Humber’s Bachelor of Music Listening Party


Learning from legends

Singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan hosts masterclass for music students

By  on July 6, 2015 11:33 am

Participating in Songwriting Workshop with Fiona Bevan
Participating in Songwriting Workshop with Fiona Bevan

For singer Ilsa Gurtins, a recent Humber music grad, participating in a songwriting workshop with UK-based singer-songwriter Fiona Bevan was both artistically inspiring and an eye-opener into the world of commercial music.

“It was so nice to see a young artist like ourselves working and pursuing her dreams – it’s inspiring to see someone at a professional level above you because it gives you a tangible dream to look up to,” says Gurtins, who graduated from Humber this year and is now developing her own career as a singer, composer and teacher.

“Fiona offered some great thoughts into the life of a working musician and the time and dedication the craft requires. She honestly admitted that it took her some time to get established, but is now doing remarkably well.”

Bevan is perhaps best known for her collaboration with Ed Sheeran on the song “Little Things,” which was performed by One Direction and reached the top of global pop charts in 2012. The multi-instrumentalist, who has also worked with Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer, was in Toronto at the end of June to promote her new full-length album, Talk to Strangers.

Bevan is one of many visiting professional musicians, songwriters and producers who have worked with Humber music students, including producer Bob Ezrin – who worked with K’Naan on his massively popular song, “Waving Flag” – and jazz great Joe Lovano.


Ilsa Gurtins Final Recital 2014 at Humber College
Ilsa Gurtins Final Recital 2014 at Humber College

Emerging Artist Profile on JAZZFM91 (April 2015)

Ilsa will be a social media ambassador at our Music Business Seminar on April 11. Learn more about Ilsa by reading her Emerging Artist Profile Q&A

1) What was the biggest inspiration for you entering music as a career?

I had always loved music but the choice to pursue it professionally came after a year of study in jazz voice at the Conservatory of Music in Victoria. At the time I was also considering a career in dance but when I received my acceptance letter from Humber College, I knew it was an opportunity I did not want to miss!

2) As an emerging artist, what are you hoping to gain from attending the Music Business Seminar?

So much of the music business has become social media and developing an online presence. There is a lot of accountability on artists to be constantly engaging fans online with updates and promotions. I am eager to learn about how to effectively manage your time on multiple online platforms and hear some insight from industry professionals.

3) What artist / group / organization do you feel is best taking advantage of the current music industry climate most successfully?

I am really impressed with Becca Stevens’ recent pledge campaign. She successfully fundraised her latest album with crowd support and the attention she gathered ended up landing her a deal with Universal music! These kinds of campaigns offer fans unique incentives to donate that are at a low cost to the artist and give fans a one of a kind experience.

4) What upcoming projects are you most looking forward to?

I am excited to be recording with Humber’s Chamber Ensemble led by David Occhipinti this month for the Humber CD. I’m also really looking forward to releasing my four song EP this summer. It has been a long process writing and recording the music. I can’t wait to finalize the release show date and share the music!

5) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Anything can happen! Right now I hope to be performing a lot of different kinds of music and continuing to write my own material. I also plan to be teaching privately and do some travelling.

Lightning Round:

Favourite new artist: Laura Mvula
Last live concert / show you attended: TSO featuring Barbera Hannigan
Best piece of advice you received: Attitude is everything.
Favourite non-musical activity: Dancing.
If you didn’t work in the music field, what would you want to be?: I would be a lawyer.

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