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RBC Emerging Artists Program

Emerging Artist Mentorship and Showcase

12 emerging musicians (4 Indigenous, 4 Black Artists) will be selected to learn from music professionals MJ Dandeneau, Grace Hrabi and Alex Sannie about showcasing & touring, and record a live showcase opportunity presented to 20+ presenters (buyers).

Apply by July 27, 2021

Watch the RBC Artists Safe at Home Festival Performance here.
Listen to the RBC Emerging Artist Mentorship Alumni Spotify Playlist here

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. In addition, each participant will also receive 3 hours of one on one training/meetings with a mentor for some good quality fun.

A program offered by the Manitoba Arts Network, supported by Manitoba Music’s Indigenous Music Development Program.

RBC Emerging Artist Mentorship and Showcase

During the mentorship musicians will learn about:

  • The ins and outs of 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

Musicians of all genres (country, folk, pop, traditional, hip hop) and from all regions of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and NW Ontario can apply.

Past mentees Cohen Sieg, Lana Winterhalt, & Becky Lou

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).

Meet the Mentors for 2021

Grace Hrabi is a singer-songwriter and teacher with a Bachelor’s degree in vocal jazz performance from the University of Manitoba. She is an independent, self-booking artist who performs in Winnipeg and tours across Canada with the folk trio Casati. The trio has recorded, produced and self-released three full-length albums since 2014. Grace teaches voice, ukulele, songwriting & musical theatre through the Winnipeg Conservatory of Music

Alex Sannie is an accomplished and award-winning music producer, performer, and presenter with 20 years of experience creating music. He’s most well known as the producer and member of the hip hop group “The Lytics”. Performing all over the world; The Lytics have played major music festivals and countless concerts. As the producer of The Lytics, his music has been featured in major Hollywood films, television shows, and ad campaigns. Along with the other members of the group; Alex has worked in the studio or shared the stage with industry heavyweights like Nas, Jurassic 5, Sam Kuti, Childish Gambino, A Tribe Called Red, Shad, Kevin Hearn (of The Bare naked ladies) and Mike D of the Beastie Boys.

Alex loves opportunities to connect with other artists and learn from them while still offering his unique point of view in discussions.

MJ Dandeneau is a Métis woman of French and Anishinaabe descent from the Red River Nation. Her mother comes from the Métis Red River Valley (île-à-la-Crosse Nation) and her father comes from Penetanguishene, Treaty 61. She is an accomplished bassist, director and producer. Through her business, MJ Entertainment Canada Inc, she has worked and toured with various artists worldwide for the past 16 years. Nationally recognized with recording awards such as JUNO, WCMA, CFM she has recently been awarded the Indigenous Full Circle Award, one of the Manitoba Arts Council prestige prizes in the Arts. 

MJ’s extensive music career includes booking agent for Europe and Australia, Artistic & Musical Director for various bands and artists, industry board member and funding assessor for Canada Art Council, Factor, Juno, WCMA Awards, CFM Awards, MusicAction and Manitoba Art Council. She has assisted artists in music career development and serves as a connecting point into the international touring arena.  MJ has also had the opportunity to expand her musical reach by taking on roles as a Compose for musical theatres such as Royal MTC, MTYP, Prairie Theatre, Sarasvati Theatre and Theatre and Cercle Molière. MJ’s key focus and passion are supporting and empowering indigenous artists in successfully navigating the national and international market.  

Indigenous Emerging Artist Tour

Meet the past Indigenous Artist Mentees here

Meet the mentees and mentors, and learn more about their upcoming Indigenous Summer Tour

Meet past Mentee’s here:

Prairie Joggers

The Prairie Joggers: Riverbanks, beaches, backroads and bars serve as the backdrop to this folk rock duo from Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Prairie Joggers express feelings of love and loss through a stream of consciousness and straightforward stories of bittersweet adventure. As founding members of local blues-rock group Odder than the Otters, Goertzen (vocals, guitar) and Hill (drums) have played on stages across Manitoba, including Festival Du Voyageur and Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa. Their debut single, “Hola Luna”, was listed on the top 50 songs chosen by judges/panelists for 2018’s CBC Searchlight Competition.


Serenade combines radio friendly melodies with the traditional bluegrass style. So far Serenade has had the opportunity to perform as part of the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in July of 2018 at the Cube. They’ve performed as part of various markets including Pineridge Hollow, South Osborne Farmer’s Market, Transcona Biz Market, and the Winnipeg Night Market. Serenade has performed two solo shows at Sam’s Place, one of which was in celebration of the success of their debut Christmas album, Christmas with Serenade. This past November they were chosen to perform as part of Manitoba Music New Music Night. Over the 2019 festive season, Serenade has performed at Oakbank Moonlight Madness, Lights of the North Festival, Winnipeg International Airport Arrivals Entertainment, and German Canadian Congress’ Christmas Market. Serenade was selected to be part of Manitoba Music’s Holliday Playlist and were also featured on CBC Radio. Their Christmas album sold over 150 copies in Winnipeg. In October of 2019, Serenade was chosen to take part in BnB Studios Bench Session. Their video was released in January of 2020. They recently performed as part of Festival du Voyageur 2020. They are currently recording their debut EP: Country Love Songs. 

Cohen Sieg

Cohen Sieg: At 18 years old, Cohen Sieg has been writing and performing for almost half his life. Hailing from Sieg’s Corner, MB, he has become a local favourite while making his way to festivals, events, and open mics across the country. Cohen is a pop/folk singer-songwriter who is known for playing guitar, but is also a talented multi-instrumentalist playing a full band of instruments including bass, keyboard, saxophone, and percussion, to name a few. Cohen is a solo-musician but with the help of his looper, his captivating performances encompass the sounds and impact of a full band. Cohen has been receiving accolades since his humble beginnings in rural Manitoba, but has quickly expanded his reach, including Los Angeles, CA, where he holds a certificate from the Musicians Institute, College of Contemporary Music and Perth, WA, where he toured in the fall of 2018.

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Brereton, Program Coordinator

RBC Emerging Artists Program