Arts

Sugary cereal connects artists with music lovers and industry experts

THE POST FOOD Company has a sweet tooth for indie tunes. It’s the founder of The First 15, a grant project that mixes social media and industry expertise to help unknown artists get their big break. Hoping to get more Canadian independent music into the iPods of music lovers is just one of the project’s initiatives.

The project was inspired by up-and-coming artist iSH Morris. Like any upstarters, he wanted to have an opportunity to do what he does best: Make music.

“[He was] looking for funding to fuel his craft and to get out there and he was creative about it,” explains Jay Marana, singer-songwriter of Broken Hands, who was asked by the company to spread the word about The First 15.

The name of the grant, which comes from the term “first 15 minutes of fame,” is doing just what its title promises.

“Instead of going the traditional route, trying to go to a label where money has sort of dried up, [Morris] went to Post [Foods] and said, ‘Look at this song I’ve created. Do you want to help me get my music and my art out?’”

Post Food, impressed by the creativity of the track, decided to support Canadian music by founding the project in hopes of establishing more musical acts. Thus, The First 15 project was born.

“[It focuses on] connecting with what people want, not the cheesy stuff,” says Marana. “Post [Food] thought it would be a win-win to help support a Canadian artist.”

The project’s main aims are: To connect artists with other artists and to connect artists with other music lovers.

“[It also hopes to] build a platform that could potentially give the right candidate some funding to jump-start a demo or EP,” Marana notes.

“[The First 15] all about being authentic and getting involved, which, in this case, is helping young adults with musical talent recognize their dream,” says Jennifer Dumoulin, Post Food’s director of marketing for the company, in a press release for the project.

The competition for receiving the grant is twofold. First, artists submit a track or multiple tracks to the project’s Facebook page and the most liked ones form a shortlist. From there, the entries are judged, and a winner is selected based on artistic merit by a panel of industry members. Winners receive $5,000 and a trip to Toronto to record at Girth Music’s professional studio. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 9.

Who should apply for the grant?

“All artists. Everyone,” says Marana. “This is not a genre-specific grant. This is [about] recognizing talent. Talent is subjective and it comes in all shapes, sizes, colours, and sounds.”
For more information, or to submit a track, go to Facebook.com/thefirst15. 

—Jessie Willms