MNO citizen and Fanshawe alumna, Jenna Bjornson
(centre) received the 2018 MusiCounts Scholarship from
MusiCounts President and CEO Allan Reid and Executive
Director Kristy Fletcher. Photo by Rish Cassling. Click here
to view a larger version of this picture.

Submitted by MNO citizen Kerri Fedyk

This article originally appeared at
Written by Lliam Buckley

Métis Nation of Ontairo (MNO) citizen Jenna Bjornson was recently awarded the prestigious MusiCounts 2018 Scholarship, through which she received $4,000 and a five-day mentorship program in Toronto.

Only six of these awards were given out across all of Canada this year to industry students who demonstrated excellence and a commitment to their craft.

The award was given to people specializing in one of several streams including, music production/ engineering, music business and performance.

Bjornson, a graduate of Fanshawe’s Music Industry Arts (MIA) program, was one of only two students nominated in the business stream. She said she was honoured to receive the award and that when she heard the news of this scholarship she was “shocked and surprised”.

MIA program coordinator, Dan Brodbeck remembered Bjornson’s time at Fanshawe and recalled the mutual respect that all MIA professors had for her.

“When we gave her tasks to do they were performed like a professional would perform them. Even though stuff gets really rough around here she could handle it,” Brodbeck said, referring to the extra level of responsibility Bjornson had to take on independently for extra-curricular projects during her final year, due to the faculty strike.

During the mentorship, students were taken to various industry facilities in Toronto, including, Spotify Offices, Noble Street Studios, Roy Thompson Hall, Coalition Music, Dine Alone Records and many more.

Although the trips to these locations were important, Bjornson shared that the biggest takeaway she got from the program was the relationships formed with others in the program as well as industry professionals.

During the mentorship portion, the winners heard from and were introduced to major figures in the music industry such as Allan Reid, President and CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), JUNO Award-winning recording engineer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey, Nathan Wiszniak, Head of Canada, Artist and Label Marketing, Spotify and Jennifer Hyland, senior manager of Music Licensing / TV & Film Sync.

This served as a huge benefit to Bjornson’s network within the industry.

“Now I have connections all across the country and I got to meet a bunch of really cool people who I will, hopefully, be seeing in the industry for the rest of my life,” Bjornson said.

Bjornson also said how important it is that young people have programs such as MusiCounts supporting them from the beginning of their career.

“This industry is so hard to get into and it is all about relationships”, she said. “This program gives young people the opportunity to meet and connect with industry professionals that [they] would never have had the opportunity to meet. It also reassures young people that this is an industry that you can have a career in.”

As Bjornson gets ready for a successful career in the music industry and begins applying to jobs, she said is thankful for the experiences at Fanshawe and the impact MIA had on her.

“I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity without being an MIA student”, Bjornson said, sharing that the program has “given me the confidence and the knowledge that I need to pursue my dream of working in the industry.”

Posted: Oct. 25, 2018