Entrepreneur Accelerator Graduates
Abigail Smith (she/they) is a promoter, event planner, and business owner in Saint John, NB. Abigail is the founder and Camp Director of the Saint John Rock Camp for Girls and Gender Creative Kids, a free day camp that teaches musicianship to girls and trans youth. Abigail is the co-founder and president of Haven Music Hall, a new live music venue that is set to open in 2023. Abigail's background is in festival organization (Quality Block Party, Third Shift Contemporary Art Festival), event safety (Show Buddies; Bystander Intervention Program), and AV tech (Imperial Theatre tech crew, Stage Crew Productions, Hemmings House Productions).
AN is a musician/teacher with a distinct dark timbre and in-your-face vocals. Based out of Calgary, AB, both self-taught and formally trained, her sound is inspired by late 90’s and early 00’s pop, R&B, and contemporary rock. In 2020, she released a short DIY EP titled Forbidden Fruit. Her song Brand New World was featured on CJSW’s Them Fatale that same year. Her most recent performances include Action Dignity’s Universal Human Rights Day event in 2021; a Black History Month Showcase hosted by The Alcove in partnership with the Calgary Separate School District in 2022, Sled Island Music Festival 2022 and YYC Rocks Against Bullying.
In early 2022, she was a part of SOCAN’s Equity X Production Mentorship Program. She received marketing mentorship from Bronwin Parks, the creative director of design studio Feisty Creative (Jann Arden, Lorde). She also received grant writing mentorship from arts writer Ginger Carlson.
This year, she's received two Calgary Arts Development (CADA) grants. First, an Artist Development Micro-Grant to develop her musicianship with teacher Andrew Balboa (Heyoka's Mirror). She also received CADA’s Individual Artist Project Grant; with this funding, she’s currently working with producer James Bunton (Celeigh Cardinal, Vivek Shraya) on a guitar-driven pop-rock record (2023) that explores life as a first-generation Canadian, love/lust/connection, grounded fearlessness, coming to your senses, and legacy. She is also currently working on a play influenced by this record, as a part of Chromatic Theatre’s 2022-2023 Playwright’s Unit cohort.
During her time as a part of the 2022-2024 Artist as Changemaker Residency cohort (at Mount Royal University’s Trico Changemakers Studio) she will be working with a local organization, The Alcove, to evolve Calgary’s arts and culture scene.
Alexia is an independent writer, cultural worker and emerging musician from Buenos Aires, based in Tkaron:to.
She has a web of experience developing mentorship programs, exhibitions, art residencies, events and has produced workshops, short documentaries and printed matter and wrapped up her term as Executive Director of Xpace Cultural Centre last fall.
Alexia has recently shifted into the music industry, and is especially interested in creating opportunities for independent femme musicians and artist-run music labels and collectives.
I have over ten years of experience managing projects, in the experimental music scenes, and beyond. I believe in building strong community roots, removing barriers, and creating space for all artists, audiences and dreamers.
In 2020, I founded act·art·mgt, is a management agency for artists and arts organizations, with an " à-la-carte approach" designed to accommodate all projects. Clients can choose from a wide range of services: career & project management, production & logistics, administration, promotion & publicity, grant writing, and more.
act·art·mgt developed an innovative business model based on sliding scales fees for artists, ensuring accessibility and removing financial barriers to professional assistance. Part of its activities focus on investing in new Canadian talent, creating new connections and networks in Canada, as well as expanding the Francophone network for experimental music in BC.
Since its creation in 2020, the agency has rapidly expanded. Its roster is largely focused on BC experimental music and includes Juno Award winners Cole Schmidt and Meredith Bates [Pugs & Crows],Polaris Long List nominee Yu Su, and Marina Hasselberg for management, as well as Now Society, Róisín Adams, Emily Best, Shannon Scott, Paul Silveria, and more for PR, grant writing and production. act·art·mgt also represents QC and ON artists Jerusalem In My Heart, Jessica Moss, Kee Avil, and Mark Molnar.
I also worked as Project Manager for the Vancouver Independent Music Centre - VIM (2019-2020) and as Logistics & Promotion Coordinator for the Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival and Casa del Popolo / La Sala Rossa venues & bars-restaurants (Montreal, 2016-2019). I was a founding Member of the Lux Magna Festival (2017-2019) and part of the Noisundaeee Collective in Montreal (2017-2019).
Before moving to Canada from France in 2016, I was working as an international policy expert. I hold a Specialized Masters degree in Creative and Cultural Industries Management from the Burgundy School of Business (2016), a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from Sciences Po Paris (2008) and two Bachelor’s Degrees in History and Classics from Universities Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and Paris IV Sorbonne (2005/2006).
Bursting at the seams with raw creative energy, Avalon maintains her blues and classic rock roots while adding a heavy and more modern flair. Her hauntingly relatable lyrics explore the dark parts of the mind and plead for understanding and connection. Dressed in metal to reflect the nature of her name, her magnetic performance draws out hidden emotions and new energy, often leaving audiences with emotional release and a deeper understanding of the human experience.
Avalon believes there is nothing like the feeling of being on stage and sharing a connection with her fans and bandmates, and that passion reflects in her performance. Her guitar strings take a beating as she uses her instrument for release, while delivering white-hot grungy riffs and soulful solos. Performing professionally on stage since she was 10, Avalon has found her sound and is ready for everyone to hear it.
As a young musician, Avalon has played over 200 shows at festivals and venues all over Ontario, and in some parts of the US - Anywhere from small bars to festival stages for 15K+ people. Watch for her relaunch when she and her extremely talented band take the stage next Summer and share the new music you've been waiting for.
Emerging into the scene in 2016 with the Rude EP, Lowkita has been gaining the attention of festivals and showcases locally and Nationally across Canada. With her latest Releases, Likkle Honey & Selective, you can see her range of influences and punchy energy that extends to her on-stage performances. Growing up with Influences from Missy Elliot to Don Omar Lowkita combines her Caribbean Culture, Hip Hop & R&B influence to create her unique sound.
Lowkita began her journey into creative arts at the age of five in dance classes, and by the time she reached junior high, she knew that music was the path for her. After making friends with a classmate who wrote poetry, Low would take her lyrics and sing or rap them over beats downloaded from the internet. Since then, there has been no stopping her.
In 2012 she left Calgary for Vancouver to further pursue her dreams.
She continues to perform around in and around Vancouver any chance she gets. Along the way, Lowkita met DJ and Producer MrFloetic, and in 2016 she released their first EP called RUDE. In August 2020, she participated in programs such as Equity X Production Mentorship Program, where she began her journey into beat-making and producing. She also recently received her certification from the Clive Davis Institution x Yellow brick for Essentials of Music Business.
Over the past few years, Lowkita has been performing at many festivals, Such as Vancouver Safe and Sound Festival and her first performance back in her hometown in two years at Sled Island Calgary.
During the pandemic, Lowkita decided to venture back into acting (As she had done when she was a child). In 2021 she was cast in the Role of Fatima for the short film Not that Deep, which has gone on to win Best Short Film & Audience Choice Award at the BerlinShort Film Festival and was also selected for CiFF(Calgary International Film Festival. Along with Short Films, she has also been a part of Various TV Shows such as Batwoman & Nancy Drew.
As Lowkita continues her rise in the industry, she plans on making her voice heard in any way possible and is ready for all the opportunities coming her way. From songwriting to performing and producing, she wants to continue representing women and all people who mean something different.
Chachi (they/them) aka Méchant Vaporwave is a Creative Director and Artist Manager with a strong background in communications. Chachi is a multidisciplinary designer with 11 years of experience working with agencies, activists, artists, non-profits, and small businesses. They began collaborating with Backxwash on visuals in 2019, and have primarily worked as her Creative Director and Artist Manager since 2021. They handle all aspects of Backxwash’s visual universe with care and intention. As part of their practice, they advocate for and offer free consultation for marginalized artists starting out in design and music. Their goal is to make art that is self-actualizing, and to support other artists in doing the same.
Queer Vocalist, Songwriter, Producer, & Music Teacher, the della kit was born into a lineage of Jewish and Italian Jazz musicians in Boston MA. Her career has taken her all over the world supporting R&B and Hip-Hop legends such as; Mos Def, Bilal, and ?uest Love, and led her to signing with Art Haus, alongside Serena Ryder & Adria Kain. She released her debut album moonbeams + frequencies July 8th 2022 - a lush collection of songs that bring together a multitude of genres in a stunning and visionary way.
While other children were attending daycare, I was running around in nightclubs, soundchecks, concerts and music festivals. The entertainment industry goes beyond a career - it's my entire life! My name is Delaney Lyngard. I was born and raised in the live entrainment-filled Victoria B.C scene. My father's company DL Sound was one of the first and only to this day on the lower island to have such a gender and LGBTQ+ diverse crew, which shaped how I like to run or be a part of teams.
My passion is to take events, musicians, businesses and creativity to another level. I want to be on the edge of innovation with a team in the industry and community. I use my skills of creativity, grant writing, operations and project management, research and development to work with Canadian music festivals, merch designs, technology initiatives, planning, and grant proposals.
When not in an operation, project or writing position, I am a video wall tech, camera op-orator, backline, production assistant, and grip for live shows. Victoria has a limited tech population, so many in the industry have to wear multiple hats.
When I am not roaming around with a walkie-talkie or working with a team, I find myself learning new design technology, art, digital illustrations, instructing, writing and travelling.
Some of my past work and clients include Rifflandia, The Function Festival, Lake-town Ranch, Sunfest, Laketown Shakedown, Phillips concert series, DL Sound, 17 Black, Amelia Artists, Blue Heron, Imagine Dragons, Music by the sea, IATSE 168 and more.
Kaos (Jesilo Bernard) is a drag artist, singer and high energy entertainer with an original, gender defying look and a heart the size of the Canadian prairies. As a fan favourite on Season 3 of 'Canada's Drag Race', a sold out cross country summer tour and a recent red carpet appearance at the Canadian Country Music Awards, their sincere and quick witted personality has won them legions of fans around the world.
Bilingual singer/songwriter Laura Rae dances between genres, influenced equally by soulful Norah Jones as rock legend Sheryl Crow. In the year since releasing her first single, Laura has been nominated for Music Nova Scotia’s New Artist Recording of the Year 2022 and has taken home bronze for Halifax The Coast Best Folk Artist 2022. Her English music has reached #1 on The East Coast Countdown, #2 on CKDU’s weekly top 10 and #7 on CIOE’s East Coast 30. She is currently co-producing a 7 song French Album with Gabrielle Papillon, which will be released in March of 2023.
As a performing artist, Laura’s list of accomplishments continues to grow, demonstrating not only her artistic merit, but her ability to run successful media campaigns, to grow her listenership and to build strong connections with industry professionals to propel her music forward.
As a songwriter, producer, and business woman, Laura is determined to build relationships with up and coming as well as established artists in order to continue learning and developing towards her goals of running a successful recording studio and artist retreat in Nova Scotia.
Having begun production in late 2021, Laura was accepted into SOCAN EquityX Production mentorship program, among 23 other Canadian producers, and has since received production contracts for Conseil Acadien de Par en Bas, la Federation Culturelle Acadienne de la Nouvelle Ecosse, as well as multiple production contracts with local musicians.
Lorna Ledoux is the manager for Joey Stylez and part of the Stre$$ed Street and Ble$$ed Street management teams. She recently produced her first music video. Lorna studied Law and Indigenous Studies at The University of Saskatchewan and Executive Education at UBC Sauder School of Business. Her first career was in Indigenous Government where she served as an elected official and in management positions. Lorna is a member of The Metis Nation.
Maribeth Manalaysay Tabanera (siya/sanda/they/them/theirs) aka Kilusan is a Tagalog Visayan filipinx queer non-binary multi-hyphenate educator, choreography, dj, and community organizer based in Treaty No. 1 Territory (Winnipeg).
A life-long learner, they have focused their energy on diving deeply into their passions of dance, education, DJing, social justice and community building. Kilusan is a full-time public school educator, artist facilitator with Graffiti Art Programming and Unity Charity, and is a board member of Manitoba Music and Kultivation Festival. They have presented their work as an educator, dancer, and DJ at events all over North America.
A graduate from Mama Cutsworth's DJ Academy for All Women and Non-Binary Folks, they have been an open-format DJ, since 2018. Kilusan has worked with Queer People of Colour Winnipeg, Synonym Art Consultation, DJ Bles-sed, DJ Maseo, Ill Town Sluggaz and Skratch Bastid.
In 2022, Maribeth launched their company Kilusan Productions. Through unique, inclusive and community-minded education, dance, DJing, production and event organising, Kilusan Productions strives to cultivate a grassroots contemporary art movement in Winnipeg and abroad rooted in social responsibility and mutual solidarity. Maribeth was also chosen as Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists/West Chapter - BIPOC Dance Resident, and was a recipient of the Manitoba Arts Council Support Arts Leaders Grant.
Maribeth's most recent projects include producing a video from CBC Manitoba's Creators Network "Unlocked" series. Co-hosting events with Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain including Queer Nights, Grill Em’ All-Styles Dance Battle and Midsummer Night’s Dream Mini-Ball. As well as, performing with Kimmortal (Vancouver) in Seattle at Taking B(l)acked Pride and in Yellowknife at Folk on The Rocks.
Make sure to visit www.maribethtabanera.com and to follow @maribeth.tabanera and @kilusan.productions on Instagram to stay up to date with them!
While working in the music industry for the past fifteen years as both musician and industry professional, Mary Beth Waldram has organized and supervised large-scale events, created successful grant proposals, and helped artist's both in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Mary Beth is a graduate of Memorial University's School of Music and NSCC's Music Business Program. Afterwards going on to work with many Atlantic Canadian music festivals including Halifax Pop Explosion, Lawnya Vawnya and The Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, while also managing bands and booking tours for Atlantic Canadian artists. Mary Beth currently resides in St. John's Newfoundland and is currently working with Lawnya Vawnya, NL Folk Festival, Circus Festival and many other local artists and companies. Mary Beth recently won MusicNL's Industry Professional of the Year 2022.
Born in Gatineau from two musicians parents, Flora started singing at the age of 3. She grew up surrounded by Mexican rancheras, Disco, French ballads and Hip-Hop. At a very young age, she explored different dance styles, played several instruments, sang lead for the Mexican folkloric ballet Aztlán and performed in numerous musical productions. At the age of 17, she moved away from home to study musical theater at L’École de théâtre professionnel of Le Collège Lionel-Groulx. Influenced by Les Soeurs Boulay, she wrote her first ‘sweet-green-summer-folk’ songs on her ukulele.
Ten years later, Flora’s sound has evolved to Indie-Folk combined with Latin music, Alternative R&B, Pop Dance and Broadway. She defines her music as a mix of organic and urban sounds: « kinda like a poppy field in the middle of a big city, it’s like, salty, organic folk r&B». This Mexican-Québécoise singer-songwriter has been winning awards around the Québec province since her pre-teen years (Secondaire en spectacle, Cégeps en spectacle, Étoile montante Ford, Tremplin de Dégelis, Un Air de Famille) all thanks to her audacity and originality. Her biggest accomplishment is, without a doubt, her journey during the televised competition La Voix 8 (The Voice Québec) in which she was voted all the way to its Grande Finale.
Her floral and theatrical touch have always distinguished this queer artist. People can discover her art in the streets of Montreal, where she performs as a busker, and also at different venues. In addition, she happily presents emerging artists on the radio show "Lundi public" on CIBL 101.5 FM since February 2022. Following her television success, she landed a mini-album contract with Les Disques Now. Her very first EP "Reinacimiento - comment renaître de ses cendres" was released on May 13th 2022. Its main single 'BYE LÀ (Baila)', co-written with Audrey-Louise and PETiTOM, reached #87 on the BDS Top 100 chart within its first week on the radio and is now at 50K streams on Spotify.
The urban hippie proudly represents a new era of mixed-cultured millennials. Her trilingual songs depict a textured and colorful universe. She offers us sounds that shower us in a tropical flow of words filled with endearing stories. She defends, above all, feminist, libertine and human ideals.
Rachel MacMillan is the founder of newly formed MacMillan Management based out of Toronto Canada.
MacMillan Management’s roster includes D’ever Archer, a musician who blends musical elements of her Jamaican heritage with her small town Canadian upbringing, shaped by a classical training in music, D’eve brings her audiences a seamless blend of musical styles, instrumentations and deliveries all tied together with her undeniable and infectious energy. Rachel also works with a new female artist 21 years of age hailing from Sudbury Ontario named Sierra. Together they are developing a release strategy for her first single.
Rachel is a CMI(Canada’s Music Incubator) supported artist manager who was one of the few in Canada selected to attend their professional development program and an active member of the MMF(Music Manager Forum Canada).
She is committed to creating space for Canadian artists to flourish and grow. The health and well being of the artist is at the forefront of her mission along with launching careers internationally.
Rachel began her career in the music industry after transitioning from an actor in the Canadian film business.
Becoming an artist manager was a natural progression for her and combined her passion for music with her knowledge of the entertainment industry.
RIELL is an internationally touring and Top 40 charting Dance Pop artist, songwriter, vocal producer, and topliner from Canada. She shares her obsession with hardship, self-exploration, and the darker side of the mind through haunting vocals, catchy hooks, and insightful lyrics, creating an innovative mix of artists like Halsey, The Chainsmokers, and Rihanna. RIELL developed her first two EP’s, PARADISE and Winter, over a period of two years while touring and writing around the world, coming to fruition in places like England, Costa Rica, India, Dubai, and Canada. RIELL is set to release her debut album, HYMNS FOR THE BITTER, detailing a villain’s origin story. The first single, “End It”, was released June 2022 accompanied with a Volumetric Studio Capture music video showcasing the cutting edge technology of tech company Tetavi. The album is set to release throughout 2023 with a 10 minute video game experience to accompany it.
RIELL has 1.5 Million monthly listeners on Spotify alone, multiple million listeners across platforms, and hundreds of thousands of followers. Her work has accumulated 205+ million streams on Spotify, 500+ million views across platforms, has been featured on Spotify Canada’s social pages, has been supported by prominent DJ’s such as The Chainsmokers and Martin Garrix, and has had her music played by DJ’s at popular festivals such as Lost Lands (60 000 attendees). RIELL has had her music accompany several viral videos on youtube, has had videos of her songs become viral on YouTube themselves, and has created viral singing videos on Tik Tok. She has received radio play across Europe, North America, and Asia and has charted 500+ times across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa with multiple #1’s in the Electronic charts on iTunes, Deezer, Apple, and Beatport. She has secured synch placements for international ad campaigns, video game placements, workout video placements, and is in curated rotation in establishments such as malls and cafes across the globe. She is a highly sought after collaborator and topliner in the EDM scene and has released songs with popular EDM producers such as Gabry Ponte (15+ million monthly listeners), Blasterjaxx, Excision, and TheFatRat (6+ Million Youtube Subscribers).
Her energetic live show has taken her on three international tours spanning Europe, Africa, Asia, and Canada. In addition to touring, RIELL has received a Western Canada Music Award for Electronic Artist of the Year, the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition Electronic Category, first prize in the USA Songwriting Competition in the Dance/Electronic category, and became a three-time semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition and Unsigned Only. She has placed Top 5 in the CBC Searchlight Competition, Top 10 for the Edmonton Music Prize, and was one of four artists for the Allan Slaight JUNO Masterclass 2021. RIELL has an extensive music background having completed her Grade 10 RCM for piano as well as a Bachelor of Music in Voice.
Taraneh Mousavi is a Vancouver-based Iranian vocalist and composer. So far, Taraneh has experienced four continents, capturing the spirit of the many places she has felt “at home” throughout her life, blending jazz, classical and contemporary music with deep connections to poetry and her Persian roots. Taraneh holds a BMus in jazz performance from HfMT Köln, and she is currently studying for her master’s degree at Berklee Global Jazz Institute. In her current project “Home is a River” she explores the metamorphosis of Home and Belonging, in the aftermath of immigration, which is planning to release as her debut EP.
For a moment, TiKA was listening to the wrong voice. Another person’s idea had taken up space in her head and for a while, that other person had judged her; said that music - that singing - was not for her, not in her calling.
Tika listened and thought to herself: “I’ll help others get their voices heard.” Supporting other creators; hosting cultural events for other artists to shine, she didn’t realize her own light was dimming. Until, at one of her very own sold-out events, at the renowned NY venue Milk River; while an audience stood in anticipation for R&B singer Lil’ Mo to perform that the band sat impatiently waiting for; Tika got a request. A musician on stage turned to her to solve the problem, give the people what they came for...sing.
When the last notes of TiKA’s version of Prince’s “I Will Die for You” rang out through the room, a stranger pulled her off stage to validate that she needed to change course and focus on her own artistic expression. Suddenly that old voice in her head was silenced.
In no time, TiKA released two EPs: “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid” and late in 2016, “Carry On”. Both oeuvres garnered attention from platforms like Noisey , The Fader, CBC Music and others.
Afropunk, the international culture juggernaut of all things Afro-descendent, celebrated the video release for “OHMYGOD”, the first single from the “Carry On” EP featuring Juno-nominated rapper, Clairmont The Second and produced by another celebrated Toronto-based artist, Harrison. Afropunk called the work “spiritual goodness”, a description that perfectly aligned with TiKA’s intention: to share her own healing process through depression with others who may need it.
From SXSW (Austin, TX) to NXNE (Toronto); from A3C (Atlanta) to Redbull Music Festival (Montreal); Luminato in Toronto to Musical Direction for Madame Gandhi; Pride in Toronto and Montreal, in this short time doing live performances, headlining music festivals is on-going for TiKA.
And although TiKA can say she opened for R&B greats like John Legend and NAO, she leads with love in all of her artistic endeavours. She spearheaded several events in Toronto to amplify Black creative communities. With The Known Unknown, artists like Haviah Mighty, Jessie Reyez, Daniel Caesar, and Clairmont The Second were some of the caliber of artists who were introduced to audiences. And in continuing with that legacy, soon after making Montreal home base, Tika partnered with Pop Montreal in 2018 to run a festival within the international festival: ‘Iverna Island: The Grassroots Festival for Black Womxn & Women of Colour”.
Growth as an artist is an important value for TiKA. Working continuously on song-writing, she’s completed the intensive film scoring program at the Canadian Film Center (Fall 2020) . And expect video directing credits for the release of her latest single, “Don’t Be Afraid.”
TiKA continues to put Womxn (especially Black and Queer womxn,) at the centre of her creative offerings. And how far does that go? Doing makeup for her homegirl, singer-songwriter and DJ, Elle Barbara, a Black trans artist in Montreal; or agreeing to model in the 2018 and 2019 Sephora campaigns so that, as she put it “little chubby black girls could see themselves”.
TiKA’s motivation is to communicate with our universal language - music. She draws from the legacy of Black Queer women of the 1990’s: Meshell Ndegeocello, Tracy Chapman, Dionne Farris and Diana King, artists who she observed to have “rawness, eloquence, timelessness and grace in what they were emoting through music”.
‘Anywhere But Here’ is set to illustrate similar qualities as those artists she admires.
Embracing the genre rightfully coined as “futuristic nostalgia,” TiKA’s compositions offer “ethereal sounds that wrap around you, reminding you of other memories”. The vibe remains current, and like the artist herself, evolving. With production work from friend and fellow artist, Casey MQ, a duet with R&B artist Desiire, the album’s themes address deeply personal relationships to ones inspired by TiKA’s Jamaican roots to others that are sonic representations of conversations with the self.
“We tend to only know each other on a semi-molecular level like in business dealings. I think that our methods of relatability to one another should be yes, through business, but also through questions: who are you, how are you, what are your intentions at this moment? In terms of why I do what I do, my purpose is to strive to create social change through my music and my art. It always goes back to the community. Ubuntu. I am because we are; I am nothing without you.”