A Week in Toronto

This past August, our intern Nathalie got some very exciting news… she’d won the 2019 MusiCounts scholarship for her work as a recording student! As their website says, “MusiCounts is Canada’s music education charity and is affiliated with CARAS and the JUNO Awards,” making the winning of such a scholarship quite the achievement! Nathalie and five other talented scholarship recipients from across Canada were invited to Toronto for an amazing week of mentorship and networking with industry professionals and their teams.

“While the monetary aspect of the scholarship is great, it was the mentorship week that made winning so amazing! I spent September 30th to October 4th in Toronto, meeting the most inspiring people and seeing important music locales. I was definitely awestruck when I first arrived at the MusiCounts headquarters, which happens to be the same office as the Juno Awards and CARAS! For those who are wondering, Juno trophies are pretty heavy! Yes, I got to hold one, and yes, it was awesome.”


Throughout the week, Nathalie and the other recipients met mentors from Rogers Radio, Anthem Entertainment, Entertainment One, The Feldman Agency, the Juno Awards, Revolution Recording, and Spotify Canada, among many others. They also had a video chat with pop duo Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, and had a songwriting masterclass with Matt Webb, guitarist of Marianas Trench. Each day was packed with mentorship sessions from 9 am to 5pm, culminating in the awards presentation and industry mixer at Dine Alone Records.

“We had a chance to speak at the presentation, which I was very happy about. It was a great opportunity to say thank you and let the mentors know how much their time spent with us meant to me. I learned so much, and have a notebook completely full of notes from each session. I’m still in regular contact with the other recipients too! If I had to sum up the most important things and put details aside, though, I’d say that in the music industry, you need passion, hard work, a willingness to reach out, and kindness. Your connections and reputation are so important, and I’m so grateful to MusiCounts for giving me the opportunity to start my career out with both in such a good place!” 

Congratulations Nisto!

ATB Financial and Bent River Records are pleased to announce the 2019 Recording Competition winner is… Nisto!

Nisto is a Cree-Metis singer-songwriter from Fort Vermillion in Northern Alberta. He is a psychedelic folk-rock artist now residing in Edmonton to pursue his music career. He cites his number one biggest musical influence is Waylon Jennings but says that he finds influence pretty much anywhere. From blues, folk and classic 70s outlaw country, he does it all.

We would like to thank every one of the extraordinary Alberta artists who submitted their music to the competition. We are blown away with the amount of talent we’ve heard over the past couple of weeks!

Stay tuned for more details as we work with Nisto on his exciting new EP!

The Mystic Mind + Mallory Chipman & the Mystics

Two fantastic musicians here at Bent River Records have two brand new very mystical projects (wink,wink). This week’s blog is dedicated to both Jean-Nicolas Trottier presents The Mystic Mind Suite and Mallory Chipman and the Mystics!

Mallory Chipman & the Mystics is the latest brainchild of Edmonton vocalist/composer, Mallory Chipman. This project fuses Mallory’s improvisational sensibilities with jazz harmony, the unconventionality of progressive rock, and a pinch of psychedelic fairy dust. Their debut album AQUARIAN is set for release in early 2020.

“I wrote all of the tunes at Moose Farm Studio over the past year, and we recorded it at OCL Studios just over a month ago, and I am STOKED, pals!

For those of you who know me, I’m forever a rock and roller at heart, but I also looooove improvisation and chromatic harmony and progressive song forms, so I decided to start a band that plays my original music that fuses all of those whacky and wonderful things.

This record is pretty politically charged, and really, in my opinion, it is a call to action to be engaged with the world around you and the worlds within you. It is a combination of influences that just feels like “me”, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.” 

—Mallory Chipman


The Mystic Mind Suite, a commissioned work for the Orchestre National de Jazz de Montreal by Jean-Nicolas Trottier, evolves as an unfolding sonic motif, from a single sound into an elaborate orchestral arrangement. It chronicles how an idea becomes a word, and then develops into an image in the mind’s eye, travelling through billions of synapses in the meanders of the river of our consciousness. Searching for a strong dynamic between soloists and the orchestra, he entrusts the virtuosity and thematic evolution to Yannick Rieu, Rafael Zaldivar and Sylvain Provost.

“Mystic Mind est un voyage inspiré et inspirant dans une sorte de métaphysique sonore qui n’a heureusement rien du pelletage de nuages théorique. Trottier s’amuse avec des thèmes et des motifs dont il fait permuter les textures, les reflets et les éclats selon leur passage dans les différentes sections de l’orchestre. Les espaces de liberté octroyés aux trois solistes (exceptionnels) qui sont en vedette, sont importants mais bien intégrés à l’ensemble.”

 —Frédéric Cardin, ICI Musique Radio-Canada

Open House

Come one, come all to MacEwan University’s 2019 open house! On Saturday, November 2nd, the school will be bustling with activity as new and prospective students come to campus to get a sense of what MacEwan is all about. Of course, we suggest that you take a trip to Allard Hall to enjoy some musical performances and meet some of our lovely associates!

From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., Bent River Records will have a booth set up in the main atrium in Allard Hall, and whether you’re an Albertan musician, a prospective student, or you’re already studying or working at MacEwan, we’ll be ready to answer all of your questions about our artists, our competitions, and our place in the university community. And of course, information flows two ways. Tell us about your favourite artist on our roster or provide some feedback about our work in your community! Our associates would love to hear your thoughts and share their knowledge with you, so come on down and say hi!

Meet the Producer: Russell Broom

Finally! We get to introduce the man that all submissions of the 2019 Bent River Records Recording Competition are fighting for the chance to work with:

Russell Broom.

Based out of Calgary, Russell is a fantastic producer, engineer, songwriter and guitar player. He has worked with countless amazing musicians like Jann Arden, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, and Sam Roberts, just to name a few. He has done work not only within the music industry, but is also a very active writer, performer and engineer in film and TV. He has done work for CMT (Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line, Civil Wars, etc.), Alberta Primetime, Love Lies Bleed (Elton John) and many, many, many more. Besides being a phenomenal producer and engineer, he is also a very well-established guitar player across Canada and has played with the likes of Josh Groban, Robbie Williams and Brett Kissel. We could go on forever.

His hard work and creativity have led to many awards including a JUNO for songwriter of the year, WCMA producer of the year (three times!), WCMA musician of the year, WCMA engineer of the year and WCMA pop album of the year along with an even longer list of nominations.         We cannot wait to see who Russell Broom and his fellow judges choose to be the winner of the Bent River Records 2019 Recording Competition. We’ve had a listen ourselves and it won’t be easy to choose just one winner. There is just so much talent in Alberta!

Thanks to All Who Participated!

As of midnight last night, we are now in phase two of our 2019 recording competition! You submitted your music, now we’re going to listen. We will be diving into the hard process of determining finalists this week, sifting through your songs, CV’s, and stories, searching for the artists with a pinch of the ‘X factor’ and a little dash of ‘je ne sais quoi.’ 

This contest has brought us more entries than ever before, and on behalf of the Bent River Records team, thank you for sharing your hard work, creativity, and talent with us. We can’t wait to hear your music and see the competition winner onstage, performing at the Bent River Records Artist Spotlight in April. 

Meet Our Panel: Chris Martin

Last but not least, we have Chris Martin joining the rest of our amazing judges.

Chris Martin began his career in the music industry in 1990 as a booking agent.  His company, The Bristol Agency has worked with the likes of Uisce Beathe, Jr. Gone Wild, Bill Bourne and Shannon Johnson, Painting Daisies and Ann Vriend. As a manager and music consultant, Chris has assisted in the development of emerging Canadian artists within Canada and abroad. He has sat on conference panels at the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, Western Canadian Music Week, Canadian Country Music Week and others. Since 2006 Chris has worked at CBC Edmonton where he is currently the Associate Producer of Saturday Night Blues! He will be an amazing contribution to our panel and we can’t wait for him to see all of your submissions!

Don’t forget that the submission deadline for the Bent River Record 2019 Recording Competition is almost here! Monday, October 15th will be the last day that we are taking submissions. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!

Meet Our Panel: Celeigh Cardinal

We could not be more thrilled to announce Celeigh Cardinal as one of the members on our 2019 recording competition panel! 

Hailing from Peace River, Celeigh has established herself as an Alberta artist to be reckoned with, internationally performing  “heartfelt, biographical inspired songs [that] blend soul and emotion,” as her website’s biography aptly describes. Give any song from her two albums or EP a listen and you’ll hear why Celeigh, Métis herself, is one of the top artists representing both Indigenous and Alberta music today! Her undeniable talent and hardwork have earned her the WCMA Indigenous Artist of the Year award, and both the Female Artist of the Year award and Indigenous Recording of the Year award at the Edmonton Music Awards. And we’re not done yet! Celeigh is also a recipient of Winnipeg’s REVEAL Ingienous Arts Award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation.

Outside of her performing work, Celeigh has been making even more history. She is a radio personality at CKUA-FM 94.9 in Edmonton and a member of Edmonton’s Art Column, the In Crowd… and the first Indigenous person to hold either position! No stranger to Alberta’s music scene, to musical success, or to breaking through glass ceilings, Caleigh will provide an essential voice in the selection process of the Bent River competition. 

Welcome, Celeigh!

Meet Our Panel: Adam Fox

We’d like to give a warm welcome to Adam Fox, who will be on the panel of judges for the Bent River Records 2019 Recording Competition! 

Adam Fox hails from a small farm in Essex County, Ontario, but his passion for music and story has led him to Windsor, Toronto, Edmonton, and Calgary. He studied journalism and English literature before immersing himself in community radio. He’s worked in radio and print media, for CBC, CKUA, CJAM, and CHRY as a journalist, music director, and in programming and general management. 

In his current role as Director of Programs for National Music Centre, he contributed to the first permanent exhibition of music in Canada and oversees a team that delivers Education, Artist Programs, Live Music and Public Programs. He’s maintained a creative pursuit through the years, producing, releasing, and performing music with various projects.  

Meet Our New Associates: Eliana, Cam & Liam!

Eliana is thrilled to be joining the Bent River Records team as an associate for the 2019-2020 year! They are looking forward to being involved in many aspects of the team, including but not limited to community outreach, volunteer coordination, distribution, and marketing. Eliana is currently completing their Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at MacEwan University. Outside of time spent at MacEwan, Eliana is a music educator, multidisciplinary artist and craftsperson, burlesque dancer, and community organizer. They recently started their own project, WARA WARA, which combines sounds of folk and rock to create music and poetry that is raw, vulnerable, and politically charged.

Cam is in his third year of studies in the design program at MacEwan. He has a passion for branding, playing with typography, rock climbing, and has always been intrigued by album cover artwork. It’s always neat to see the choices that artists make; how letterforms interact with images on the page, etc. He’ll use any opportunity he gets to incorporate hand-lettered type into his projects. When a project in his second year typography class turned out to be a competition to design an album cover, he was super excited. And after being selected as the winner of the record cover design competition, Cam took interest in the record label and thought it would be a great opportunity to take a deeper dive into the workings of the music industry. This year he’ll be working as an associate for the label, focusing on graphic design. Can’t wait to see what the future holds!

As a third year design student, Liam is very excited to start working with the Bent River Records team this year! “I am passionate about music and have been drawn to and inspired by album artwork for as long as I can remember, and am ready to see how my interests and inspirations can contribute to the success of Macewan’s label. Beyond design I am a practicing mixed-media printmaker working out of SNAP studios, and successfully held my first solo exhibition titled “Fear of the Void” at the end of August.” —Liam