Everybody Get Comfy at BreakOut West 2018 – photo: showcasing artist, singer-songwriter Calla Kinglit.

Everybody Get Comfy at BreakOut West 2018

By Leila Neverland

The room was quiet, thick with the smells of morning showers, morning walks, and morning coffees. An over capacity room was filled with folks of all ages wearing everything from suits to jean jackets, knitted woollies to leather. The pensive morning silence gave way to three panellists who introduced BreakOut West and what one might achieve during the three day conference that started yesterday.

“This conference is about authenticity, sharing a focused purpose, and having real personal connections,” said Carol-Lynn Quinn of High Love.

Western Canadian Music Alliance representative Robyn Stewart, a big voice for inclusivity and gender rights in the industry, gave great advice to the hopeful beginners in the audience: “When you sit down for your one-on-one meetings, don’t ask ‘what do you do?’ Be specific, do your research, otherwise it’s a waste of your and their valuable time.”

All of a sudden from a room next door, the most powerful woman voice I’ve heard in a long time came floating through the corrugated fake wall that extended to create the space we were sitting in, accompanied by the light strumming of a beautiful acoustic guitar composition.

Other folks heard it too, but politely sat staring ahead trying to hear the speakers.

Being the musician and media rep that I am, I snuck out of the room into the hallway and followed my ears to a closed door. The red shirted volunteers were approaching quickly and I just smiled and walked right in, humbly of course.

I was immediately welcomed by two lovely musicians who sat at a single round table strewn with paper. They were two of twelve participants in the BOW’s SOCAN Song House Songwriter’s Workshop, in which they were teamed up and asked to compose a song in two days. Find out more in a Q&A I grabbed, available here.

For now, long story short, the volunteers came in and shut them down offering up a secret spot they called the Songwriter’s Palace for the music ladies to continue their creative streak, and allow the albeit quieter moments of an industry conference to proceed uninterrupted.

So I meandered to the room next door.

Sitting in a row were industry representatives from Germany and the UK speaking about entering the German market.

“Don’t wait too long in Canada to get your structure or become what they’re calling this ‘pseudo export readiness,’” said Jörg Tresp of Germany’s Devil Duck Records.

“Yes, just make sure you have a product,” added Rachael Patterson of Germany’s international label group !K7.

The panellists carried on to give examples of the variety of ways different bands enter the industry including Hollywood stories of rags to riches, coming in with a full package, and coming in with nothing but a few songs.

By the end of this second conference moment, everyone was feeling a tad more comfortable.

“Sometimes artists don’t understand their own music. The most important thing to do is to try and understand yourself,” said Kai Lehman of Cabin Artists. “You can’t rely on advice from management. You need to make an idea and find a way to achieve it.”

So much laughter and wisdom was shared with this room full of up and coming touring musicians. I didn’t want to get up and follow my nose to a coinciding event.

But, upon landing on the Delta lobby carpet, sharing standing room only with Vancouver artist and colleague Skye Wallace, I was happy I came to listen to the smooth gentle sounds of BOW’s first showcasing artist, singer-songwriter Calla Kinglit. More to come!

Video: Calla Kinglit plays BOW, by Leila Neverland

Featured photo: Calla Kinglit. Photo credit: https://callakinglit.bandcamp.com/

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