.
- Forget Hollywood: Watch Documentaries if you Care About Women Hot Docs just wrapped up, and it was as incredible as ever. Most incredibly was the fact that this festival had 40 PERCENT female directors, which – if you look at the horrific percent of female directors in film, is an inspiring thing to see. Most of the docs I watched were actually also about women, which was amazing to witness.
- Why so few women on music festival lineups? and here’s what Canadian festival posters look like with the all-male acts removed You’ve likely already seen these, but as festival season is just beginning here, I think it’s still relevant and needs to remain a topic of conversation. More ladies on stage, please!
- Why Millennials Understand The Future Of Work Better Than Anyone Else Makes sense.
- Keira Knightley: “Where Are the Female Stories? Where Are the [Women] Directors and Writers?” It gives me great hope to see more and more actresses talking about this subject.
- The Shut-In Economy Highly recommend giving this one a read. The more money we make and services we have – the less we have to ever leave our home or talk to anyone. Someone will deliver your groceries, cook your food, do your laundry, shop for you, and you can get it all via an app. You don’t even have to look a single person in the eye anymore if you so choose. It’s a scary thought.
- Dear Daughter, Here’s Why I Work I read a rather horrific article from a stay-at-home-mom that was a response to this article, so rather than give that other gross article that basically shamed working mothers any more publicity, I will direct you to this. My mom was a stay-at-home mom all my life, for the record – and that shaped my feelings on this subject in a big way.
- Finally, this video most definitely cheered me up. Typical office email is such a weird pain in the butt:
I have a feeling that everyone on the planet has heard this song at least once in their life, which is enough times to feel affected by it.
As a 13-year-old I was obsessed with the movie Stand By Me (and River Phoenix), so this song has a special place in my heart.
Ben passed away on Thursday, but this song will literally live on forever. RIP Ben, thanks for making us feel all the feelings and reminding us to hold our friends a little closer.
As a bonafide TV buff, I like to think I’m quite knowledgeable on most of the great shows in television history.
As a bonafide hater of sci-fi and aliens all my life – there is one series I always made a point of avoiding, despite being well aware of its important place in the entertainment canon.
Growing up I was always watching something, but as soon as Star Trek came on I would flip the channel. I thought the aliens were hideously terrifying, and it didn’t make sense to me that the humans and aliens cavorted together.
As a child I hated anything alien related, though. The thought of life on other planets seemed like the scariest thing imaginable. I remember literally crying at a friends house when she forced me to watch Independence Day.
Then I met my boyfriend – who happens to be a true blue sci-fi nerd (he literally wore a vintage Star Trek tee on our first date). As it goes when you fall for someone, you start to open the more closed parts of your mind to things you might have previously wrote off, in order to see things through their eyes.
I’ve now watched Alien, Aliens, Prometheus, Terminator, and now even Star Trek.
I actually had the chance to catch the 2009 movie revamp of Star Trek recently at the Sony Centre, where the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony masterfully played composer Michael Giacchino’s epic score live.
I’ve wrote before about how incredible it is to watch a movie with the score being performed live in front of you, and this experience was just as beautiful.
Last time though, it was a film I had watched countless times, so I was able to pay more attention to the musicians onstage since I always knew what was about to happen onscreen.
This time, being so completely new to the Star Trek world – for most of the screening I almost forgot they were even there – which is a testament to the level of musicianship conductor Erik Ochsner and his team excel at, as well as a testament to the film storyline itself being so strong and compelling.
Would I have loved it as much if I were watching the original with Shatner and Nimoy? I’m not so sure. I actually sat down to watch the original movie over Easter and fell asleep – so I can’t claim I found it quite as compelling. But the revamp was shot with the same adrenaline and humour as modern day action adventure films like The Avengers, so it impressed me in a way I wasn’t quite expecting.
With Leonard Nimoy’s recent passing before the screening, they also used the night as a tribute to the legend, and it was nice to see the Sony Centre screens lit up with his iconic moments as the night came to an end. I finally understand exactly why the fans love Spock so much.
Star Trek Live In Concert is currently touring cities across North America, find the schedule here.
Paint pictures with sound. First, find your white—the deepest, roundest sound you can play on the guitar. Then, find your black—which is the most extreme tonal difference from white you can play. Now, just pick the note where you’ve got white, pick it where you’ve got black, and then find all those colors in between.
Get those colors down, and you’ll be able to express almost any emotion on the guitar.