Songwriter in Residence Program

About the Residency

Since 2006, the Dawson City Music Festival has proudly operated an annual Songwriter in Residence program with the support of the Klondike Institute of Art & Culture. The program brings a musician to Dawson City for a month-long, mid-winter stay (MONTH OF JANUARY) where the artist receives studio and living space at the historic goldrush-era Macaulay House. Previous songwriters in residence have involved themselves deeply with the local community and have found it to be an enriching, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Whether mentoring local musicians, volunteering for the Yukon Quest International Dogsled Race, performing at the local daycare, or leading workshops at the Robert Service School, there are many opportunities to get involved around Dawson. Most songwriters find the relationship with the community to be mutually inspiring.

Expectations of the residency are flexible – our only requirements are that the artist spend the bulk of the month of January in the Dawson City community, perform one public concert, and collaborate with local musicians by leading songwriting workshops. No stipend is provided to the songwriter; however, DCMF will pay artist fees for the public concert and cover travel expenses to and from Dawson City. 

Goals of Residency

a) To provide songwriters with unrestricted time and space to research, develop, and produce ongoing and/or new material.

b) To introduce visiting artists to northern people, lifestyles, cultures, and landscapes.

c) To provide outreach activities such as concerts, workshops, and talks intended to promote interaction and foster a greater appreciation and understanding of songwriting, music, and the arts in general in our community.

d) To provide opportunities for collaboration between visiting artists and both professional and developing Yukon songwriters and musicians.

Artist Selections

WE ACCEPT APPLICATIONS BETWEEN SEPTEMBER 1 – OCTOBER 31, ANNUALLY.

PLEASE READ OUR RESIDENCY GUIDELINES AND REQUIREMENTS BEFORE APPLYING.

In order for your application to be considered complete, you must include the following:

  • A brief description of your background and performance history (500 words or less).
  • A short proposal outlining how you would engage in community outreach via songwriting workshops – see Program Guidelines (500 words or less)
  • A digital sample of your music and/or a link to your EPK and other online content.

Send expressions of interest to: info@dcmf.com with the subject line RESIDENCY APPLICATION [CURRENT YEAR].

NOTE: Digital applications ONLY, please.

A selections committee handpicks the songwriter in residence. We strive to select a diverse range of artists, from a variety of backgrounds and points of origin, at varying stages in their careers. We tend to choose artists that are well-suited to the dynamic of this particular community. Due to a high volume of applications only shortlisted artists will be contacted.

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Past Songwriters In Residence

Leela Gilday

Yellowknife, NWT

Leela Gilday, 2006

Thanks to the first-ever songwriter retreat supported by the Dawson City Music Festival and the Klondike Institute for Art and Culture, Gilday will take a leave from “gigging” across Canada and spend some time writing and kicking back in the Klondike for a month. “It’s the first time I’ve had in almost four years to just dedicate to writing; it’s a really nice place to be in,” she said, referring to the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture residency at Seventh and Princess.

READ MORE HERE (YUKON NEWS)

Dan Bejar

Vancouver, BC

Dan Bejar, 2007

Daniel Bejar is an independent singer-songwriter from Vancouver, Canada. Bejar has gained widespread popularity through his musical collaborations with Vancouver indie-rock band The New Pornographers, but has released far more material as the frontman of his band Destroyer. He is renowned for his poetic and often cryptic lyrics as well as his unorthodox vocals. In 2006, he joined with Carey Mercer of Frog Eyes and Spencer Krug of Sunset Rubdown and Wolf Parade as part of another indie supergroup, Swan Lake. He has also collaborated with his girlfriend Sydney Hermant as the duo Hello, Blue Roses, whose debut album was released in 2008.

Brooke Gallupe

Victoria, BC

Brooke Gallupe, 2008

Brooke Gallupe is the leader of the Canadian indie rock bands Immaculate Machine and Rugged Uncle.In addition to playing rock music, Gallupe has trained as an opera singer and has played with the Victoria Symphony.

Gallupe is also a comic artist. Published in Tofu Magazine, Chart Magazine, Lickity Split and the Mint Records Zine, his autobiographic comics often revolve around his band Immaculate Machine.

Laura Barrett

Toronto, ON

Laura Barrett, 2009

“For the month of February, I’m living in Dawson City, Yukon as the DCMF Songwriter-in-Residence. Dawson’s winter population is even smaller than the 1300 listed in the census, so it’s a bit of a change for city-girl me! It’s also been going hitting -40 Celsius, meaning up to 20 minutes of layering before going outside. While I’m here, I’ll be playing a couple of concerts, and working with grade schoolers at Robert Service School. If I have any free time, I plan to volunteer with the Yukon Quest dog sled race. Let’s see how much I can get done in 7 hours of daily light!” – Laura Barrett

Colin Skrapek

Saskatoon, SK

Colin Skrapek, 2010

Colin Skrapek (Maybe Smith) says: “I am concerned about the lack of daily sunshine, being that it’s in February. I mean, I was told I should bring snowshoes but I don’t have any.” – The best snippet of a great article on Colin’s hopes and plans for his residency.

Christine Fellows

Winnipeg, MB

John K Samson

Winnipeg, MB

Christine Fellows & John K Samson 2011

“Along with her husband, John K. Samson of the Weakerthans, Fellows found herself doing a February 2011 stint as songwriter in residence at the Dawson City Music Festival. Major inspirations while in town would include London, whose writings eventually coloured her sixth and latest album, Burning Daylight, and her first collection of poetry of the same name.” – The Georgia Straight

READ MORE FROM THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT

Colin Huebert

Vancouver, BC

Colin Huebert, 2012

Colin returns to Dawson City after having visited with the Great Lake Swimmers in 2007. Colin has since absconded from the band to focus on his own project, Siskiyou, his collaboration with Great Lake Swimmers compatriot Erik Arnesen. Colin will spend the month of February in the historic Macaulay Residency where he will be recording new material and developing work for Siskiyou. In addition to his own work, Colin will also be hosting a songwriter’s circle and sharing his talents with some of the students of our local Robert Service School. SOURCE

Digits

Toronto, ON

Digits, 2013

When Alt Altman, aka Digits, had the chance to participate in the Dawson City’s Songwriter in Residence program in February, he jumped at the opportunity. “I knew someone who had already done it and they said to absolutely do it, I heard lots of good things about Dawson. It seemed like a once in a lifetime chance.” While in Dawson, Altman had been developing new material, sharing his skills and hosting music production classes for youth.

READ MORE HERE (WHAT’S UP YUKON)

Nick Ferrio

Peterborough, ON

Nick Ferrio, 2014

Nick Ferrio offers catchy and sophisticated songs that examine the ferociousness of love. Taking a cue from Kurt Vile and Nick Lowe, Nick Ferrio has come into his own with his sophomore album Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs. Featuring collaborations with Julie Doiron and members of Constantines, and the Weather Station, with Amongst the Coyotes and Birdsongs, Nick Ferrio is claiming his place as one of Canada’s best kept secrets.

Khari McClelland

Vancouver, BC

Khari McClelland, 2015

Khari spent his time in Dawson leading an all-ages, no-experience-necessary choir workshop with practices twice a week for the duration of his stay. The choir joined Khari at his performance at the KIAC Oddfellow’s Hall which was fun and dynamic. He engaged the entire audience, seated in a giant circle, by inviting everyone to do the vocal warmups done by the choir group, sing along to many of his songs, and generally “let loose” and have a chance to be both an audience-member and performer at the same time.

Louise Burns

Vancouver, BC

Louise Burns, 2016

“To say Vancouver singer-songwriter Louise Burns’ latest tour stop is off the beaten path is an understatement. She is spending the month of January in Dawson City, Yukon, to be songwriter-in-residence at the Dawson City Music Festival.”

“The whole point of the program is to have an artist come up for the month of January and just work on music,” she told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn. “Integrate into the local arts community, which is an incredibly easy thing to do because everybody here is an artist, maybe hold some songwriting workshops, hold some shows.”

– READ MORE AT CBC