Write On! Music Showcase: Bridging Talent and Industry

The Cause

I’m Nancy Laberge, a local singer-songwriter from Calgary. I'm delighted to be in my third season of overseeing a nonprofit songwriting mentorship program that I have tailored specifically for Alberta's aspiring songsmiths. This eight-month journey is a comprehensive exploration of the art and industry of songwriting. Within the program, participants receive personalized songwriting mentorship, gain insights from industry guest speakers, benefit from performance coaching and performance opportunities, collaborate on co-write/group projects, and receive a solid foundation in the essentials of the music business. I guide our students through the intricacies of professional song recording, assist them in crafting effective marketing plans, and provide the knowledge required for a successful music release.

The Write On! program, at its core, is about nurturing a sense of community and mutual support among its participants. My belief is that by coming together, songwriters can elevate their craft collectively. Songwriting can be a therapeutic outlet - not only for the writers but for listeners, so developing our “storytellers” and creating songs that connect with people are primary songwriting goals.

During the course, each participant is challenged to craft both an individual song and collaborate on a co-written piece. Every participant gets the opportunity to present their compositions during a final performance held at the esteemed Festival Hall, Calgary, where friends, family, and industry insiders gather. It's my vision to empower each writer by facilitating the professional recording of a song demo and guiding them in constructing an effective release campaign.

In the journey of a musician, one significant challenge is gaining the attention of music industry gatekeepers. To address this, I aspire to bridge the gap by inviting industry experts to our final showcase event. This not only provides our students with a platform to be heard but also opens doors to potential future opportunities. Additionally, I aim to introduce music industry professionals to the Write On! initiative, helping them realize the profound impact they can have on the careers of emerging artists through their participation in our showcase event. We need to value the time of these busy industry professionals so propose to offer them an honorarium to attend both the concert and a small networking event.

Who Will it Benefit?

Participants: By offering them the opportunity to perform in front of industry professionals, this provides them with a valuable platform to showcase their talent. The music journey can be challenging, and this exposure brings them one step closer to their goals. This program's special approach of bringing new artists and music experts together empowers the writers and opens up potential prospects for music organizations. As this concert is not only a showcase of talent but also a heartfelt celebration of the participants' accomplishments throughout their eight-month journey, friends and family will be there, enthusiastically cheering on the writers. The program is an inclusive program, for people from all walks of life, we’ve had participants from 11 to 80, from all over AB (Calgary, Pincer Creek, Edmonton, Olds, Cochrane, Okotoks), and this program is a no-cost program. Our intention is not to outprice anyone who may have something important to say, or could really benefit from the program and the community because they can’t afford it.
Music Business: The project benefits the music industry as a whole by offering first-hand exposure to new talent. Talent buyers, festival organizers, showcase curators, and radio interviewers will have the opportunity to discover and consider these emerging artists for various opportunities. Bringing these industry professionals into one room for a dedicated event creates a unique setting where they understand the critical role they play in building a stronger music community.
Volunteers: As the founder and facilitator of the Write On! program, teaching and leading this program gives me and the volunteers a sense of fulfillment. It provides us with valuable lessons about the power of community. It enhances our writing skills, improves our educational abilities, and fills our “bucket”. Witnessing writers expand their knowledge, step outside their comfort zones, and gain confidence through this mentorship is a rewarding experience.
The Program & future participants: This course will gain further recognition and continue to grow with each passing year. I have received a nomination as Industry Person of The Year - YYC Music Awards and City of Calgary - Arts Community nomination for this program, these underscore its impact and importance. In summary, this initiative not only benefits individual artists but also contributes to the music industry's growth and development while enriching my own experiences and knowledge.