Canadian Musician - May-June 2022 - Page 28


Crack in The Ceiling When Applying for Grants , Take the Good with the Bad

Duane “ D . O .” Gibson is a Guinness World Record-setting Canadian rapper , record label executive , author , and motivational speaker . He is the co-founder of the Northern Power Summit music conference and has brought his Black Canadian 365 tour to hundreds of schools and thousands of students across Canada . For more information and / or to purchase the book , go to www . iamdogibson . com .
The following is an excerpt shared with Canadian Musician from Duane ‘ D . O .’ Gibson ’ s book , On This Grind , which is based on his life lessons learned from the music business .
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can ’ t hold us - Ryan Lewis and Macklemore , “ Can ’ t Hold Us ”

There is a crack in the ceiling at my parents ’ house . You can ’ t miss it . If you walk downstairs at their house you will see it . You might be wondering what could have caused such a dent .

That crack in the ceiling was my fault . It ’ s a result of jumping and bumping my head against the wall . Yes , I was that excited . It happened the day I received the news that I was awarded my first grant .
My grant was from FACTOR ( Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Record ) and for $ 2,000 . It may not sound like much , but for me , it felt like ten times that amount . It was enough to cover recording several songs , but almost more importantly , it gave me validation that I was on the right path .
Recently my parents were redoing their basement . They had a flood . The contractor told them that they could also fix the dent in the ceiling . They declined .
There is something special about that crack in the ceiling .
As a musician in Canada , there are few things as exciting as being awarded a grant – especially your first one . As opposed to signing to a label and being told where to allocate the money for your project , a grant allows artists to be in control of their own destiny .
I ’ ve written a lot of successful grant applications , but I still remember the pain from the ones that I didn ’ t get , especially early in the process . There were times when it was crushing , but none like the first time I was turned down for an album grant . I was fuming . The results read like a report card . It was broken into two categories — Music and Business . I scored perfectly on Music – earning an “ A ” in each category – from lyrics to vocals to beats . But then there was the business and inexplicably I received an “ F ” in each category — from my marketing plan , to press photos , to realism . It was the lowest mark you could receive . It didn ’ t make any sense to me . Even to this day , I shake my head wondering how it could have happened . I even wonder if the business part of the application was misplaced . An “ F ”?
I worked so hard on the application . My marketing plan was 20 pages long . It wasn ’ t just that it was long , but that it was detailed and thorough . I ’ d read music business books to ensure that I had the right format for an effective business plan . I had even gone to Staples to coil the plan together to make it look as appealing as possible .
I had professional prints made of my photographs using a service traditionally reserved