Menu Close

RBC Touring & Showcasing Program

RBC Touring & Showcasing Program 2022

Meet This Year’s Mentees:

Violet Vopni is an Indigenous and Icelandic singer/songwriter from Manitoba. Her journey as a lyricist and composer began in 1995 when she wrote her song “Dreaming”. That song was released in 2020 through alternative metal band Helfreya. Vopni’s songs range from upbeat pop to smooth jazz to heartbreaking ballads and everything in between. She draws inspiration from her relationships with lovers, friends and her ancestral history as a Metis woman. Vopni advocates for those affected by mental health and addictions.

Clayton Rudy

Clayton Rudy recently joined Winnipeg-based psych rock band Mahogany Frog on bass and synth.  His previous projects include Toronto-based Bowie tribute band Life On Mars (guitar) and political rock outfit Iron Age Mystics (bass).  A Fransaskois who recently returned to the prairies, Clayton’s full artistic energy is focused on bringing the heft of Mahogany Frog’s 2021 and 2022 double-length releases onto the stage while diving into the writing project for next year’s expected LP.

Mic North aka Nigel Pahl is a black / indigenous artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba. North has used music as a tool to change his life and make it out of the streets and gang culture in Winnipeg. Mic North has worked with Peter Jackson from Toronto and currently has a hit single TIGT that is climbing the Indigenous Top 40.

Kwiat (kwai·uht) is a Métis Polish avant-pop artist, heavily influenced by post-romanticism. With sophisticated vocals and elaborate piano melodies, the Winnipeg-based songstress captivates audiences through raw, intimate, and dramatic performances. Each song blossoms into its own lush and distinct sound while drawing inspiration from notable artists such as Fiona Apple, Japanese Breakfast, and Regina Spektor. Kwiat plans to make her official debut in the Fall of 2022.

Emerging artist Greg Personius calls Opaskwayak Cree Nation home and is an active community member and a proud new father to his first child. Inspired by music such as country legends, music is everything to him.

Jay Alaska is a Canadian artist and producer, born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. From hard beats with jaw-dropping lyricism, to upbeat pop like R&B flows, his broad range of music and flow capability is sure to captivate you. Jay Alaska comes with a cool confidence that you don’t see often. His numbers speak for themselves, as he already has over 100 000 streams on Spotify alone in less than a year of releasing music.

Jesse Bandura is a singer-songwriter and recording artist born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Bandura infuses his love of country and rock into his music. Jesse got his first guitar at age nine and has honed his craft playing live across Western Canada over the past 14 years. Bandura’s musical style has been linked to Jason Aldean, Steve Earl and Kidd Rock. Bandura has a new single, set for release Sept 2022, guaranteed to keep you country!

Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Ben Stopfel’s folk-inspired and honest songs are all about learning to make peace with melancholy. In his new EP titled ‘The Garden’, he retells his coming of age story, moving out on his own from a small town in Ontario. With themes of loneliness, anxiety, and the daunting fear of the unknown, Ben’s soothing yet emotive vocals tell a story that is entirely his own, yet relatable to anyone who has ever felt the lonely ache that comes with growing older.

Meet the Mentors

Mentor, Musician

MJ Dandeneau is a French Anishinaabe / Métis kwe born in Treaty 1 Territory (Winnipeg, MB). Her tours and studio work have literally taken her all over the globe and nationally recognized with recording awards such as Canadian JUNO, WCMA-Award & CFM-Award. MJ’s deep-seated roots to her French-Canadian and Métis heritage are translated and embodied in the music she creates. 

Over the past 15 years, MJ has created a fiercely independent musical history as a professional touring bassist that includes numerous TV performance productions, studio session recordings, producing and performing around the world (Europe, UK, North America, Scandinavia, Asia, Australia, New Zealand). Her musical path has led her to play with many international artists Buffy Saint-Marie, The Violent Femme, Xavier Rudd, Digging Roots, Crystal Shawanda, Rose Cousins, The Good Lovelies, Don Amero, just to name a few, ultimately attributing to her ability to be versatile and well versed in many genres of music.

“MJ is one of the hardest-working freelance musicians (for studio work and touring) in this part of the world. She is phenomenally versatile. able to perform in any genre of music you can name, and has recorded and toured with musicians/bands representing a wide variety of musical stylings across the world. She has developed quite a reputation for the quality of her musicianship, her consistency and dependability, and has been very much in demand for session and touring work.”  –Winnipeg Free Press

Learn more about MJ: &

Rhonda Head

Rhonda Head has received 15 nominations in total and won nine international music awards since she began her music career in 2010. Rhonda has had the opportunity to perform in some of the most amazing venues – Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Centre, the Viper Room, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 5 Lands Walk Festival in NSW, Australia, and numerous other venues. Rhonda also recently released an autobiography called Mezzo-Soprano – Memoirs of a Rez Girl.

Learn more about Rhonda:

9 emerging musicians (spots will be saved for 4 Indigenous artists & 2 Black artists) will be selected to learn from music professionals about showcasing & touring, and performing a live showcase opportunity presented to 20+ presenters (buyers).

Participants will have the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with some fabulous mentors and learn many of the skills needed to further your growth as musicians (becoming future 🤩stars). This program is FREE (valued at $1000 per participant – lucky you) for musicians, in the early stages of their career, that have never showcased before. This program will help musicians get ready for professional provincial, national & international showcasing and touring starting right here in Manitoba!

The training takes place online in a group setting, where each participant will also receive 3 hours of one on one training/meetings with a mentor for some good quality fun. The program will end with the artists participating in Manitoba Arts Network’s October Manitoba Showcase Conference in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

During the mentorship musicians will learn about:

  • Tips and tricks for showcase applications
  • How to showcase & network
  • Preparing for your Showcase recording (includes mock showcase performance)
  • Marketing, branding and creating Electronic Press Kits (EPKs)
  • Planning and booking shows
  • Contract negotiations, tech info sheet & pricing
  • Finding & building an audience
  • Funding & sponsors
  • Touring on the road & digitally

Participate in the following as part of the program:

  • Initial meet & greet
  • Online weekly group mentorship meetings (11 in total)
  • Perform a 15 minute live showcase at Manitoba Showcase Conference in Portage la Prairie, MB Oct. 27-30 (expenses paid by program)
  • Participate in a live Q&A with all the other participants to an audience of 20+ buyers at Manitoba Showcase Conference
  • 2 hours of one on one mentorship

What do we mean by mentorship?
Through this program, you will be given guidance and direction provided by a mentor (an experienced professional from the music industry). The mentor may help with exploring careers, setting goals, developing contacts, and identifying resources with scheduled meetings either in person or virtually.

What do we mean by Showcasing and Touring?
Touring is an industry valued at over 4 million in Canada. There are networks in each province across Canada that produce an annual conference that showcase multidisciplinary artists. A showcase is on stage with full lighting and sound in front of an audience of presenters/buyers. The artist sings for 15-20 minutes which gives the presenters/buyers an idea of what they would be buying.

Following a showcase there is opportunity to speak directly to the buyers who just watched their showcase and the artist tries to sell their show. Following the conference, within each province 100’s of performances are booked as a direct result of these showcases. Presenters/buyers offer full negotiated artist fees for shows which can range from $500 (emerging artist) – $3000 (mid-level career) per show depending on size of venue and size of the band.

Touring is when an artist or band wants to get their show booked for a tour of consecutive show dates within a given province (a tour could consist of 3-10 performances scheduled consecutively all in different communities). In some provinces such as Manitoba the Manitoba Arts Network acts as a liaison between the artist and communities/presenters/buyers to coordinate or block book the tour dates and negotiate contracts).

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Brereton, Program Coordinator