Kenekt Québec Song Camp 2017: a most rewarding second edition

The 17 SOCAN members who participated in the 2017 Kenekt Québec Song Camp, and organizer Guillaume Moffet. (Photo: SOCAN)
April 28, 2017

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The second edition of the Kenekt Québec Song Camp was held April 9-14, 2017, at the Rabaska Lodge, a gorgeous resort located on Baskatong lake, four hours north of Montréal. Seventeen SOCAN songwriter, composer and producer members answered our invitation with overwhelming enthusiasm. The goal: gather as a team, on a daily basis, to create songs with the utmost freedom, away from it all, but respecting certain imposed themes aimed at taking the creators outside of their comfort zones.

This camp gathered singer-songwriters Alexe Gaudreault, King Melrose, Fanny Bloom, Leïla Lanova, Philémon Cimon, Valérie Daure, Andreanne A. Malette, Ariel, and Amylie. They were paired with producers Austin Tecks-Bleuer & Noah Barer, Tommy Kruise and Shashu, Tō and Kilojules of Valaire, as well as Gautier Marinof and Robotaki. All were tasked with creating 20 future hits that, for the most part, think outside the conventional radio box.

For SOCAN A&R executive, and mastermind for the project, Guillaume Moffet, the challenge lay mainly in gathering the right people for the best creative chemistry. “This camp is invitation-only,” said Moffet. “Throughout the year, I meet SOCAN members and publishers who tell me what they’re doing and what they’re working on. What I try to do is create the best possible casting: fast-working and versatile producers, who each have their distinctive sound; flexible singer-songwriters with a good ear for pop music, who have enough experience to make leaps of faith, play along, and write while respecting a few constraints. The fact that they’re currently working on a new project is also a big plus. With these strengths in mind, I send invitations hoping to get the best possible group of people to create the best possible songs!”

Left to right: Philémon Cimon, King Melrose et Robotaki

For Andréanne A. Mallette, the song camp was an opportunity to explore new aspects of the creative process, and to re-acquaint herself with pop music. “The songs that were created throughout the week truly are of international calibre,” she says. “I hope this camp will show the whole world that Québec is a force to be reckoned with, and that Francophone songs can be just as good or even better than the Anglo hit list. This week at the camp will definitely have an impact on my future songs, whether they’re for myself or others. Thank you for this new set of tools!”

King Melrose felt privileged to participate in such an intense creative experience. “The camp really took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to meet exceptional artists and producers,” he said. “I knew I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, in a creative environment that pushed us to surpass ourselves. Thank you, SOCAN, for this inspiring initiative that opened my ears for the creation of my next album.”

Gautier Marinof especially enjoyed the actual environment, away from everything in the heart of nature: Being disconnected from the usual distractions, cell phones, Internet and whatnot, allows everyone to fully immerse in a creative state and to concentrate on it in a way that is usually not possible. I met and collaborated with artists I knew only from their reputation but whom I likely would never have met without the Kenekt camp.”

Left to right: Tommy Kruise, Amylie et Shashu

The participants’ open state of mind was noted by producer Shashu. “I believe you need to be humble and wise to achieve that,” he said. “The best experiences are often created when you check your ego and attitude at the door. During our listening sessions, I heard naturally soft and calming voices explore sounds that were full of impact and action! I witnessed vulnerability find refuge in beautiful lyrics and melodies, that I myself could never have written! I also witnessed insecurities turn into confidence because the participants were forced to go out of their comfort zones.”

“SOCAN’s Kenekt Québec song camp will definitely be one of the highlights of 2017 for me,” said Valaire’s Kilojules. “I was impressed by everyone’s level of artistic quality. This camp is an amazingly rewarding experience, because of the opportunity it affords us to closely collaborate with artists that are not part of our usual network. Because it forces us to push ourselves to the limit every day, and in such a magnificent environment.”

Philémon Cimon couldn’t agree more: “Being able to create music, every day, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., with different people every day, rolling with the seemingly odd pairings, just in case something new might come of it, being able to experiment without fear, without worrying about money, (almost) without pride, without ego, I want all that all of the time! Why would you not? Thanks you, SOCAN, for being so avant-garde.”

Left to right: Alexe Gaudreault, Leïla Lanova et Gautier Marinof

For Guillaume Moffet, the creative marathon that was the Kenekt Québec Song Camp 2017 can be summarized this way: “Pretty amazing summer hits, slow jams like you’ve never heard any in French, imaginatively produced songs; that’s what those 17 highly talented creators delivered. I can’t wait to see the life these songs will have. I bet a few of them will make it onto your future playlists. Maybe some of them will get a single out of it, but all of them got 16 new collaborators and friends in their address book.”

The participants were:

Singers and songwriters:
Fanny Bloom (ADISQ nominee, Singer-Songwriters of the Year, finalist at the 2015 Prix de la chanson SOCAN)
Andréanne A. Mallette (Star Académie, No. 1 BDS with « Fou »)
Alexe Gaudreault (SOCAN No. 1 with “Placebo”)
Amylie (SOCAN No. 1 with “Les Filles”, ADISQ nominee for Producer of the Year for her album Les éclats
Valérie Daure [La Voix]
Leïla Lanova (Rymz, El Speaker)
Philémon Cimon [ADISQ nominee for Pop Album of the Year for Les femmes comme des montagnes, finalist in the 2015 Prix de la chanson SOCAN]
Ariel [Winner, 2009 Francouvertes]
King Melrose [Three SOCAN No. 1s]

Kilojules and[Valaire, La patère rose, JUNO nominee for Group of the Year, SOCAN No. 1 for “L’amour est un monstre”]
ShashU [Fool’s Gold Records, remixes for Rihanna]
Austin Tecks-Bleuer and Noah Barer [Matthew Chaim, Wasiu, Sara Diamond]
Gautier Marinof [Marc Dupré, Sophie Pelletier]
Robotaki [whose “Ghostboy” song has more than  2.5 million plays on Spotify]
Tommy Kruise [Beat-maker, 24,000 followers on Soundcloud]