When thinking of concert culture, music lovers can often be seen taking in the sounds of their favourite group, with a robust drink in hand. This connection between music and drink is what global brand Jack Daniel’s is tapping into with its new Supporting Act program.

Fusing one of its brand’s core pillars, music, with its exquisite taste is what the Tennessee-based whisky company has been doing for decades. But now it’s looking to reach out to Canadian music lovers to hear their stories and reward the best ones with a variety of prizes: instruments, studio time or tour money for budding artists or tickets to a dream concert for music fans.

Until February 12, Canadians have an interactive opportunity to make their musical dreams come true. Finalists, like Toronto femcee Dynesti (video below), are chosen by the Jack Daniel’s Canada team, then later published on the Jack Daniel’s Canada website for the general public to choose the ultimate winner. Daniel Navarro, national marketing manager at Jack Daniel’s Canada, says the goal is to give aspiring artists and music devotees alike – no matter the genre – a chance to tell their personal love story with music to a global audience.

WHAT MADE JACK DANIELS WANT TO START THE SUPPORTING ACT PROGRAM? The historic connection that the brand has always had with music, the music industry and artists – it has raised the brand and helped the brand to get where it is now… The inspiration for this program is to give something back to the music community and music lovers overall, with a more emotional and personal connection. In the past we have done many initiatives in Canada and throughout the world that relate to music, which is one of the pillars of the brand, but for us, in Canada, this is completely different to what we have done before. We have done almost a one-on-one with our consumers… and [are helping] them to fulfill their music dreams.

WHAT DO YOU WANT APPLICANTS TO GAIN FROM THIS NEW PROGRAM? We want the brand to be the enabler and fulfill whatever music dream they may have; we want them to see that the brand supports them. It could be someone who is a music lover and wants tickets to their favourite show, and they cannot get them. Or it could be an up and coming musician or up and coming band, or DJ, and they want support to tour around Canada or to replace their equipment… or even studio time – we want the winners to take those things out of the brand.

This program isn’t intended only for people who are already into some kind of semi-professional or professional level of music; it’s open for anybody who loves music. – David Navarro

WHAT SETS JACK DANIEL’S SUPPORTING ACT PROGRAM APART FROM OTHER MUSIC PROGRAMS THAT HELP MUSICIANS? What makes it different is we’re giving [musicians] a chance to tell their personal story. It’s all about that personal story, we’re giving them a chance to communicate that story through the website and social media outlets to pitch to us their dream; this gives them visibility. Giving them visibility in the community and the media, for example, whenever we get media mentions about the program or social channels, we extend that, which also helps them to get to the next level. Through this program or through any other lead they may get or opportunity they may get through this program, it helps them with visibility and awareness overall.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN RECIVING THE VIDEOS? We look for creative stories. Applicants have 60 seconds, which is not a lot, so they really need to think of how to position their story. So we’re looking for very creative stories, personal stories and looking for a variety of stories. We would like to see stories from up and coming bands and solo musicians, music lovers who may want music lessons to connect them more with music; so we would like to see a variety of all that. This program isn’t intended only for people who are already into some kind of semi-professional or professional level of music; it’s open for anybody who loves music.

IS JACK DANIEL’S GOING TO CONTINUE WITH THE SUPPORTING ACT PROGRAM EVERY YEAR? This program is brand new, it is 100 per cent made out of Canada and the first time we have done something like this. We are very optimistic and positive that the program will work out to be great and we have plans to continue for next year as well… and make it bigger and better.

Aliecia Brissett is a creative and fun writer from Toronto, who loves dance, fashion and getting to know her city. Having come from a single parent home, she was constantly involved in activities to keep her busy; such as her years of professional dance training in ballet, hip-hop and jazz, and her love for fashion and drawing that transcended into her becoming a stylist and overall visionary. Having always been a storyteller, and overall chatter box, Aliecia, who joined Urbanology Magazine in 2012 as a journalist and stylist, loves to speak with the movers and shakers of the industry to get a gist of her next story.

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