MusicOntario, Music Publishers Canada, & CIMA present: Trans Artists & Professionals in Canadian Music

Tue 4th, Wed 5th May 2021

Trans in the Music Industry: Where to Start
A 2-day workshop designed with, by, and for Trans folks to foster access to information, community, and opportunity in Canada’s music industry.
Presented by MusicOntario, Music Publishers Canada, & CIMA
May 4-5, 2021 – Virtual – 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM


Trans in the Music Industry: Where to Start is an inaugural career accelerator program designed with, by, and for trans people and a handful of music industry associations to address inequities in Canada’s music industry, identify gaps in access, opportunity, and education, and to build community and networks in a welcoming environment. This introductory first edition will explore industry basics, DIY and business best practices, host thoughtful conversations, and create opportunities for networking building and Q&A.

In Fall 2020, MusicOntario and Music Publishers Canada conducted a needs assessment survey to learn directly from Trans musicians and professionals what barriers to success they are facing. Based on survey results, this first edition will provide introductory resources, information, and networking to create space for Canada’s Trans community to approach the next stages of their careers in music through grassroots information and mentorship. As the program develops, it will grow to provide flexible, community-identified opportunities for professional development, technical training, and network development.

Participants will receive info packets for each segment to help them prepare questions in advance.


1:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Housekeeping & Welcome

  • Welcome from MusicOntario, Music Publishers Canada, CIMA, T. Thomason, & Erin Carroll. 
  • Discuss intention for a safe space and code of conduct so as to provide an experience that is productive, welcoming, and informative rather than harmful with facilitator, Ronnie Ali. Ronnie (they/them/their) is a psychotherapist and consultant serving intersectional communities in and around Tkaronto since 2010. Last year, they founded Leaves on a Stream, a consulting practice that is built on radical empathy, ethical process, mindfulness, and collective healing. Through Leaves on a Stream, they offer clinical consultation, trauma-informed coaching, and social programming.Ronnie identifies as an immigrant-settler, trans femme, non-binary, queer, able-bodied, person of colour.1:30 PM – 2:30 PM: Meet Your Allies in the Music Industry: Organizations & Associations

The music industry is an intimidating space for any emerging artist or professional, and that is compounded for those who are marginalized based on gender identity or race. That’s why it’s so valuable to familiarize oneself with the complex network of nonprofits whose mandates are to address and bridge many of these barriers to access, from music industry associations to funders to collectives. Meet real people from key organizations that provide access to education, services, funding, and support across the music industry.


  • Allegra Swanson, she/her (Music Nova Scotia)
  • Amie Therrien, she/her (Music Managers Forum) 
  • Melissa Cameron-Passley, she/her (SOCAN) 
  • Robyn Stewart, she/her (BreakOut West) 
  • Sarah Hagerman, she/her (Unison Benevolent Fund) 
  • T. Thomason, he/him (Artist Entrepreneur - Moderator)
  • Trisha Carter, she/her (Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA))

2:30 PM – 2:40 PM: BREAK
Grab some water, rest your eyes, review your notes…

2:40 PM – 4:00 PM: How to DIY as you build a team to help you fly!
It’s been a while since the path to success was simply “getting signed.” The reality is that artists have to develop business savvy skills and wear a great many professional hats before finding the right people to help them manage their music as a sustainable career and living. Explore what it means to build a solid foundation to thrive with those who have lived it and learned it, without sacrificing your vision or wellbeing. Panel discussion followed by a Q&A session.


  • Dani Oliva, he/him (Oliva Law Group)
  • Erin Carroll, they/them (Cadence Music - Moderator)
  • Jo Lukis, she/her (Just Really Good Music) 
  • Kim Temple, she/her (High Priestess & Six Shooter) 
  • Linda Bush, she/her (Cadence Music) 
  • Mavis Harris, she/her (Nice Marmot PR) 
  • Rosina Kazi, they/she (LAL, Unit2) 
  • T. Thomason, he/him (Artist Entrepreneur)

:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Participant Networking + Daily Decompress
An opportunity for participants and mentors to further establish connections, digest the day’s information and engage in general discussion in a low-pressure, comfortable space facilitated by T. Thomason, Erin Carroll, and Ronnie Ali.


1:00 PM – 1:10 PM: Brief Welcome

1:10 PM – 2:30 PM: Meet Your Allies in the Music Industry: Funders, Foundations, Arts Councils
As longtime purveyors of panels, workshops, and other professional development sessions, we can confirm that funding reigns supreme as a topic every artist, professional, and company is keen to better understand. In Canada, there are tons of opportunities to pursue, but there are also tons of nuances in eligibility criteria, project parameters, and organizational mandates for each funding body. Explore some of these differences with key funders so you can put your best applications forward.

  • Anthony Johnson, he/him (FACTOR) 
  • Holly Hudson (she/her) (SOCAN Foundation)
  • Jennifer McKerral, she/her (Canada Council - Moderator)
  • Michelle Holtzkener, she/her (Ontario Creates) 
  • Sarah Miller-Garvin, she/her (Toronto Arts Council) 

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM: The Business of Music - Finances, Funding, & Strategy
The music industry is a multi-faceted beast, and it can seem there is an endless amount of information to take in when building your career. We’re bringing together some experienced players in the industry to discuss the need-to-know, nitty gritty details of keeping your biz in a healthy flow, including: grant writing, managing finances, and day-to-day operations. Whether you’re doing it alone, or have a growing team, the best insurance policy is being in the know at each stage.


  • Adrienne Butcher, she/her (Estuary Artists)
  • Erin Kinghorn, she/her (eEK! Productions)
  • Rosalyn Dennett, she/her (Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM), Artist, Stump Media)
  • Samantha Everts-Matusoff, she/her (Sub Management Group)
  • T. Thomason, he/him (Artist Entrepreneur - moderator) 

3:30 PM – 3:40 PM: BREAK
Grab some water, rest your eyes, review your notes…

3:40 PM – 5:00 PM: Keynote Interview & Discussion
An engaging discussion with Lucas Silveira (The Cliks), the first trans man signed to a major label record deal, and Blxck Cxsper and Steph Durwin, cofounders of Trans Trenderz, an up and coming Montreal indie label with distribution through Cadence Music. 

  • Blxck Cxsper, they/them (Trans Trenderz) 
  • Lucas Silveira, he/him (Vice Media TV Host, Multimedia Artist, Founder of The Cliks)
  • Steph Durwin, they/them (Trans Trenderz) 

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Happy Hour Networking, Next Steps, & Farewell

Grab a refreshment of choice and decompress with your peers as you chat about what you’ve gleaned over the past two days with fellow participants, speakers from the course of the two days, and other music industry folks from the participating companies. Strengthen bonds and connections in a casual setting, while identifying personal action items/career next steps.


About MusicOntario:
MusicOntario is a non-profit, membership-based provincial Music Industry Association (MIA), whose mission is to provide professional development, education, information, and support to the music industry of Ontario. The association's mandate is to nurture, elevate, and empower emerging companies and artists in Ontario's indie music sector. We help.

About Music Publishers Canada:

Music Publishers Canada is a membership-based organization, founded in 1949, that ensures the views of music publishers working in Canada are heard. It is our mission to create business opportunities for our members and to promote their interests and those of their song writing partners through advocacy, communication, and education.

Music Publishers Canada ensures that the value and contribution of music publishers, music publishing, and copyright management is understood by artists, the music industry, users of copyrights, governments, and the general public.

About T. Thomason:
T. Thomason is a pop artist living between Halifax and Toronto. T. has impressed fans with his emotional and highly energetic live performances throughout his 11 year music career at festivals like The Great Escape, FOCUS Wales, Parliament Hill’s Canada Day, POP Montreal, Pride Toronto, Reeperbahn Festival, Canadian Music Week, Milwaukee Summerfest, and more.

The lead up to the release of T.’s self-titled album in September 2019 was a roller coaster. He was a winner on season 2 of CTV’s The Launch, which landed his launched single “Hope” on top 40 radio, Spotify Editorial playlists like New Music Friday Canada, and put T. on stage at the Bell Centre with Quebec’s reigning pop queen and his mentor, Marie-Mai.

T.’s recent self-titled album was described by Halifax’s The Coast as “equal parts scar tissue and sparkles”. Deeply vulnerable and honest, it is a must-hear for anyone who’s wondered who they are and what’s to come.

In 2020 T. released his “Part II Project”, a series of reimagined versions of singles from his album, featuring mentors and champions of his career. Rose Cousins (King of Spades Part II), Ria Mae (Loser Part II), Ivan Coyote (Birdsong Part II), and Sarah McLachlan (Bliss Part II) each lent their unique talents to the project. The singles have garnered praise from Tom Power on CBC’s Q, American Songwriter Magazine, and CTV’s eTalk.

About the PRISM Advisory Committee:
In 2018, MusicOntario established the PRISM Advisory Committee in order to help direct and shape the organization’s outreach and programming for artists and entrepreneurs who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+, with the long-term goal of creating change-making awareness surrounding cultural and institutional barriers that are oppressive to those intersecting communities. The committee strives to address barriers within our sector through discussion, consultation, advocating for safer spaces, support, and programming, and will be composed of and driven by an ever expanding group of artist and industry community leaders.

About Erin Carroll, chair of the PRISM Advisory Committee:
Erin is the manager of Publicity Services at Cadence Music Group/ Fontana North! They have managed several press campaigns for artists including Sam Roberts Band, The Trews, Martha Wainwright, Lido Pimienta (Canada), k-os, Like A Motorcycle, Brittany Howard (Canada) and more! Outside of their role at Cadence, Erin also manages T.Thomason, and is the chair and co-founder of MusicOntario’s PRISM advisory committee advocating for LGBTQ2S+ musicians and music industry professionals!

About CIMA:
CIMA is a not-for-profit national trade association representing English-language, Canadian-owned and controlled businesses of the domestic, commercial music industry. CIMA represents a diverse membership of small businesses including: record producers, record labels, recording studios, managers, agents, licensors, music video producers and directors, creative content owners, artist-entrepreneurs and other professionals from across the sound recording industry. CIMA represents over 330 Canadian companies and professionals and 6,200 Canadian artists. For more information, visit

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