S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Gary Beals

There are some curves in life, some longer or sharper than others. Over the last 17 years, Gary Beals has taken them and put aspects of life’s winding road into his new music. Born October 25 1982, the Toronto-based Scotian-originated singer has been struggling, like other artists, with getting one’s music out there when there are no shows, no clubs and a whole lot of streaming.

Hailing from a church singing background in Cherrybrook Nova Scotia, Beals liked mellow soul like Al Green. His 2004 self titled debut was a slick, polished affair. That was recorded on the heels of Season One of Canadian Idol, when Beals was the 17-year-old runner up. Beals’ debut had solid dance ready cuts like “They Don’t Know.”

In 2009 he released a second disc, “The Rebirth Of Gary Beals,” which featured more polished r&b and dabbled in other styles like the dancehall flavour of “Jump Off.”

Beals has described the conflicts of his sexuality during interviews, and he has enjoyed the liberation of living out for some years, now. He writes and works with other writers on his songs, and has worked with produced instrumental tracks to sing on. Beals plays with multiple bands on stage when there are stages to play, and while there are no shows, he’s been promoting his new music on social media and with interviews. “Bleed My Teeth” was released last October 23, with videos trickling out. “Me For Me” has a couple of videos, one a live band performance shot last year. The “Blood Red Roses” remix has more processed sounding vocals than the original. That song was inspired by a trip to South Africa but the video was of random people dancing was shot in Toronto. 

About his adopted city, Beals told BringBackSoulMusic’s Youtube show that while “it’s happening… it could do a whole lot better here,”  citing a general lack of resources for Toronto R&B performers.

Through his career, Gary Beals has been nominated for a Juno (Best R&B / Soul) and won an East Coast Music Award among others. He will perform with Maestro Fresh Wes, Tika and Nefe, on February 25, 2021 at the S.A.C. Celebration Series Black History Month concert event hosted by Rudy Blair, Rudy Blair Entertainment: Tickets and S.A.C. Press Kit.

Concert goes live at 7PM (EST) tonight – streaming to multiple platforms!

Logging on to the Livestream tonight:
All you will need to do is enter your name and email address and create a password to access the event here. The latest versions of Chrome or Firefox guarantee the best experience. 

On YouTube:
Tune in live on S.A.C.’s YouTube Channel. 

On Twitch: 
Tune in live on S.A.C.’s Twitch Channel. 

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VerInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on CIUT.fm (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

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S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Maestro Fresh Wes

When “Let Your Backbone Slide” was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in late 2019, the 30 year old song was the first hip hop jam to receive the honour.

Maestro Fresh Wes has released a pile of cd’s, and lp’s, earlier on, and cassettes before that, like just about every aspiring rapper from the time before cdr’s.

Street music – buskers of every style, punk bands with no expectation of a record deal or money to press their own records, and of course, rappers back in the day, anyone making music without enough support to release a record, released music on good old affordable cassettes. Some early Bronx hip hop jams were “released” (not necessarily with everyone’s permission) on tape and others were apparently traded in New York City high schools. Indeed, a mix tape of DJ Red Alert brought from New York City to Halifax in the early ’80s is credited with being many Haligonians’ first exposure to hip hop and provided the germination of that city’s scene.

Toronto’s Maestro Fresh Wes, born Wes Williams to Afro-Guyenese parents on the last day of March in 1968, got his rapping start recording tape demos in the mid 1980’s. CKLN radio’s Ron Nelson was an early supporter, playing Wes’ music released under the moniker “Melody M.C.” That was in 1983 before the teen ager finished high school, attended Carleton University for a year, and came back to Toronto to push his music harder. After teaming up with Farley Flex in 1988 and appearing on MuchMusic’s Electric Circus TV show, Wes was signed to New York City’s LMR label. Now he had a manager (Flex) and a deal. Still, Wes needed a paycheque and worked as a security guard at Scarborough’s Parkway Mall. He worked overnights so he could keep developing his music. The Parkway Mall had a Tuxedo Royale store where Wes got the name “Maestro.” He also wrote “Let Your Backbone Slide” after searching for the best party phrase he could think of. The song borrowed heavily from a British instrumental, “The Champ,” by The Mohawks. As a debut single, few Canadian artists have done better.

“Let Your Backbone Slide” famously put Toronto on the hip hop map, just in time for the 1990’s. The song sold 25 000 copies in the U.S. on it’s release, and cracked the American Top 40, a first for a Canadian rap song. It sold over 50 000 copies, and went Gold in Canada, leading the way for other early ’90s Canadian rap. MuchMusic played more of it, and popular singles and albums came out from the likes of Dream Warriors, Michie Mee, later the Rascalz, Choclair, and others. This song was the biggest selling Canadian rap song until Kardinal Offishall’s “Dangerous.”

Touring Canada brought out large audiences, and Wes’ first album “Symphony In Effect” sold well too. The following year, a new decade, saw continued success. The follow up single from the album, “Drop The Needle” starts off on a thick P-Funk tip, and the accompanying video won a Juno. 

In 1991 Maestro Fresh Wes joined in on “Can’t Repress The Cause” which brought together rappers and singers from many backgrounds and genres including Lorraine Segato and Leroy Sibbles. The project’s aim was to push for more inclusion of hip hop into the mainstream Canadian music scene; the clubs, the press, and such.

Wes’ follow-up album, Black Tie Affair from 1991 perhaps kept the tuxedo related inspiration in effect and also sold well here, but he had his eye on New York City. Wes relocated to New York for much of the 1990’s but his music never gained the traction in America that it received here and he returned to Toronto in 1997.

His next big hit, “Stick To Your Vision” in 1999 borrowed from “These Eyes” and sounded like an affirmation of Wes as a Canadian artist. “Stick To Your Vision” would also provide the title for Maestro Fresh Wes’ self help book.

Wes worked as “Maestro” for a few years, but when working as an actor he uses his birth name. Despite finding success as an actor, Wes wasn’t done with music, either. “416 – 905 (Party Anthem)” from his “Built to Last” 1999 album received a Juno nomination.

Wes welcomed the new millennium with another album, his sixth, called “Ever Since” which featured a collaboration with Kardinal Offishall, “Bustin Loose,” which owes less to the Chuck Brown classic than most rap variations of this enduring D.C. jam.

Wes has since worked with Offishall again on multiple songs, along with Meesha Brueggergosman, Sam Roberts and others on his 2013 “Orchestrated Noise” album and even worked with Lawrence Gowan for a 2005 rap reworking of Gowan’s hit “A Criminal Mind.”

While Wes has never been considered gangsta rap, some of his songs shout out hoods and activities like “Dearly Departed” while his better known songs celebrate partying and sports. In 2015 he released “Underestimated” for the Pan-Am Games, and in 2017 he recorded “Jurassic Park” which included local rapper and producer Rich Kidd. Naturally, “Jurassic Park” was made into a video in 2019 after the Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship.

While touring isn’t an option for anybody these days, Maestro Fresh Wes performed briefly at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto for the Songwriters Hall of Fame gala in 2019. When discussing his Songwriters Hall of Fame induction that year, he told CBC “I’m 51 years old, but my backbone is still slidin’ man.”

Maestro Fresh Wes will perform with Gary Beals, TiKA, and Nefe, on February 25, 2021 at 7pm EST at the S.A.C. Celebration Series Black History Month concert event hosted by Rudy Blair, Rudy Blair Entertainment: Tickets and S.A.C. Press Kit.

Concert goes live at 7PM (EST) tonight – streaming to multiple platforms!

Logging on to the Livestream tonight:
All you will need to do is enter your name and email address and create a password to access the event here. The latest versions of Chrome or Firefox guarantee the best experience. 

On YouTube:
Tune in live on S.A.C.’s YouTube Channel. 

On Twitch: 
Tune in live on S.A.C.’s Twitch Channel. 

Discography (from Wiki)

  • 1989 symphony in effect
  • 1991 black tie affair
  • 1992 Maestro Zone
  • 1994 Naah Dis Kid Can’t Be From Canada
  • 1998 Built to Last
  • 2000 Ever Since
  • 2013 Orchestrated Noise
  • 2017 Coach Fresh
  • 2019 Champagne Campaign
  • Eps
  • 2012 Black Tuxedo
  • 2015 Compositions Volume 1
416-905 (Party Anthem)
Stick to your Vision (These Eyes)

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VerInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on CIUT.fm (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Isabelle Banos

Isabelle Banos

Isabelle Banos is a Montreal-based producer, songwriter and a founding member of thealternative pop band Caveboy, in which she plays bass and synthesizers. She has performed across Canada, showcased throughout the U.S., and participated in major music conferences all over the world.

  • Do you tend to write for one genre, or do you find your music crosses genre lines?

I mostly work on music that falls somewhere under the “Pop” umbrella. I love creating songs that as many people as possible can connect with, and hopefully find some joy in. I really love bending and blending within the pop genre as much as I can. My sessions often involve some kind of sonic visit to past decades, creating wacky samples, superimposing beats, and just generally pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

  • How did you learn your craft – was it “formal” or “informal” music education?

I don’t have any formal music education and for a long time I used that as an excuse to hide out, I never really put myself out there. I always lacked the confidence to join the “boys club” that was the local music scene at the time. I would spend countless hours alone taking in free resources from the web; tutorial videos, blogs, podcasts, and everything in between. From there I started applying for every possible mentorship program that was available to me. I’ve had the privilege of working with some incredibly talented and generous people who not only supported my technical development, but who also helped foster the self-confidence I needed to finally realize “Hey I’m good at this and I have something special to offer!”

  • Do you ever compose for film/tv/video games? What’s it like?

I do! I’ve written and produced music for tons of really cool and inspiring projects. I really enjoy getting a creative brief that outlines exactly what the director is looking for. It’s such a fun challenge trying to figure out how to create something completely new and unique based off of a very specific song reference. Then to actually hear your music in the film or show is such a cool feeling!

#ThePROSofSAC #CreatorsCount #MusicCreatorsUnite

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Glenn Copeland

Photo taken by: Maria Jose Govea

In these socially desolate times with no live concerts or much else allowed, one can draw inspiration from Glenn Copeland.

An African American transgender man who moved to Canada as a woman in 1961 to study classical music, Copeland’s life has seen a great deal of change, both internal and societal.

Born Beverly Glenn-Copeland in Philadelphia to a musical household where his father sent him to learn piano with his own childhood instructor. This yielded poor results; intimidated by his father’s prowess, the younger Copeland avoided the instrument for years after.

In 1961, Copeland was among the first Black students admitted to McGill University, and felt isolated in the heterosexual atmosphere where transgender wasn’t yet a recognized term. Copeland lived as an out lesbian while at McGill, which nearly got him kicked out.

Accounts of these early years in Montreal describe Copeland alternately as a folk singer, a jazz artist and a blues singer.

Copeland decamped for Toronto in 1967 at the age of 23, seeking a break from academia.

In 1970, his first two albums were released, by CBC and GRT. Some CBC radio albums are identical to contemporary commercial releases by the same artist, but often we get completely different albums, within a year of each other, which is the case with Copeland’s first two self titled records. Working with Canadian heavyweights, including Doug Riley and Lenny Breau, the album is often considered a jazz record, but Copeland insists the music is not itself jazz; the jazzy chords appear in classical music and there is no improvisation or jazzy structure to the songs. The CBC record was recorded live, each song in one take, according to Copeland.

Unfortunately, nobody bought the GRT release, and the CBC one quickly slipped into obscurity. In a recent interview with Johnny Hockin for Redbull Music Academy, Copeland explained “… they didn’t even have a category to put it in. In those days, categories were absolutely critical. If you weren’t in a category, you just existed out in space somewhere.”

The music is moody, and the vocals often brooding. While the album went nowhere at the time, collectors hell-bent on owning the CBC original (250 copies pressed) can now pay about 1500$ for the privilege. It is now well regarded as an album compatible with the likes of contemporary Terry Callier or Maxine Weldon. The vocals are positively operatic at some points, soars in a controlled environment. Copeland’s next album was 13 years away, but he was still active in the Montreal music scene and recording in Toronto, with Bruce Cockburn and Ken Friesen from True North Records, as well as ex- Kensington Market and Edward Bear alumnus Gene Martynec. 

Copeland provided music for the local underground movie “Montreal Main” which yielded no commercial release, but a re-worked version of the title song was released on his 1983’s “At Last.” In the original movie version, he plays an organ and gives a sparse vocal delivery. The remake sounds like its early ‘80s vintage, with pounding drum tracks and newer keyboards.

Through the 1970’s and ‘80s, Copeland’s bread and butter gig was on the Mr. Dressup Show playing himself as Beverly. Mr. Dressup afforded Copeland plenty of studio tinkering time. He still lived a public life as ‘Beverley from Mr. Dressup,’ and “you couldn’t be transgender and writing for children,” so he remained Beverly despite having felt like a male since early childhood. 

This time to explore music creation resulted in an unsung cassette release that led to Copeland’s late life popularity among a younger crowd.

“Keyboard Fantasies” was released in 1986, recorded in relative isolation in rural Hunstville, Ontario. Copeland employed a then-new Atari computer platform with a basic drum machine and a built-in palette of sounds which simulate orchestra instruments. “If you squint your ears,” Copeland told Fiona Alison Duncan in Sense.com recently, “you can almost pretend it’s a violin. It also gave me access to sounds traditional instruments couldn’t make.” A Yamaha DX7 and Roland TR 707 were used in this remote environment to create a variety of soundscapes and songs.

Three decades passed. Then prominent Japanese record collector Ryota Masuko got in touch, bought the remaining cassettes from Copeland, and re-sold them to an appreciative clientele. A reissue followed, and at the age of 74, Copeland found himself preparing for a world tour. The material on “Keyboard Fantasies” was largely forgotten by this time, as Copeland told Devan Diaz at Papermag.com; “I don’t listen to my own music. When it’s done. That’s it. I might listen to it a bit after it’s finished, but usually I try to move on to the next thing.” Nonetheless, Copeland lent the master recordings he had to a reissue project. The 1970 CBC album has joined the other album from that year in an afterlife as a reissue. “Primal Prayer,” a 2004 album recorded under the name Phynix was reissued last year.

Perhaps it’s his 40-plus years practicing Buddhism, but Copeland can wait to finish a song. “Caspian’s Dream” took about 30 years and an hour or so. He explained to Fiona Alison Duncan, “in 1970, this 8-bar phrase came to me on guitar, and it was so haunting. I tried to come up with something for it, and I couldn’t. I revisited it three more times, and nothing. Then, about 8 years ago, the whole thing came through. Within an hour, a song was written and it’s a very deep thing.” 

From rural New Brunswick where he settled with his wife Elizabeth, touring took Copeland to Japan where he met Masuko, the d.j. who fired up Copeland’s stage career. Copeland tours with a 5-piece band and concentrates on songwriting instead of keyboards. He told Johnny Hockin, “people began asking me to play, and I thought why (now)- then I realized it was a younger generation that was interested in this stuff I had been writing all these years.”

Unfortunately, Covid spread far and fast, and Copeland like about everyone else, was caught up in the virus’ ongoing consequences. With a new reissue and world tour planned, the Copelands sold their New Brunswick home and started looking for a place in the Quebec Laurentians. The New Brunswick place sold, the music economy stopped, and the elderly couple found themselves in a jam. A crowdfunding endeavor and some other generous fans have kept the pair housed while their lives are on hold.

Glenn Copeland self-identified publicly as transgender in 2002 and has since adopted Glenn as his first name. His website is still https://beverlyglenncopeland.com/about where one can find most of Copeland’s music.

Last fall, Transmissions was released. It is a collection going back to 1970, including his first new song in 15 years. Copeland will be a part of Wavelength’s only festival on February 27th in partnership with Harbourfront’s Kuumba Festival online. Keyboard Fantasies will be reissued again this April, by the Transgressive label, on vinyl, cassette, and for the first time, on c.d. 

In a recent statement addressed to fans, Copeland shared “… I have listened to your recent musings about the hope the music inspires and the calm it brings, finally understanding that the transmissions sent through me from what I call the Universal Broadcasting System are helpful to accomplish the UBS’s purpose; namely, that of bringing us together as a single human family at last.”

Describing his modern success from an old cassette, Copeland explained his prior sense of resignation over his music releases to Papermag’s Devan Diaz; “I never thought this would happen… after so long, I just assumed I didn’t fit. I never knew there would be a time when not fitting in would fit. Now there is, thanks to your generation!” Sometimes obscurity and isolation of the day can yield music that tomorrow’s fans might enjoy. Something to consider in this unprecedented mass isolation we are going through in this cursed Covid-19 time.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VerInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on CIUT.fm (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Jessie T

Whether performing live or virtually, Jessie T leaves it all on the stage. With the mind of a songwriter and the heart of a performer, her music takes you through love, heartache and everything in between. Jessie T’s voice blends country sweetness with a “pop-infused edge” raves Coral Andrews of the Waterloo Regional Record.

  • How did you learn your craft – was it “formal” or “informal” music education?

My introduction & love for music started from an early age in a super organic way – even though neither were career musicians, my Dad played guitar & my Mom loved to sing. Our house was always filled with music, from neighbour guitar nights to Charley Prides’ greatest hits playing through our house on vinyl.  

When I was 8, my parents put me in piano lessons. I always leaned towards playing popular music (Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ was a personal favourite) but through pursuing conservatory grading, I lost the initial spark. I was moved into vocal lessons at the same music school & picked up playing the guitar on the side. My Dad taught me my first 4 chords – after that I was hooked. I started writing wrongs, met my producer in Kitchener & then moved to playing gigs locally in downtown Kingston. 

After high school, I also attended college for one year for a Music & Digital media course. It focused on skills that can assist with building a career in music – photoshop, photography, music history, ear training, etc.  

My relationship with music has very much been built through formal & informal ways. I think embracing both has helped shape my musicianship & love for the craft.

  • Do you have a process to songwriting or when creating music? How did you get your start as a creator in the industry?

Songwriting has always been something I’ve been highly fascinated by, even as a creator. Quite often I’ll look back at songs I’ve written and think “how cool is that!” that certain lyrical ideas or melodies just found their way into that moment.

I have always been a pen to paper kind of girl, until the convenience of Google Docs came to be for co-writes. The songs I write usually come from topics I hear in conversations – talking to a friend or ones overhead in everyday life. Another common place I draw inspiration from are conversations or situations I play through in my head- reliving moments to find little details or rehaving conversations to say things left unsaid. I find it super therapeutic to write about those things.

I started seriously creating after meeting my producer Rick Hutt at 15. My Dad & I started writing and the first one we finished was called Shadows. It was about one of his friends who lost his son to cancer- “A shadow over my shoulder but no one at my side”.

The rest of my career as a creator/artist/performer has embracing opportunities and people that have come in to my path. Never be afraid to have a conversation or ask questions.

  • Do you have any advice for upcoming songwriters and creators who are looking to break further into the creative scene?

As stated above, my biggest piece of advice would be to network. The longer I’m in this industry, the more I recognize how small ‘the circle’ is & how connected everyone is to one another. There are so many creators out there for you to work with, try new things!

Collaborate with people who inspire you: Create a list of dream collaborations & send people messages – social media is a great thing for that! Make sure you have a solid/clean product to send & reach out.

Invest in your craft: If you’re not willing to invest in it, why would anyone else? Put the time in to learning your instrument or researching different writing techniques. The same as any business, you need to put in the work.

Embrace opportunities: Never take advantage of people or situations that come in to your path, but be ready to embrace opportunities when they come your way. People like to work with people who work hard, create good product & have a vision. Take time to learn what makes you authentically you & follow that.

Most of all, have fun: Follow paths that make you excited- excitement will generate better product! Everyone in any career is allowed to have tough days but make sure you’re enjoying your journey.

#ThePROSofSAC #CreatorsCount #MusicCreatorsUnite

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

In Memoriam: Salome Bey, Canada’s First Lady of the Blues, 1933-2020

In Memoriam

Canadian Legend and First Lady of the Blues, Salome Bey passed away on August 8. She was 86 years old. Born in 1933, she performed with her siblings as Andy and the Bey Sisters, touring Europe and North America.

On her first visit to Toronto in 1961, Bey met her future husband Howard Matthews at his establishment, The First Floor Club, a jazz music after-hours spot on Asquith Avenue at the edge of Yorkville. Matthews later opened The Underground Railroad restaurant with partners including local drummer Archie Alleyne.

Following Bey’s retirement, the couple moved to the Lakeside Long Term Care home in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood. Matthews passed away in 2016.

Bey passed away on August 8, 2020 at Lakeside. She is survived by her son Marcus Matthews and her two daughters. Jacintha Tuku and SATE sometimes backed their mother on stage as The Relatives. Salome Bey’s family has asked well-wishers to consider donating to The Freedom School Toronto, whose trustee may be reached here; Karen@childrenspeacetheatre.org.

S.A.C. published a feature on Salome Bey for International Women’s Day in March 2019.

INDIANA JONES: What can be done together even when we are apart.

INDIANA JONES

What can be done together even when we are apart.

In this era of social isolation, many people are using their talents to bring people together… and help.

Toronto singer/songwriter Rosanne Baker Thornley lives in east-end Toronto – where the first line of a song about social distancing came to her while she was reviewing her to do’s. “I’m so lucky to be safe with my husband, kids, 100lb puppy and two cats. The reality of what I have is never taken for granted”. Rosanne called her long-time friend, visual artist Pirkko Saari and, in conversation, they came up with a plan to use her song to help others. In the face of the immediacy of this crisis, Rosanne and Pirkko responded to the world pandemic by gathering friends and family together to make a video… virtually. Despite the distance of social isolation, 39 people came together to create a message of sincere connection and generosity.

Each person played their part – Rosanne recorded a live off the floor version of her voice and guitar. Pirkko combined video clips that came from across Canada, the US, UK and Ethiopia with one common thread – everyone recorded with their phones at home. The message is urgent – stay home – but also for those who can, the message is to give. Local food banks are on the front lines during this humanitarian emergency and online donations can mean the difference between life and death.

All proceeds from the sales will be given to the Global Foodbanking Network (GFN). Additional donations can be made at http://foodbanking.org or any local food bank.

Indiana Jones is available now on all music platforms. Make a difference. Stay home. Feed people.

Link to video: https://youtu.be/f9uBRR-pEbM

For more information contact: all / or Jane Harbury – jane@harbury.ca
Rosanne Baker Thornley – rbt@rbtsong.com
Pirkko Saari – pirkkodrawandpaints@gmail.com
Global Food Network – Caroline Parsons, cparsons@foodbanking.org 609 Soudan Avenue • Toronto, ON • M4S 1X7 tel: 416.960.1568

Jane Harbury Publicity

INDIANA JONES (lyrics)

I’ve done everything I can I washed my hands I wiped the walls, And if you want to see me Well I’m only taking calls I’ve cancelled all my coffees everywhere I’m supposed to be And I grabbed a bunch a groceries That should last a couple weeks Everything is closing up pulling in, shutting off all the planes are on the ground But we can turn that all around Now 7 billion people in a fight they didn’t’ choose And everybody’s walkin’ in everybody’s shoes Chris Martin, Michael Buble, Ellen and Trudeau Everyone is saying we’ll be Indiana Jones – … if we stay home, we stay home, we stay home Everything is closing up pulling in, shutting off all the planes are on the ground But we can turn that all around Now You know I heard in China that the skies are turning blue And the Grand Canal in Venice, has dolphins swimming through Well the world it needs some fixing, it can’t do it on it’s own, And we can be the difference …. if we stay home, if we stay home, if we stay home Everything is closing up pulling in, shutting off all the planes are on the ground But we can turn that all around Now We can turn that all around, now If we stay home, if we stay home, we stay home we stay home, we stay home, we stay home, Now. Now.

609 Soudan Avenue • Toronto, ON • M4S 1X7 tel: 416.960.1568

A message from Gold Entertainment Accountants

FROM: D. Jae Gold, BA, CPA, CA, CFE
GOLD ENTERTAINMENT ACCOUNTANTS
A DIVISION OF G & G PARTNERSHIP, LLP
rocknrollaccountant.com

Dear SAC members, clients and friends of Gold Entertainment Accountants:

The past number of weeks have been extremely difficult for our clients & friends (individuals, families, businesses) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This virus is having a dramatic impact on our lives and businesses. Firstly, we wanted to take a moment to let you know that during these unusual times, we hope and pray that our clients, friends and families are staying safe, healthy and productive. We have taken steps here at our office for the safety of our staff, clients and community and will continue to do so.

This document is meant as a summary of various items that affect those in business (and particularly in the cultural areas) from an accounting / tax / small business viewpoint. Please read it right to the bottom! At a time like this, the number one goal is to have you and your family stay safe and in good supply of food and medicine, and distanced from others. And not stress about tax season!

To help with this, the Federal Government, the Ontario Government and the CRA (federal tax department) have laid out plans for relief of worry and stress regarding tax filing and tax payments. Below is a compilation of information from various sources of interest to the music industry regarding tax filings, tax payments, and business cash flow. There are changes daily to these new government programs, please note it is a very fluid situation. This information is correct and up to date as at March 24, 2020.

Although there are extensions for tax filings and payments noted below, we encourage all taxpayers to submit their tax information (personal or corporate) as soon as possible to their accountants for processing and filing. Some assistance will be based on the 2019 personal tax return assessments.

1) In order to provide greater flexibility to Canadians who may be experiencing hardships during the COVID-19 outbreak, the CRA will defer the filing due date for 2019 tax returns of individuals. The return filing due date will be deferred from April 30, 2020 until June 1, 2020. (a one month extension from April 30th). Note that self employed individuals have June 15, 2020 as a filing deadline, and that has not changed.

2) For individuals, the CRA will allow all taxpayers to defer until September 1, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020, and before September 1, 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. Note that taxes owed prior to March 18, 2020 and all payment plans already in effect are not changed by this deferral, they are still due.

3) For low and modest income families, the Government will provide a one-time special payment by early May 2020 through the GSTC. This will double the maximum annual GSTC payment amounts for the 2019-20 benefit year. The average boost to income for those benefitting from this measure will be close to $400 for single individuals and close to $600 for couples. In order to qualify for this credit, you must file the 2019 income taxes in a timely fashion, hence our encouragement to all taxpayers to submit their personal tax information asap. Changes to the Canada Child Benefit (“CCB”)…….. For individuals receiving the CCB, payments will be increased for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child.

4) The Government will be waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure is in effect as of March 15, 2020. The requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits will be waived as well. The EI sickness benefit is 55% of an employee’s earnings, up to a maximum of $573 per week. The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived if individuals are quarantined; and, as a result, they are able to be paid for the first week of their claim. If an individual cannot complete the claim due to quarantine, the claim can be backdated to cover the period of delay. Priority will be given during application processing for those under quarantine, without the need to provide a doctor’s note confirming contraction of the virus.

5) The federal government has created the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) This program provides $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CERB covers Canadians who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home to care for children due to school and daycare closures. The CERB applies to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who are not otherwise eligible for EI. Additionally, workers who are still employed but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19 also qualify for the CERB. The CERB is expected to be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April as well as via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.

6) To support businesses facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10 per cent of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Employers benefiting from this measure will include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as nonprofit organizations and charities. Note that the definition of ‘Eligible Employer’ includes individuals and partnerships.

7) Although there has been speculation about extending the corporate filing deadline, no formal pronouncements were made by the Government in respect of corporate filing deadlines.

8) For businesses, the CRA will allow all businesses to defer, until September 1, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This is for self employed businesses as well as incorporated businesses.

9) The CRA will not initiate any new audits for the next 4 weeks. For any ongoing audits that are currently in process, the CRA is suspending all activity as well. COLLECTIONS, AUDITS AND TAX DISPUTES………The CRA has released an official statement providing updates on its collection, audit and objection strategy amid the COVID-19 concerns. The CRA is temporarily revising how it administers collection, audit and objection matters.

10) The Government is proposing to increase the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment amounts, only for the 2019-20 benefit year, by $300 per child. This will be based on the 2019 income tax return, another reason to get your 2019 personal tax returns filed quickly.

11) The Government will be placing a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans for all individuals currently in the process of repaying these loans.

12) Canada’s large banks have confirmed that based on each individual situation, they will include up to a 6-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products (bank loans, lines of credit, etc). If you want to pursue this, call your mortgage company to start the application process.

13) Ontario’s Minister of Finance will release an economic and fiscal update on March 25, 2020, instead of a full budget. This update will include a realistic one-year outlook based on current economic projections and will aim to provide certainty to hospitals, schools, municipalities, and other government partners for the year to come.

Special for the music industry ……. CIMA, the Canadian Independent Music Association (of which our firm is a member) has provided the following valuable information and links:

14) Special for the music industry ……. CIMA, the Canadian Independent Music Association (of which our firm is a member) has provided the following valuable information and links:

  • Airline Cancellation Policies: A comprehensive guide by Forbes can be found here.
  • Alberta Music has shared information for Albertans and Canadians alike on how to prepare for COVID-19 in the arts sector. Get more information here.
  • Bandzoogle has put together this handy blog: How musicians can ask fans for support during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Canada Council for the Arts: Information about CCA’s cancellation policy can be found here
  • The Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM): has sent an open letter to federal and provincial ministries overseeing culture, social security and employment.
  • Canadian Live Music Association‘s Request for relief to the Canadian government can be found here.
  • Canada Public Health has info about the situation available here.
  • CAPACOA is asking you to track cancellations affecting the Canadian live performance sector here.
  • Event Safety Alliance: Preparing your organization for COVID-19. More information can be found here.
  • FACTOR: Information about FACTOR’s cancellatoin policy can be found here.
  • Government of Canada Trade Commissioner Service: Resources for Canadian businesses can be found here.
  • Music BC has provided information and resources on their website and is encouraging company and artists to reach out with any questions or concerns regarding Music BC’s programs.
  • Manitoba Music will be providing information and resources, including support efforts. Keep an eye on their updates here.
  • Music Managers Forum Canada has an incredibly thorough resource page that is being constantly updated here.
  • MusicOntario will be reposting all sorts of things on our socials/to our stories – have a peek there for various updates, interesting content from the community, streaming events, and other tidbits to help pass the time.
  • PRS Foundation: Advice for overseas activities or performances. More information here.
  • Radio Starmaker: The Board of the Radio Starmaker Fund wants to inform all stakeholders that any previous tour dates that were approved and were to take place between February 15th and August 31st of this year will be fully funded if they were canceled as a result of the coronavirus. All you will need to do when filling out final paperwork is indicate the reason for the cancellation was coronavirus – no other proof will be necessary. This same policy will also be in effect with regard to tour dates approved by the Board for Round 74. We are currently examining the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the implications it may have on future touring. Currently, when we open our next round we are considering a moratorium on requests for tour funding for all performances from April 1st to May 31st of this year given the very high likelihood of cancellation. We will be monitoring this situation over the next few weeks and making a final determination on or before April 10th when we plan to open the next round of funding. In the meantime, we wanted everyone to know this is a possibility as tour plans are made this year.
  • SaskMusic will be launching an emergency relief fund for music industry professionals impacted by lost income due to COVID-19. More information can be found here.
  • Unison Benevolent Fund has information about how they can help here, or you can call 1-855-986-4766 for inquiries to help you deal with the financial or emotional impact of coronavirus.
  • Worldwide Independent Network has a list of resources for the indie music community across the work here.
  • World Health Organizationhttps://www.who.int/
  • Live-streamed concerts from empty venues: URGNT TRNTO
  • I Lost My Gig Canadais a support group on Facebook for folks from various disciplines in the Gig Economy to gather, listen, and share.
  • Toronto Musicians Association has information and resources for financial assistance and bill payment relief here.
  • Ontario Presents is offering to host online phone-based meetings free of charge for any Ontario-based artist, agent, presenter, or other art presenting industry professional who needs to host a meeting but does not have the means to do so. You may contact natalie@ontariopresents.ca.
  • Other resources:
    IATSE, information for film and TV workers https://www.iatse.net/coronavirus-update-portal
    ACTRA, information for actors and musicians https://www.actratoronto.com/coronavirus-updates/

15) For those operating through a corporation, if you need to change your payroll remittances due to 6) above, and would like assistance, do not hesitate to contact your accountant right away.

16) For anyone taking money out of RRSP’s, note that this will be income in the year of withdrawal. If you take the $ out in $10K increments, then less tax will be deducted (for maximum cash flow now), but taxes may be due next year on the 2020 cashed in RRSP’s.

17) Other ways to earn income or use your spare time: a) sign up with hashtagpaid.com as an influencer if you have 5,000 + followers on Instagram; b) Skype, Zoom calls or facetime music/acting/voice lessons; c) write / edit/ create new works, or take courses to enhance skills.

Note that most accounting firms are encouraging their clients to use a digital client portal to submit the 2019 personal tax information as well as any corporation information that needs to be submitted. Our portal system has been in place for a number of years now, is working great, and has added efficiency to the tax preparation services we provide.

FIND THE LINK TO OUR CLIENT PORTAL HERE: http://www.ggca.com/

FIND THE LINK TO OUR TAX CHECKLIST HERE: http://rocknrollaccountant.com/home2/#services

The CRA encourages those who need to update or access their tax information to use one of the CRA’s self-serve options, such as My Business Account or the CRA BizApp mobile web application.

If our firm can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact our office. The partners in our firm remain vigilant and are monitoring the situation and responding as conditions evolve.

Sincerely,

The Partners of Gold Entertainment Accountants
(A division of G & G Partnership, LLP)

 

Looking back on “Decades” presented by the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

Decades_Toronto_Sound_of_the_60s_70s_80s_914
Photo from http://www.cshf.ca

Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame concert, Phoenix Theatre, Toronto.

A gala concert to kick-start the festive season was a great way to celebrate this year’s batch of songs being celebrated by the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. The mostly seated crowd enjoyed two sets of speeches and songs from a variety of Canadian performers.

The first set featured a few local boomer classics; “Opportunity” by Mandala, and “I Would Be The One” from the short-lived band Kensington Market. A Foot In Coldwater and Klaatu were also recognized.

Maestro Fresh Wes played a couple songs, one during each set. “Let Your Backbone Slide” was the inducted song, and Maestro followed it later on with “Stick to Your Vision.”

Lorraine Segato led a reunited Parachute Club through “Rise Up.” In a rousing speech, Segato recalled the progressive alliance of music makers and fans of all stripes and backgrounds who made Parachute Club a cultural force for a period in Toronto. She also sang “Magic Carpet Ride” written by John Kay.

K.D. Lang, Blue Rodeo and Joni Mitchell songs were played alongside a song best known for it’s performance by Bonnie Raitt. New Brunswick-born and Oshawa-raised Shirley Eikhard’s “Something to Talk About” was sung by Megan Worth.

Tom Cochrane came out for an acoustic song and played “Life is a Highway.” Cochrane was joined by fellow Tom, Tom Wilson, for a version of “The Weight.” Wilson continued with a tribute to Crowbar, describing the trill of his 12 year-old self hearing Crowbar on Hamilton radio. Toronto radio host Roger Ashby got a shout-out and a bunch of people piled onto the stage for a jamming finale of “O What A Feeling.”

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

S.A.C. Celebrates International Women’s Day: Bonnie Dobson

International Women's series - Bonnie Dobson
Photo by: Laurie Lewis

It took a chunk of her lifetime, but Bonnie Dobson is pleased to finally receive recognition for the brilliant song “Morning Dew” which she wrote, but failed to protect at the time. In 2017, she found her way to the Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, The following year, she returned to Mariposa – the festival where she debuted the song in its inaugural run in 1961. By then, Dobson was a seasoned performer but still “new” to the world of publishing. She’d played multiple stints at Ash Grove, the legendary L.A. folk and blues spot. During one stay in L.A. she saw the film “On The Beach” which inspired here to write about life after a nuclear holocaust. “I had never written anything in my life,” she said in Jason Schneider’s book Whispering Pines.

Playing traditional folks songs was more exciting than returning to the University of Toronto, and Dobson slowly found her way to New York City. There, she recorded two albums of folk songs, a children’s record, and her third effort, a 1962 live album featuring her show stopper “Morning Dew,” recorded at Folk City in Manhattan. Dobson knew it was a great song, but had yet to publish the track.

Born November 13, 1940 in a union activist household, and an older sister immersed in the nascent Canadian folk revival inspired Bonnie to try her hand at performing.

Dobson recorded a self-titled album for Nimbus 9 in Toronto in 1969, featuring a re-recording of “Morning Dew,” before leaving for England, marriage and a career in post graduate academia.

After a few more records, including another self-titled effort, she walked away from music until 2013, when she returned to the stage.

“Morning Dew”’s merits were obvious to a few people who covered the song in a folk style, but Fred Neil’s version was the first to rock harder. Tim Rose covered the Fred Neil arrangement and connived his way into a co-writer’s credit for the song which was virtually in the public domain when he decided to record it.

“The worst part was when I came to England in 1969 and I gave my debut concert at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Everybody had thought that Tim Rose had written “Morning Dew,” because he had never mentioned me at any time, having anything to do with that song. I still get my royalty cheque, but I still consider it quite a grievous injury.” After a half century, Bonnie has been more widely appreciated for not only “Morning Dew” but her singing career overall. Her 2018 Mariposa return re-affirmed her spot in Canadian women songwriters.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.