ADVANCE, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, is paving the way for Black music industry professionals. Step into the journeys of entertainment industry shakers like Jesse Jones, 4Korners, and Ebonnie Rowe through The AMPLIFY Podcast. Read the exclusive Season 1 recap of AMPLIFY here.
The music industry has come a long way in working towards representation of Black folks in front of the screen. But despite Black creatives’ dominance on the music charts, there is still a lot more to be done towards achieving the same representation behind the scenes.
With a mission of developing, promoting, and better retaining Black talent, non-profit organization ADVANCE, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, has been taking major steps to transform the dynamics behind the scenes of both boardrooms and big stages.
Acting as a compass for Black music professionals, ADVANCE is filling a gap in the Canadian entertainment industry by equipping Black Canadian music professionals with programs and resources to overcome systemic barriers.
One of the ways ADVANCE is creating infrastructure for Black professionals is through The AMPLIFY Podcast. Presented by ADVANCE, co-produced by QCULTR, and powered by Ontario Creates, AMPLIFY sheds light on the come-up stories of Black Canadian professionals. This dynamic video series takes viewers through the highs and lows of working in the entertainment industry; providing them with a roadmap for making it big amidst the challenges of anti-Black racism.
Thoughtfully curated with the intention of serving as “virtual mentorship” for its members and the broader community, AMPLIFY and its talented cast of industry professionals break down their steps to success in a real and raw way.
Walking us through their pivots, plights, and rites of passage, seven entertainment industry professionals––Jesse Jones, Ebonnie Rowe, Jermayne Clayton, 4Korners, DJ Lissa Monet, Randy Phipps, and Jamelia Campbell––detail their journeys as pioneering figures in the Canadian music business.
With special insight into the barriers they overcame to solidify their spot as leading industry professionals, the cast provides practical ways for combatting the discrimination that persists in the entertainment industry.
Narrated by artist and media personality, Jemeni, season one of AMPLIFY was launched on September 29, 2022 on all streaming platforms, with new releases every Thursday.
Let’s break down AMPLIFY’s featured entertainment industry powerhouses:
Famously known for being a marketing and branding expert through his family business, The Jones & Jones Group, Jesse Jones is a trailblazing community leader and T.V. host. He helps connect people with their favourite reality T.V. shows while assisting companies in creating an integral connection with their multicultural audiences.
Founder of Honey Jam Canada, Ebonnie Rowe continues to make space for women in the music industry. Through her mentorship programme, Rowe provides career development opportunities to the best young emerging female talent in Canada. Over 27 years and counting, Rowe has combated against misogyny and pushback to help pave the way for women through music opportunities.
Driven to amplify Canadian talent through artist development and management, Jermayne Clayton is passionate about strengthening the Canadian music industry. Clayton is the founder of Awesome Productions & Management, an artist management, label and publishing company with a growing roster of Grammy and JUNO award nominated talent.
One of Toronto’s favourite D.J.s, 4Korners, is a multi-talented artist. Most famously known for being the Toronto Raptor’s official D.J., 4Korners has since taken strides toward music production and has claimed his name as an artist. Releasing his debut album, 4Korners Of the World, in October, his upbeat records and high-energy personality has racked the attention of high-profile celebrities such as Drake, Kanye West, Michael Jordan, Justin Timberlake, Paris Hilton, Selena Gomez and countless others. His journey has only just started as he continues to entertain people worldwide.
DJ Lissa Monet
With over 15 years of experience as a D.J., Lissa Monet was one of the first female D.J.s. to have cemented an established career in Toronto – pioneering a path for emerging female D.J.s. across Toronto. Co-founder of LUXELIFE SOUND, the 6x award-winning D.J., helps to place female D.J.s. at exclusive private corporate events across North America, all while continuing to break ceilings of her own.
Founder of R.P. Communications, Randy Phipps is dedicated to crafting strategies that help increase media attention towards his client’s entitative and career heights. His ongoing passion for public relations stems from his successes in helping his friends build creditable recognition for their charity organizations. Since 2017, Phipps has been dominating the industry with his own company by booking his clients, such as Deborah Cox, across first-tier media platforms.
Pairing her passion for music with a “stable job,” Jamelia Campbell discovered a way to live out her purpose in the entertainment industry. Working her way up the corporate ladder at Sony Music Canada in Media Relations, Campbell has worked with mainstream artists such as Khalid, Rick Ross, and H.E.R., to name a few. Today, she works with ADVANCE, taking the lead on their public relations affairs. She is also the Marketing and Communication Senior Manager for The JUNO Awards.
Key takeaways from AMPLIFY – Season One
Episode 1: Just Getting Started
Introducing a few powerhouse trailblazers in the Canadian music industry, this episode uncovers how Jamelia Campbell, 4Korners, Randy Phipps, Ebonnie Rowe, DJ Lissa Monet, Jesse Jones and Jermayne Clayton started their careers. From the unpropitious internships to the conquering strides, this episode shares the untold stories about what it took to make their dreams come true.
“You gotta go all in because if you don’t, there are other people that are going all in that are going to surpass you. Not that it’s a competition between people…it’s just like being an athlete. If you want to make it to the NBA, you have to play basketball every day and that has to be your focus. You can’t play other sports––and basketball––and expect it to work out. My sport was music, it was DJing.. I didn’t really have another plan. You eat what you kill. I had no choice. I gave myself no choice.”
– 4Korners, Episode 1, AMPLIFY
Episode 2: Hustle, Hustle, Hustle
Hustling isn’t limited to having a great work ethic. Instead, in this episode, the cast explains how fortitude is also a part of the grind. Explore how the esteemed guests gain power during their weakest moments and harness it into their purpose.
“I would say dealing with adversity, number one, fear pops up and you kind of have to push past it. You have to leave it behind you and just kind of keep your eyes of the prize, [and] focus on that goal. Imposters syndrome is something that comes up a lot too. Even when you reach a certain level of success, you start to doubt yourself. You think that, ‘What am I doing here? Who am I? Why am I here? Why did they invite me to this?’…And you have this negative self-talk. So you kind of have to change the narrative that goes on in your head.”
– Randy Phipps, Episode 2, AMPLIFY
Episode 3: Walk Good
This episode encapsulates the layers of mentorship these guests have experienced. From being a mentee to becoming a mentor, they explain what it took for them to gain insight into their sectors.
“I started my own boutique D.J. agency called LUXELIFE Sound, and we have a roster of 10-15 D.J.s now where we just place them at corporate events. And a lot of it stems from me not wanting them to go through some of the things that I went through when I started out and to just give them a head start.”
– Lissa Monet, Episode 3, AMPLIFY
Episode 4: Can You Have It All
Guests uncover what their descriptions of “having it all” means to them. While reflecting on opportunities and life career challenges, these guests candidly share whether they believe in having a work-life balance.
“I can’t stress enough how different it was then and how easier it is to get information, to find out that you’re not alone and that there are millions of people that are struggling with certain things…so that makes a huge difference [rather] than when you just feel like you’re in this box, and there’s nobody to look to and you’ve got to figure it out.”
– Ebonnie Rowe Episode 4, AMPLIFY
Episode 5: Morale Compass
People of colour have an additional challenge of knowing where the line is drawn regarding racial disparities and respect within the workplace. This episode addresses how these music industry professionals navigated labels and racial conflicts within their workspaces while honouring the mountains they’ve climbed to achieve their successes.
“I think we (Black people) really want to get places based on our merit, and not because of what [we] look like and checking a box…There’s a huge shift (now) that we can’t really take for granted or take likely.”
– Jamelia Campbell, Episode 5, AMPLIFY
Episode 6: All Will Be Well in The End
Taking a moment to pause and look back – this episode reflects on how the guests feel about their successes thus far.
“Whatever the thing is that we’re really connected to, I think we really need to value that. The fact that we have an idea in our heads, that’s actually the gift. If we’re thinking it, and we can actually see it and hear, that’s like a gift.. So it’s just [up to] you to now unfold it. And unfolding it and having a billion people love it, should not impact you unfolding it. Like, you might unfold it and it might impact 10 people, but that’s still amazing.”
– Jesse Jones, Episode 6, AMPLIFY
These gems are timeless reminders of the power that comes in trusting our instincts in pursuit of our callings.
With initiatives like AMPLIFY, Black music industry professionals will no longer have to compete with bureaucrats for a seat at the table. ADVANCE and its allies have created their own table, and all are welcome.
When asked what impact she hopes AMPLIFY has, host Jemeni says, “I’m hoping this podcast is able to uplift, inspire, empower and encourage its audience to pursue their goals, to know their greatness, to celebrate those already doing it and encourage them to take up space, because it is theirs to take.”
Step by step, ADVANCE is demystifying the entertainment industry and opening up the doors for us to follow.
ADVANCE is also releasing French Amplify episodes, narrated by Tracy Paulotte, which delve into the unique music experience in Quebec. The first French episode dropped on November 18th on all major streaming platforms.
Featured in the additional episodes are Malick Touré who has been active in the Montreal scene for nearly 25 years as a DJ, graffiti artist and event organizer; Moridja Kitenge Banza, a multi-award winning artist who is currently presenting a solo exhibition at The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) entitled “Et la lumière fut (And there was light); Steve Bolton, recognized worldwide as a Choreographer at So You Think You Can Dance Canada and Poland, America’s Best Dance Crew, and Chief Choreographer for La Voix; and Barbara Laurenstin, a veteran TV and radio host, columnist and researcher, known for her work at Radio – Canada, ICI Musique and ICI Première.
To check out the full season, stream it below or visit your favourite digital streaming platform.
Follow ADVANCE online for updates and future programming.
This post was written by Celeste Ceres and Latoya Elle.
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