We Are Humber: Jessica McLean

NOW x Humber Digital Residency

As part of this month’s NOW x Humber Digital Residency, we’re profiling faculty and alumni from the Humber community. See all of the profiles here.

What program did you take at Humber? 

I’m a graduate of the Music Business program.

What is your industry role?

I am currently juggling contract work at various concert venues in the city!

What’s one skill students looking to enter your field absolutely must know? 

Being in the music business is all about relationships. Toronto is a huge city, but people in this industry are very well connected. Chances are, those you meet today will be the same people you cross paths with in the future. It’s vital to be able to network and maintain working relationships with everyone in this industry.

What is the most memorable experience you’ve had working or learning at Humber?

The most memorable part of learning at Humber was the people. Our professor, Thom McKercher is someone who worked in the industry for many years and he brought a lot of first-hand experience into the classroom. The program also hosted guest speakers such as Allan Reid (CARAS & Juno Awards) and Alan Cross (radio broadcasting). They were extremely knowledgable and gave us a deep dive into their careers and Canadian music development, which was invaluable. 

Describe something that inspires you about your industry. 

What inspires me most about the music industry is the tribe mentality. From my experience, everyone is more than willing to help others advance their careers. People in this business all have a long list of contacts and are willing to put people like me, who are just starting a career, in touch with others for networking purposes, job opportunities or just to grab a coffee. It’s comforting to know that at every turn, you have people in your corner who want to see you succeed.

The internet and digital technology have upended many creative arts disciplines. How does your Humber program prepare arts professionals for these challenges?

Being in any arts field requires communication skills, which I think is the most valuable skill as someone starting a career in the music industry. As Humber students, we had multiple guest speakers who we interacted with and were expected to give weekly presentation on a multitude of topics. I think as millennials who have grown with the technology, we need to remember to take a step back and focus on how we are going to make an impression offline.

What’s your favourite Toronto festival?

I definitely cannot pick just one! Both Canadian Music Week and Indie Week are my favourite festivals. Each one showcases hundreds of local and international artists in Toronto. The city is absolutely buzzing – all the venues host amazing talent, industry professionals are everywhere and the extended bar hours don’t hurt either!

Through volunteering at and attending these festivals for the last few years, I have formed relationships with some incredible people. I still keep in touch with bands who flew in from Australia, England and the Netherlands. If you’re in Toronto for either week, I would encourage everyone to grab a couple of friends and venue-hop down Queen Street West. You won’t regret it!

Name a person or organization in your industry who is doing work that you find innovative or inspiring. 

MusiCounts is an incredible Canadian music education charity. Every year, they donate thousands of dollars worth of instruments to a school that otherwise cannot afford ample resources in their music program. 

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