RBC Touring & Showcasing Program

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 , including numerous TV performance productions, studio session recordings, producing and performing worldwide (Europe, UK, North America, Scandinavia, Asia, Australia, New Zealand). Her musical path has led her to play with many international artists, including Buffy Saint-Marie, The Violent Femme, Xavier Rudd, Digging Roots, Crystal Shawanda, Rose Cousins, The Good Lovelies, and 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: mjdandeneau.com & mjentertainment.ca

Mentor, Musician

Rik Leaf is a Creative Director and Content Strategist with over 20 years of experience in arts in education. Rik Leaf has toured Canada writing, recording and performing songs with students for over 10 years. Rik uses his background in music, TV & Film to produce multi media projects that highlight the creative process. 

Rik produces projects and resources that inspire and empower students to learn through writing, performing, and recording school anthems, creating videos and slam poetry courses. Rik works with Tribe of One, a national collective of Indigenous and settler artists, musicians, dancers, painters and poets, as the Poet Laureate and the project coordinator for multicultural performance workshops, online digital resources, and mentorship programs for Indigenous youth.

His passion is to use his skills as a professional songwriter, music/video producer and editor, published author and motivational speaker to create meaningful and memorable learning experiences for students and teachers. He has invested in over 60,000 students across Canada and abroad, and received multiple awards and recognition for his contribution to the growth and development of arts programming. He is always looking for new opportunities and challenges to expand my creative horizons and make a positive impact in the world.

Rhonda Head

Rhonda Head has received 15 nominations 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 unique 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: rhondahead.com

Program Details

6 emerging musicians (preference given to Indigenous artists & equity-seeking artists to at least 50% of spots) 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 fabulous mentors and learn many skills needed to further their 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 careers, 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 2 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 Steinbach, Manitoba. Professional recording of the Showcase performance for an artist to use in future Showcase applications and promotional purposes (on a professional stage, sound & lighting) will be provided, including coordinated booking and tour support post-Showcase.

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

Benefits - Recent booking/paid opportunities coordinated by MAN for the program alumni have included:

  • Gator Beaulieu 11 concert tour as part of our Indigenous Spring Tour
  • YBK Shakur, Orvis and Sadie Cyr each received 5-6 concerts each for our 2024 spring tour
  • Mic North, 3 concerts and 3 workshops in 3 different Northern Indigenous communities in 2024 and another 5 in 2023.
  • Kwiat opened for Jim Cuddy, in January 2023 in two member communities.
  • Jesse Bandura booked for the Royal Winter fair 2023.
  • Ethan Lyric toured to 4 Indigenous communities opening for Don Amero and Troy Kokol in October 2023

Participate in the following as part of the program:

Meet the Mentors

  • Initial meet & greet
  • Online weekly group mentorship meetings (8 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 explore careers, set goals, develop contacts, and identify resources with scheduled meetings 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 ranging from $500 (emerging artist) to $3000 (mid-level career) per show, depending on the size of the venue and the 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:

Rhonda Head, Program Coordinator

email us


“It was a pleasure being a part of the 2022 Emerging Artists Program through the Manitoba Arts Network. I loved the ability to connect with other Indigenous artists from across Manitoba and learn about the music industry together. The team at Manitoba Arts Network were wonderful and went above and beyond to provide resources and tools to help develop our careers. I appreciated the opportunity to showcase and share the stage with other fantastic artists while connecting with talent buyers and rural community leaders. I look forward to applying what I’ve learned in the future and am excited to see what opportunities come out of this mentorship experience.”  2022 participant Kwiat

“It was great experience. I really enjoyed the conference and mentorship and would recommend it to anyone.”  – 2022 participant Mic North


Meet Last Year's Artists:


Yeri Concepcion better known by his artist name OG KOY, is a 22 year old Dominican artist who migrated to Winnipeg, Canada at the young age of 15 years old.

OG KOY has always had a passion for music and writing since very young. Working on perfecting his flow and craft resulting in the creation of his own unique sound and style. Which is a beautiful melodic combination of Spanish and English over a RnB/Trap type beat.

Emma Peterson

Consistently recognized as one of Manitoba’s most promising young country stars, Emma Peterson is known not only for her captivating performances, but for a powerful voice and all too relatable lyricism. It’s that gift for telling familiar, relatable stories that continues to set the singer/songwriter apart, as well as setting the scene for her new single release “Got It Back”.

Growing up in Winnipegosis, MB (which at last count boasts a population of about 617), Emma knows first-hand what it’s like to grow up country proud. She has performed at numerous venues across the province and beyond, including Dauphin’s Countryfest and Niverville Fair, sharing a stage with some of the country’s biggest stars, The Reklaws, Charlie Major, and Andrew Hyatt.

Emma was nominated for 5 awards at the Manitoba Country Music Association Awards 2022, where she took home the award for Interactive Artist of the Year and Album of the Year.

YBK Shakur

To many I am known as Olu Afolabi, the alliance YBK Shakur comes from a nickname I was given in middle school inspired by one of my biggest mentors, Tupac Shakur. YBK to me is a Euphemism that first stands for Young Black King, because that is who I am. Secondly it stands for You Born King. YBK represents the Mentality, Character, and Pursuit of Freedom of Self and others by extension. YBK defines Strength and Courage it takes to face Tribulations and Self
Demons. The idea of Self Awareness and Royalty; an Elevated way of thinking and consciousness that I believe we are all capable of achieving. This is an ode to the journey of life, one particularly tough for a black man trying to find his way in the world. YBK understands
his journey will be long and that the only way to achieve success will be by taking each step one at a time, a journey he started in 2021 with the release of his first single, “When I’m Gone”.

It is also worth mentioning that YBK is actively involved in the music scene and in his local community. He is a part of Manitoba’s music initiative “BPM — Black People in Music”, and also volunteers for the Youth Hub advisory committee. Young Afolabi has also launched his own entertainment and artist management company called YBK Studios hosting his own shows and accumulating notable performance, publicity and partnerships.

Sadie Cyr

Sadie is an 18-year-old Metis artist who loves to create fantasy worlds within her art. She writes with a burning passion for freedom, love and pain, and most importantly, her personal views of the society we are experiencing and how dark and twisted the reality can be, bringing a modern take on dark romanticism. It is her passion to sing and freely express herself in whichever way her heart calls for her, and to find people who share that likeness on the road.

Orvis was born in Selkirk, Manitoba and raised in his home community of Cross Lake, Manitoba. After high school, Orvis moved back to Selkirk and became a standout in the burgeoning music scene. A veteran of November Underground and The Bloodshots, Orvis is no stranger to masterminding well-polished Alternative Rock & Roll anthems. The recently released (Spring 2023) Love In Vain EP showcases Orvis’ songwriting abilities and diversity as a recording artist. Orvis is currently making the rounds on the tribute and country circuit with his band Orvis & His Higher Guns.

Orvis is currently recording his debut album. Influences range from Classic Rock mainstays The Beatles and David Bowie to modern R&B and Soul of Justin Timberlake and Frank Ocean, but the songs still retain that signature Orvis sound.

DJ Digger Jones

DJ Digger Jones is a Canadian rap/rock artist that merges hip hop with guitar driven rock, creating high energy shows full of comedy and music! Think 2Pac meets The Dave Matthews Band.
RBC Emerging Artists
National Arts Centre