Thanks to hits like “Qu’est-ce que tu dirais ?” and “Comme avant,” both of which topped the charts for several weeks, Steve Marin has in many ways become the third brother of Sonny and Erik Caouette, better known as the duo 2Frères. Marin has become their most trusted collaborator, and even wrote a bespoke and very intimate song for the siblings, “Mom” – a tribute to their mother. While this alliance has given his career a boost, the Sainte-Anne-des-Monts-born creator is far from a newcomer. He started as a singer-songwriter, and released two albums before moving on to write professionally for other well-established artists, like Roch Voisine, Paul Daraîche, Isabelle Boulay, Ginette Reno, and Mario Pelchat. SOCAN met with him after he received the very first Non-Performing Songwriter of the Year trophy at the 30th SOCAN Awards Gala on Sept. 22, 2019, at Montréal’s La Tohu.

“Parler aux anges,” a song co-written by Nancy Dumais and Tino Izzo in 1997, became a SOCAN Classic during the 30th SOCAN Awards Gala, held Sept. 22, 2019, at Montréal’s La Tohu. The spong was drawn from Nancy Dumais’ critically acclaimed first album, and was nominated at the time for the Popular Song of the Year Félix Award. The Lac-Saint-Jean native – who describes herself as a former timid person, transformed into a “nearly brazen” one because of music – met with SOCAN for an interview at the event. We asked about the genesis of her SOCAN Classic, and why we haven’t heard from her in a long time, even though she admitted, while accepting the award, that she has a few songs in her back pocket.

From Sept. 25–29, 2019, the 18th annual edition of the POP Montréal music festival had more than 60,000 people dancing all over the city. The not-for-profit cultural event champions artistic independence, and features the best emerging artist from all around the world. Once more this year, SOCAN partnered with POP Montréal to present two beat-making workshops on Sept. 27, at the Rialto Theatre, in Montréal’s Mile End neighbourhood.

Ouri, SOCAN, POP Montréal, beat-making

Ouri (left), with of one of the participants in Pop Montréal’s beat-making workshop, presented by SOCAN. (Photo: Marie-Michèle Bouchard)

The first, which sold out days in advance, was a beat-making workshop featuring Ouri, Tati au Miel, and Tshizimba. The three Montréal-based producers were paired with four people for an intensive beat-making session. The atmosphere was intimate and warm, and it was evident that creativity was percolating.

The second workshop was more akin to a conference event. Recettes de beats (Beat Recipes) was presented to a crowd of captivated participants, each with their notebook at the ready. The goal of this gathering was to give beatmakers-to-be some privileged access to the production techniques and tricks of an established artist. During the event, Montréal producer Foxtrott, alongside SOCAN A&R rep Widney Bonfils, talked about her creative and professional evolution, before moving on to her production tips and tricks, her techniques, and the softwarethat  she uses to create.

Foxtrott explained that it took her several years before fully realizing the scope of possibilities in her musical universe. She discovered electronic music when she was younger, and technology wasn’t what it is today, so she started creating beats on her parents’ computer and various electronic toys.

“I would get into my Gameboy settings and go to the section where all the game sounds were located,” she said, “and I would create small beats using the very limited sound bank. I didn’t even realize I was creating music.”

Nowadays, Marie-Hélène Delorme, a.k.a. Foxtrott, is a fully accomplished artist, but she travelled a long road to get to this point. She grew up in a decidedly un-musical family, and at a time when there were few female producer role models. She admitted that that’s probably why she kept her projects secret for a very long time.

There’s no doubt that the attendees of these beat-making workshops walked away with richer production techniques in mind, and realized that there’s more than one path to success – because musical inspiration and exploration is everywhere.