In a part of the country where few talent agents go, James Wilkinson felt he should bring one to Thunder Bay.
Wilkinson organized a concert on March 10 at Confederation College as a fundraiser to bring vocal coach Diana Yampolsky of 4 A.M. Talent Development and Artist Managerment Group Inc. to Thunder Bay to hold workshops and auditions for aspiring singers. Yampolsky also founded Royans Universe Records.
Wilkinson said he wanted to give people in northwestern Ontario an opportunity to demonstrate their skills to talent agencies.
“It’s not something that people would have a chance for,” he said.
“I know a lot of musicians in town and I talked to them and asked if they got a lot of exposure in Toronto or New York, and everyone’s like no. Everything’s grassroots and there’s a small circuit to play here: cultural events and some small venues.”
Wilkinson said that, coming from Toronto and having performed in various cities, he’s heard a lot of talented singers over the years.
“I think the talent up here is in the same caliber as some of the bigger cities I’ve been to and played myself,” he said. “So I thought it’d be a good idea for her to come up, see the people here and give them an opportunity.”
Ten local youth performed in the fundraiser, including Jamie Labrador of Eagle Lake First Nation, Natasha Fisher of Long Lake #58 First Nation, and Sara Kanutski of Lake Helen First Nation.
Wilkinson said the performers are the ones who will be taking part in the workshops.
“I decided it would be a good idea to get everybody who’s going to participate in this first round to come and sing for the community so they would get an idea of why I would actually do something like this,” he said.
The two-day workshops will take place on Apr. 7-8 to teach the basics of singing, performing and how to deal with record companies.
“She’ll assess them and provide feedback, and kind of tell them where they’re at, where they could go,” Wilkinson said. “And she’s on a recruiting mission right now, so if she finds somebody she could work with right now, she could scoop them up.”
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