S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Lillian Allen

LillianAllen

Writer; Poet; Performer; dub poetry embodies these three characteristics, distinguishing it from singers or poets. As a pioneer in the dub poetry world, Lillian Allen has written, recorded and performed for decades. The Juno award winner has published books, advised community advocacy groups and the government alike on various social issues and now teaches at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD University).

“Black History Month reminds me of the soulfulness of my ancestors whose vestiges of heritage and culture we carry with us as a people everywhere we go; what an amazing connection this gives us. We are like our own worldwide web. Black History Month calls on not just Black people but our entire country to reflect on and celebrate the resistance, hopes, sacrifices and achievements of Black people & our culture and our vital contribution to human enterprise, both tangible and intangible. It should also be a reminder that unequal societal conditions, marginalization, lack of opportunities especially among a section of our youth, was not always so and can and must be countered with culture, economic upliftment and participation in society’s processes.”

Lillian Allen grew up in Spanish Town, Jamaica and emigrated to Kitchener/Waterloo Canada in 1969 and later moved to New York City to pursue her studies and back to Canada where she settled in Toronto in the mid 1970’s.

Reading and performing her brand of poetry at community events to much accolades, her first of many books, Rhythm an’ Hard Times was published in 1982. Her first recording came out the following year. Active in Toronto’s arts & culture scenes, she collaborated with many musicians and artists.

Allen’s interest in writing and performing dub poetry received a jolt when she encountered the original dub poet Oku Onuora at a 1978 writers’ conference in Cuba. Onuora recorded the first dub poetry album, “Reflections in Red,” in 1979. Music is a fundamental component of dub poetry; the beat, usually reggae, is meant to add momentum to the uttered verses.

Lillian Allen was part of the first wave of dub poets including Mutabaraka and Linton Kwesi Johnson, credited with coining the term in a 1976 article. Johnson later explained he was referring to the rise of “toasting” among Jamaican deejays which developed into chattering or even singing along with extant songs and instrumentals. Dub Poetry is not toasting or “singjaying” though; there is a gravitas to the words which is not a requirement in reggae singing or toasting.

She explains in De Dub Poets her desire “to work within a form whose aim was to increase the dynamism of poetry, to increase it’s impact and immediacy, a poetic form that could incorporate many aspects of other art forms: performance, drama, fiction, theatre” and other elements. Her records “Revolutionary Tea Party” (1986) and “Conditions Critical” (1988) won Juno awards.

Allen co-founded the Dub Poetry Collective in between publishing books and performing live before assuming a new role, as a professor, at OCAD University.

Allen is currently developing a new BFA program in creative writing. The program will include performing, digital art forms and other elements integral to creative expression in 2019.

 

Blog post by Erik Twight

Erik Twight is, at present, a Freelance Writer, maintaining a web presence specializing in current affairs, history, photography and music and producing a weekly podcast/radio show arranged thematically and with commentary for fun. Click here to read more.

 

WU-cover.jpg

Click here to listen to Lillian Allen’s new single on S.A.C.’s Spotify playlist Ep. 5 Black History Songwriters Series

 

Spotify Ep.5 .png

Playlist:

Song: Revolutionary Tea Party

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Discogs

 

Song: Rub A Dub Style Inna Regent Park

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Discogs

 

Song: Conditions Critical

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Discogs

 

Song: I Dream a Redwood

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: AllMusic

 

Song: Woken & Unbroken

Performed by: Lillian Allen

Written by: Lillian Allen

Source: Spotify

 

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.

Advertisements

A Conversation With Miranda Mulholland

Bill King was a recent guest on Blair Packham and Bob Reid’s In the Studio radio hour at Newstalk 1010, where Blair introduced him to Miranda Mulholland, a Canadian fiddle player and singer. In this interview Miranda talks about her festival, the Sawdust City Music Festival, and tells us what is upcoming for her this summer.

Read the full FYI Music News interview here!

logo_0

downloadmirandax
Follow Miranda on social media

Twitter_bird_logo_2012.svgfb-art

 

T-SHIRT SALES SUPPORT FAIR TRADE MUSIC CAMPAIGN

ftmi-shirt-promo2
Exclusive Offer

As you may be aware Fair Trade Music has been a focus and priority of the Songwriters Association of Canada for the last several years. In the spirit of the season, we are asking our members to consider buying a t-shirt (or two!) as a great Holiday season gift that will help us build Fair Trade Music (FTM). All proceeds will go to furthering FTM’s mission to achieve a fair, transparent and equitable music value chain for songwriters, artists and everyone in the music value chain.

In the future, the goal of Fair Trade Music is to certify anyone in the music value chain, including digital steaming services, record labels, ticket sellers, and anyone else in the music value chain between those who create the music and the millions of people who enjoy it everyday. Fair Trade certification will inform consumers who pays and who plays “fair,” so they can make better choices when streaming and purchasing music.

As a valued member of the Songwriters Association of Canada, we ask you to show your support for the Fair Trade Music by purchasing a t-shirt (or two!).

Email info@fairtrademusicinternational.org to add your name to the Fair Trade Music campaign mailing list.

Visit the new Fair Trade Music International website now in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

From all of us at the Songwriters Association of Canada and Fair Trade Music International, Happy Holidays and Happy Songwriting!

Thank you.

Isabel Crack
Managing Director, Songwriters Association of Canada

Greg Johnston
President, Songwriters Association of Canada

Eddie Schwartz
Chair, Fair Trade Music International

How to launch a video on YouTube

Screenshot from NJ Taylor's music video - "I Don't Care"
Screenshot from NJ Taylor’s music video – “I Don’t Care”

by: NJ Taylor (NJ’s videos have garnered up to 98K views)

As an independent artist, it’s always difficult to figure out how to successfully launch a new song or music video. We all hope to see our music video go viral but the truth of the matter is that the probabilities of that happening are really slim. There are thousands of videos being uploaded every minute so our video becomes literally one in a million. So how can you stand out? How can you get more views and generate more activity?

The obvious thing is to promote it on all your social media platforms but once again, there is so much information being uploaded every minute that it’s not enough. The way to go about launching a YouTube video successfully is with online promotion. But beware, there are many online companies that claim that can get you X amount of views/likes/comments for a fairly low price but stay away from these. Often what they do is ‘buy’ views/likes/comments or they get them by spamming people and you want neither. You want to be able to target people that will potentially become true fans.

First things first, make sure to tag your video properly. It’s seems like an obvious thing to do but not everyone seems to know that. When you edit your video, write the title as follow: “name of artist – title of song”. Below the title, you can add basic information; write a brief description (official video, etc.) and add all your main social media links. Then add all the relevant tags such as artists you are comparable to, location, etc. Don’t forget to monetize your YouTube video. You can do so through companies such as Google Adsense, Audiam and AdRev.

Here’s a list of online promotions that are worth trying:

  1. YouTube: The most successful way to promote your music video is through Google AdWords’ video campaigns. If it’s your first time using this service, call them and they will guide you on how to create a successful ad.
  1. Facebook: Create a Facebook event the moment you launch your video; invite all your friends to join the event and then create a Facebook ad to promote the event Raise attendance at your event. Also create a post on your fan page with the link of your YouTube video and make sure to boost your post. Then create a Send people to your website ad; go to “Create Ads – Send people to your website – then enter the URL of your YouTube video. More importantly, target your audience properly.
  1. ReverbNation: Their Promote on Top Sites and Promote Video campaigns are both excellent to promote a music video. Both campaigns feature the ads on premium sites such as MTV, YouTube, billboard, Pandora, Spin, Paste just to name a few. Make sure to have a good quality picture to use for the promotion. Your picture is the very first impression to your product and it’s what will make people click on your ad or not. I recommend in running your campaign for at least a month to see considerable results.
  1. Twitter: There are few different ways of creating campaigns with Twitter Ads. You can aim at one specific location such as a region or a city, you can target an interest (i.e. specific radio stations, artist similar to you, etc.) and many more. Create different campaigns and experiment to see which one gives you the best results. Create appealing tweets that will make people want to click on the link such as “Do you love pop music, if so check out my new single…”. They also now have a brand new feature to drive clicks called Quick Promote. This new feature allows you to promote one specific tweet that you already have posted on your Twitter page instead of running a full ad campaign.
  1. Promote the launch of your video to your fan mail or in your newsletter and also contact all relevant bloggers.

When promoting your video, make sure to focus on quality and not quantity. It’s better to get slower results that will make you gain true fans rather than fast results that won’t result in anything more than numbers. And if you prefer having someone doing it for you, you can hire a social media manager. Bottom line, make sure to create a budget for your online promotion.

Once you have done all that, make sure to promote it as much as possible and don’t forget to submit it the S.A.C.!

Visit NJ Taylor’s Songwriters Profile.
Visit NJ Taylor’s YouTube Channel.

Here’s A Pretty Ribbon On That Blogging Challenge Wrap!

Image of Two Bathing Beauties With Prize CupI logged in to Facebook early last week to discover the little earth icon in the navigation bar all lit up and a roll of “congratulations” in my newsfeed from fellow bloggers. And that, my friends, is how I found out I won the Canadian Social Media Blogging Challenge that I took part in this winter. Woo hoo! Social media in action.

I Never Was a Prom Queen, But…

Imagine the trophy is a dozen roses and the hat is a tiara.

Given my love of all things shiny and my diva-esque nature, I immediatelypictured myself among Pageant Queens accepting a bouquet of nailpolish-red roses in my arms, grinning cheek-to-cheek. Less Courtney Love, but still mascara running down my face** as I tearfully accept my sparkling tiara and sash ~ blowing kisses to the countless readers who have made my blog what it is today!! **This from the fact that the challenge was based on the book:Music Success In Nine Weeks!Hahaha! But seriously, I am super glad I took part in the challenge, and I am honoured to be selected as its winner… thanks Songwriter’s Association of Canada (SAC) and thanks Ariel Hyatt for putting on this first ever Canadian version of the Music Success In Nine Weeks Blogging Challenge. A most excellent way to spend the start of 2012. And as it turns out I didn’t even have to wear a bathing suit to win the fabulous prizes.

Queen For a Day, But This is No “Royal We” Here

I’d like to send warm fuzzies out to my fellow participants for doing the challenge with me (with a special shout out going to Lily Cheng, who not only blogged with us but also facilitated the challenge. Thanks Lily!) We spent a concentrated nine weeks tackling topics and tasks related to social media. Collectively we set up a pretty substantial Canadian corner of new Facebook & twitter music accounts. We got comfy with Youtube and rss feeds – and then we blogged about it so that our fans could join us on the journey too.

PS Speaking of Youtube, you should totally subscribe to my channel! I started a “Homemade Music Video Project” during the challenge: my goal is to make homemade, no budget videos for all of my songs. Me editing them and everything! (There are three so far and more on the way.) Other fun stuff you can do: sign up for my mailing list,follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook. Hurray! Phew… is that… it?

Sixty of us started back in January. Out of that emerged a core group of about twenty singer-songwriters who stayed in to the end, supporting each other through the weekly to-do list. We had (and in fact still have) an active Facebook group where people shared their successes and their challenges of the business and posted information and support for each other. Several genuine friendships started through this challenge that have extended beyond the end date. I still pop into the group quite regularly to see what everyone’s up to and to soak up some extra love when I’m feeling out of sorts with my workload. The DIY model says we are autonomous in exercising creative and administrative control over our work, yes. It is also clear that the “social” in social media truly drives us humans. We need connection and community to thrive.

Maybe that is one of the reasons blogging is so perfect in this day and age of friends & fans spread out across the globe. An artist’s blog is personal and self-directed and, yet it can be highly interactive too. Online connections are sometimes maligned as shallow, and for sure there can be a Pollyanna-ish-ness that can drive me nuts sometimes. However it seems to me that online relationships when properly nurtured can be pretty darn real too.

The Take Away

As songwriters, we are all-the-time creating narratives for ourselves and others to sing. But when it comes time to write ourselves into the world… that same creative glean can get muddied. (Okay, this might be a “royal we”.) One of the biggest take-aways for me from doing this blogging challenge was the shifting away from an emotional space of passive want: hoping someone will “discover” me [my music] and moving to that of an active space. Blogging is active. It is constructive. It is also relatively inexpensive to do. As a bonus, blogging is creative. You don’t need a record label or Billboard approval to share your thoughts and your work. You just need to trust in the strength of your creativity and your ability to connect. That, and a bit of time to jot it all down.

The Other Take-Aways

… are pretty awesome too! I look forward to talking with Ariel about the eight-week Cyber PR campaign. Can’t wait to find out what’s in store once my music goes out directly to her network of bloggers and podcasters. Will my work connect on that scale too? Thanks,Reverbnation, for their contribution to the amazing prize list, too. And I’ve already had a skype meeting with Dave Cool of Bandzoogle to discuss building a second website for my little indie record label, since I’ve already got www.karynellis.com (come visit!) I’ll let you folks know when the new one is up and running too.

Okay. Now… THAT’S a wrap of the blogging challenge. But, folks, you can be sure my musings will continue on. If you’re reading this somewhere other than on my blog — Letters To My Editor — do pop by for more posts. You can also subscribe while you’re there to get my upcoming posts directly in your inbox.

Till next time!
Karyn

Getting Yourself Out There – The Challenge: Finish Line & Beyond

Who will make it to the finish line?

9 weeks ago, over 60 songwriters across Canada signed up for the Canadian Songwriters Social Media Challenge.  The purpose of the challenge was to help songwriters put on their business hats to develop and implement a strategy towards marketing themselves online, as laid out in Ariel Hyatt’s book “Music Success in 9 Weeks.”  There was a significant amount of excitement generated as can be seen by the posts and commenting from Week 1.  However, as with most artists on their path to pursuing their dreams, life happened along the way, and we lost a few participants.

How many will officially complete this challenge?  Scroll down to the comments of this article at midnight on March 12, 2012, and you will see the answer.   Even though there will only be one winner selected from the challenge, the entire process has been worthwhile on so many levels (you have only to read a few of the blogs to see what has been accomplished).

As someone who has witnessed the birth of new blogs, new videos, new websites, and new friendships, while also trying to stay in the race, myself, I have been amazed at what people (including myself) can do when there is community for encouragement and accountability to give the necessary external pressure.   All of this paired with a guide book that has been both easy to use and informative helped many neophytes to take the plunge into unchartered online territory.

Throughout the duration of this challenge, there has been a closed Facebook group for participants where people have celebrated, debated, and shared immensely while rooting for each other.   Many people have remarked that the most incredible gift of taking on this challenge has been the resulting community of people who are all passionate, not only to share their music, but to help each other along the way.  If you have been tracking with us and felt like you wished you had taken part, I am happy to say that this challenge has received such positive feedback, that the Songwriters Association of Canada will likely launch it again in the future, so stay tuned…

In the mean time, here is a virtual toast to all of you who have taken part, and to all of you who have been sharing the journey with us.  It is my hope that experiencing or seeing what the power of community can do, would persuade you to get out and find your own tribe, that we can all celebrate when we cross our respective finish lines.

How can you connect into community through the Songwriters Association of Canada?

1.  S.A.C. members can join the closed S.A.C. Community Facebook Group – S.A.C. Connect  (Once you have requested to join, you will be approved upon verification of your membership).
2.  Meet in person with songwriters in your neighbourhood through an S.A.C. Regional Writers Group.  If you don’t have one nearby, we would happy to discuss how we could help you start one.  Click for details.
3.  Take part in the next edition of the Canadian Songwriters Social Media Challenge!

NOTE TO CHALLENGE TAKERS:

Okay, dear challengers,  it’s a bit of work, but here is what we ask you to post in this FINAL WEEK!:

1.   What action steps did you take or will you be taking based on Ariel’s suggestions in Week 9.
2.  What is the biggest breakthrough you have experienced through participating in this challenge? (we want to celebrate with you)
3.   What was the most significant week for you, and why?
4.  Lastly, please post ALL 9 WEEKs, labelled:  Week 1 – link, Week 2 – link, etc.,
5.  Break out some bubbly!

The winner will be announced in one month’s time.  The winner will receive a free one year membership to the S.A.C. (to be added onto existing membership), VIP 2 month Cyber PR® Campaign from Ariel Publicity that will place their music in the hands of bloggers, podcasters and online radio DJs around the world, 2 years of sponsor Bandzoogle’s Pro-plan plus a custom website design from a Bandzoogle designer, and ReverbNation is offering a $200 credit to run a PROMOTE IT ad Campaign to expand their Facebook Fanpage likes.

Congratulations to all for making it to the finish line!