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  Industry Profile




Industry Profile: Julien Paquin

— By Larry LeBlanc (CelebrityAccess)

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Julien Paquin, president, Paquin Artists Agency.

Like one-time fellow Winnipegger Neil Young, Julien Paquin has spent a lifetime being fascinated with the opportunities in ditches on the side of the road than being interested in what’s available in the centre of the roadway.

And his championing of emerging niche-styled Canadian artists is paying off.

He heads Paquin Artists Agency, a division of Paquin Entertainment Group founded in 1985 by his father, industry veteran Gilles Paquin, who is founder/CEO of the full-service, diversified entertainment company.

Julien joined the company as an agent in 1993.

Under his stewardship, Paquin Artists Agency, headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and with an office in Toronto run by Julien, now represents more than 150 artists for Canadian bookings.

The agency’s blue chip roster includes: Tegan and Sara, K’Naan, Serena Ryder, the Sheepdogs, Matt Andersen, Whitehorse, the Be Good Tanyas, the Strumbellas, Corb Lund, Old Crow Medicine Show, the Deep Dark Woods, and Adam Cohen; as well as Paquin Entertainment Group’s management clients, Randy Bachman, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Bachman & Turner, and Del Barber.

Currently, Paquin Artists Agency is gearing up for a sizzling hot summer booking season followed by an even hotter Fall with 2015 likely to be a banner year for the firm.

In contrast to the American marketplace where summer bookings are largely centered around act-driven amphitheatre dates, Canadian bookings are dominated by weekend festivals, and community fairs.

Folk festivals have been a commanding summer force in Canada for decades. Their contemporary clout is underscored by the breakthroughs in recent years of Tegan and Sara, Serena Ryder, and K’Naan who—and it is no coincidence—are all booked by Paquin Artists Agency.

With multiple wins for Tegan and Sara, and Serena Ryder as well as an award nod to the Strumbellas, the recent Juno Awards in Winnipeg must have been quite a moment for you.

Oh yeah. Certainly with the head office of the company being in Winnipeg and, of course, with my being from Winnipeg, it was. As we saw the Junos being announced coming to Winnipeg, and with the releases of some artists like Serena Ryder and Tegan and Sara that we’d have some big albums, we realized that there was a chance that they would be nominated. As the nominations started coming out (being announced), we were going, “Oh my goodness, there are multiple nominations.” All of a sudden, it’s like, “They are going to be on the show as well.” Just that alone was great because it’s such an honor to be on the Junos. It happens so rarely for an artist that you both have multiple nominations, and they get that invitation to be on the show. That was crazy that it happened, and that it happened in Winnipeg for us especially with some really flagship artists like Tegan and Sara, and Serena, and the Sheepdogs being on the (nationally televised) show.

[Serena Ryder was named top artist, and top songwriter at the 43rd annual Juno Awards honoring Canadian music. Tegan and Sara won top album honors for "Heartthrob”; top single for “Closer”: and as top group. Ryder co-hosted the televised show from the MTS Centre on March 30, 2014 alongside Classified and Johnny Reid. The evening ended with Paquin clients the Sheepdogs and Travis Good of the Sadies and others paying tribute to Bachman-Turner Overdrive which was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. At the Juno gala a night earlier, the Strumbellas won the top roots and traditional album category for “We Still Move On Dance Floors.”]

With their wins and performances on the Juno televised show, Tegan and Sara hit the Canadian mainstream, and Serena Ryder became a national star overnight in Canada.

Yes. When the opportunity for Serena came to co-host it (the Juno TV show) that was a big risk. Here you are already on the show, so there’s enough focus on that, and to take that next step, take that opportunity to host, I think that was a risky move. She pulled it off amazingly well.

What’s now planned for these acts going into the summer?

You can’t sit there too long and admire the shot you just took which is the Junos.

All three artists (Tegan and Sara, Serena Ryder, and the Sheepdogs) had a very full summer as it was. So what we do is finish a few things off. We also get a few things that pop up to complete the summer. They are all on a cycle which is starting to look at getting back into the studio and things like that.

The future is certainly bright for these acts.

The good news is that the conversations we are now having are about set-up. They are not necessarily about chasing things. We are not booking a coast to coast tour for any of those artists right now. The summer is set, and we are going, “Okay, what’s the next plan? When do we start holding venues?” That’s a real great place to be in because that’s being in a strategic mode.

For Tegan & Sara, you have three Junos in your pocket. For Serena, you have two Junos in your pocket. Strumbellas is a brand new band which is just about to get seen across the country for the first time. There are some big audiences. You are really paying attention to what you are doing there. “Okay, we are going to go out and do the festivals.” Now we are planning for that return tour because they are a developing band. We are planning on them gaining a bunch of new fans, and then going back out again in the fall or into 2015.

Is there a different annual booking cycle in Canada than the U.S. where major festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo dominate the summer?

In the United States, you can be literally touring year around, and not run into weather as an issue. The strategy in Canada definitely becomes very similar for most artists. The thing is that in Canada the festivals that we do have are some of the best in the world. They have evolved through the years to not necessarily resemble their namesake. For example, the Ottawa Blues Festival is a (all-genre) music festival, as are the Hillside Festival, and the Winnipeg Folk Festival. What has happened now is that borne out of the Squamish Valley Music Festival in British Columbia and Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in Montreal, which are starting to resemble the Coachellas, and the Lollapaloozas.

As well, folk festivals have been a commanding summer force in Canada for decades.

Right. What is great about these festivals is that they provide (booking) strategies for a certain type of artist. It is a wide umbrella. For the Winnipeg Folk Festival, you don’t need to be a singer/songwriter walking in there with a guitar to have success. It (a folk festival) can work with a wide range of artists. Blues, folk, pop, indie, and hip hop are all there.

Just a quick aside. (Somali-Canadian hip hop artist) K’Naan was broken through folk festivals in Canada. He showcased at Folk Alliance in Montreal in 2005 in front of 9 people in a hotel room. (Beforehand) K’Naan couldn’t imagine that. “What have you asked me to do here?” He and his band did an acoustic four song set for 9 people in a room. Six of them were (festival) artistic directors, and by the end of it we had the entire summer set up. The strategy came out of, “There’s an album out. Here’s your summer. You are playing folk festivals.” And the label at the time, Sony BMG, was like, “I guess he can play these.” What nobody figured out was that he would sell 500 and 600 CDs at every festival. Once you do that at these festivals, people come back to your concerts a few months later.

The (festival) artistic directors are all very close. They share information, and they share successes and failures and help each other get better. I don’t think necessarily that there might be that type of community outside of Canada.

A festival performance doesn’t necessarily count as a play in the market. You can play a festival…

And you can come right back. In fact, you should come right back because you want to take that momentum out of the festival into your own headlining show that fall. Within three to six months, you should try to come back to the market.

There are often strategic reasons to play a specific festival. Some like the Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario provide a memorable experience for performers.

Hillside is one of those festivals through the years that the experience that they provide for the fan, but specifically for the artist, is unique. Artists want to go back there. “I need to go back.” It fills their soul as it were. That’s a festival you watch other festival directors go to, and you hear them say, “How do I create this at my festival?” I have to tell you as well that what they have done with Osheaga is also amazing. The same with Winnipeg Folk Festival, and the Calgary Folk Festival. And Canso (the annual Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, Nova Scotia). Artists all want to play that festival.

In the U.S., the performing arts (PAC) sector has grown in importance for folk and alternative artists in recent years. Has that been reflected in Canada as well?

It is quite similar. Years ago, even five years ago, the PACs were on a 12 to 18 month cycle. It was hard to convince certainly a mainstream artist to book something 18 months out. What’s happened now, because there are just so many artists touring, is that the PACs have adapted. They will book a season but they will also book a lot closer (to the performance), and to the availability (of an act). They can take advantage of opportunities that they never were able to take advantage of before because there are artists who are popping up saying, “Hey, we are on tour in three to six months. Can you take that date?” Whether it’s Serena Ryder, Jann Arden or Avril Lavigne or Sarah McLachlan, they are now able to move a lot quicker than they were. And they still have their databases. They still have a brochure which is critical to their sales, but now they also have that database of all the people who receive that brochure that they can also send out an e-blast, and the same effectiveness comes out of it.

Certainly for an emerging or a younger artist, the PACs are critical in a career strategy. So you do try to utilize them.

You do. And what happens with those young artists is that you still have that opportunity to put them opening up for whatever mainstream artist comes up. That is a very real. There is an opportunity to put them in front of people. Not just the audience, but the (PAC) presenters. That’s who need to be on point for the next time. “Hey, there’s that artist that just opened for Serena Ryder, or Serena Ryder just opened up for” whoever that might be. Then you have that pipeline. They are aware of the artist, and they are now following your lead.

With S.L. Feldman & Associates, and The Agency Group being such dominant players in the Canadian booking marketplace for decades, how did the Paquin Artists Agency evolve into being such a national force?

Well, it starts off when we made the decision to open a Toronto office in 1999. At that point we saw ourselves as—and we were—a national agency. But only in Winnipeg. At that point The Agency (not to be confused with The Agency Group) and Feldman had split off, and we saw ourselves as number three. When we moved to Toronto, it wasn’t so much that the roster needed to be bigger or that we had to have more agents, it was about servicing the clientele. We felt that we could do it out of Winnipeg, but the reality of it is that you need to be in Toronto.

[The Agency, and S.L. Feldman & Associates went head-to-head with each other in Canada after Vancouver-based SLFA opened an office in Toronto in 1993. In the end, the principals of the two firms worked out an arrangement where The Agency ceased to exist. Then The Agency Group opened an office in Toronto in 1996, and immediately began fiercely competing for a good hunk of Canada’s booking pie.]

In Toronto at the time there was also Doug and Joan Kirby and their company, LiveTourArtists.

Yes. And (David) Bluestein had started Courage Artists & Touring as well. In those days, there were a few people popping their heads up, and meandering through (the Canadian booking agency world). When we made that move to Toronto, we just felt, “Okay, we are a national agency with two offices.” Nobody had two offices in Canada other than Feldman. We have always been an independent organization, and company whereas The Agency Group has offices worldwide, and their head office is in London. Of course, their Canadian company is run by Canadian people in Toronto, but it’s not a Canadian company. Feldman, of course, has a long history (in Canada) with successes in management, and as an agency. They have had a foothold for a long time with a partnership with (manager) Bruce Allen, and a film and television agency as well. They are deep into the Canadian market, and have done a great job.

Your father Gilles had a distinct vision for the agency.

It was always to be slightly left of center. Certainly in our approach. Not that we can’t handle any mainstream acts because we have proven that we can. But to get a foothold in the marketplace, we did things differently because we weren’t signing artists that were on the radio right away. We had to go after artists that were amazing live performers.

That left of centeredness is part of the culture of Winnipeg which has always had a contained and distinct music scene.

We are still positioned, of course, in Western Canada. People know us as a Western Canadian company and the fact is that we are (headquartered) in Winnipeg. That we are not in Vancouver. We are in Winnipeg. Winnipeg does have that outsider quality. You can’t quite describe it. But, if you think about it, it goes back to the Guess Who, Neil Young, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and Burton Cummings. That will never go away. I think as a company that kind of carries through here. Now, of course, we manage Randy Bachman. Winnipeg is where our roots come from, and it’s still prevalent today in our company.

Your roster has a number of major acts including Tegan and Sara, Serena Ryder, Adam Cohen, Matt Andersen as well as such emerging acts like the Strumbellas, Harlan Pepper, and the Beauties which are all very cool. These aren’t acts that would have likely interested your competitors early in their careers.

Correct. If you look at our competitors, they had priorities. When you have priorities, and you have big artists that are breaking from theatres to arenas and so on, you have to focus on that. And that leaves room in the marketplace for other agents, and for other agencies to move in. To see an artist and say, “This artist is where they right now, but there’s a market for them.” You look at a band like the Sadies. They have been playing their entire lives but they are, without question, held in such high regard by so many musicians.

With that association, you attract more artists.

That sort of was always our strategy, especially when we opened the Toronto office. To find artists that we had an akin to, and that we could show the kind of work that we could do, because they didn’t have radio airplay. At that time CBC-Radio airplay was different than it is now.

Once you started making those connections…

The Sadies were a big part of this company’s growth. Having the Sadies meant Serena Ryder saying, “The Sadies are the coolest band around.” The Beauties would say the same thing. And Danny Michel would too. There are so many artists and bands that look toward the Sadies, and the work that they have done.

Even Canadian music icon Randy Bachman would say that too. He tours with the Sadies.

Even Randy Bachman. We were able to see bands like that and go, “Not only do we love them, but we have the time and energy and the inclination to work with them on a long term basis. That it doesn’t have to pop tomorrow.”

Not only do you book the Sadies but you book them along with Travis and Dallas Good’s family (long-time Canadian country favorites, the Good Brothers) as the Good Family which is crazy.

Which is crazy, and what a show!

Randy Bachman not only tours with the Sadies, but in other configurations as well.

Absolutely. Randy Bachman goes out with (singer) Fred Turner as Bachman & Turner. Randy Bachman goes out with his band as the Randy Bachman Band. Randy Bachman goes out with the Sadies which is a phenomenal show. Then there’s his “Vinyl Tap Stories” show which was bred from the "Every Song Tells A Story" show. One of the reasons that we manage Randy Bachman is because we signed him as an agency client, and the connection between Randy and Gilles kept growing and growing until it made sense for Gilles to manage him.

Would you not concede that for years after you opened in Toronto, artists would come to you that you knew had been turned down or dropped by S.L. Feldman, The Agency Group or by LiveTourArtists? They were coming to you as last resort.

I certainly would not disagree with that. I think what happens too is that you have to look at the opportunities in the marketplace as well. There are certain artists that at one point had the big record deal, had the big push, and it didn’t happen the way people wanted it to happen on the first try. Nobody would deny that they were great artists. It just wasn’t their time when it happened.

Your competitors, like many major agencies elsewhere, were more likely to sign acts with radio or label support. Acts needing development or with an untested manager, they weren’t usually interested in.

Again it comes to that point where what we do—we being the collective people in the music business—is take risk and a lot of this requires time. We were in a position as we were opening where we had new people (agents) that we could actually put the time in.

You competitors haven’t been shy about trying to cherry pick some of your better known acts.

No question. That’s also the nature of the agency business. Not just in Canada but in the United States and elsewhere as well. As we started to grow, and where they were not breaking artists, and they were seeing artists breaking here, we were absolutely susceptible to that. The more success you have, the more that you learn, and the more you provide service to an artist that you hope that isn’t going to be provided somewhere else.

You’ve had some hard lessons. Like with Corb Lund who left and…

Came back.

A testament to your company that he came back.

We lost (fiddler) Natalie MacMaster when she was breaking. Corb was another one that we lost. But you go through it (a breakup), and learn a lot from it. It’s going to happen. It’s a constant part of our business. By the way, it happens the other way as well. We get artists that, for whatever reason, are not happy with a situation in another agency. There’s opportunity there and, if we think that we can do the job, we will raise our hand. As a growing company we have gone through many changes. We have had agents who have gone to other places. Agents who have gone to Feldman, to The Agency Group, to Billions and to Windish. Those are all growing pains of a company.

Gilles manages Randy Bachman, and Bachman-Turner as well as Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Del Barber. Anything he picks up for management is then handled by the agency?

Yes, in Canada. Outside of Canada, there are different situations.

[Gilles Paquin is the recipient of the 8th Annual MMF Canada Honour Roll Award being presented May 9th, 2014 in Toronto by the Music Managers Forum Canada. He joins former honorees Bernie Finkelstein, Bruce Allen, Ray Danniels, Sam Feldman, Terry McBride, Larry Wanagas and Jake Gold in receiving the award presented each year to recognize outstanding achievements, and excellence in Canadian and international artist management.]

Do you also book the Koba Family Entertainment productions which Gilles also oversees?

We book all of the Koba properties. That’s Dora the Explorer, the Backyardigans and Toopy and Binoo. Those are three big properties.

[In 2004, Gilles Paquin and choreographer Patti Caplette launched Koba Family Entertainment, a company dedicated to producing touring family musicals.]

You also book the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

We represent them around the world. That relationship has been amazing, and extremely eye opening because of touring 40 and 50 people. It has really helped us to understand not only the dance market, and the theatrical market, but helped us understand how to better represent our artists. Just different needs that you have in that world that play into what we do as an agency, already.

How many agents at the agency?

We have seven agents. There’s four agents in Winnipeg, and three here. In the Winnipeg office, (agency vice-president) Todd Jordan oversees the agency.

What backroom staff is there?

In the Winnipeg office, the agency has a total of 8 people plus. There’s a marketing person, and we’ve got accounting. In the Winnipeg office because there’s the management and the theatrical division we got--depending on the time period--anywhere between 25 and 30 people. In this office in Toronto, we have 8 people. This office is mostly just the agency whereas in Winnipeg there are the other divisions.

You haven’t opened offices in either the United States or in the UK. Do you have booking affiliations in those markets?

We don’t have any official affiliations other than there are a number of agents at various companies that we work with. We have no affiliation per se which is a bit of a bonus because we can recommend different agencies to our artists based on who that artist is. We’re not forced to say, “This is our affiliation, please go there.” Whether it be Monterey, Paradigm, CAA (Creative Artists Agency) or William Morris Endeavor, we have various relations at each that are good.

Would we like to find an opportunity to open an office (in the U.S)? If the opportunity was right, and it wasn’t just to have an address. We are looking at those opportunities and the right one hasn’t presented itself.

Several of your clients have been successful overseas.

Australia has been a big market for us. We have really spent the last couple of years working that right, and I think that we are going to see some exciting developments there. In the UK, we are going to start looking at some affiliations there. But this is still a big market. Canada is still our bread and butter. What I am always careful of is that we are doing our job the best we can here first. If that doesn’t happen, it (the agency) will crumble.

You joined the agency division of Paquin Entertainment Group in 1993. Did it take much arm-twisting from your father?

Gilles was a concert promoter in the prairies doing rock shows for my whole life. So the business is in the blood as it were. At the point where he got out of the concert promoting, and decided to manage (children's music performer) Fred Penner, who at the time was a huge North American artist, I was still in university. I knew about his concert promoter days. I knew that he had started to manage Fred Penner. But that was as far as I went into digging into the company. So when the opportunity came while I was in university, when he came to me, and said, “Do you want to be an agent?” My first question was, “What does that mean?”

[Gilles Paquin has produced and promoted more than 2,000 concerts including shows by Kenny Rogers, Alabama, the Police, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, B.B. King, Bill Cosby, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Les Ballets Jazz, as well as overseeing touring productions of “Evita,” and “Chorus Line.”]

What were you studying?

An arts degree majoring in psychology at the University of Manitoba. With no direction whatsoever. I couldn’t wait to leave. Not that I was going nowhere fast but I absolutely had no drive as far as university went.

You left university, and joined the family business to probably be known as, “Gilles’ kid.” Did you go through that at first?

I went through that but what was interesting was that when I first got there (to the agency) I didn’t deal with Gilles at all. My boss was Richard Mills. Richard was one of the first agents at Paquin. Richard was a very good mentor and he didn’t treat me that way. Also there was no opportunity for Gilles to give me any sort of a free ride. I dealt with Richard, and that is how it went. Then Richard left shortly thereafter which also helped me because at the same time that I was still growing the agency was still small. But Richard was so helpful.

Who were the agency’s core artists back in 1993?

Fred Penner, Al Simmons, Valdy, and another children’s artist, Norman Foote was the core artist roster.

After you joined, the agency began to change its musical focus.

I was 20 or 21 years old, and I had other musical interests in terms of other artists that I wanted to represent. So I started looking at mainstream pop, or alternative whatever over the next couple of years. I also started hiring young agents out of Winnipeg including Rob Zifarelli, Darcy Gregoire, and Billy Collins—all still good friends. That was the core of the company in 1996. Those were the three agents in Winnipeg going after bookings.

At the point we had picked up Scruj MacDuhk which became the Duhks, and the Weakerthans, Duotang that was signed to Mint Records. Those were key acts for us. We had also signed Damhnait Doyle and Natalie MacMaster. This was all while we were (only) in Winnipeg. These were national artists that were having success.

At the same time, the agency was still operating on the fringes.

Yep. So on one end, you have Natalie MacMaster and on the other, the Weakerthans. Completely opposite ends of the spectrum but neither of them were mainstream.

Few of your artists have had a radio presence. Even the very successful ones. Tegan and Sara, and Serena Ryder, yes; but not, for example, blues guitarist Matt Andersen or singer/songwriter Danny Michel. When you meet with the manager of a new act, what career signposts are looking for? We both know that an act can’t tour until there’s traction in the market, and there’s no traction unless it tours.

That is and always has been the dilemma. The (career) road blocks are slightly different than they were but, ultimately, the same. A decade ago, the roadblocks were, “You need a record deal.” You needed all that promo that came with that record deal. You needed the marketing that went along with it to help launch that artist so their live business started to go up.

The marketing dollars are just not there as much anymore from the labels. It is well documented that’s just not the way it is anymore. Touring is the one source of income that everyone can point to, and say, “Okay, if we can pop here then we can keep this thing going.” The marketplace is quite populated right now with touring artist. Some might say it’s overpopulated, but it doesn’t change the fact that a great artist with a great plan, with a few lucky breaks along the way that you sort of plan, will rise to the top. You will see ticket sales going faster than ever for a hot artist.

Matt Andersen is a case in point.

He’s an artist that we have represented for a long, long time. Steve Butler and Todd Jordan are his responsible agents. Before he was really being managed, we saw him win audiences over fan by fan. Everybody talks about it, very few people can do it.

He’s a performer you can put in any room.

Put him in any room, and he can connect, Not just from his performance, but with his demeanor which is one that just welcomes. He just came off a tour, and he played Massey Hall (in Toronto) solo, and you couldn’t buy another seat for the date. There was a discussion between us beforehand. “Matt, you are at this point in your career where you have this headline tour that is sold out.” He said, “You know what? I’m going to do it solo because that’s what got me there, and that’s how I going to present myself on this tour” because he has other plans moving forward.

Does Matt have a good fix of who he is an artist?

He has really good instincts and he has both feet on the ground. He is extremely grounded, and he gets when it’s time to take that next step. Gets when it’s time to pull back and go, “No, we need to do this. He’s got really good instincts.

Do you pay much attention to the social media of an emerging act?

You need to look at it, but you need to look at it as part of the bigger picture. If that is the only thing that they have going on; if they are very active with social media, and they’ve got a lot of followers. If they don’t have a lot of shows to go along with it. You have gone to see the live show, and it isn’t quite there. Then it matters less. But once you start to see that all of those things are in place, then you are absolutely paying very close attention to social media. That’s when you want to see those numbers go up because you can see that all of those things—the full package—is really connecting.

For more than a decade, Paquin Artists Agency was deeply involved in country music. You scaled down your involvement in the field. Why?

Country was one of those areas where we had an opportunity because we had artists like Doc Walker, the Road Hammers, and Beverly Mahood that were starting to get some real success. Then Corb Lund came along. These were terrific artists, but the business side of it never added up. There was this false economy in country in Canada for a long time where festivals would pay top dollar, but then the artists tour three to six months later in the way we talked about earlier with the folk festivals, but the return wouldn’t be anywhere near what it was at the festivals. Not financially, and the audience wouldn’t come. And there was this odd balance where a country artist could survive in the summer but it was nearly impossible to keep them on the road throughout the rest of the year. We really struggled with that. We couldn’t figure out how to break through. Then, while this was happening, we started having success with Tegan and Sara, Serena Ryder K’Naan and with other artists. Other artists where you can put a strategy in place, and then you take that outside of the festivals, and you start seeing success in headlining tours. We weren’t seeing that in the country. As a result, our focus started going different other ways

If you had been booking Scots-born Canadian country sensation Johnny Reid, it might have been a different story.

Sure. Today, the country music market is huge (in Canada). You can make those (touring) plans now with the help of radio, and the label. “Here is where we are going to play this summer and we are going to make fans and we are going to come back.” Now that is happening whereas it wasn’t happening a decade ago.

Will you now expand your country roster?

Absolutely.

One market you haven’t fully explored is the primarily French-speaking province of Quebec.

We have made an effort with the Quebec market, and we are starting to see some success. Matt Andersen showcased at the Rideau Conference two years ago. He did three songs, and came out with 35 shows that year. This year he did a tour with Kim Churchill and Steve Hill and did another 25 shows. He doesn’t really speak a word of French. He fumbles through (French-language) interviews and is making an effort (to speak French) which, by the way, Quebecers appreciate so much because he is so honest about what he does.

Two of Serena Ryder’s singles were recorded in French, and she’s starting now to have success in Quebec. Whitehorse— Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland—just released a French EP (“Éphémère sans repère,” released in Canada Apr. 1st, 2014 by Six Shooter Records). We are starting to see success with them there as well. We have also had huge success with Adam Cohen in Quebec.

Larry LeBlanc is widely recognized as one of the leading music industry journalists in the world. Before joining CelebrityAccess in 2008 as senior editor, he was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record.

He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the London Times. He is co-author of the book “Music From Far And Wide.”

Larry is the recipient of the 2013 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award, recognizing individuals who have made an impact on the Canadian music industry. He is a board member of the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario.


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