In this series, we will be profiling music professionals from all facets of the industry to learn more about their involvement in the CARAS Academy Delegate program.
Erin Benjamin is the President & CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association, an organization that aims to advance and promote the economic, social and cultural benefits of Canada’s live music industry. Erin has been an Academy Delegate for a number of years and enjoys being connected to the music industry ecosystem.
What inspired you to become an Academy Delegate?
I take my responsibility as a member of the music community seriously. I support CARAS, it’s work, and the process generally. I have always felt that by being a delegate I am contributing to a meaningful and important conversation.
Why is it important to be active in the Canadian music industry?
Easy. We need to be the change. You can’t complain about the way things are if you are not an active, engaged member of the community – I want to be someone who has participated, contributed and can then therefore earn the right to reflect and respond to challenges and opportunities. I want any input or observations I might personally make to be based on a real, current experience so they can be helpful and have impact.
What do you enjoy most about being an Academy Delegate?
I feel like part of something bigger. That I am connected to the rest of the ecosystem, even to folks I may not personally know.
“Without diversity of voices and perspectives we miss the point of why music matters in the first place… it brings us together, creates opportunity for dialogue, [and] changes the world.”
– Erin Benjamin
Why do you think it’s important to promote and celebrate Canadian music and artists?
It’s essential to reinforce for everyday Canadians the value of access to the greatest recorded music and live music in the world. By promoting and celebrating our artists and their work (and the industry writ large) we say to Canadians who consume their music ‘this adds value to your quality of life, to your lived experience.’
Why is diversity within the Academy Delegate program and the Canadian music industry so essential?
Because our industry and communities are diverse and CARAS should lead the conversation and reflect who we truly are. Without diversity of voices and perspectives we miss the point of why music matters in the first place… it brings us together, creates opportunity for dialogue, changes the world. Without diversity we are not our true selves, and therefore less than we could be. And definitely less than we should be.
What has been your favourite JUNOS moment? / What are you most excited about for the upcoming JUNO Awards?
My favourite moment was ALL OF the 2017’s JUNO’s… as vice-chair of the 2017 committee welcoming people to Ottawa, and putting on a massive party for them was the best. The JUNO’s help cities like Ottawa take pride in, and deepen their understanding of, the value of their own local industry. And to better learn how it intersects with other sectors, like tourism… this is priceless work, and CARAS has been helping to shape ‘music cities’ across the country ever since the broadcast began moving.
How does being an Academy Delegate allow you to help shape the industry?
In a few different ways… sure it’s a direct line into decision making where excellence is concerned. But more importantly perhaps, it allows me to be part of the conversation. We are all in this together – and there is really no other Canadian music experience that can do what the JUNO’s does in terms of bringing all corners of the industry together…
Why should fellow industry members apply to be a CARAS Academy Delegate?
Because now more than ever we need to work together. We need to support, collaborate and celebrate each other. In doing so we elevate incredible artists and artistic work, we shine a spotlight on our industry and entrench why what we do matters, we amplify the role of music in our quality of life and we remind Canadians and fans around the world why Canada is the greatest country in the world.