Milénio Stadium had the opportunity to interview David Baker, Executive Producer and Director of the Beat Series, an initiative to discover musical talent in Canada. This is a call for emerging artists to become the next generation stars with auditions, stage performances and a chance to win a cash prize and recording contract. Sounds like a dream come true for many young artists.
Milénio Stadium: What is the Beat Series?
David Baker: The Beat Series is multi- faceted, online web & Social Media Series, including Live Concerts, plus TV documentary episodes that chronicle the search for new, emerging music composers who perform in the vast, multicultural, music scene in Canada. We will explore to find who the next generation of stars could be, and what it’s like to be a new player in the music game. Through our online and social media portals, our web series will peek into the lives of these new, emerging artists; from our initial contact, through auditions, to their live stage performances in the Beat Concert Series at the Mod Club in Toronto.
The first documentary series that chronicles our search is LusoLife Beat, where our Beat Scouts search for new, undiscovered Lusophone artists, across Canada.
MS: How did you come up with the idea of creating the Beat Series show and what was your inspiration?
DB: The idea of creating the Beat Series came from Manuel DaCosta, the founder and President of MDC media. His goal is to support the music of emerging artists who have yet to secure a recording contract.
MS: Were you thinking about producing a talent show like this for a while? Have you produced shows like this before?
DB: I have been working in the TV/entertainment industry for over 40 years. I produced a music program called NiteVision, beginning in 1984, that aired on SuperChannel in Canada. In the 90’s I built the Web Café, in Vancouver, which was the first internet café in Canada, but it wasn’t like they are now. This was a night-club that featured 16 high-speed computers for internet gaming, and live music where we produced the first, live to the internet, rock concert with the Bare Naked Ladies. As the home for MuchMusic on the west coast, we boasted many top-tier bands over the years. Much of my working career has been spent on music, and music production through my work at Citytv and MuchMusic. MuchMusic evolved out of a program Citytv produced in 1979 called, “The New Music” which in some ways is similar to what we are doing with the Beat Series. Later, my work with City and Much, was building MuchMusic and Citytv franchises worldwide, in places like Buenos Aires, Helsinki, Bogota, Barcelona and more. We had the privilege of showing staff at these channels, how to produce music programming in the style and pace of MuchMusic. The best part was merging the local sounds with the fast-paced style of Much. I gained a real appreciation for the multi-cultural music that artists throughout the world creat.
MS: What other shows are part of the “Beat Series” umbrella?
DB: Following the LusoLife Beat series will be “NewWorld Beat” which will feature our search for emerging artists in the Toronto music scene, for all modern genres of music.
MB: Give us a background about your production team and age group including yourself.
DB: The first of our team to get things started is our Digital Media production team. We are producing a web series that follows our Beat Scouts who are searching for new talent. Through my work at Ryerson University, in the Transmedia Zone, I met everyone and was very impressed with their abilities, especially in the social media sphere. As a member of an older generation, I’m not as up on social media as the younger crowd. What I enjoy most about working with this team is how much I’m learning from them, while being able to teach them a thing or two as well. Our team averages between 22 years and 28 years old… except myself of course… where I’m old enough to be everyone’s father. The documentary and concert production team are a mixture of the MDC Media Group and freelance production people from Toronto.
MS: Why Luso Life Beat? Why focus on the Luso musicians only?
DB: We are starting with LusoLife Beat, as the Lusophone community plays an important role in the multi-cultural sound of Canada, with music that evolves from there cultural homelands of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe and others. Plus, Mr. DaCosta, as a Lusophone himself, is very passionate about promoting Luso music. But as I’ve mentioned, there is much more music to come from other genres as well.
MS: Do you think that there is Luso talent out there that is yet to be discovered?
DB: There is definitely undiscovered Luso music talent. We’ve begun our search and we’ve found several already.
MS: Is the LusoLife Beat show created to attract a specific age group?
DB: We are targeting the 16 – 25 demographic particularly through our online, social media series, however the programs will definitely appeal to music lovers of all ages.
MS: Do you accept Lusophone artists worldwide or only residents in Canada?
DB: We are looking for Luso artists who live and perform in Canada.
MS: What opportunities can emerge from the show?
DB: The opportunity for new artists is fantastic, as it gives them an international audience and recognition for their talents. It also gives our audience the opportunity to see and listen to the next generation of Canadian music stars.
MS: In your opinion, do you think that this is a great platform to promote Luso up-coming musicians worldwide?
DB: Most people outside of the Lusofone community don’t even know it exists, under that moniker. So yes, this is a great opportunity to introduce what Luso music is to the world.
MS: How many contestants do you expect to audition?
DB: We are anticipating up to 18 contestants for each series.
MS: When and where do the auditions take place?
DB: Outside of early auditions for some artists who will be out of the country in January, for example our Brazilian prospects who for some reason prefer to be in Brazil rather than in Canada during the winter, our LusoLife Beat auditions are January 18th and 19th. NewWorld Beat auditions are yet to be announced.
MS: What happens after the audition process?
DB: After auditions, our selected participants will perform in front of a live audience, at the Mod Club, in Toronto, for our TV documentary series. We will continue to follow our artists, online, until two weeks after the doc series airs. That is when we will choose our winner.
MS: What major players/partners are involved to produce and deliver the show and what roles do they play?
IP: Our major player of course is the MDC Media Group, led by Manuel DaCosta. Beyond that, this is mostly a group effort – individual people who have come together as a team and are working hard to bring the series to life.
MS: What happens after the winner is selected?
DB: Once the winner is selected, they will be offered a recording contract with the MDC Media Group, to be recorded at their facilities in Etobicoke, which is also the home of the Sony Sound Stage. If we go into a 2nd season for the online and TV components, we would hope to follow our winners throughout their recording process and into their foray into the professional world of music production. We would also begin our search for next-years new music stars.
MS: Will the show played in Lusoone countries to inspire other Lusofone musicians around the world?
DB: Yes, our plan is to syndicate the programming worldwide, with special focus on Luso countries for LusoLife Beat.
MS: Will there be a LusoLife Beat Series conducted worldwide?
DB: I personally have always had a global perspective on the television industry, and particularly on programming. When we have the traction we need, for instance, multi-national sponsorship, I would certainly expect we could go global. Let’s remember, we don’t plan to be an American Idol, X-Factor or a Eurovision style contest. This is more grass-roots style of local programming, geared toward the young, online, social media crowd of music fans in a particular geographic area… like Canada.