The SOCAN Foundation held the second annual edition of the groundbreaking Equity X Production mentorship program – designed to empower female-identifying and gender minority producers-in-training – from Sept. 22 to Nov. 6, 2020, online-only this year because of pandemic restrictions.

“The SOCAN Foundation established this national program in response to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study launched in 2019,” said Charlie Andrews, Executive Director of the SOCAN Foundation. “The profoundly concerning research exposes the lack of gender diversity among the role of the music producer. We worked to fundraise and develop a program that challenges the status quo by empowering female-identifying and gender minority music-makers to become producers, through education, networking, and support.”

The program is made possible with the generous support of RBC and Ableton, as well as encouragement from the SOCAN Foundation Board of Directors.

The second edition received more than 300 submissions, and allowed for only 24 participants, drawn from all across the country, coast to coast to  coast. About 70% of the participants were from outside of Ontario, and all are SOCAN members. Instructors Heidi Chan, Laura Dickens, and Ableton’s Aggrey Ellis (also all SOCAN members) facilitated, as the group of aspiring and emerging producers worked with, and learned more about, MIDI loops and keyboard mapping, drum machines and samplers, drum programming, workflows, production for live performances, and more.

The second-year participants were (listed in alphabetical order, by last name):

  • Anna Backus
  • Paula Burrows
  • Camille Brereton
  • Erin Costelo
  • Chloe Doyon
  • Brittany Fahel
  • Bridghid Fry
  • Terez Goulet
  • Gan
  • Athena Holmes
  • Alexandra Levy
  • Barbra Lica
  • Alexandria Maillot
  • Sarah Makonnen
  • Aiza Ntibarikure
  • Monica Paez
  • Natalie Ramsay
  • Natasha Roldan
  • Sarah Rossy
  • Anya Smith
  • Alanna Sterling
  • Justine Tyrell
  • Zaynab Wilson
  • Joanna Worthington

Overseeing the program on behalf of the SOCAN Foundation were Charlie Andrews; Meryl Gosch, Project Co-Ordinator; Julien Boumard-Collier, Administrator of Programs; and Dixie Ola, Operational Assistant.

Said participant Paula Burrows, “The course truly encouraged and inspired me to put more hours into producing. Before, I would work on a project for a bit and get either bored or discouraged, hit a wall, and give up. This course made me look at Ableton [producing software] not as a challenge anymore, but instead, more of a new hobby obsession, where anytime I hit a wall, I could get some help from one of our coaches and keep moving on. Every week I was learning a new trick, or a new hidden facet of Ableton, I didn’t know about. It made producing fun again.”

Said participant Athena Holmes, “[The program] inspired me to keep learning with Ableton, and seek other resources to extend learning, on top of the curriculum. Both the participants and instructors are super-knowledgeable and helpful. [Focusing] on sounds design and abstract sound exploration will help me when I’m creating new songs and new sounds… The biggest benefit is being able to talk to educators one-on-one, and really being able to have a mentor to whom I can ask all my questions. Developing connections with like-minded people is invaluable. The overall program has given me more confidence, and being selected to develop a relationship with SOCAN Foundation makes me feel good.”