Saint John native Apryll Aileen has been chosen to participate in Canada’s Music Incubator Artist Entrepreneur Program (CMIAE) in Toronto. The program, valued at $10,000, runs for eight weeks and is designed to help new and emerging musicians focus on building their career, businesses, and brands, via media training, performance workshops, and producer consultations, among other perks.
While her name may be new to some, Aileen is no stranger to the music world. In the last few years, she has performed everywhere from her native New Brunswick to the U.K., France and throughout the United States.
A classically trained-pianist by trade, the songs on her debut album Savannah Soul, released this past November, have earned Aileen comparisons to the likes of Tori Amos, Vanessa Carlton and Regina Spektor.
The magnitude of the opportunity coming Aileen’s remains as exciting for the young singer-songwriter as it was when she initially discovered she had been selected.
“This past October during Music New Brunswick’s Festival 506 in Miramichi, I had the opportunity to take part in a two-day boot camp on the music business,” Aileen explains. “I took so much away from that two-day session, and it was there that I met Vel Omazic who serves as the Executive Director at the music incubator program in Toronto.”
Following an extensive European tour following the mid-October Festival 506, Aileen returned to the Maritimes via Toronto. She decided to make a pit stop in Canada’s largest city, seizing the opportunity to drop Omazic a line to inquire about stopping by the organization simply to say hi.
“I took the opportunity to pick Vel’s brain, asking what I could do to be a stronger artist. He had nothing but great things and encouraged me to apply to be a part of the incubator program,” Aileen says.
To go from application to being one of two national winners in the span of just less than two months is a little dizzying, to be sure. While eternally grateful for the opportunities that are coming her way in the following months, Aileen is grounded with her assertion that her acceptance into the music incubator program does not mean she has won the lottery by any stretch of the imagination.
“Being an independent musician is difficult as you have to wear many hats other than just being a performer. I’m not complaining in the least because I love what I do and have had some incredible support from friends and family along the way.”
Asked what she is hoping to get out of the incubator program, Aileen says she is looking to sharpen her business acumen, and is also hoping to further refine her songwriting skills.
“One of the things I like most about what I’ve seen of the program thus far is that it is tailored to what you are doing with your music. They don’t view you and your music with a one-size fits all kind of approach. That is something that is important to me,” she says.