Local Talent meets….”Please Hold”

It isn’t so much the waiting that makes being put on hold so dreadful; it’s having to sit there for 10+ minutes while a solo clarinet hums awkwardly over a melancholic keyboard tune.

Thankfully, the City of Toronto is easing the pain on the waiting game. Music 311 is a program run by the city, which uses tracks from local musicians to liven the customer service line. Now, when you dial 3-1-1 for any city-related service or question, holding for the next available phone attendant will be a much more refreshing experience.

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The city is asking local artists to submit their tracks, photos and stories to be considered for the free exposure. All chosen artists will receive an honorarium of $50 per track and be featured on the City of Toronto’s website with links to their music and personal websites.

As long as the music is original, Toronto-produced, and follows the city’s Non-Discrimination Policy, it’s eligible for submission. Oh, and one last requirement–the city is asking artists to refrain from submitting music classified as hardcore, metal, or thrash, as it may scare away the elderly lady calling about her new recycling bins.

“It’s not a this-is-better-than-that-genre kind of thing. It’s what is appropriate for the situation,” Mike Tanner, the city’s music sector development officer, told the Toronto Star.

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Apart from this minor crack in the city’s portrait of open arms, the program builds a musical mosaic that reflects the diverse communities that call Toronto home. So far, Music 311 has featured reggae, folk, latin, and British-invasion style tunes, and is open to submissions from a variety of other genres.

“This is just one way where, rather than just having a blank silence, we could be spicing it up with music from our city,” one of the chosen artists, Amanda Martinez, told the Star.

The beautiful thing about this project is that it showcases talent from the inside out, and creates exposure for artists in an unexpected space. “Canadians have a reputation for waiting until another country thinks our artist is great, and then accepting them,” another chosen artist, Miranda Mulholland, told the Star. “I’m really encouraged by this.”

As summer comes to a close, falling leaves and colder temperatures may leave the city’s phone lines buzzing. The submission deadline for Music 311’s autumn session is August 15. Submissions will then reopen on October 1 for the winter session.

Now, salvage Toronto’s ears and check out the city’s website for more details on how to apply!

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