SOCAN representatives were front and centre at the very first Creative Entrepreneur Summit, which aimed to provide emerging artists and industry professionals with opportunities to hone their entrepreneurial skills, while providing them with the tools and resources needed to turn their talent into a sustainable career.

Powered by SOCAN Foundation and presented by TuneCore, the online summit, held from July 20-29, 2021, explored music publishing, distribution, marketing, entrepreneurism, legal fundamentals, financial management, mental health management, and more, through hands-on workshops, keynote presentations, and panels.

Michael Asante, SOCAN A&R Representative, Rap and R&B, led a “SOCAN 101” session that explained what SOCAN does, how to maximize royalty payments, the benefits of membership, and how the organization supports its members. Michael was accompanied by Arun Chaturvedi  of the Songwriters Association of Canada, and Tonya Dedrick of the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, while a Francophone version of the session was led by SOCAN A&R Executive Sara Dendane.

Marie-Michèle Bouchard, SOCAN Generalist, Communications & Marketing, participated in a panel, “Digital Distribution 101: Staying Independent & Keeping Your Masters.” The participants discussed building a fanbase, growing a catalogue, and earning revenue by working with a digital distributor.

SOCAN Foundation Executive Director Charlie Wall-Andrews presented the opening keynote speech, “The Rise of the Artist Entrepreneur,” about navigating a complex music ecosystem to disseminate talent to a broader audience. She used a case study to de-mystify the entrepreneurial mindset for artists, and explore pathways to build and maintain sustainable livelihoods as music creators.

In a “Publishing 101” panel, Margaret McGuffin of Music Publishers Canada, Mishelle Pack of Sony Music Publishing Canada, and Cheryl Link of peermusic explained what a music publisher is, and what they do, while a French version of the session was presented by Daniel Lafrance of ÉDITORIAL AVENUE.

There was also an “In Conversation” interview with Haviah Mighty, moderated by DJ Agile, in which she discussed the creative, entrepreneurial hustle, hard work, and determination that have allowed her to climb the ranks of the Canadian hip-hop and R&B scenes, while garnering international attention, and staying true to her core artistic principles.

Music trade publication Country Air Check has announced that “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” co-written by Terry Sawchuk, is the most performed country song of the decade 2011-2021 at radio.

The song – written by Sawchuk, Dylan Altman, and Eric Paslay, and recorded by Jake Owen – was released in 2011, and has since earned almost 500,000 airplays on the radio, almost 35 million views on YouTube, and sold almost three million copies. The single also won Sawchuk a SOCAN Award, a Nashville Songwriters Association International No. 1 Award, a Country Music Academy No. 1 Award, and a nomination as Music Row’s Breakout Songwriter of The Year. It was the 2012 ASCAP Song of The Year.

Owen presented the award to co-writers Sawchuk and Paslay (Altman wasn’t available) onstage at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, during a performance on July 15, 2021.

“It was Sept. 27, 2010, in an attic on the fourth floor of a publishing house on Music Row,” says Sawchuk, describing how the song came together. “We felt like pedestrians, watching from afar as ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night’ fell together in an hour-and-a-half, right before our eyes. It was so weirdly effortless and natural, definitely not your average writing day on Music Row.

“Unfortunately, labels weren’t responding to our simple guitar-and-vocal demo. We were tired of years of hearing the word ‘no,’ and too many songs being dropped from albums. This song felt too special, so we decided to take an outside-the-box approach. It wasn’t until I added an R&B beat in the verse, and a hip-hop beat in the chorus, Eric’s signature high-strung guitar playing, and Dylan’s New Jersey-esque gang-vocal ‘woohs’ in the chorus, that record labels took notice. Urban beats in country music? A production approach that in 2010 could get you thrown out of town…. LOL!

“Ten years later, Jake Owen surprised us onstage at The Ryman with this award. It just points to his humility and gratitude as a person, beyond being a fearless artist. We’re all so thankful and humbled by this award.”

Sawchuk is no stranger to success, as an artist, producer, songwriter, music publisher, and mixer for almost 30 years. In 2005, he produced  and co-wrote his first No. 1 song for Universal Music artist Matt Dusk, “Back in Town” – which also became the first jazz song in history to hit No. 1 on the Japanese pop charts. Dusk’s Canadian single “All About Me,” which Sawchuk produced, reached No. 1 on Adult Contemporary radio in Canada; his album My Funny Valentine: The Songs of Chet Baker was JUNO-nominated  for Best Jazz Vocal Album, and also earned a double-platinum award in Poland.

Kobalt Music signed Sawchuk to a worldwide music publishing deal in 2013, and the following year Canadian country music chart-topper Chad Brownlee released Sawchuk’s song “Falling Over You” as a single, reaching the Top 10 on Canada’s Country Chart. In 2017, the 20th Anniversary release of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album featured two songs co-written by Morissette and Sawchuk. He also co-wrote “This One’s On Me” with longtime Shania Twain and AC/DC producer/songwriter Mutt Lange, Simon Fuller-managed artist Ashley Clark, and Mike Krompass.

Most recently, Sawchuk co- wrote and co-produced the song “Blow” with Toronto artist Ruby Waters. It  reached No. 1 on the CBC Music Top 20 in May, and peaked at No. 5 on Canadian Alternative Radio. “Blow” was co-written by Ruby Waters, Jackson Willows, and Sawchuk.

The song “Vivre dans la nuit” by Nuance will be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on Tuesday, August 10th at 9:00 p.m. during the popular television show BONSOIR BONSOIR on ICI télé. For the occasion, the song will be performed by Fanny Bloom and Patsy Galant in the presence of original band member Sandra Dorion.

Written and composed by the band  – Sandra Dorion (vocals), Denis Lalonde (guitar), Mario Dubé (keyboards), Daniel King (drums), and Mario Laniel (bass) – “Vivre dans la nuit”, which spent 16 weeks at No. 1 on the charts, is an anthem for night owls resigned to their fate, a rock lament full of disillusionment. When Nuance released “Vivre dans la nuit” in 1984, a whole segment of the working population identified with the lyrics: Security guards in empty office towers, bartenders who’ve had one too many shots with customers before closing time, strippers who had to deal with the worst in their booth, or cab drivers who have to mop up the spillover of a night of excessive drinking on their back seat – in other words, the people who poets don’t usually write about.

Selling 88,000 copies – a remarkable result, during a difficult period for the French music industry in La Belle Province – the single “Vivre dans la nuit” allowed the Gatinois band to stay on the charts for several weeks. Not bad for a song written under pressure. “In 1983, we went into the studio quickly because our song ‘Amour sans romance’ had been successful on the charts,” recalls Dorion. “We were asked to write another hit as quickly as possible.”

The album Vivre dans la nuit was released later in 1984, including the additional hits “Libre” and “Sans être aimée.” While the masses adored the song, and sang along when it was played live, the intelligentsia of the time mocked its prose – the price of fame, no doubt. Sandra Dorion, now a primary school teacher, remembers the harsh criticism of Nathalie Petrowski, and other columnists, with a twinge of sadness. “We were judged on our language,” she says. “I’m an Anglophone at heart. I come from Aylmer, I taught English… I was asked to sing and write in French with a group that was, after all, Francophone… Obviously, there’s some clumsiness in the writing. I admit it today, I recognize it.” Clumsiness or not, their words resonated strongly. The genuine and lively interpretation leaves a lasting impression.

Rather than being undermined by the bad press, the members of Nuance held on to their two JUNO nominations and three ADISQ awards: Breakthrough of the Year in 1986, Best Selling Single and Francophone Group of the Year in 1987. Nuance launched the album Journal intime, a final effort released in 1988, that  sounded the death knell for everyone’s musical career. Or almost.

Only Mario Dubé will continued to work in the entertainment industry, notably as a tour manager. Dorion allowed herself a brief return with the album Sandra telle quelle in 2011, before definitively calling it a day. Mario Laniel is now a computer scientist for the government, Denis Lalonde now sells insurance, and Daniel King has opened a daycare centre. No one, to this day, lives in the night. The members of Nuance work for their livelihoods; they have jobs like everyone else.