Mentor Moment: Jesse Mitchell’s Juno Throwback
As CMI celebrates our 10th Year Anniversary there are so many proud memories that stand out to me both professionally and personally. One moment that will always stand out to me for both reasons was during the 2019 JUNO Awards in London when we had the chance to showcase the work being done by CMI’s Live Events division.
Before we get to the details behind this picture and memory, I want to share the backstory of CMI Live Events.
CMI’s Live Events department is the organic by-product of the professional development we’ve been providing to artists and managers and has been a growing part of our business since 2016. After working closely with so many artists and managers across Canada, we started getting approached by industry partners, sponsors, other programmers, festivals, asking for our help with artist curation and recommendations for their events. The type of artists, genre of music or geographic location never seemed to be an issue. We always knew an artist (or manager, or partner who knew artists) that we were able to connect them with.
We want to be clear that we’re not agents or promoters. CMI works as curators with the goal of connecting artists to paid performance opportunities. In our first year, we were able to generate $75,000 in performance fees paid directly to artists. We managed to double that amount ($150,000) the following year. This year, we’ll surpass $1,000,000 in performances fees paid and have now curated over 500 events. CMI doesn’t take a commission from the artist and any administration fees are always recouped from the clients we work with.
With COVID-19 hitting the entire live performance industry, like most, we have shifted to virtual performances. Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts, and nothing beats in-person performances, but we have still been able to connect artists with paid performance opportunities, while also employing techs, production companies and videographers, among other creatives. In total, we’ve curated over 100+ live performances virtually, while paying artists over $125,000 in performances fees, and paying techs/creators another $75,000 for their services during the pandemic.
So now that you have an idea of how CMI Live Events started, let’s talk about this photo from the 2021 JUNO Awards.
Professionally speaking, CMI had just finished running The TD JUNO Green Room, a two-day industry showcase at the host hotel, which had over 20 artists from across Canada performing. We had SOCAN Award presentations, MusiCounts donations, and also integrated CMI 1 on 1 mentorship for local artists and managers into the event. Afterwards, Kyle Martin (my colleague) and I couldn’t walk three steps that weekend without someone approaching us to tell us how much fun they had, how impressed they were with the way we ran the showcase, and with the artists who performed. Agents, promoters, new contacts and artists came up to us asking about working together in the future. Everyone was aware of our professional development work, but It was at this point that everyone became aware of CMI Live Events.
Personally speaking, this photo means a lot to me for sentimental reasons. We had just finished The TD Green Room performances and our 1 on 1 mentorship sessions, followed by celebrating The JUNO Master Class with our partners at CARAS. This photo was taken shortly after our arrival at the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards. We were TIRED at this point, to say the least, but we couldn’t stop smiling as our official duties for the weekend were finished and we could finally catch our breath and soak-in all we had accomplished. Then, it starts hitting me that I’m sitting at the JUNOs and to the left of me is Vel Omazic, who has been the biggest influence and mentor in my career development, and someone who’s probably been to 30+ JUNOs in his career ….. !! And, directly to the right of me is Kyle Martin, who is having his first JUNO experience, and is someone I have the responsibility of mentoring and developing. It was a really great perspective for me to experience at that moment, especially seeing someone going through their very first JUNO experience and remembering what it was like when that was me.