On a month off, JUNO-winning, multi-platinum-selling singer-songwriter and SOCAN member Jessie Reyez wanted to give back to her hometown community, so she presented the inaugural Jessie Reyez Workshop in partnership with SOCAN, at Dream House Studios in downtown Toronto, on the weekend of Jan. 25-26, 2019.

Jessie Reyez

Reyez leading the workshop. (Photo: Melissa Cameron-Passley)

Out of 13,000 submissions, five youths from Toronto and surrounding areas were selected to participate: Caylie Ganam, VELOW, Tasha Angela, Travis Knight, and Renée The Voice. In the song camp portion of the gathering, they worked alongside sound engineers/producers Calvin Hartwick (Dream House Studios Head Engineer and Manager), Jacob Spitzer (also a resident studio engineer), Moose, Rich Kidd, Elias Edlund, Michael Steinslien, Stephen Lecky, Bobby Love, Kevin O’Brien, and Jarrel Young.

On both days, Reyez hosted a two-hour workshop in the morning, along with Grammy award-winning songwriter/producer Khris Riddick-Tynes (Ariana Grande, Post Malone), who flew in from L.A. to co-mentor the event. On the second day, they were joined by Reyez’s manager Mauricio Ruiz, and Public Records’ Gavin Sheppard (Public Records, and The Remix Project, which originally mentored Reyez).

Speaking candidly to the writers, Reyez began the first day by passing around notebooks with meaningful handwritten quotes on the covers. She asked all five writers to write down affirmations on the first three pages of their notebooks, to which they can later refer. Among Reyez’ most memorable words of advice were, “Hunger, drive, and ambition beats talent every time,” and “I

Jessie Reyez, Melissa Cameron-Passley, SOCAN

Reyez with SOCAN’s Cameron-Passley (left).

don’t think that defeat has any use when you’re thinking of the future… Fuck it, jump.” Said Riddick-Tynes, “When you walk under giants, you kinda wanna be that tall real fast.”

In the afternoon, the songwriters broke off into writing/recording sessions with their engineers, and Jessie’s touring guitarist Heather Crawford. Moose and Rich Kidd crafted and provided 10 beats, on which the songwriters would build. Reyez and Riddick-Tynes went from room to check in on the sessions.

On the first day, SOCAN’s Melissa Cameron-Passley presented a SOCAN 101 info session over lunch (provided by Nando’s). On the second day’s afternoon and evening, a lot of the artists – now more comfortable and relaxed with each other – started to jump into various other rooms to collaborate, and hear other songs as they were being created. The participants were having a lot of fun, which inspired them to continue working hard, and write extensively throughout the evening.

SOCAN congratulates Jessie Reyez and all involved for hosting this hugely successful event!

Fun fact: Before entering the professional songwriting world, one of Jessie Reyez’s first ever paying jobs as a songwriter was at Dream House Studios, when she was invited to participate in a song camp for a children’s show on Netflix. So her choice of the venue was also a way to give back.

Once again this year, SOCAN members have fared very well in nominations at the Canadian Screen Awards, in the musical categories. Twenty-seven of our members have earned nominations in various categories.

Presented by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, the Canadian Screen Awards were born of the fusion of two awards ceremonies – the Genie Awards for movies and Gemini Awards for television. The 2019 awards will be presented over six days during Canadian Screen Week, March 25-31, and the March 31 closing awards gala will be broadcast live on CBC-TV.

The SOCAN nominees are as follows:


Achievement in Music – Original Score
Philippe Brault – The Fireflies Are Gone | La disparition des lucioles
Aleka Swanson (a.k.a. Alaska B) – Through Black Spruce

Achievement in Music – Original Song
Dan General, Tanya Tagaq – “Trials” from The Grizzlies
Jean-Sébastien Williams – “Help Is on The Way” from Sashinka
Sook-Yin Lee, Adam Litovitz, Alia O’Brien –  “Ghost of Love (Onakabazien Remix)” from Octavio is Dead!


Best Original Music, Non-Fiction
Kieran Adams – In the Making – “Dana Michel” episode
Darren Fung – Equus: Story of the Horse – “Origins” episode
Mark Korven – The Kingdom – “How Fungi Made Our World” episode
Justin Delorme – Taken – “Angela Meyer” episode
Laurel MacDonald, Phil Strong – You Are Here

Best Original Music, Fiction
Rob Carli – Murdoch Mysteries – “Shadows Are Falling” episode
Todor Kobakov – Ransom – “Radio Silence” episode
Todor Kobakov – Cardinal – “Blackfly Season” episode
Amin Bhatia, Ari Posner – Anne with an E, “I Protest Against Any Absolute Conclusion” episode

Best Original Music, Animation
Steffan Andrews – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – “Something Fishy” episode
James Chapple, Graeme Cornies, David Kelly, Brian Pickett – PAW Patrol – “Ultimate Rescue: Pups Save the Royal Kitties” episode
Derek Treffry, Greg Fisher – Mother Nature is Trying to Kill You
Neil Parfitt – Ranger Rob – “Sea Monsters of Big Sky Park”
Jonathan Evans – Esme & Roy – “Two Can Play at That Game”

For further information and a complete list of nominees, visit the Canadian Screen Awards website. Congratulations to all our nominees on this great achievement!

In the past few years, AHI has already won the Singer-Songwriter/Folk Award from the Canadian Songwriting Competition, and the Stingray Rising Star Award at the Folk Music Ontario (FMO) conference, and he’s been signed to the U.S.-based record label Thirty Tigers and booking agency Paradigm Talent. In a brief chat, he reacts to the latest accomplishment, his first JUNO Award nomination (for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year); the making of the record that earned the nomination, In Our Time; and his songwriting process.