Spotlight on RJ LeBlanc

Great news! Bent River Records artist Rémi-Jean LeBlanc will be in town this Friday, January 18th playing with JUNO Award nominee and Canadian Jazz Vocalist Carol Welsman at Festival in Sherwood Park.

Rémi-Jean LeBlanc has been based in Montreal since 2002 and for the last 10 years has been in the forefront of the Montreal jazz scene. LeBlanc has played and toured with a variety of fixtures from Quebec, including Steve Amirault, Elizabeth Shepherd, Jean-Pierre Zanella, Yannick Rieu, Jean-Michel Pilc, Marianne Trudel, Rafael Zaldivar, and l’Orchestre national de jazz, to name a few.

Rémi-Jean LeBlanc released an Album in 2018 with Bent River Records titled Déductions which was a project that brought together 4 musicians from completely different backgrounds. With Cuban pianist, Rafael Zaldivar, Montreal Rock drummer, Samuel Joly and New York jazz guitarist, Nir Felder, the album Déductions has a driving fresh rock edge that exhales maturity and sensitivity.  

We took the time to ask him a couple questions about his music career to date:

1. What was your biggest inspiration for Déductions?

The biggest influences were the rock albums that I listened to in the last few years. There’s no one influence really. One of them is actually the album of the guitarist who plays on it, Nir Felder, the album is called Golden Age. Rock got mixed up with some Kendrick Lamar and Miles’s sixties quintet and Gretchen Parlato a ton of other stuff and that’s what came out.

2. Who Inspired you to become a musician?

I was pretty passionate about music from the time I started playing bass at age 11. One person who particularly helped me out and pushed me into jazz and consequently to become a musician is a trumpet player from Moncton, NB named Roland Bourgeois.

3. What is your process when writing and performing?

Writing and performing are two very different things. The writing process is best described as a bunch of ideas that are reworked for years and eventually pieced together to make songs. Essentially, performing is sort of a meditation for me, I try to detach myself from the technical stuff, listen to the music and try let myself be taken by the current.

4. What are you most proud of within your music career?

I’m proud that I work and play exclusively with people and projects that I like and believe in and I can make a living doing this! I’m a very privileged person.

Catch Rémi-Jean LeBlanc backing Carol Welsman on Friday, January 18th at Festival Place in Sherwood Park.

Showtime is 7:30 pm and you can purchase your tickets here: https://festivalplace.ab.ca/festival/request_seats

Brand new year, Brand new faces…

Hello friends! We would like to introduce to you a new member of the Bent River Records team.

Emilie Dufour is our new practicum student for the winter term and will be working with us on this year’s spotlight showcase and various other tasks over the next few months.  

“ I am super excited to be a part of the team this semester. As a 4th-year music student, I am very passionate about the development of artists and their music and I am excited to see first hand how this works within MacEwan’s label. ”

–Emilie Dufour

Emilie has been in the music program at MacEwan for five years. She has completed a music diploma in General Music and is now in the final semester of her performance degree. Emilie has been teaching music to young kids and stage coaching beginner artists for the past 4 years. She also performs locally under the name EMARRA and has just released her third single, “Artificial”. You can find her music on all digital platforms.

Feel free to add her on Facebook and Instagram.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates from the BRR team right here on our blog!

Happy Holidays!

We wanted to send everybody our best wishes for this holiday season! Whether you are celebrating a holiday or not, the Bent River Records team wants to wish you a wonderful years’ end. We’ve been a little quiet over this holiday season as we have all been taking time away from our devices and spending it with our families and friends!

We will see you in the New Year with continued announcements around our artists and our annual Spotlight in April. All the best, and Happy New Year!

5 Things You Need To Know When Working With A Publicist

So, you are thinking about hiring a publicist…These are the top 5 tips that will help you hire and work with a publicist. There are many amazing companies and independent contractors out there and choosing the right one can be a challenge. Read on below for the most important factors in choosing the right one. 

    • Preparation
      When releasing an album you want to ensure that you have done all the necessary work to prepare your team. The first step is making sure that you have a product for publishing and that the recording and mastering are complete and you are ready to being duplicating your album. Another aspect is making sure that you are working with the right publicist by ensuring they understand the needs of your music as well as media outlets in your genre (folk, rock, punk, etc.). The right publicist will make sure that your album gets reviewed in media outlets that make sense for your genre. If you are a folk band you want to show up on websites like Penguin Eggs, CBC, and other relative folk websites.In addition to finding the right publicist, you should also think of which songs best represent your band or even a change in your sound. Publicity as a practice is similar no matter the genre that you are working in. By hiring a publicist that specializes in your genre they can better reach the relative media that directly relates to your music.  it is your job to ensure that you are hiring someone who is an expert in your genre. Make sure you do your research and ask around to see what your peers are saying about various publicists.
    • Timeline
      When musicians are creating albums they often have their own timeline in mind and by adding another team member allows for more freedom to focus on recording, and requires more communication. The publicist will often ask for as much lead time as they can because they are looking to employ a strategy behind the promotion; this can mean 3-6 months before the album is even released. Publicists have to adhere to various industry practices and blackout periods so that they can get the most press for your album. When you are hiring them they will be aware of competing for release dates with other similar musicians, holidays, and to avoid large industry events where media will be unavailable.
    • Materials
      I am sure that you have heard the saying “more is more,” well content is “king/queen” on the internet and the more promotional materials that you have the better.This includes items like:

      • Music videos
      • Lyric videos
      • Playthrough videos (guitar, bass, drum, vocal, etc.)
      • Photographs (promotional and social media content)
      • Strong songs from the album (called singles usually 1-2 for an EP or 2-4 for a full-length)
      • Giveaways
    • Correspondence
      The easiest way to streamline communication is to delegate 1-2 individuals in the band (or you, if you are a solo artist). These person(s) will be responsible for communicating not only with the publicist but the media as well. There are two benefits to this:

      • You can establish a stronger connection with your publicist and they can better understand your music and how it should be represented.
      • There is a consistent public voice that people can establish as streamline brand that aligns with the image of the music and the personalities behind it.Overall, it may be daunting for one or two people to take on the communications but ultimately there will be a greater level of consistency that lines up with the brand established for the musical project. Interviews need to be coordinated quickly, so make sure to set aside time for impromptu interviews and quick conversations to check in about the campaign with media as well as your publicist.
    • Empathy
      Typically, publicists and record labels have cycles for promoting their artists and in order to do a great job they need a clear timeline to prepare for the campaigns. This means that 3-6 months PRIOR to the album release date you need to prepare an electronic press kit (EPK or one sheet), content creation (videos, photoshoots), and strategize a timeline for promotion. By understanding someone else’s role and encouraging them to become a part of your team you will have a stronger promotional campaign that closely aligns with the brand of the project whether it is an album, tour, music video, or otherwise.Publicity should be used to garner interviews, reviews, and previews of your music and your career as an artist. By taking the time to research the right publicist and strategize your campaign you can make your music and your money work hard for you.