The SOCAN Foundation held the inaugural edition of the groundbreaking Equity X Production mentorship program, designed to empower women and gender minority music producers, on Jan. 9-11, 2020, at the Signal Creative Community in downtown Toronto.

Equity X Production, SOCAN Foundation“SOCAN Foundation established this national program in response to the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study launched in 2019,” said Charlie Andrews, Executive Director of 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 gender minorities to become producers, through education, networking, and support.”

The program is made possible with the generous support of RBC, Ableton, and Signal Creative Community (a one-of-a-kind creative hub), as well as encouragement from the SOCAN Foundation Board of Directors.

The first edition received more than 300 submissions, and allowed for only 25 participants. About 70% of the participants were from outside of Ontario, and all are SOCAN Members. Instructors Heidi Chan and Laura Dickens (both also 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. Ableton, in collaboration with SOCAN Foundation, was able to give the participants full access to Ableton Live 10 software.

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

  • Ila Barker
  • Hannah Bayoumi
  • Emma Berger-Kovacs
  • Ashley Bieniarz
  • Tonya Cattan
  • Richelle Chatarpaul
  • Monique Clarke
  • Nicole Curry
  • Rebecca Emms
  • Anique Granger
  • Tajkiran Grewal
  • Eugénie Jobin Tremblay
  • Kaia Kater
  • Missy Knott
  • Kate Kurdyak
  • Alice Lin
  • Kellie Loder
  • Marie-Hélène Massy Emond
  • Ali ‘Willa’ Milner
  • Atisa Rashadi
  • Emily Rockarts
  • Jordana Talsky
  • Kirsten Taylor
  • Nimkish Younging

Also attending were Charlie Andrews; Meryl Gosch, SOCAN Foundation Project Co-Ordinator; Julien Boumard-Collier, SOCAN Foundation Administrator of Programs; Aggrey Ellis, Sales & Marketing, Ableton; and Tanya Faraday, Special Events & Programming, Signal Creative Community.

Equity X Production, SOCAN FoundationSaid SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste visited on Jan. 10, along with SOCAN CFO Diane Petrucci, to offer a word of encouragement to the participants. “This is a very innovative program, that has drawn attention around the world,” he said. “What you’re doing today is a great contribution to proving to the world that if you’re talented and hardworking, you have a place not only at SOCAN, but in the music business.” Also visiting, from the Entertainment, Media & Digital Media, Commercial Financial Services department of RBC, were Joy Yang, CPA, CA, and Joelle Finnen, MBA.

Said participant Mizz Taj (Tajkiran Grewal) on Instagram, “After hearing stories from other women from across Canada, I’m so inspired by them, and realize that I wasn’t the only one who was facing barriers as a woman in music! Not only did I leave this program being more Ableton Live 10-proficient, but I met 30 phenomenal women from across Canada and made friends to last a lifetime.”

Among the list of talented SOCAN-member Grammy contenders in 2020, Canadian producer and blues & roots songwriter Colin Linden took home the Best Americana Album award, for his co-producing work on Oklahoma by Keb’ Mo’.

Linden accepted his award at the Grammy pre-show earlier in the day on Sunday, Jan. 26, before the live evening broadcast from the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.

“Just to be nominated for a Grammy is a massive achievement, and to win one can be a defining moment,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste, who attended the awards, along with Chief Membership & Business Development Officer Michael McCarty, and SOCAN’s Senior Director, A&R Rodney Murphy. “The SOCAN family and all of Canada are proud of our members’ success.”

Linden’s work spans decades and includes touring as a guitarist with the legendary Bob Dylan, a performance at The White House, while producing records for many other musicians. Linden also did a six-year stint as the music director on the TV series Nashville, and is one-third of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, along with Tom Wilson and Stephen Fearing.

Many talented Canadian musicians were among the hundreds of 2020 Grammy Award nominees whose work was being recognized through a direct nomination or was affiliated with a nomination, including Grammy nominee Drake, powwow and Round Dance singing group Northern Cree, Shawn Mendes, Eric Corne, Michael Bublé, Daniel Caesar, Ajay Bhattacharya (aka STINT), T-Minus, Carly Rae Jepsen, Boi-1da, Dan Brodbeck, Malika Tirolien, and rising star Jessie Reyez, who earned her very first Grammy nomination this year.

With increasing numbers of SOCAN members either nominated or affiliated with a nomination, the Grammy Awards continue to recognize and award deserving top Canadian talent at music’s biggest night of the year.

SOCAN extends its congratulations to Colin Linden, and all of our members who were nominated for a 2020 Grammy.


SOCAN is pleased to offer new accommodations in Nashville exclusively for all SOCAN songwriters, composers, and music publishers visiting the city to further their career, craft, or business. Located in East Nashville, the brand new SOCAN Nashville House lies in the heart of an up-and-coming creative community, while still close to the downtown core.

Applications must be submitted to SOCAN no earlier than three months prior to the start date of the requested stay period, and the standard stay is one week, from Monday to Sunday. The maintenance fee per stay is $200 CAD, and the maximum number of guests per stay is two, including the SOCAN member.

The amenities are two queen beds; linens and towels; a sofa; a dining counter and stools; flatware, utensils, and other tableware; cookware; a French coffee press and a toaster; a microwave oven, stove, full-size fridge, dishwasher, and garbage disposal; a washing machine-dryer combo; a vacuum cleaner; a private bathroom, with basic toiletries and a hair dryer; a furnished sitting/meeting/songwriting room; walk-in-closets and a large, private backyard; wi-fi with unlimited data; and on-site parking.

For more information, or to apply, click here.