Calgary's Peak Makes Splash with Big Money Music Contest

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Calgary's Peak Makes Splash with Big Money Music Contest

Postby jon » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:56 am

Peak Performance Project unveils Alberta finalists
By Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal
June 21, 2014

EDMONTON -- Twelve musical acts, including five from the Edmonton area, will vie for more than $225,000 in a talent contest sponsored by a Calgary radio station.

Soul-pop songstress Nuela Charles, hip-hop artist Mitchmatic, folk-rockers Scenic Route To Alaska, dance-rockers The Wet Secrets and Sherwood Park folk duo The Royal Foundry will take part in the first Alberta Peak Performance Project.

They’ll be competing against Brooks’ Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk and six acts from Calgary — including indie-rockers Port Juvee and folk-rockers SAVK — for what is one of the richest contests in Canadian music.

The Peak Performance Project awards $100,953 to a grand-prize winner, $75,000 to second place and $50,000 to third.

Singer-songwriter Samantha Savage Smith, avant-pop duo Sidney York, psych-popsters 36? and art-rockers Boreal Sons are Cowtown’s other finalists.

This musical battle of Alberta is organized by a new Calgary station, 95.3 The Peak, which is owned by the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. Its sister station in Vancouver administers a similar contest in British Columbia.

The 12 Alberta finalists will take part in a boot camp with industry experts, followed by a series of gigs at a Calgary venue and an online voting campaign. The winner will be announced in late November.

Edmonton’s entrants are no slouches. Charles won the inaugural Edmonton Music Prize in 2013 and recently received a Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta Emerging Artists Award — the same honour granted to Mitchmatic in 2012. The Royal Foundry, a husband-and-wife duo, features Jared Salte, who has won several awards from the Gospel Music Association. He used to front Junkyard Poets.

Previous winners of B.C.’s Peak Performance Project include songstress Rykka, indie-rockers We Are The City and roots-rockers Current Swell, the latter starring two St. Albert-bred, Victoria-based musicians: Dave Lang and Scott Stanton. Their band won in 2011 and used the prize money to finance their latest album, Ulysses, and tour Europe, Australia and Brazil.

“Getting the money definitely helped us with a couple of our international tours. We didn’t have to save up the money to go,” Lang told the Journal last fall. “It gave us a little bit more freedom to tackle some of the things on our To Do list.”
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Re: Calgary's Peak Makes Splash with Big Money Music Contest

Postby pave » Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:22 pm

That's terrific that a station would take its P.O.P. seriously and with enthusiasm. Good on 'em.
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Re: Calgary's Peak Makes Splash with Big Money Music Contest

Postby jon » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:18 pm

Radio station helping local artists reach The Peak
By Mike Bell, Calgary Herald
July 18, 2014 7:34 PM

On Saturday you can have a sneak peek at the peak of this region’s music scene.

Or rather, you take have a peek at a dozen of the best Alberta artists that 95.3 The Peak is hoping to help take that final step to reach the peak of this country’s music industry — to help piqué its interest, anyway — with the new Calgary alternative rock station’s Peak Performance Project.

This is the first of the station’s seven-year, $4.9 million-commitment to the program — part of the incentive package it used to secure the local licence — and follows a successful half-decade run on the West Coast at their Vancouver sister station. It’s a different take on the whole band war type competition that other stations are known for, with the education, experiences and opportunities provided being almost as important as the cash and prizes that the finalists are all competing for.

All 12 of the acts participating in the program — whittled down from over 200 entries by an independent jury — will be playing an afternoon BBQ at the Palomino as a way to introduce them to this city’s music-lovers, to show them the quality of the homegrown talent who are established and on their way but might need a little extra boost to help them reach the summit.

And true to that, the names may be familiar, with Calgary being well represented by Sidney York, Boreal Sons, Samantha Savage Smith, 36?, SAVK and Port Juvee, while Edmonton is done proud by Mitchmatic, Nuela Charles, The Wet Secrets and Scenic Route to Alaska, with Lauren Mann and the Fairly Odd Folk and The Royal Foundry coming out of Brooks and Sherwood Park, respectively.

“It’s not a program designed for brand new bands who haven’t toured or who haven’t been out there producing records,” says Lindsay Shedden from Alberta Music, the organization which is charged with administering the project.

“It’s really an arts-development package that if the bands that are in the project take full advantage of it they’re really going to excel whether they win the money or not.”

Ah, yes, the money. The acts will also, over the next few months, be competing for a $100,953 first prize, $75,000 second prize and $50,000 third prize, with $5,000 given to each of the 12 to “help them with their career development.”

The winner will be announced at a Nov. 22 Flames Central concert, featuring the final three.

To get to that point, though, and to reach the Top 3, they will have to take part in a number of challenges that have, in previous years in the B.C. Performance Project, included things such as participating in live showcases, creating business plans, making a viral video and raising money for charity.

They’ll also take part in a Boot Camp at the end of August, which sees all of the Alberta acts and their West Coast brethren heading to a camp in the B.C. interior to take part in an “intensive” week of courses and classes on everything from stage presence and performance coaching to media training and songwriting from industry professionals.

“Sleep is not really on the agenda,” Shedden says. “What is on the agenda is early mornings, intensive classes led by very, very esteemed faculty — the best in the business that the industry has to offer.”

And, again, the hope is that the acts will then also become the best in the business, the best that this area has to offer.

Shedden thinks so, noting that the fact that it’s open to acts in the entire province certainly meets Alberta Music’s mandate of supporting and promoting this region in its entirety. With the Peak Performance Project, she thinks that job is going to get a whole lot easier.

“It’s going to absolutely change the landscape of the Alberta music scene,” she says. “And get us on the map.”
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