Music in Hamilton

Musician Entrepreneur Conference

Attend Hamilton’s fourth annual Musician Entrepreneur Conference running online October 19-23, 2020 during Small Business Week. This virtual conference is free to attend and is targeted towards independent local musicians.

Gain insights and knowledge that will help grow and develop your entrepreneurial and music business skills. The 2020 conference will be held over 5 days and will cover topics to help you plan your next album release.  Local musicians and industry reps will discuss topics such as the “nuts and bolts” of planning an album, grants available to musicians, getting ready to record at home or in the studio, marketing on a shoestring budget, and audience engagement after your album has been released.

The Musician Entrepreneur Conference is a priority for the Hamilton Music Advisory Team (HMAT) and a key project of our Musician Sub-Committee.

Where: Virtual Conference with 2 ways to join live:

Note: The zoom discussion will be recorded and shared by the City of Hamilton.

When: October 19 to 23, 2020

Attendance is FREE 

Joshua Pascua and band perform at the 2019 Musician Entrepreneur Conference

Conference Schedule:

Register at:

We bring together industry experts and local musicians to talk about the album planning process. Whether you are just starting a project or in the middle of one, the panelists will talk about what you can do to organize your time, your money, and your work to make the best release.

We welcome Lisa LaRocca, Director of Operations for Sonic Unyon Records, as the moderator for the discussion with confirmed speakers:

Singer-songwriter Shanika Maria who, in 2020, dives into production, beat making and sound creation under the name Shn Shn. The project focuses on exploration, experimentation, genre-mixing and self-directed practice.
Scott Orr, a musician, label owner, and the host of Other Record Labels, a podcast about the art of running a record label. Scott also runs Other Songs, a label he started in 2010.

Additional speakers to be announced

Register at:

A conversation about funding available to Hamilton musicians. The conversation will start with grant officers from the City of Hamilton's City Enrichment Fund, FACTOR, and Canada Council for the Art's Explore and Create Program sharing information about their grant programs. After the presentations, local musicians join the conversation and talk about their experiences applying for and receiving grants.

We welcome folk/Americana singer-songwriter Gillian Nicola as the moderator for the discussion with confirmed speakers:

Andrea Carvalho, Policy Analyst - Grants, City of Hamilton’s City Enrichment Fund
Derek Wilson, Project Coordinator, FACTOR
James Missen, Program Officer, Explore and Create, Arts Granting Programs, Canada Council for the Arts
Lex Leosis is an emcee known for her dynamic flows, aggressive stage presence and elaborate story-telling. Lex is also a mentor in the Hamilton and Toronto hip-hop communities working as a lead facilitator for youth programs that teach kids to write, rhyme and rap.
Emma Rush has established herself as one of Canada’s top classical guitarists. She has had her work supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Hamilton City Enrichment Fund, and FACTOR.

Register at:

A conversation with local musicians and recording studio reps about recording in studio and at home. Get some advice on how best to prepare for studio time if you are making the leap to a professional studio setting and some tips you can use when recording at home.

We welcome Samson Dekamo, a music producer and youth engagement expert, as the moderator for the discussion with confirmed speakers:

Roman Marcone, owner of Halo Recording Production and Audio Engineering
Lily Sazz, a musician specializing in keyboards (mostly blues, roots, and r'n'b), she performs live with her six-piece Maple Blues Nominated group, Cootes Paradise.

Additional speakers being confirmed.

Register at:

A conversation intended for emerging or self-produced musicians who do not have a label or marketing team backing them with a budget. Speakers will talk about free or low-cost marketing strategies with a focus on social media content.

We welcome confirmed speakers:

Luckystickz is a singer-songwriter/recording artist and one of the premier Steelpan/percussionists in Canada. He has performed and worked with music legends such as Harry Belafonte, Brian Mcknight and Chili (of TLC). Luckystickz's music has given him the opportunity to perform internationally in many countries throughout the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and North America. As a music industry professional, Luckystickz received his Bachelor's degree from Berklee College of Music in Music Business/Management. Currently, he uses his knowledge to grow/manage his own Luckystickz brand as well as helping other upcoming artists through consultations.
Dre Pao is a content creator and entrepreneur from Hamilton, ON. Dre is the COO of international digital marketing agency Xrozs Group, which has consulted marketing campaigns for major brands such Swoop Airlines, Fortune 500 Brand: Greenland Group, and former manager of Taylor Swift: Rick Barker. He notably has built a following of over 118K on Tiktok, averaging 2 million views per week. As an artist, his debut and sophomore singles both accumulated over 1 million views online and received commercial radio play across Canada. He currently hosts “Candy & Commerce”, a cable television segment on Rogers TV.

Additional speakers being confirmed.

Register at:

A conversation on what to do after your album is released. What is the best way to get your music out there? Digital streaming services, campus radio, your local record store can all play a part in promoting your album, building your audience and starting to see a revenue stream from your music.

We welcome Brad Machry, founder of the music services company Royalty Gnomes, as the moderator for the discussion with confirmed speakers:

LTtheMonk is a hip-hop artist who has been promoting his most recent release "Kinks, Drinks & Hip-Hop". His upcoming, as-yet-untitled full-length album will be released on Sonic Unyon Records in early 2021.
Heather Valley is an independent Americana singer-songwriter, lawyer and speaker based in Hamilton, Ontario. After escaping a star-crossed romance with an American con man, she lost everything and found a second chance in music. Her debut album "Desert Message" was released independently in November 2019 and was named the best album & song of 2019 by

Additional speakers being confirmed.

Hamilton City of Music logo