Jennifer Beavis has seen reams of change in the music business during her 25 years in the game. Contraction and amalgamation have been the watchwords since she graduated from Fanshawe College in 1993. She’s been employed full-time, and she’s been a contractor and consultant, but in her heart she’s always been a music publisher.

“The business has transformed into a gig economy,” says Beavis, who accepts the reality with cheerful resignation. “I started Librascor because it was hard to find another full-time permanent position in a similar executive capacity. But I’ve never looked back.”

Today, as the principal of Librascor Copyright Consulting, Beavis marches to her own drum, working for a roster of clients that currently includes BMG Rights Management, where she is a director for the Canadian entity, Zoomer Media, and Corkscrew media. Other Librascor clients have included Arts & Crafts Productions, 604 Records, CCS Rights Management, Street Quality Entertainment, C2W Music Ltd., and Entertainment Tonight.

“I love what I do, and thankfully I reached a level in my career where I had enough experience and enough contacts that I was able to offer my services on a consulting basis. The business is getting smaller, and a lot of the work is done in the U.S. but they need Canadian expertise.

“At first there was a lot of picking up the phone,” recalls Beavis. “That’s what happened with BMG, which had ended their relationship with their previous Canadian administrator. I called up the head of North America because I had a relationship with him, and two weeks later I had the job. I can’t believe it’s been five years already.”

“I called up the head of North America because I had a relationship with him, and two weeks later I had the job.”

Beavis’ tips for songwriters seeking a music publisher

  1. Be visible. We live in a social media and marketing world, and publishers need to be able to find you. Unsolicited works are still a no-no. The onus is on the writer/performer to create a buzz, and once they do that, the industry people need to be able to find you.”
  1. Be present. Go to industry events, conferences, etc. Hang out and meet the players after the panels, most of them are happy to talk, they want to give back. Once you have a relationship, your work is no longer unsolicited, and they’ll often accept your submission.”
  1. Do your research. If you’re sending songs to publishers or music supervisors, know what they’re looking for, don’t waste their time. Landing a song in a show is a huge way to gain profile and start building a story. Never send physical product, send links to online files.”

In some ways the BMG gig represents the closing of a circle. One of Beavis’s first professional jobs was as a publishing assistant with BMG Music Publishing Canada. Beavis credits BMG’s Dianna Rybak with helping to set her on her way. “She gave me my first job and taught me the basics of [copyright] administration,” remembers Beavis. “We had an excellent working relationship and she respected me, which went a long way in building my confidence, and re-affirming my decision to do this for a living.”

While so much of the business is focused on the sexier A&R side, Beavis has made her mark in administration. “It’s not the sexy side,” she agrees, “at least not until people want their money. Different territories have different rules, and I like knowing that stuff. I guess it’s in my genes – I have two lawyers in the family. Maybe there’s something about rules that I enjoy, understanding that there’s an answer to a given problem. It just makes sense to me.”

Beavis has always made it a priority to give back. She’s served on the boards of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Publishers Association, the Durham College Music Business Management program, and on committees with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS) and the Canadian Country Music Association Awards. She’s also taught and lectured at Durham College, The Trebas Institute, the International Academy of Design and The Audio Recording Academy (TARA).

“The Boards I’ve served on are good for my network,” she concedes, “but they also feed my interest in the specifics of the business. I’m genuinely interested in copyright matters, and I want to stay abreast of changes in the field. I think I have a lot to contribute – the admin side may not be sexy but it’s elemental to keeping the business afloat.”

Beavis has special regard for SOCAN. “Canadian songwriters and music publishers are very well represented,” she says. “What we do in this country with fewer resources is incredible. Somehow SOCAN has been able to make its members feel like it’s a mom-and-pop organization, and yet they compete and are respected on the international stage. SOCAN represents its writers very well internationally – better than any other society, in my opinion.”

If your heartstrings are being dragged through the mud, it’s time for a break with Camaromance, a band that thrives on reviving crushed souls. Eight years after The Parade, Martine Groulx offers us Chasing Clouds, an album that allows for discarding heavier moments, lost loves and mourning. And then… “it’s gonna be alright.”

Camaromance, Martine GroulxThrough her discourse and her songs, Martine Groulx teaches us that things are rarely ever truly over in life. She thought the plan was to concentrate entirely on running Lazy At Work, her record label (Fuudge, Galaxie, Les Dales Hawerchuk, to name but a few),and never again record an album, but music insinuated itself into her life as a form of redemption, of healing.

“Two years ago, I was on the verge of a burnout, and I wanted to take some time for myself,” syas Groulx. “My friend Alex McMahon let me use his studio while he was away in Mexico for a month. Then I spent two months in New Zealand, and everything fell into place. I already had songs. I asked Pierre Fortin to produce the album. I just turned 40. It’s a gift I gave myself to record that album with people I love,” says the woman who, for once, afforded herself the gift of not being in charge of everything. With Pierre Fortin on production duties, and Simone Records picking up the recording, she was able to go with the flow, and receive the support she usually gives.

“I’ve truly lived through a lot of life’s challenges,” says Groulx. “When we grow older, death becomes a part of life around us, I tried, unsuccessfully, to have kids, I had to overcome a lot. Our thirties are the decade when things fall into place and certain losses have to be dealt with.” All the stories she writes end up as love songs, because “it feels good to transform difficult moments into pretty songs”, she believes. As a woman, she is convinced that the thirties are the crux of self-affirmation, a time when we make career, friendship and family choices. “We’re so busy building our career in our twenties. . . We think we know who we are, but not really, in the end,” she says.

Many people put pressure on themselves to accomplish things, and Groulx is no exception. “Every year, I write a message to the future me,” she says. “I never noticed how demanding I was of myself. It’s quite interesting to think about that, to the work we invest and where we put our energy. I’ve reduced the amount of work I give myself. I also want time to remember who I am, what I like to read, who I want to spend time with, the places I want to visit.”

Pierre Fortin co-produced the latest Galaxie album, while he was producing Camaromance, as well as David Marin, whose album is set to be released further down the road. “He was stoked to work on three very different projects at once and I was happy to work with a friend,” says Groulx. “Through it all, I was working on the launch of Galaxie’s album through Lazy At Work. Everything fell perfectly into place in the end.”

After releasing three albums between 2004 and 2010, as well as touring Canada seven times to promote her music, Groulx realized she might actually be a poorly-shod shoemaker, by not affording herself the leisure of being properly represented here. “A lot of people just found out I make music,” she says. “It’s harder to sell oneself when you know everyone. People presume that if you do a good job on a daily basis, the chances you’ll make a good album are that much more limited. People were scared to listen to what I do and have to tell me they didn’t like it.”

The only time Grouolx mulls things over is when she’s writing songs. It’s an impulse. “There’s a song called ‘Marguerite’ because it’s the baby name I would have loved to give my daughter,” she says. “The message is abstract, but I tried in vitro fertilization and it didn’t work. In the song, I sing, ‘I’m not getting any younger.’ It’s all about simplicity. It’s just emotional enough for you to understand that something happened, but you can take however much you want from it to make it yours,” she says, adding that she loves songs that are reassuring. “I write songs to tell myself that it’s going to be alright,” she says.

Active on the music scene for almost 20 years, Groulx believes Québec’s scene is extremely healthy. “The respect artists have for each other is really wholesome,” she says. “We’re not competing against each other. Musicians compete against apathy. People are less interested in culture. The true challenge is making them interested in what we do,” she says, adding that reaching out to an audience requires a lot of imagination.

Groulx is a director on the Board of Directors of The SOCAN Foundation, which has allowed her to notice even more the efforts invested in bringing members to the limelight, and also to help women in music. “I asked myself what I could do to help women,” she says. “There are strong spokespersons. I don’t have that kind of intensity. I want more women to sit on Boards of Directors. That’s how I support this cause.”

Bilingual by birth, Groulx compartmentalizes her life according to the language she speaks: she’s emotional in English and rational in French. “I get angry in English, but I could never do math in English,” she says, laughing. “Accounting is always done in French.” That is why her only French-language song, which bears her name, was actually written by Francis Faubert. “It took me 36 hours to get over it,” she remembers. “He recorded it whispering, because his daughter was asleep, and he specified, ‘It’s not you. It’s the worst day of your life.’ Nothing goes well in that song.”

And just as Faubert did, Martine whispers her songs to us, as an offering, for our own good. Once that’s done, those songs become ours, they become one with our memories. “That what the song ‘Antoine’ is about,” she says. “Accepting things aren’t always exactly as we want them, but knowing things will be alright.”

Elijah Will still remembers the first time he wrote a song. His mom provided him with “one of those bendable mics from the dollar store,” he says, and he teamed up with his best friend and younger brother to form a hip-hop group called The Triple Threat. In that song, “Living in the Maritimes,” he gives a shout-out to fellow Nova Scotian artist Classified. Little did he know, then, that the rapper would later become an instrumental player in his rise to fame.

In 2014, a songwriting session at The Gordie Sampson Songcamp resulted in a co-write for Will that was sent to Classified, who quickly responded by inviting Will to join him in the studio to record vocals on his self-titled album. “We’ve been working together ever since, and I’m grateful every day for it,” says Will. He’s now become the first artist signed to Classified’s newly re-launched record label, Halflife Records. Earlier this year, Will released his debut EP 3am, a collection of R&B-infused pop songs that show off his penchant for penning infectious hooks, like those in the moody title track, or the upbeat funk of “Like a Fool.”

And that’s only the beginning. Will is currently working on more new music, and says he’s planning a big tour in the fall of 2018. Most importantly, he hopes to continue learning from Classified, from whom he’s already taken some valuable lessons. “He taught me to be hungry for it,” Will explains, citing Classified’s work ethic. “He’s always been there to motivate me and show me where I need to be, if I was ever to fall off. Working on this EP, and being around him, has really inspired me to be better.”