Transcript: Making Art, Making a Living | Dec 13, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt, and spotted blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Making art, making a living. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says ARTISTS PURSUE THEIR
CRAFT NO DOUBT FOR MANY AND
VARIED REASONS.
AND WHILE SOME ARE REWARDED WITH
FAME AND FORTUNE, MOST STRUGGLE
TO HAVE THE SPACE AND TIME TO
MAKE THE KIND OF WORK THEY WANT
TO SHARE WITH THE PUBLIC.
THE INAUGURAL JOHANNA METCALF
AWARD IS A GENEROUS PRIZE: 25000 dollars,
GIVEN JUST LAST NIGHT TO FIVE
ONTARIO-BASED PERFORMING ARTISTS.
IT WILL GIVE THEM - AND ANOTHER
ARTIST OF THEIR CHOOSING - MORE
OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE.
WITH US NOW FOR MORE, IN
ALPHABETICAL ORDER:
PLAYWRIGHT AND THEATRE CREATOR
SUNNY DRAKE...

Sunny is in his forties, with short brown hair and a goatee. He's wearing a colourful printed shirt.

Steve continues COMPOSER AND CLASSICAL PIANIST ALICE PING YEE HO...

Alice is in her forties, with long straight dark hair and side-swept bangs. She's wearing a dark red sweater.

Steve continues COMPOSER JAMES ROLFE...

James is in his fifties, clean-shaven and balding. He's wearing a black blazer and a red turtleneck.

Steve continues MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARTIST SANTEE SMITH...

Santee is in her thirties, with shoulder-length curly black hair. She's wearing a purple sweater and pink pendant earrings.

Steve continues AND WORLD MUSIC PERFORMER AND
COMPOSER MARYEM TOLLAR.

Maryem is in her forties, with long dark hair with red highlights. She's wearing an orange shirt.

Steve continues CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU,
FIRST OF ALL.
YOU'RE ALL 25,000 dollars RICHER TODAY.
SO WELL DONE.

All the guests say THANK YOU.

Steve says YOU HAVE BEEN JUSTLY
REWARDED FOR DOING WHAT YOU ALL
DO SO WELL, WHICH IS CREATE ART
THAT MAKES ALL OF US HAPPIER.
LET'S JUST GO THROUGH, I THINK
ONE BY ONE, YOUR STORIES, AND
YOU CAN TELL US A LITTLE BIT
MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO.
MARYEM, START US OFF.

The caption changes to "Maryem Tollar. Musician. Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize Winner."
Then, it changes again to "When did you know?"

Maryem says WELL, I'M A
SINGER AND A COMPOSER, AND I'VE
BEEN SINGING ALL MY LIFE, EVER
SINCE I CAN REMEMBER, AND I
STRUGGLED TO GET TO A POINT
WHERE I WAS A PROFESSIONAL
PERFORMER BECAUSE, EVEN THOUGH I
DID IT ALL THROUGH MY SCHOOL
LIFE, I WAS RAISED IN A MORE
CONSERVATIVE MUSLIM UPBRINGING,
AND SO I JUST ASSUMED I WOULDN'T
BE ALLOWED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL
PERFORMER AS A CAREER, BUT THEN
I FINISHED UNIVERSITY, AND I
STILL ONLY WANTED TO SING, AND I
FINALLY HAD THE COURAGE TO COME
OUT TO MY PARENTS.

Steve says GOOD ON YOU.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?

Maryem says FROM EGYPT.

Steve says EGYPT ORIGINALLY.
UNIVERSITY WAS WHERE?

Maryem says UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO AND I
MAJORED IN FRENCH.

Steve says AND YOU SPEAK ARABIC
AS WELL.

Maryem says YES, I DO.

Steve says ENGLISH, ARABIC, AND FRENCH.

Maryem says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says WELL DONE.
SUNNY, TELL US ABOUT YOU.

The caption changes to "Sunny Drake. Playwright. Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize Winner."

Sunny says SO I'M A
PLAYWRIGHT AND THEATRE CREATOR.
I STARTED MAKING WORK JUST BY
MAKING WORK.
I DIDN'T GO TO THEATRE SCHOOL.
AT THE TIME... WELL, I'M
TRANSGENDER AND AT THE TIME I
DIDN'T SEE A PLACE FOR MYSELF IN
THEATRE SCHOOL, SO I JUST
STARTED MAKING WORK AND MAKING
WORK.
I PUT ON MY SHOWS IN LIVING
ROOMS, BACK YARDS, BASEMENTS,
UNDERGROUND WAREHOUSES.
AT ONE POINT CALLED UP EVERY
THEATRE IN TOWN AND BEGGED THEM,
WOULD YOU LET ME PUT ON A SHOW
IN YOUR THEATRE?
AND SLOWLY OVER THE YEARS
STARTED PERFORMING IN DIFFERENT
INSTITUTIONS, AND, YEAH, HERE I
AM TODAY.

Steve says I'M GOING TO TAKE
ANOTHER GUESS ABOUT YOU.
I'M GOING TO GUESS YOU'RE NOT
ORIGINALLY FROM TORONTO.

Sunny says NO.
GOOD GUESS.

[LAUGHTER]

Sunny says SO I GREW UP IN BRISBANE,
AUSTRALIA.

Steve says NO KIDDING.

Sunny says I MOVED TO TORONTO FOR LOVE
NINE YEARS AGO, IN THE MIDDLE OF
WINTER IN JANUARY.
IT WAS A BIT OF A SHOCK.

Steve says AND YET YOU STAYED.

Sunny says I STAYED, YEAH.
I LOVE IT HERE.

Steve says WELL DONE.
ALICE, TELL US ABOUT YOU.

The caption changes to "Alice Ping Yee Ho. Pianist. Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize Winner."

Alice says I AM...
WELL, I'M A CANADIAN-CHINESE COMPOSER.
I WROTE ALL KINDS OF MUSIC:
OPERA, THEATRE, ORCHESTRA,
CHAMBER WORK, DANCE.
AND I'M ALSO A CLASSICALLY
TRAINED PIANIST, I PLAY MY
COLLEAGUES' WORK AND CLASSICAL
REPERTOIRE.
SO MY TRAINING, I WAS BORN IN
HONG KONG AND I HAVE VERY
SUPPORTIVE PARENTS.
WHEN I WAS YOUNG, I WAS TAKING
PIANO LESSONS, BALLET LESSONS,
WHICH WAS VERY PRIVILEGED.
AT THAT TIME HONG KONG WAS STILL
A BRITISH COLONY AND I WAS ONE
OF THE LUCKY KIDS THAT COULD GO
AND TAKE THESE LESSONS.
I'M VERY BLESSED IT BRINGS ME TO
WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW.
I STUDY IN THE STATES...

Steve says YOU'RE A HOOSIER,
AREN'T YOU?
YOU'RE A HOOSIER.
FOR THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW, YOU
WENT TO INDIANA UNIVERSITY.
WHY DID YOU GO THERE?

Alice says I GOT A SCHOLARSHIP TO STUDY
MUSIC.
AT FIRST, I WAS A PIANO MAJOR,
AND THEN... I WAS SO DISCOURAGED
BECAUSE THERE WERE SO MANY GREAT
STUDENTS IN INDIANA, SO
COMPETITIVE, AND SO I STARTED
TAKING COMPOSITION LESSONS AND I
FELL IN LOVE WITH THAT.
I THINK FOR ME IT'S MY CALLING.
I LIKE TO CREATE AND, YOU KNOW,
INTERPRETING OTHER PEOPLE'S
MUSICS... ACTUALLY, I CREATE MY
OWN.
AND THEN I MARRIED A CANADIAN.
SO I MOVED TO TORONTO AND
ACTUALLY FOLLOWED MY HUSBAND.
HE WAS A PROFESSOR AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO AND WE
RAISED A FAMILY HERE.

Steve says GREAT.
HOW MANY KIDS?

Alice says I HAVE TWO BEAUTIFUL
DAUGHTERS.

Steve says CONGRATULATIONS.
THAT'S LOVELY.
SANTEE, TELL US YOUR STORY.

The caption changes to "Santee Smith. Multidisciplinary Artist."

Santee says SANTEE SMITH.

She pronounces a phrase in an indigenous language, then says
I'M FROM SIX NATIONS.
I'M THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF...

Steve says WHAT LANGUAGE WERE
YOU SPEAKING?

The caption changes to "Santee Smith. Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize Winner."

Santee says IT'S ALSO KNOWN AS MOHAWK.
I'M MOHAWK.
IT MEANS "TO CARRY" IN MOHAWK,
SO THAT'S WHAT I DO WITH MY
WORK.
CARRY FORWARD STORIES, CARRY
FORWARD OUR CULTURE.

Steve says THAT'S THE NAME OF
YOUR COMPANY?

Santee says YEAH, YEAH.
SO I STARTED... MY LOVE AND MY
GO-TO FORM HAS ALWAYS BEEN
DANCE.
THAT'S THE WAY THAT I LOVE TO
EXPRESS MYSELF PRIMARILY, BUT I
ALSO DO OTHER THINGS LIKE DESIGN
WORK.
I COME FROM A FAMILY OF ARTISTS.
MY FORMAL TRAINING IS AT THE
NATIONAL BALLET SCHOOL.
I STAYED THERE FOR SIX YEARS.
AND ONLY BECAME A CHOREOGRAPHER
WHEN I HAD STOPPED DANCE AND
THOUGHT THAT I WOULD GO TO
UNIVERSITY AND I WENT TO
McMASTER UNIVERSITY AND
PURSUED KINESIOLOGY AND
PSYCHOLOGY, BUT IT WASN'T UNTIL
I WAS INVITED BY GARY FARMER,
WHO IS AN ACTOR FROM SIX
NATIONS, TO CREATE A
CHOREOGRAPHY FOR THE NATIONAL
FILM BOARD.
IT WAS THE FIRST TIME I WAS IN
THE STUDIO WORKING... CREATING
DANCE, LISTENING TO INDIGENOUS
SINGERS AND BEING ABLE TO TELL A
NARRATIVE THAT REFLECTED WHO I
WAS AND MY CULTURE, AND IT WAS
DOING MORE...

Steve says YOU HAVE GONE ALL
THE WAY AS A MCMASTER UNIVERSITY
PERSON.
YOU STARTED AS A STUDENT AND NOW
YOU ARE...

Santee says I'M FULL CIRCLE.
I'M BACK AS CHANCELLOR.

Steve says YOU ARE THE CHANCELLOR.

Santee says YEAH.
SO THIS YEAR, I WAS INSTALLED IN
NOVEMBER, AND I DID MY FIRST
CONVOCATION, AND I WILL BE THERE
FOR A THREE-YEAR TERM.
SO I'M HAPPY TO BE BACK.
AND I LOVE THE CAMPUS.

Steve says DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY
HANDS YOU WILL SHAKE BY THE TIME
YOU ARE DONE BEING CHANCELLOR?

Santee says HOW MANY.

Steve says THE ANSWER IS "A LOT."

Santee says I KNOW ONE OF THE DEANS SAID,
OKAY, SO NOW THAT'S TWO DONE,
BUT YOU HAVE 79 MORE
CONVOCATIONS TO GO.

Steve says THAT IS RIGHT.

Santee says THAT'S A LOT OF HANDS.

Steve says IF YOU GUESS, ABOUT
250, 300, 400 STUDENTS PER
CONVOCATION, DO THE MATH.
OKAY.
CONGRATULATIONS.
GOOD LUCK.

Santee says THANK YOU.

Steve says JAMES, TELL US ABOUT YOU.

The caption changes to "James Rolfe. Composer. Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize Winner."

James says SURE.
I AM A COMPOSER, AND I WRITE FOR
ALL KINDS OF ACCOMMODATIONS,
ESPECIALLY OPERA, DANCE, MUSIC
THEATRE.
I GREW UP IN OTTAWA, AND I WOULD
NEVER HAVE BEEN A COMPOSER
EXCEPT THAT IN GRADE 6, A CALL
WENT OUT TO MY PARENTS SAYING,
YOU KNOW, WHAT INSTRUMENT MIGHT
YOUR SON LIKE TO PLAY?
AND I SAID TROMBONE.
AND THEY SAID, NO, THAT'S TOO
LOUD.
AND I SAID TRUMPET.
THAT'S APPARENTLY OKAY.
PRETTY LOUD STILL.
AND I NEVER REALLY LOOKED BACK.
I WAS ALWAYS SORT OF ATTRACTED
TO MUSIC, FIRST AS A PERFORMER,
BUT THEN MORE OFTEN BECAUSE
TRUMPET PLAYERS ARE COUNTING 300
BARS REST UNTIL EVERYBODY ELSE
PLAYS, AND I WAS LOOKING AT THE
BAND AROUND ME AND THOUGHT, I'D
LIKE TO CREATE THAT.
AND HERE I AM, 40 YEARS LATER,
AND IT'S A WONDERFUL JOB.
IT REALLY IS.
IT'S A DREAM JOB.
YOU GET TO DO THESE THINGS YOU
NEVER IMAGINED MIGHT EXIST AND
PUT THEM IN FRONT OF PEOPLE WHO
THEN RELATE TO THEM IN A FEELING
WAY AND KIND OF... IT'S KIND OF
A MIRACLE EVERY TIME.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says IS THERE A LESSON IN
YOUR STORY ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE
OF MUSIC EDUCATION IN OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM?

James says THERE SURE IS.

Steve says I SURE THOUGHT SO.

James says NO, IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO
GET PEOPLE AT A CERTAIN AGE AND
THAT'S ALMOST ALWAYS AROUND 14,
15, 16 OR SO.
IF THEY HAVE A SPARK OF
CREATIVITY, WHICH ALMOST ALL OF
US DO... PROBABLY ALL OF US
DO... THEN, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE
TO GET THEM AT THAT AGE.
WHETHER THEY'LL MAKE A CAREER OF
IT OR NOT IS IMMATERIAL, BUT
THEY NEED TO BE TOLD THAT IT'S
IMPORTANT SPIRITUALLY TO RELATE
TO EACH OTHER IN AN ARTISTIC,
FEELING WAY.
I THINK THAT'S A BASIC BUILDING
BLOCK OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND I
THINK THERE'S A LOT OF EVIDENCE
AROUND US RIGHT NOW THAT WE NEED
MORE OF THAT AND NOT LESS.
YEAH.

Steve says THE TYPICAL QUESTION
I'M SUPPOSED TO ASK AT THIS
POINT IS: AT WHAT POINT DID YOU
KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE AN ARTIST
AND WHAT WAS THE SPARK THAT SORT
OF INSPIRED YOU TO, DOT, DOT,
DOT.
I'M NOT GOING TO ASK THAT
QUESTION.
INSTEAD I'M GOING TO ASK...
SUNNY, START US OFF HERE... AT
WHAT POINT DID YOU FULLY
APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT TO BE
AN ARTIST FOR YOUR ENTIRE LIFE
PURSUING THE CRAFT YOU WANTED TO
PURSUE WOULD PROBABLY MEAN A
LIFE OF PENURY?

The caption changes to "Sunny Drake, @sunny_drake."

Sunny says IT WAS PROBABLY WHEN... OKAY,
I WAS LIVING IN SAN FRANCISCO,
REALLY TRYING TO ESTABLISH MY
THEATRE PRACTICE, AND THE ONLY
PLACE I COULD AFFORD WAS
LITERALLY TO LIVE IN A WASHROOM.
SO I PUT A MATTRESS ON TOP OF
THE BATHTUB.
THERE WAS A BIT OF WOOD AND THEN
A MATTRESS AND I WAS LYING IN
BED AND I ACCIDENTALLY BUMPED
THE TAPS AND GOT A SHOWER IN
BED, AND I JUST THOUGHT TO
MYSELF: YOU KNOW, THIS IS NOT
THE MOST LUCRATIVE PROFESSION.

Steve says YOU DON'T SAY?

Sunny says YEAH.

Steve says MARYEM, HOW ABOUT
YOU?

Maryem says WELL, I MARRIED A MUSICIAN...

Steve says DOUBLE TROUBLE.

The caption changes to "Maryem Tollar, @MaryemTollar."

Sunny says YES.
AND SO AT FIRST WE DIDN'T MIND
THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE A LOT OF
MONEY, BUT THEN WE HAD ONE
CHILD, THEN A SECOND CHILD, THEN
A THIRD CHILD, AND TOURING
BECAME... TO TOUR, WE LOST
MONEY, BECAUSE WE HAD TO BRING
ALL OF OUR KIDS AND THE
BABYSITTER AND FIGURE ALL OF
THAT OUT.
SO AROUND THAT TIME, WE REALIZED
ONE OF US ACTUALLY HAD TO GET
ANOTHER JOB TO GIVE US A STEADY
PAYCHEQUE.

Steve says OUTSIDE OF YOUR
MUSIC WORK.

Sunny says OUTSIDE OF MUSIC, SO WE COULD
CONTINUE TO DO THE MUSIC THAT WE
NEEDED TO DO.

Steve says SANTEE, HOW ABOUT YOU?

The caption changes to "Santee Smith, @SanteeSmith."

Santee says WELL, LIKE I SAID, I COME
FROM... I THINK I'M A THIRD
GENERATION ARTIST, SO THAT'S
SORT OF... ARTIST LIFESTYLE IS
SOMETHING THAT I GREW UP IN AND
OF COURSE MY PARENTS WERE HOPING
THAT I WOULD FINISH McMASTER
AND GO ON TO BECOME A DOCTOR
(LAUGHING)
AND SORT OF BREAK THE
ARTIST CURSE.
BUT, NO, I CHOSE TO CONSCIOUSLY
PURSUE MY ARTWORK, AND THAT WAS
SOMETHING THAT... IF YOU'RE
DRIVEN BY SOMETHING, IT'S YOUR
CALLING.
YOU CAN'T DENY IT.
AND TRYING TO DENY IT IS ALSO
UNHEALTHY.
SO I PURSUED MY ARTWORK.

Steve says YOU DO KNOW IF YOU
WERE A DOCTOR FOCUSING ON THE
KINESIOLOGY THAT YOU ALSO HAVE,
YOU'D BE A LOT RICHER?

Santee says YES, THAT'S RIGHT, YEAH.
SO IT'S A SACRIFICE.
ARTISTS TAKE A LOT OF SACRIFICE.
DANCE ARTISTS ARE ON ONE OF THE
LOWEST RUNG OF SUPPORT AND
FINANCES, AND TO BE AN ARTIST,
TO BE A DANCE ARTIST, YOU'RE
ALSO FIGHTING YOUR BODY.
THERE'S LOTS OF CHALLENGES, AND
YOU HAVE TO DO IT BECAUSE YOU
LOVE IT.
THERE'S NO OTHER WAY.

Steve says JAMES, HOW ABOUT YOU?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

James says YEAH.
I THINK IN MY LATE 20s, THERE
WAS A WEEK WHEN I WAS LIVING
MOSTLY OFF WHITE RICE, FRIED
ONIONS, AND SOY SAUCE, WAITING
FOR A CHEQUE TO COME IN, WHICH
JUST WAS TAKING FOREVER.
BUT, YOU KNOW, IT'S INTERESTING
WHAT SANTEE JUST SAID BECAUSE WE
GATHER AROUND AS MUSICIANS AND
ARTISTS AND SORT OF COMPLAIN OR
COMPARE OUR FORTUNES, OR LACK OF
FORTUNE, AND IT'S ALWAYS
COMFORTING TO THINK THERE ARE
ACTUALLY PEOPLE WHO ARE PAID
LESS THAN WE ARE... DANCERS,
UNFORTUNATELY, ARE PAID LESS.
IT ALWAYS COMES DOWN TO THE
LOWEST RUNG, POETS.
LIKE, THERE'S NO MONEY IN
POETRY.

Steve says YOU WERE SOMEWHAT
FORTUNATE INASMUCH AS YOU CAME
FROM A FAMILY THAT WAS... I'M
TALKING HERE NOW... YOU CAME
FROM A FAIRLY WELL-OFF FAMILY IN
HONG KONG, RIGHT?

Alice says YES.

Steve says YOU DIDN'T
NECESSARILY... YOU NEVER HAD THE
SLEEPING IN THE BATHROOM
OVERNIGHT SITUATION.

The caption changes to "Alice Ping Yee Ho, @AlicePingYeeHo1."

Alice says WELL, IT'S... ACTUALLY, I'M
SHARING BOTH SANTEE AND MARYEM'S STORY.
WHEN I WAS A CHILD, I STUDIED
PIANO AND BALLET, BUT MY FAMILY
ACTUALLY ENCOURAGED ME TO BE A
DOCTOR BECAUSE IT IS A VERY
RESPECTABLE OCCUPATION.
LUCKILY, I'M NOT BRIGHT ENOUGH.
I DON'T HAVE GOOD MATH.
IN FACT, I GOT A SCHOLARSHIP TO
STUDY MUSIC IN THE STATES, AND
CONSEQUENTLY I MET MY HUSBAND
AND THEN I CAME TO CANADA, AND I
STUDIED AT U OF T TO GET MY
MASTER'S DEGREE.
WHEN I STUDIED AT UNIVERSITY,
NOBODY TAUGHT ME HOW TO PROMOTE
MYSELF AS A COMPOSER, AND AS
SOON AS I GRADUATED, I REALIZED
I HAVE NO WAY TO EARN A LIVING
AS A COMPOSER BECAUSE NOT EVEN
GETTING PERFORMANCES.
I JUST STARTED OUT AND I DON'T
KNOW WHERE TO GET GRANTS.
AND ALSO AT THAT TIME I HAVE TWO
YOUNG DAUGHTERS AND MY HUSBAND
IS ON A TENURE TRACK.
SO I'M CHOOSING BETWEEN REALITY
OF MAKING A LIVING AND ALSO
PURSUING WHAT I LOVE, YOU KNOW,
IN CREATING MUSIC.
AT ONE TIME I WORKED AT CIBC AS
A BANK TELLER.

Steve says NO KIDDING.

Alice says YEAH, YEAH.
BUT IT IS VERY STRANGE.
AS SOON AS YOU GET OFF FROM
WORK, AS SOON AS THE BABIES GO
TO SLEEP, AT NIGHT I JUST TRY TO
GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
AND, YOU KNOW, LOOKING FOR
OPPORTUNITIES, CONFERENCE CALL
AND TRY TO GET MY CREATIVE
JUICES FLOWING.

Steve says YOU TALK ABOUT THE
REALITY OF LIVING AS AN ARTIST
IN THIS COUNTRY AND WE HAVE
HERE... SHELDON, WHY DON'T YOU
BRING THESE GRAPHICS UP AND I
WILL DESCRIBE IT FOR THOSE
LIVING ON PODCAST.
TRY TO MAKE A LIVING AS AN
ARTIST IN CANADA AND HERE IS
WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Making a living. Median income."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
THE MEDIAN INCOME OF A CANADIAN
ARTIST IS 24,300 dollars A YEAR.
THAT'S 44 percent LESS THAN ALL OTHER
CANADIAN WORKERS.
AND A TYPICAL ARTIST HAS A
HOUSEHOLD INCOME OF 57,800 dollars A
YEAR, AND THAT IS A THIRD LOWER
THAN ALL WORKERS, IF YOU PUT
THEM IN A GENERAL POT.
SO I KNOW WE HAVE THIS
IMPRESSION... SUNNY, WE HAVE
THIS IMPRESSION THAT ARTISTS ARE
ALL MAKING A KILLING BECAUSE OF
COURSE THAT'S WHAT WE SEE ON TV
OR AT THE MOVIES.
THE REALITY IS PRETTY DIFFERENT,
ISN'T IT?

Sunny says MM-HMM, ABSOLUTELY.
AND IT BECOMES THAT SORT OF...
THAT DIFFICULT CHALLENGE BETWEEN
THE MORE YOU NEED TO SUPPLEMENT
YOUR WORK WITH OTHER FORMS OF
INCOME OR WORK, THE LESS TIME
YOU HAVE FOR YOUR CREATIVE
PRACTICE, AND THE LESS TIME YOU
HAVE FOR YOUR CREATIVE PRACTICE,
THE LESS YOU ARE ABLE TO
ESTABLISH YOURSELF AND THEN MAKE
A LIVING FROM YOUR ART.

Steve says NOW, I HAVE SEEN
YOUR WORK, AND IT IS... HOW
SHALL I PUT THIS?
IT'S NOT MAINSTREAM, RIGHT?
IT IS... I MEAN, YOU
PUSH AT THE EDGES OF WHAT'S
CONVENTIONAL IN THE THEATRE.

Sunny says YEAH.

Steve says I PRESUME YOU KNOW
THAT IF YOU WERE A LITTLE MORE
CONVENTIONAL, YOU'D MAKE MORE
MONEY.

Sunny says WELL, HERE'S THE FUNNY THING.

Steve says TELL US.

Sunny says IS I AM CONVINCED THAT
AUDIENCES ARE ACTUALLY HUNGRY
FOR OUT-OF-THE-BOX WORK, AND MY
EXPERIENCE TOURING MY WORK IN 59
CITIES ACROSS THE WORLD IS
PEOPLE WANT THINGS THAT ARE A
LITTLE DIFFERENT, THAT CHALLENGE
THEIR WORLD VIEWS, THAT GIVE
THEM SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
AND TALK ABOUT AND FEEL.
AND SO I REALLY ADVOCATE WITH
THEATRES AND GATEKEEPERS TO TAKE
SOME RISKS AND PROGRAM WORK THAT
IS REALLY DIFFERENT AND ACTUALLY
AUDIENCES ARE READY FOR IT.

Steve says I DON'T DISPUTE THAT
BUT, JAMES, I'D ADD TO THIS,
PEOPLE LIKE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
AND CATS AS WELL.
AND I WOULD PUT THE SAME
ADMONITION TO YOU, IS YOUR
MUSIC, IF YOU WROTE A LITTLE
MORE MAINSTREAM, COULD BE MORE
POPULAR.
DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT THAT?

James says YEAH.
BUT FOR, LIKE, 3 SECONDS.
[LAUGHTER]
WHAT'S THE POINT IF I'M TRYING
TO... YOU KNOW, I MIGHT AS WELL
GET A JOB AS A BANK TELLER TO
SATISFY SOMEONE ELSE'S IDEA OF
WHAT WOULD BE SALEABLE,
COMMERCIAL.
I'D RATHER JUST PUT MY OWN
DREAMS UP ON STAGE AND IF PEOPLE
LIKE THEM, GREAT.
IF THEY DON'T, FINE.
I'M IN A LUXURIOUS POSITION IS I
USUALLY HAVE SOMEBODY ELSE
PRODUCING AND THEY WORRY ABOUT
SELLING THE SEATS OR NOT.
WORKING IN OPERA IS A VERY
CONSERVATIVE MEDIUM, HIGHLY
CONSERVATIVE, SO ANYTHING NEW AT
ALL, IS NOT BY SOME GUY THAT'S
BEEN DEAD FOR 100 YEARS IS A
RISKY PROPOSITION.
THAT BEING SAID, IT'S EXACTLY
LIKE SUNNY SAYS.
PEOPLE HAVE AN ON TIGHT FOR
SOMETHING NEW AND SOMETHING
TRANSFORMATIVE.
SO, YOU KNOW, EVERY NOW AND THEN
YOU CAN MAKE A LITTLE
BREAKTHROUGH.

The caption changes to "What makes it worthwhile?"

Steve says MARYEM, HOW DO YOU
WALK THAT TIGHT ROPE BETWEEN ON
THE ONE HAND WANTING TO DO
SOMETHING VERY CREATIVE AND
UTTERLY DISTINCTIVE AND ON THE
OTHER HAND NOT GETTING TOO FAR
OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE OF AN
AUDIENCE.

Maryem says TO BE HONEST, I DON'T REALLY
WORRY ABOUT THE AUDIENCE AT ALL.

Steve says INTERESTING.

Maryem says I JUST DO WHAT I LOVE TO DO,
AND IT'S NOT... IT'S NOT
SOMETHING THAT IS FROM THE
OUTSIDE, IT'S SOMETHING FROM
INSIDE OF ME, AND I JUST FEEL
LIKE I JUST NEED TO SING AND I
NEED TO FEEL REALLY GOOD ABOUT
WHAT I'M SINGING AND I NEED TO
FEEL REALLY GOOD ABOUT THE
MESSAGES THAT I'M PUTTING OUT
THERE, AND IF I DON'T, I CAN'T
USUALLY DO IT.
I JUST CAN'T... I CAN'T ACTUALLY
DO IT.
I JUST CAN'T.
IT'S NOT THAT I DON'T LIKE
MAINSTREAM THINGS, I LOVE
BROADWAY, AND I LOVE BROADWAY
SONGS.
I USED TO DO THAT IN HIGH
SCHOOL, I WAS IN GODSPELL AND IN
WEST SIDE STORY.
BUT ONE THING ABOUT THE MUSIC
THAT I DO IS I WAS REALLY
SEPARATE FROM MY BACKGROUND.
I TRIED TO AVOID IT.
I WANTED TO BE CANADIAN AND I
DIDN'T... I FELT LIKE I WASN'T
ACCEPTED BECAUSE OF MY
BACKGROUND.
SO GROWING UP I ACTUALLY STAYED
AWAY FROM WORLD MUSIC, ARABIC
MUSIC, AND GREW UP WITH JONI
MITCHELL AND PRINCE AND KATE
BUSH.
AND THEN, WHEN I WAS IN MY
20s, THAT WAS WHEN MY BROTHER,
AHMED HASSAN, HE WAS A COMPOSER
FOR DANCED, HE'S PASSED AWAY,
BUT HE GAVE ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO
DO A PIECE FOR DANCERS AND THEY
NEEDED AN ARABIC SPEAKER AND HE
SAID YOU SPEAK ARABIC AND YOU
SING.
I'LL HIRE YOU IF YOU TAKE ARABIC
SINGING LESSONS.
THAT'S WHERE MY JOURNEY INTO
WORLD MUSIC BEGAN AND I FOUND MY
WAY INTO MY BACKGROUND THAT I
THEN LOVED AND FOUND CHALLENGING
AND INTERESTING.
AND SO... LIKE I SAID, I DON'T
THINK ABOUT THE AUDIENCE.
I'M JUST DRIVEN TO DO THIS, AND
WHATEVER HAPPENS HAPPENS.

Steve says I WANT TO ASK YOU
THE SAME THING: HOW MUCH DO YOU
WORRY ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THE
AUDIENCE WILL LIKE OR FEEL
COMFORTABLE WITH WHAT YOU'RE
DOING ON STAGE?

Santee says I THINK THAT FOR MOST OF MY
WORK, I HAVE, OH, A BROAD
AUDIENCE.
FOR EXAMPLE, MY RECENT WORK, THE
MOHAWK INSTITUTE RESIDENTIAL
SCHOOL WHERE I WORKED WITH
SURVIVORS, THEIR AUDIENCES HAVE
INDIGENOUS FOLKS IN THE
AUDIENCE, THEY ALSO HAVE
INTERGENERATIONAL SURVIVORS IN
THE AUDIENCE, SO IT'S A
DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE.
THEY'RE ALSO SEEING INDIGENOUS
BODIES ON THE STAGE, SO FOR ME,
IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO OFFER
THAT ACROSS CANADA, AROUND THE
WORLD THAT, YOU KNOW, DANCE,
THEATRE IS NOT JUST EURO
WESTERN, THAT THERE ARE OTHER
VOICES THAT COME FORWARD, AND
THAT'S MY RESPONSIBILITY AND MY
GOAL AS AN ARTIST, AS A
PRODUCER, TO BE ABLE TO SHARE
THAT.
BUT THEN THERE'S A WHOLE RANGE
OF, YOU KNOW, DIFFERENT CULTURES
COMING IN, THE GENERAL PUBLIC
COMING IN TO SEE THE WORK, WHO
MAY BE, FOR THE FIRST TIME,
FIRST EVER HEARD ABOUT WHAT A
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL IS OR OTHERS
HAD READ ABOUT IT BUT DIDN'T
KNOW THE DEPTH OF THE EMOTIONAL
IMPACTS THAT IT INVOLVED.
SO AS AN ARTIST THEN WE'RE ABLE
TO TELL THESE STORIES THAT FOR
ME IS VERY STORY-DRIVEN, MY
WORK, AND HAVE PEOPLE RESPOND TO
THEM AND IT'S A BIT OF EDUCATION
AS WELL BECAUSE OF, YOU KNOW,
THOSE STORIES, A LOT OF
INDIGENOUS STORIES HAVE NOT BEEN
IN THE MAINSTREAM.
SO FOR ME, THAT'S REALLY
IMPORTANT.
SO I DO THINK ABOUT AUDIENCES IN
THAT WAY.
I DON'T CREATE WORK FOR PLEASING
AUDIENCES.

Steve says YOU WORK TO PLEASE
YOURSELF?

Santee says THE STORY.
THE STORY AND THE VISION OF THE
WORK COMES FIRST.

Steve says HOW ABOUT YOU?
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK ABOUT
WHETHER OR NOT YOUR WORK IS
ACCESSIBLE TO THE AUDIENCE?

Alice says FIRST OF ALL, I EMBRACE ALL
KINDS OF MUSIC, ALL GENRES.
I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY CRIME
FOR MUSICAL OR MAINSTREAM, I
DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY DIVISION
OF, YOU KNOW, WHETHER THERE'S A
CLASS OF MUSIC.
FOR MYSELF, I THINK IT'S
IMPORTANT FOR ME TO CREATE
SOMETHING THAT IS SATISFYING TO
MYSELF FIRST.
I LIKE TO ATTAIN BEAUTY AND HAVE
PEACE WHEN I CREATE A WORK.
AT THE SAME TIME, I LIKE TO HAVE
THE PERFORMERS GET EXCITED ABOUT
WHAT I CREATE FOR THEM BECAUSE
IT IS VERY BORING IF I JUST
WRITE FOR MYSELF, AND THIS IS A
COLLABORATION, TO BE ABLE TO
LEARN WHAT THE PERFORMERS ARE
CAPABLE OF AND BRING OUT THEIR
STRONG POINTS AND THEIR
CULTURES.
AND THE THIRD, I THINK
ULTIMATELY, I HOPE MY WORK WILL
SEND A MESSAGE TO THE AUDIENCE.
I THINK THE AUDIENCE ARE MORE
INTELLIGENT THAN WE EXPECT.

Steve says WHAT'S THE MESSAGE
YOU WANT TO SEND?

Alice says I LIKE TO, FIRST OF ALL,
CHALLENGE THEIR MIND.
YOU KNOW, WHETHER THEY LOVE MY
WORK OR THEY DON'T LIKE IT AND,
YOU KNOW, WHAT IT REFLECTS TO
THEIR EXPERIENCE, WHETHER IT
CONNECTS TO THEM.
RECENTLY I HAVE A LOT OF
REQUESTS BECAUSE OF MY CHINESE
HERITAGE.
A LOT OF MY PROJECTS, THE
ORGANIZERS LIKE ME TO WRITE
SOMETHING USING CHINESE
INSTRUMENTS OR BASED ON A
CHINESE TALE.
AND ONE VERY SATISFYING PROJECT
THAT I WROTE FOR THE CANADIAN
OPERA COMPANY FOR THEIR 50TH
ANNIVERSARY, AND THIS IS AN
ALL-CHILDREN CAST, NO OTHER
SINGERS.
AND THERE ARE THREE OTHER
LANGUAGES.
THEY NEED TO LEARN MANDARIN AND
CANTONESE.
AT FIRST I THOUGHT THIS WAS A
NIGHTMARE.
THE KIDS, MAYBE 5 PERCENT ARE
CHINESE AND THE REST THEY'RE ALL
ENGLISH-SPOKEN GENERATION.
BUT SURPRISINGLY, THEY'RE VERY
EXCITED TO BE EDUCATED IN A
TOTALLY DIFFERENT CULTURAL
CONTEXT.
THEY HAVE MUSIC CAN, JUST TO
HAVE A SPECIAL CLASS TO EDUCATE
TO THE LANGUAGE, THE DIALECT.
AND THE RESULT FOR ME IS SO
GRATIFYING.
IT'S NOT ONLY SATISFYING MYSELF,
IT'S ALSO TO EDUCATE THE YOUNG
PERFORMERS HOW TO APPRECIATE
DIFFERENT CULTURES AND THIS IS
VERY SPECIAL.

Steve says JAMES, I WANT TO
FOLLOW UP IN THIS REGARD WITH
YOU: WHEN YOUR MUSIC IS BEING
PERFORMED AND YOU HEAR IT, YOU
ARE THERE, AND THE AUDIENCE
OFFERS POLITE APPLAUSE AFTER
IT'S OVER, HOW DEVASTATING IS
THAT TO YOU?

James says YEAH.
IDEALLY, YOU WANT PEOPLE TO BE
ENGAGED, AND "engaged" COULD
MEAN THAT THEY DON'T LIKE IT OR
THEY DO LIKE IT, BUT THEY HAVE
AN OPINION AND IT'S REACHED
THEM.
YES, THAT WAS NICE OR
CONGRATULATIONS... SURE.
BUT, YOU KNOW, YOU LEARN OVER
THE YEARS NOT TO TAKE IT TOO
PERSONALLY BECAUSE PEOPLE
SOMETIMES TAKE TIME TO DIGEST
IT.
SO READING AN AUDIENCE IS VERY
TRICKY.
YOU CAN'T TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY,
OTHERWISE YOU JUST GO HOME AND
FORGET IT AND CHANGE
PROFESSIONS.

Steve says DO I UNDERSTAND YOU
PROPERLY?
YOU'D RATHER THEY HATE IT THAN
IT JUST HAD NO IMPACT AT ALL?

James says ACTUALLY, I WOULD.
I WOULD.
PROBABLY MOST ARTISTS WOULD.
AT LEAST YOU GOT TO THEM.
NOT THAT I WANT TO MAKE PEOPLE
HATE MY MUSIC, FAR FROM IT.
I WOULD LIKE THEM TO LIKE IT.
BUT AT LEAST THEY HAVE A
REACTION TO IT.

Steve says YOU WANT A STRONG
REACTION ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. SUNNY?

Sunny says I AGREE, YOU CAN'T TAKE AN
AUDIENCE'S FIRST REACTION
NECESSARILY, AND IT BECOMES A
REAL SKILL IN KIND OF BEING ABLE
TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON
FOR AUDIENCES.
FOR EXAMPLE, I ONCE DID A SHOW
IN A HIGH SCHOOL...

Steve says WHERE?

Sunny says IT WAS IN RURAL CALIFORNIA.

Steve says OKAY.

Sunny says AND THE STUDENTS AT THE LOCAL
GSA, GAY-STRAIGHT ALLIANCE, HAD
WRITTEN ME AND BEGGED ME TO COME
OUT TO THEIR HIGH SCHOOL, AND
AFTER A LONG NEGOTIATION WITH
THE PRINCIPAL, I CAME AND DID A
SHOW.
THE CLASSES THAT CAME WERE DEAD
SILENT THE ENTIRE SHOW AND I
LITERALLY THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO
BE MOBBED AS I LEFT.
I THOUGHT, OKAY, I'VE NEVER HAD
AN AUDIENCE THIS QUIET.
AT THE END THERE WAS THE POLITE
APPLAUSE.
WE DID A Q and A.
IT WAS DEAD SILENT AGAIN.
AFTER A MINUTE SOMEBODY ASKED A
QUESTION, AND THEN THEY ALL
EXPLODED WITH QUESTIONS,
CONVERSATION, COMMENTS, AND THE
TEACHER SAID, SHE HAD NEVER SEEN
THEM THAT ANIMATED, THAT
ENGAGED.
I ASKED THEM QUESTIONS BACK.
THEY UNDERSTOOD ALL THESE
INTRICATE LAYERS IN THE WORK AND
WERE EAGER TO DISCUSS.
BUT THEY JUST HADN'T FELT LIKE
THEY COULD REACT AROUND THEIR
PEERS UNTIL THEY KNEW IT WAS
GOING TO BE ACCEPTABLE TO REACT.

Steve says ISN'T THAT FASCINATING?
ONCE YOU BROKE THE LOGJAM, BOOM.

Sunny says YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
AND I REALLY REMEMBER NOW WHEN
I'M IN A SHOW AND THE AUDIENCE
IS REACTING THE WAY... SLIGHTLY
DIFFERENTLY, I REMEMBER THAT
EXPERIENCE AND GO, OKAY, I DON'T
KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON FOR THEM
YET.
WAIT AND SEE AND IT WILL UNFOLD.

Steve says LET ME GET SOME
SENSE FROM ALL OF YOU ABOUT
PERFORMING WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES
OF THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
VERSUS OTHER PLACES THAT YOU HAD
PERFORMED AROUND THE WORLD AND
MAYBE YOU CAN COMPARE AND
CONTRAST HOW... HOW IT IS TO BE
AN ARTIST HERE COMPARED TO WHAT
YOU HEAR FROM YOUR FRIENDS OR
COLLEAGUES OR CONTEMPORARIES ELSEWHERE.
DO YOU WANT TO START US OFF HERE?
WHAT'S IT LIKE HERE VERSUS OUTSIDE HERE?

The caption changes to "How does Canada compare?"

Santee says WELL, I'VE DONE A LOT OF
TOURING INTERNATIONALLY, MOSTLY
TO PLACES LIKE NEW ZEALAND AND
AUSTRALIA AND MEXICO.
AND I HAVE A LOT OF COLLEAGUES,
A LOT OF COLLABORATORS, AND
THAT'S WHY I MAKE THOSE
CONNECTIONS, AND IN JAPAN AS
WELL, WE DID A PREMIERE IN
YOKOHAMA.
YEAH, AUDIENCES ARE A LITTLE
DIFFERENT.
I KNOW THE APPETITE FOR
PERFORMING ARTS IS A LITTLE BIT
DIFFERENT AS WELL.
BUT I'M ALSO ALWAYS WORKING
WITHIN AN INDIGENOUS LENS, SO
THAT IS SIMILAR.
SO, FOR EXAMPLE, IN NEW ZEALAND,
THE MAORI ARE VERY STRONG, IN
TERMS OF THEIR VISIBILITY AND
THE SHARING OF JUST THE POWER
AND THE SHARING OF THEIR
STORIES, IT'S EVIDENT WHEN YOU
GO OUT INTO JUST THE COMMUNITY
IN SOCIETY, YOU'LL SEE THE
INFLUENCE OF MAORI, WHICH IS
DIFFERENT... HERE IT'S A
LITTLE... ALSO BECAUSE OUR
COUNTRY IS QUITE A BIT
DIFFERENT.
IT'S A SMALL ISLAND.
MANY NATIONS WITHIN MAORI
GENERAL NATION.
AND HERE WE HAVE OVER 500
NATIONS ACROSS A LARGE
COMMUNITY.
SO VERY SIMILAR TO AUSTRALIA, IN
A WAY.
SO I THINK IT'S... I THINK IN
THOSE CONTEXTS, VERY SIMILAR TO
NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA, AND
WORKING IN PLACES LIKE MEXICO,
WHICH ALSO HAS A LARGE
INDIGENOUS POPULATION BUT IT'S
NOT YET OUT, IT'S JUST
BECOMING... YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE
JUST STARTING TO RECOGNIZE THAT
IT IS SOMETHING TO BE AWARE OF
AND CELEBRATE.

Steve says MARYEM, WHEN YOU
PERFORM ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD,
WHAT DO ARTISTS TELL YOU ABOUT
HOW APPRECIATED THEY ARE VERSUS
HOW APPRECIATED OR NOT YOU FEEL
IN ONTARIO?

Maryem says WELL, I FEEL LIKE IN MANY
WAYS WE'RE PRETTY LUCKY IN
ONTARIO AND IN CANADA BECAUSE
FRIENDS OF MINE WHO LIVE IN THE
STATES, THEY SEEM TO BE
SURPRISED BY THE DIFFERENT
GRANTING OPPORTUNITIES AND THE
DIFFERENT GRANTING AGENCIES WE
CAN APPLY TO TO GET FUNDING.
SO I'VE NOTICED THAT.
AND I DO FEEL PRETTY LUCKY
BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO A
LOT OF MY WORK THANKS TO THE
ONTARIO ARTS COUNCIL, THE CANADA
COUNCIL, ARTS COUNCIL, ALL THREE
HAVE BEEN PRETTY SUPPORTIVE.

Steve says THEY'VE GIVEN YOU
GRANTS SO YOU CAN...

Maryem says I CAN CREATE, PUT ON
CONCERTS, RECORD CDs.
SO THAT'S BEEN REALLY GREAT.
I DON'T KNOW IF I HAVE MANY
CONTACTS IN EUROPE, SO I CAN'T
REALLY SPEAK TO THAT.
BUT I REMEMBER ONCE, THERE WAS A
PROJECT I WAS IN CALLED
CONSTANTINOPLE, AND WE WENT TO
DO SOME RESEARCH AND A LITTLE
SNIPPET FROM IT, AND WHEN WE
WERE THERE, I REMEMBER THEM
SAYING, OH, WE WOULD LOVE TO
HAVE IT, YOU CAN DO IT IN THE
OPERA HOUSE AND IT WILL BE
WONDERFUL, BUT YOU GUYS HAVE TO
PAY FOR EVERYTHING.
WE HAVE NO MONEY.
AND IT'S A VERY EXPENSIVE
PROJECT.
IT DIDN'T END UP HAPPENING, BUT
IT WAS JUST INTERESTING TO SEE
THAT SIDE OF IT.

Steve says WE'VE GOT A FEW
MINUTES LEFT HERE.
LET ME GET A COUPLE OF COMMENTS
HERE.
ALICE, YOU JUST CAME BACK FROM
TAIWAN, RIGHT?

Alice says RIGHT.

Steve says BEING AN ARTIST IN
TAIWAN VERSUS HERE, WHAT'S THE
DIFFERENCE?

Alice says YEAH, I ACTUALLY HAD A
PREMIERE AT THE TAIPEI CONCERT
HALL JUST TWO DAYS AGO.

Steve says REALLY?

Alice says I THINK IN TAIPEI, THE
ATTITUDE OF THE MUSICIANS, THEY
ARE VERY DEDICATED AND I THINK
THE DISCIPLINE I OBSERVED, EVEN
IN AN OLD-SCHOOL WAY, THEY
ADMIRED THE CONDUCTOR, THEY
ADMIRED THE COMPOSER.
THEY ARE VERY SERIOUS.
AND ONE THING WHICH I THINK IS A
LUXURY, THERE'S NOT MUCH UNION
RESTRICTIONS THERE.
THE REHEARSALS JUST GO HOURS TO
MAKE THE WORK... TO PERFECT THE
WORK.
ON THE OTHER HAND, I KNOW IN
TAIPEI, THEY ACTUALLY HAVE
PRETTY GOOD GOVERNMENT FUNDING
TO SUPPORT THEIR ARTS PROGRAM,
THE MUSICIANS, AND EDUCATION,
ALL THESE THINGS, AND A LOT OF
EMPHASIS ON CHINESE MUSIC.

Steve says WHILE WE HAVE TIME HERE.
JAMES, BEING A COMPOSER HERE
VERSUS ELSEWHERE?

James says WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I HAD SOME
PIECES PLAYED IN HOLLAND, AND I
THOUGHT THAT WAS THE LAND OF
MILK AND HONEY BECAUSE THERE WAS
GREAT FUNDING, THE AUDIENCES
WERE REALLY TUNED IN, THEY
REALLY KNEW THEIR NEW MUSIC, WAY
BETTER THAN THE ONES HERE AT
HOME.
AND I THOUGHT I HAVE TO MOVE TO
THIS PLACE.
THEN I CAME BACK TO CANADA AND I
REALIZED AFTER A WHILE, YOU
KNOW, I HAVE A LOT MORE FREEDOM
HERE, BECAUSE ANYTHING THAT I
WRITE OR HAVE PERFORMED IN A
PLACE THAT HAS A HISTORY, PEOPLE
WILL CRITICIZE IT AND LOOK AT IT
THROUGH THE ANGLE OF HISTORY.
HERE THAT HISTORY WITH CLASSICAL
MUSIC DOES NOT EXIST.
SO CARTE BLANCHE, YOU CAN WRITE
AS YOU FEEL AND IT'S A LOT LESS
CLAUSTROPHOBIC.

Steve says LET'S FINISH UP...
SORRY.

Sunny says A BIG GAME CHANGER TOO IN
CANADA IS A PUBLIC HEALTH
SYSTEM.
FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE U.S., WHEN I
WAS LIVING THERE, I HAD A VERY
SERIOUS INJURY AND THERE WAS NO
PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM THERE
WHATSOEVER OR DIFFERENT PLACES
HAVE DIFFERENT LEVELS.

Steve says HOW DID YOU GET TREATMENT?

Sunny says I ACTUALLY EVENTUALLY HAD TO
GO BACK TO AUSTRALIA.
IMAGINE IF YOU'RE ALREADY ON A
VERY PRECARIOUS AND LOW INCOME,
THEN WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU GET
SICK OR INJURED?
I WOULD LIKE TO ADD TO THAT THEN
THAT WE CAN BE VERY PROUD OF OUR
PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM.
IMAGINE ALSO IF WE HAD A
UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME.
IT'S NOT JUST ARTISTS THAT ARE
PRECARIOUSLY UNDERPAID.
FOR EXAMPLE, I'M MAKING A BODY
OF WORK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE AT
THE MOMENT AND WORKERS ARE GOING
TO BE INCREASINGLY DISPLACED
BECAUSE WE NEED TO WEAN OUR SELF
OFF OF FOSSIL FUELS.
IMAGINE IF WE HAD A UNIVERSAL
BASIC INCOME ALONG WITH HEALTH
CARE...

Steve says SUNNY, YOU SOUND
LIKE YOU'RE RUNNING FOR OFFICE.

Sunny says IT'S SURPRISINGLY DOABLE FOR
US AND WE COULD BE VERY PROUD OF THAT.

Steve says I HAVE A MINUTE LEFT
HERE.
SANTEE, TELL ME ABOUT THIS.
I KNOW ALL OF YOU WON 25,000 dollars
BUT ALSO AS PART OF THIS YOUR
PROTEGES OR, IN SOME RESPECTS I
GUESS YOUR YOUNGER VERSIONS OF
YOURSELF, ALSO WON 5,000 dollars APIECE.
SO GIVEN WHERE YOU ARE IN YOUR
CAREER AND GIVEN WHERE THE OTHER
PERSON IS, THE YOUNGER VERSION
OF YOU HAVE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD
YOU GIVE THEM ABOUT BEING AN
ARTIST IN THIS COUNTRY AT THIS
TIME?

The caption changes to "A piece of wisdom."

Santee says WELL, CODY BARRY IS MY
PROTEGE AND HE IS STARTING HIS
OWN COMPANY.
SO I WOULD SAY TO A LOT OF YOUNG
ARTISTS IS THERE MIGHT BE A LOT
OF STUMBLING BLOCKS IN THE WAY
BUT PERSISTENCE TO CONTINUE ON
AND MOVE AND NAVIGATE THROUGH IS
TO CONTINUALLY MOVE FORWARD AND
NOT LET IT STOP YOU.
AND ALSO TO STAY STRONG IN YOUR
IDENTITY AND WHO YOU ARE AND
WHAT YOU ENVISION.

Steve says PERSISTENCE AND STAY
STRONG.

Santee says YEAH.

The caption changes to "Producer: Wodek Szemberg, @wodekszemberg."

Steve says THAT MAKES A LOT OF
SENSE.
GOOD ADVICE.
CONGRATULATIONS TO EVERYBODY ON
YOUR AWARDS AND WE'RE SO GLAD
YOU COULD SPARE SOME TIME FOR US
HERE AT TVO TONIGHT.
BEST OF LUCK TO ALL OF YOU.
THANK YOU.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

All the guests say THANK YOU.

Watch: Making Art, Making a Living