Barb McGrath 0:06
Our guest today has an extensive resume in the arts. She plays a key role in building and developing future artists, musicians, and everyone with a passion for the arts. She has rules on board, in bands and in community radio. As an artist, she is adaptable. And she supports all artists, no matter their passion. She’s a local filmmaker, and in fact, has formal training, where she, where she’s most used to being behind the camera, but does step in front of a camera at times. Today’s guest is Amber Goodwin. Welcome,
Amber Goodwyn 1:04
Thanks for having me. Hi.
Barb McGrath 1:07
It’s such a pleasure to have you here. So tell us a little bit about some of your artistic background. Because when I read about you, you are one of the most adaptable artists that I think I’ve had the chance to interview and meet before.
Amber Goodwyn 1:22
Um, for sure. So um, so yeah, thanks for this opportunity. I so I consider myself a multi disciplinary artist, which means that I have practices kind of work that I’ve been developing over the years in different disciplines. So I trained formally in university in filmmaking, experimental filmmaking. But I also had been playing in bands since I was a teenager, and I’m most definitely not a teenager anymore.
Amber Goodwyn 1:56
And also, may I come from a family of musicians. So you know, we I’ve always been have been known to, I’ve always known that art has value. And then also just a variety of different practices. But my main focus is being writing, filmmaking and most importantly, music. I’ve also sort of parlayed that into a career of sorts by working community radio for I used to be the music, managed music at CKY in Montreal, and then I moved into program direction here at the community station, Regina CJ Tr 91.3. FM, and recently taken on the executive director role. But I also think it’s important to contribute to creative enterprises that I believe in. So I’ve also been sat on the board of girls rocker Dinah, which is an amazing music, education and empowerment resource for young women and non binary folks who are learning an instrument and taking up space and getting loud. I also am on the board of directors for the swamp fest arts and music festival, which is an independent music festival that happens here in town. And I also am a volunteer jury member for the Polaris Music Award, among other jury work that I do. So yeah, I I’m really excited by innovation, and also seeing what artists do over the span of a long career.
Barb McGrath 3:24
So one of the things I forgot to mention, when I was doing your introduction of courses, you’re one of the nominees for the YWCA awards of distinction here in Regina. And, you know, those awards they’ve gone on for for an extensive period of time. And one of the, I suppose one of my personal realizations with those awards is, every year I look to see who’s been nominated. And I am fascinated by the experience and the depth of the nominees. To the point that like I want to say, I like I honestly didn’t know that we had some of that depth in our community. And I listened to you talk about your experience in the arts. And again, like, you know, the the normal person, the common person doesn’t realize the kind of experience that we have in our community. So first off, congratulations, and kudos to you for the commitment that you’ve made to the artistic community. Can you talk a little bit about where your passion comes from? I know you talk about from family. So was it there since day one, we’re like how did you find your passion?
Amber Goodwyn 4:38
I’d have to say that I’d have to say that. I’ve always felt an impulse to to be creative to interpret my my lived experience, into some sort of format to help Express beyond just words and conversations and experiences in my life and then experiences the world around me. So and sometimes my partner who’s also a working artist, sometimes I’m like, how do people not be an artist? Like, it’s just a way of being, but people are creative in many different ways and express themselves in many different ways. But, but I think, you know, there’s a whole lot of reasons why people would choose art as like, as focusing, focusing that aspect of their being. But to me, it’s just, it’s just always been there, I wouldn’t know what the answer is, except that perhaps, I was raised in a really unusual household where, really there were, there were very few limits on what I could do. In terms of focuses of my time, there’s a sense of I could, I could try out anything with minimal consequence, for better or worse.
Barb McGrath 5:50
And so but but that’s a good thing. I mean, you’d like to think that that most children are encouraged to, you know, try different things, find what you like. And I think eventually, we’ll start to niche down and say, you know, I really like sports, or I really like art, or I like the combination thereof, right? That sort of thing.
Amber Goodwyn 6:11
For sure. And I myself, am now a mother of a six year old. And, you know, we do I’m trying to take the the aspects of my upbringing that I think were most helpful, obviously, and try to apply them to her children report on this, you know, 20 years from now and whether it’s working, but but, but yeah, I didn’t have a lot of I have also just been a self starter, and I feel grateful for that. I don’t know where that sort of thing comes from. But, but I, but you know, yeah, so I’m kind of getting a bit philosophical. But, but, but where the impulse comes from, I don’t know, it’s sort of a mysterious thing really, is you get you have an impulse. And then it’s about translating that to an action to an intention. And then and coming up with plan and strategy.
Barb McGrath 7:00
Exactly. You know, one of the things that’s interesting as a parent is, quite often our interests become our kids interest. So if you are an artist, you tend to see your kids being quite artistic and vice versa. So both my husband and I were fairly sports oriented, we grew up high school, sports, university sports, that kind of thing. And, you know, so we, we expect that our kids will enjoy sports. And they do, but our son has also really picked up music. And so there was a time last winter, where I was constantly bugging everyone at the station, because I was trying to figure out how to find a small used amp for my son, because he’s picked up a little bit of keyboard. He’s picked up the ukulele with the combination. And he’s also picked up the electric guitar. So of course, we’re supporting this his room, like he’s got it sports stuff, he’s still got his little kid Lego stuff. He’s got his electric guitar in the corner, like his room is a Gong Show. But he absolutely didn’t get it from us. And, and so it’s really interesting to me watching those natural interests start to develop. And who would have ever thought that, you know, he’d want to pick up three instruments, but there he is. And, you know, he’s kind of done with ukulele he’s moved on. He’s most interested at this point in electric guitar. And, you know, okay, you want to play like, go play. And so stuff comes out of his room. And we’re just like, Hey, buddy, like, keep going? Oh, my goodness.
Barb McGrath 8:35
So it’s fascinating to me how kids start to pick up those sort of things with absolutely no input from their, their surroundings, right?
Amber Goodwyn 8:46
Absolutely. And there’s, you know, there’s elements of my daughter’s character that have been there since she was an infant. There’s no way she could have learned a thing from us. You know, many people have many different theories about why and how that is. But I think the most important thing is just to is, you know, when you have when you’re a parent, for me, my dreams and goals for my child are not nearly as important as her own dreams and goals for herself. Exactly. It’s always Yeah. So it’s always about encouraging her trying to keep an open mind about what she’s interested in. And, you know, really just hoping that one day she gets really interested in medicine.
Barb McGrath 9:30
As long as a pandemic is over,
Amber Goodwyn 9:32
Yeah. And then she becomes a doctor, you know, or something. And she great.
Amber Goodwyn 9:39
Amber Goodwyn 9:41
She’s pretty, she’s pretty set up to be an artist or something at this point. And, and yeah, but we’ll be We’ll see.
Barb McGrath 9:49
Yeah, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I could care less where my kids end up as long as they end up happy, healthy and safe and or daughter has been much, I don’t want to say slower, but she just hasn’t found her thing yet. And I think that’s, that’s such an important part of growing up, is figuring out what your thing is, can be absolutely anything. But until you find that passion, I think as human beings, we’re, we’re we’re kind of spinning our wheels, right? It’s like you’re going through the motions. And so that’s kind of our job as parents is, you know, how do I help this kid find her thing, so that she can have the most satisfying life? So, anyway, we are getting way off topic. very philosophical. Um, so let’s talk a little bit about some of the different things that you do in the community related to art. So you talked about some boards, swamp Music Festival, I’ve heard of Girls Rock, some of those I had heard of, but there was another one that you mentioned. I started with a p passion, something poisoned something. Music Festival.
Amber Goodwyn 10:58
Oh, pull out the Polaris Music Prize.
Barb McGrath 11:01
There we go Kitano like Polaris. Is that the sponsor? Or that’s just coincidence that Oh, that’s funny.
Amber Goodwyn 11:06
No, that’s the name. It’s a it’s actually if this is my first year of being a part of the jury. And, and, and I’ve been more on, like, my jury work previously has been less for prizes. But it’s been more for more for awarding funding to worthy projects. Okay. And the Polaris Music Prize is a is the the Music Prize that I think that I have most belief in. Because it it’s a story. It’s like a volunteer jury, and it prioritizes artistic excellence in the music community in Canada. And so that’s always of interest to me. I think that some I think it can be problematic when the value of any kind of art is based wholly on its marketability. And yet, because sometimes there’s sometimes that’s how funding is given, for example, whether a jury of industry folks determine whether something can make money for somebody else. So yeah, and, and you know, that’s important. And it’s really important to bring, you know, money into the economy and to like, support our music industry. But at the same time, it can overlook one of the most important aspects of music in the first place, which is the music itself, and innovation. And it’s important to give opportunity to new and underrepresented voices, in music, and in the arts in general. And if you’re only paying attention to what sold and made money in the past, you can really miss opportunities to support emerging artists in the future.
Barb McGrath 12:49
Well, and even more so than that, so you’re gonna miss the opportunity. But if we have more of what we already have, then we don’t have any diversity. And diversity in everything is just so important. Because again, what you like and what I like, can be two totally different things. But if the only thing that the industry serves up is stuff that, you know, I like or you like, well, then you know, 50% of the needs are not being met. I didn’t realize that I always looked at juried competition as being talent based. I never thought of it as being marketability based.
Amber Goodwyn 13:23
Yeah, a lot of so different awards, and I won’t name awards right now, but often, it’s based on record sales, and that kind of thing. Yep. And, and, and, you know, and the reason certain artists or are making or selling records don’t really sell records, in the same way as they used to, right. Because the whole music industry has changed is that people sort of paid for the placement of that music, or have access to much greater marketing opportunities. And thus the music is is flooded into the, into the media in a different way. So it’s important to you know, whenever I can in my role in the music culture here, try to open up opportunities make space for new new artists.
Barb McGrath 14:12
Exactly. So tell me about that. So So what do you Amber’s do as a leader in your community to support up and coming artists? What do you find that you’re doing?
Amber Goodwyn 14:25
I think my most ongoing practice for that is, is in my work at the energetic Community Radio 91.3 FM CJTR. The station that this is airing on? Yeah, because because this is a place where a lot of new musicians in our community often get their music played on air. First away from streaming sites, streaming sites and online platforms like that are critically important than that. It’s important to free Musicians meet their listeners where they’re at. But But our hosts who host music programs are deeply passionate about new music, and are often like the tastemakers or curators for their community. And they’re invaluable.
Amber Goodwyn 15:18
And it’s also when when we broadcast the music out into the region, or online and through the app or whatever, you know, you get a lot of incidental listeners that algorithms alone cannot lead you to work, do they mean, also, we, we also give people a lot of their first ever interviews on air and help kind of creatively, you know, develop them that way. But we also report charts nationally. So you know, there’s music playing being played on the station, we capture that data, we share that data with other stations with music marketers. It’s something that people can put on there. So it helps listeners and fans find these bands. But it also helps other stations pay attention to regional artists. There’s so many different ways that we support local artists and, and we’re always innovating new ways to because the music industry like so many industries are changing all the time as the technology and platforms change. So just always paying attention to what’s working and what needs to be adapted.
Barb McGrath 16:20
Exactly. Amber, we’re actually just a little bit past the halfway mark in our show. Would you like to remind listeners where they’re listening to the show?
Amber Goodwyn 16:29
You’re listening to The Secret Life of entrepreneurs on 91.3 FM CJTR Regina, community radio tuned into the community.
Barb McGrath 16:38
Excellent. And the tune into the community. That’s new, isn’t it?
Amber Goodwyn 16:42
It is new, we’ve just we found that it was a pretty accurate representation of of what we do here. There were some trial slogans that were didn’t really quite capture that spirit, like, tuned into your neighbors sounds creepier than that just because they’re talking about ways to I think community is really important when talking about community radio, it really encapsulates the spirit of the thing. And the creators and the listeners and everything and our way of doing things. But we’re just we’re playing with different ways to say community and you know, neighbors sounds fun. It sounds super welcoming, and close. But yeah, a little creepy in that.
Barb McGrath 17:27
Exactly. All right. So let’s just talk about the station for a minute. You guys just finished a large membership drive. And I understand it was quite successful. Can you tell folks about that?
Amber Goodwyn 17:39
Yes, absolutely. Just like everyone else in this COVID economy, we were hit pretty hard. A lot of our amazing sponsors had to make really tough business decisions and their marketing dollars were down. So a lot of a lot of sponsors stayed on. But some of them needs to take a break. So we had to get really creative with our fundraising in the interim period. And so we, we launched a membership campaign, we’ve had a membership for over 20 years. But we haven’t really done membership, draw Ives to this degree.
Amber Goodwyn 18:13
We’ve always just had sort of a casual drive. We tried it a couple times. But it wasn’t one of our signature fundraisers. This year, we announced we, for the first time ever, we were like, Listen, this is this is a this is an existence question for us, we really need your help to continue to exist. And also we wanted to get the word out about CTR because the thing that was most challenging for me as a creative is that we’re on the for me, we’re on the cusp of the next launch of this community station, we’re about to, you know, launch an on demand website for new branding of there’s a bunch of exciting new programs joining a bunch of exciting existing programs that deserve higher profile.
Amber Goodwyn 18:56
And I just, it’s not the time for the station to go under, because of a small thing like a global pandemic. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, but so we we launched this membership drive where people can get a lawn sign or window sign or balcony sign with a really cool branding, announcing their support of the station. Because people really love to like our listeners, our community loves to share their love of what’s put on air. And we did and, and it was also a really cool way to advertise as visually all over the city by having these lawn signs. So that was a membership perk, we also changed our membership, drive to have kind of tiers so depending on how many years of membership that you want, depending on the type of membership you purchased, you had the different kinds of benefits that were associated with it. So yeah, that’s we’ve almost doubled our fundraising goal. So it is a huge success. Yeah, and it has all to do with our listeners and our community supporting us and believing in us.
Barb McGrath 20:00
And if I recall correctly, there was there was email, social media and then talk about on the station. So in fact, most people who I’ll say consume the content, were already a supporter in one way, shape or form, but, you know, but found a way even through the pandemic, to still be able to support you. Right. And so I think they probably were supporters before, in some way. And so now, you know, they’ve really stepped up to make sure that you exist well into the future.
Amber Goodwyn 20:30
That’s it. I mean, when you think about the kind of city that you want to be living in, what like what’s important to you, and for a lot of people, it’s hearing actual people telling their own stories and their own voices. So oftentimes, when you hear stories about a community or a challenge that people are having, or you even hear reporting on the local music community, it’s not always in from inside the community. And that’s really the difference about community radio. It’s people who are doing this altruistically, because they believe in their subject or what they’re passionate about. And they’re talking from lived real experience, and inhuman voices that have not really, that haven’t been overly polished. So you get kind of there’s a sense of truth and authenticity there. And people want that. They don’t want that to go away.
Barb McGrath 21:17
Exactly. No, they absolutely don’t. You know, when I think there’s something to be said, like, each community radio station is just a little bit different. So I think there’s something to be said for that different flavor. You know, if you think about the Montreal station that you used to work with, and now our current radio station, they’re just they’re ever so slightly different. Granted, they’re probably English and French. But that aside, right there, though, I have a visitor down here who’s kind of furry who’s like, Hey, Mom, pick me up.
Amber Goodwyn 21:47
Oh, that’s funny.
Barb McGrath 21:50
The joy of broadcasting from home?
Amber Goodwyn 21:52
Yeah, for real Hey. Like, I always find that when I visit a new city, I, you know, being who I am, I tune into the community station almost immediately, you know, when I’m driving from the airport or something. And it’s always an immediate clue as to the importance of the heritage of a town. So I moved here from Montreal, I was shocked at polka power, this two hour program we’ve got on Monday nights, it is hugely popular. But I didn’t understand the Ukrainian heritage here. I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand the rural urban, like melt, like melting that happens. You know what I mean? So and now I do I fully get I fully get it. But so in Montreal, very different. We were associated with the university. We’re not associated with the university here, though. We’re partners with them with a student fee levy that supports many community stations, but ourselves and CFC are in Saskatoon are both independent stations. And we don’t have charitable status. That’s why so we that’s why we have these gifts when it comes to fundraisers. Right. We’ve got some hurdles. But, but but generally, it’s been going so well, despite everything this year. Good.
Barb McGrath 22:59
No, that’s fantastic. Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about how you balance it all. You’ve got a young daughter, you’re working full time, you’ve got an artistic career, you’re supporting the arts? How in the heck do you find time? Oh, and you’ve got a partner in there somewhere, too? How in the heck do you do it all? Do you sleep? Um,
Amber Goodwyn 23:17
Yeah, I think, you know, the last couple years, I really think I maxed myself, I really, I really felt I found that the boundaries of what works for me, I kind of over her did a little bit in those years, but I’ve got many, many lessons out of it. The truth is, you can’t balance it all perfectly. You can’t do all the things 100% of the time, all the time. And so for right now, like my main focus, is making sure that my only child is happy and healthy and thriving, you know, despite not having her usual community, and then also helping this community station which is much bigger than my own art practice could thrive and continue is my other focus. Then my third focus is watching Netflix in the evenings with my partners and totally, like not not badly.
Amber Goodwyn 24:13
But I never think of it as a loss. So for right now, like I’m an I, you know, I just adapt things. So right now. I might, I have I have an old band a band with some very good friends kind of my platonic ideal of like an of a band that live move all Montreal except for me, and we’re just slowly working away at distance on the songs and right now that’s satisfying to me, as a musician, as an artist, it’s not something I need. I don’t have like a hard deadline to perform. I’m not a professional musician in that I you know, I my main income is concerts or anything like this. So I have this, you know, ability to just take a break and rely on my my other sources of income for this time. It might be different, right? If I were. But for me right now, it’s just not doing all the things right now. I’m focusing on the things that are most important right now. And in the future, that will undoubtedly change.
Barb McGrath 25:09
Exactly. Excellent. So we are just about ready to wrap up. But is there something that you would like to share to budding artists to encourage them to continue to pursue their passion? I think a lot of artists give up or they don’t feel that they can make enough money at it, whether it’s a full time or an off the side gig. So is there anything that you could share with with budding artists?
Amber Goodwyn 25:35
I would say that you’re not on a timeline, there’s nothing I would say no, I would say there’s no expiration date on what you’re doing. So if you feel so a lot of people, especially in this disposable music culture, where, you know, you’re expected to put a single after single, haven’t listened to for a few weeks, and then drop off into the ether. And that’s a that’s it’s not very, it’s not really encouraging. It’s not it doesn’t make people feel valued, always. So just just, you know, set your own pace. Do what feels right to you and know that there’s no end in sight. You know, like you, you have your whole life to continue working on this.
Barb McGrath 26:13
Excellent. That is fantastic. All right. Well, we are out of time for today. So I would like to thank you, Amber, for joining us on The Secret Life of entrepreneurs, a 91.3 FM CJ Tr retana, community radio, hearing your story and your passion with regards to the arts and and how you’ve been able to keep that going for your entire life. And of course, passing it on now to your daughter. It’s very inspirational. And maybe there’s a hint of you and my son, since I have no idea where he got his artistic passions from. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at Barb at Google girl.ca or reach out on Facebook and Instagram, Instagram at Above the Fold. ca. You can even submit questions in advance of our live show, which of course we’re not right now. But hopefully we will be again soon. on our Facebook page. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.
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Amber Goodwyn is the Artistic Director at Regina Folk Festival. She was formerly the Executive Director for CJTR 91.3FM Regina Community Radio, and before moving to Regina in 2012 she was the Music Coordinator and Music Librarian at CKUT 90.3FM in Montreal, as well as a volunteer host.
She’s a member of the Swamp Fest music festival Board of Directors and has previously served on the boards of Girls Rock Regina and Holophon Audio Arts. She has also served on various juries for music and arts funding and has written about music and the arts as a freelancer for Prairie Dog Magazine, Broken Pencil and other publications.
In her art life, she’s a multidisciplinary artist with active performance, film and video, writing and music practices. Currently, she plays music in her experimental synth-pop solo project Natural Sympathies and in the duo Dialtone and used to play in the Montreal bands Cobra & Vulture and Nightwood.
Connect with Amber @ Regina Folk Festival:
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