Canadian-based global music publisher ole landed a very big fish in the Spring of 2016, when it announced a global administration deal with Entertainment One (eOne), a leading movie and TV producer and distributor whose properties now include Toronto’s Last Gang Records, Management and Music Publishing. ole now administers the rights to eOne’s more than 40,000 film and television titles and 45,000 music tracks.

“Entertainment One is really the perfect storm in terms of being an ideal client,” says ole CEO Robert Ott. “Serving audio-visual creators has always been a mainstay of our administrative services model, and we’ve administered the Last Gang Records catalogue for a number of years. There’s a long-term relationship between myself and [eOne President] Chris Taylor in terms of having an independent viewpoint on the business.”

Toronto music lawyer and entrepreneur Chris Taylor was a principal of Last Gang before selling to eOne in March. As part of the deal, Taylor was named President of eOne Music Global. He’s gone from managing a busy domestic company to leading a global operation with offices in Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Benelux countries, Spain, France, Germany, Scandinavia and South Africa.

We reached Taylor by phone in New York City, where he was continuing his global “getting to know you” tour of eOne’s international branches. “It’s kind of like drinking from a fire hose,” he jokes, “but I’m really enjoying it.”

“Our catalogue has a huge amount of audio-visual repertoire, and I know ole is particularly focused on that.” – Chris Taylor of eOne

“I was practicing law for almost 20 years and I loved it,” he says. “This had to be an incredible opportunity for me to transition away from that, and focus on what I’m doing now. I wanted to take Last Gang to its next logical step, and I wasn’t going to be able to do that with the way my life was configured running a law firm with 10 lawyers and 500 clients. I wanted to give more focus to Last Gang, and I can do that at eOne in addition to tapping into the resources that are there.”

Entertainment One is big enough that it could have taken its admin business to any of the major music publishers.

“We had discussions, and have been working with a number of majors, and I’m sure all of them could do a great job,” says Taylor. “Deal-wise, I think that all the potential publishers might have been in the same ballpark, ultimately. But we like ole, the technology is strong, and we thought it would be the best place for us – particularly in light of the fact that our catalogue has a huge amount of audio-visual repertoire, and I know ole is particularly focused on that.”

Taylor also points to the strength of ole’s proprietary rights-management software.

“We’ve been developing software called Conductor since 2011, when we realized that the data set in music and audio visual was exploding,” says Ott. “The challenge is to conform disparate data sets from around the world. Conductor lets us do data analysis, and matching, and cleaning in complete privacy between companies and/or collectives. It gives us more access to data and information that’s subject to non-disclosure agreements. We’re going to be able to bring this technology to bear for eOne, as they’re a global client and a global actor in the industry.”

Both Ott and Taylor are optimistic about the future of music rights, after a period of contraction.

“Last year, income generated from music was up for the first time in a long time,” says Taylor. “The adoption of streaming platforms has made great gains: between Spotify and Apple, over 50 million subscribers are now paying $10 per month to listen to music. I’m bullish about that.”

Here’s the latest edition in our series about those happy creative meetings between two songwriters. In this edition, we meet two endearingly bonded artists: folk singer-songwriter Chantal Archambault and her man, songwriter and musician Michel-Olivier Gasse, together known as Saratoga.

SaratogaAs the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. It sometimes yields beautiful projects, as Michel-Olivier Gasse explains while we sit on the terrace at a café: “Chantal had started doing solo concerts, but didn’t quite enjoy being onstage alone,” he says. “So I started accompanying her. And the day after one of those concerts, on a very small stage, with very limited technical means…”

“Very restrictive!” insists Chantal Archambault, sitting next to her partner.

“…she sang her songs,” Gasse continues. “I was right next to her with my acoustic bass, and I sang over her shoulder, so that the only mic on stage would catch my voice, and… well, I think it was charming.”

“People came to talk to us after the show,” adds Chantal. “They were saying, ‘My God! It’s so beautiful when you two sing together like that!’”

That was less than two years ago. Last fall, Gasse and Archambault drove to New York City. “We stopped for the night in a small village,” says Gasse. “We got drunk in our motel room, and that’s when we decided that we were going to get this thing going.” That village was Saratoga. “Well, the story is a bit more complicated than that,” Archambault giggles. “We take almost 15 minutes during our concerts to explain the details.”

It’s mostly Gasse who tells the tale, because, as Archambault says, “My strength is composing the songs, writing. His strength is interacting with the audience. In that sense, Saratoga is a complete project: the combination of his stage presence and my songwriting.”

She’s gotten used to it over time. Archambault has released three solo albums, and she’s made a place for herself as a mellow and reassuring presence on Québec’s folk scene. As for Gasse, who was previously in the band Caloon Saloon, he’s better known as a writer – with two novels published by Tête première – and a bass player for the likes of Vincent Vallières and Dany Placard, to name but two.

They’ve created two distinct, established creative universes that required harmonization. And they’re the first to admit that it’s harder than it looks. “We’re still learning to compose together,” says Archambault. Their first five-song EP was recorded in a jiffy because they had gigs already booked, but nothing to sing. Only two of those five songs were recorded together; the remaining three came from their respective archives. But now, with a record contract and a first album expected in October of 2016 – scoop: It’ll be called Fleur – the duo had to get to work last January.

“Once the writing period for the album was over, we’d found our work dynamic,” explains Gasse. “First of all, it’s not split 50/50: we realized that Chantal is excellent for finding a lead, a direction, a melody – she is an outstanding melodist. As for me, I’m not totally confident in what I can accomplish on my own, with only a guitar in my hands. I have a hard time expressing everything that’s in my mind in a clear way.”

Archambault jumps in: “The melodies came easily. As for the lyrics, I would often find the spark, a rough idea, and Gasse would fine-tune it. He’s got this knack for analyzing someone’s work in an objective and critical way, to see what works and what doesn’t in a song. And he’s always right!”

Yet, for Gasse, writing a song is harder than writing a book. “It’s incredibly hard to write songs,” he admits. “I can write a fifty-page story much easier than I can write a song. I’m a raconteur, I speak very fluidly. I don’t have any difficulty writing about a flower pot for a whole page, it comes to me naturally. But when it comes to a song, it’s a space that needs to be filled, and you must respect the meter, the right rhymes. Add to that the fact that not all words can be easily sung. It has to flow, and the listener has to believe every word you sing. If, for example, you’re going to use the word bus in your song, you better make sure it’s believable. Maybe bus is a bad example, but there are worse words than that to try and fit in a song.”

The other challenge had more to do with themes: where would the boundaries be for this common musical world shared by the duo? “That was also a challenge: writing ‘we’ songs,” says Archambault. “I’ve always written in the first person. He wrote boy songs with his band, and I wrote chick songs, so we needed to find themes that wouldn’t sound corny, and we wanted to avoid writing only songs about ourselves. The goal was to make music, not talk about our relationship as a couple. Quite a challenge.”

Also sprach Saratoga.

Daniela AndradeDaniela Andrade. The name might still be unknown to you, but bear it in mind, especially if you’re a fan of Milk & Bone, Kroy and Charlotte Cardin. On July 15, 2016, Andrade released a visual EP entitled Shore, composed of four songs, each with its own video directed by Jeremy Comte. “The shore is where the sea meets the land,” says the 23-year-old singer-songwriter. “When you stand on this boundary, you either jump in the water or on dry land. I use this metaphor to mean being ready for a major new stage: falling in love, trying something new, heading into the unknown. It can sometimes be hard to do, even when you know you have to. You hold on to what’s familiar… and then you leave your loved ones and everything you know in order to grow as a person. It’s a big scary leap, but it’s necessary.”

Born in Montréal, Daniela grew up in Edmonton. She moved to Toronto about 18 months ago, but life dragged her back to her native town. “I came to Montréal last summer to record my album at Studios Apollo with Gabriel Gagnon (producer) and I really like the city,” she says. “I also worked with Jeremy Comte, the video director. Everything in Montréal was beckoning me, and I now live in Le Plateau!”

Many have discovered Andrade through YouTube, thanks to her acoustic covers of classics from pop and rock repertoire, like The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?”, Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” or Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” the video of which has garnered more than 300 million views, sees Shakira herself sitting at the end of a couch, eating fruit and playing on her phone.

The songs unfold differently, undulating slowly. Is this a way for Andrade to reveal her musical DNA? “They’re songs I really love, or that influenced me deeply,” she says. “I chose them for their lyrics, which I felt weren’t put forward as much in their original versions. I even dared to cover Radiohead’s ‘Creep,’ a rather perilous feat, since covering such a classic would inevitably irritate some people. But I was dying to do I,t and my manager dared me to!”

Often compared to the likes of Norah Jones and Cat Power, Andrade says she’s more influenced by the great voices of jazz: Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. “When you hear them, you really feel the emotions in the songs,” she says. “Even when they’re happy songs, it feels like they’re singing from a painful place.”

Andrade herself manages to express a subtle mix of melancholy and sensuality. She’s been singing since she was a toddler. “We were always singing at my house,” she says. “I signed up for choirs when I was in school. At about 13, I started tinkering with the guitar and my father taught me a few chords. Then, I perfected my learning using YouTube! My family is from Honduras, and my dad was always listening to mariachi music at home! I learned in a very organic way, simply from my surroundings.”

In an effort to better her skills even more, Andrade participated in the second edition of SOCAN’s Kenekt Song Camp, held in May 2016 in Upper Kingsbury, Nova Scotia. “Up to now, writing a song had always been a solitary experience,” she says. “It was a great adventure to work that way, every day, surrounded by music creators. We’d meet each morning to bounce ideas off each other. We’d write several songs every day, sometimes for specific people. But sometimes, the person destined to sing a song will change, mid-way through the writing! They were produced and recorded on the same day. We recorded 25 songs in all; it’s crazy! I also learned that small ideas should not be discarded; sometimes, as a songwriter, we’re very harsh with ourselves and we discard good ideas too quickly.”

It was also the first time Andrade had visited Nova Scotia. “It’s such a magnificent place,” she says. “The ocean lies at our feet, and there are sheep grazing right next to it.”

To Andrade, music is a way to reveal her true self. “I believe that we try to tell our story through our songs, to reveal small parts of ourselves,” she says. “I think it’s important to go beyond small talk and speak the truth. When I write, I tap into my memories and the experiences that have made me who I am. My music truly is a portrait of who I am, and what I’ve been through.”