Canadian Musician - May/June 2021 - Page 20



Artist manager , coach , label executive , etc .


For the full interview , listen to the Feb . 24 , 2021 episode
CM : You ’ ve talked about how there ’ s still a need to be a good live artist . But we see pop artists like Lorde , The Weeknd , Shawn Mendes , and more who had big buzz and record deals before ever playing live because their recorded music attracted a fanbase online first . So , is the need for new artists to be great live more of a genre-specific thing at this point ?
Barbone : So , if you ’ re cranking numbers on the internet , that ’ s indicative of “ this is someone we have to watch ” and the music industry watches it . But I think what ’ s going on here is people are not realizing that , in order for a video to go viral or to rack up millions of views or streams , it has to be of the most exceptional quality . The competition now , and the external pressure of competition , is far greater when you ’ re dealing with 40,000 or 50,000 songs being uploaded every day . [ In the pre-digital era ] we only had to deal with release cycles for record companies . So , we were only dealing with maybe a handful of – like maybe 18 – new singles at a given time , and maybe an equal number or a little more for albums . Now , we ’ re dealing with music coming from every different direction .
So , what we have is an industry where the power of the audience is diluted by the sheer number of choices we have . So , it really requires anybody that enters the arena to put out a majorly high-quality product or they ’ re going to be left by the wayside . I see everyone going , “ I just did a video ” or “ I just did that ,” but if it isn ’ t exciting , what ’ s the point ? If you don ’ t sound like you ’ re in tune , what ’ s the point ? If you make a mistake on the piano , what ’ s the point ? What I ’ m saying is we all have to up the ante in terms of what we ’ re putting onto the internet . And when I ’ m talking to young artists and people coming in now , and they ’ re lamenting about not being able to perform , my reaction is you can still perform , but you have to perform online and you have to give them something that causes a reverberation . You know , kind of a Doppler effect . Like , I call up my friend and say , “ You have to see this video .” So , it really behooves all the artists now – and the labels and the managers who are responsible for quality control – to make sure that what they ’ re putting out is attentiongetting — it has to be competitive and it has to be unique .
Co-Creative Director at Nagamo Publishing


For the full interview , listen to the March 3 , 2021 episode
CM : In Nagamo ’ s catalog of production music by Indigenous artists – as well as in popular music with artists like A Tribe Called Red , Jeremy Dutcher , Snotty Nose Rez Kids , and others – very traditional Indigenous musical elements are incorporated into modern music . I ’ m curious if , within the Indigenous artistic community , there is a right and wrong way to do this ?
Irwin : I think there is a right way and wrong way , and that line is not always clear . It ’ s a conversation we ’ re always having and the first safeguard we put into place was that any music we ’ re recording for remixing has to be original . We can ’ t be playing around with traditional or sacred songs . Songs in indigenous communities are really special things . You know , it ’ s often shared with lessons involved , or it ’ s attached to a special person in the community , and songs go way , way back and there is deep tradition to it . So , you can ’ t just take that and start chopping it up and snipping it up …
I mean , we don ’ t want that kind of attention , and you see it in the community all the time . Like , there was a
Cree artist , I think it was last year , who put out an album where she was throat singing on it . It caused a huge uproar and people were banning the Indigenous Music Awards . And anytime that happens , I ’ m always paying attention . I ’ m like , “ Okay , what did this person do wrong ? How do you avoid this ?” That ’ s an instance where throat singing is very specific to a culture and a community , and it ’ s very sacred and special . You can ’ t just plug yourself into that and expect it to be okay …
What ’ s different from us is we ’ re working with Inuit artists who do throat singing , and they ’ re giving us permission to use their specific voices on this track . You know , they ’ re excited and they want to see where this will go and who can remix it . Throat singing , in particular , is an incredible thing to remix . I ’ ve heard some that goes very well with orchestral music and sort of dark and brooding tracks . And I ’ ve heard it used in an uplifting track , like hip-hop style music , as well , and it ’ s really interesting to see the fusion and how it evolves . But if you don ’ t get it from a respectful place , that ’ s problematic and it ’ ll come back to bite you .
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