Good + Plenty and about time

Lana Winterhalt’s new outfit promotes women, trans and non-binary artists and others excluded by an industry favouring ‘white dudes playing garage rock’

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Lana Winterhalt has a knack for noticing gaps.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/01/2022 (204 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Lana Winterhalt has a knack for noticing gaps.

“It might be a problem, honestly,” the indie-pop artist says with a laugh. “If I have an idea, there’s no hesitation. I’m like, ‘OK let’s do it, today.’”

In a previous life, the tendency saw her starting numerous church groups and leading Bible study sessions. Today, a world away from her evangelical upbringing, it’s helping her create the kind of community she’s been missing in Winnipeg’s music scene.

JESSICA LEE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Lana Winterhalt created Good + Plenty to support the music and recording-arts community among women, trans and Indigenous artists.

“I really love bringing people together and making people feel included and seen and valued,” she says. “I’ve left the church … but that’s something I still really care about as a human.”

Winterhalt is the founder of Good + Plenty, a promotion and networking group for women, trans and non-binary musicians. The goal is to help diversify the local industry by creating opportunities for underrepresented artists.

It’s an idea born out of a decade of disappointing experiences. Time and time again, Winterhalt has watched female artists, including herself, get passed over for gigs in favour of the same kinds of bands playing the same kind of music. Namely, white dudes playing garage rock.

Buio Asiss / BNB STUDIOS ‘We need more people to step aside and open doors,’ says Ila Barker, an Anishinaabe singer-songwriter from Berens River First Nation who just joined Good + Plenty Producer’s Club.

“It definitely felt like, ‘OK, this (promotion) group has totally written me off because I’m not going to bring the vibe they’re looking for,’” Winterhalt says, adding that while her brand of quiet, lyrically driven music might not be for everybody, it does have an audience.

“That is a clear gap if there’s not enough groups putting on events that … span a wide network of people and a diverse group of musicians,” she says. “This is literally a hole, let’s fill it.”

Good + Plenty launched in early 2020 with a full slate of workshops and live events. Those plans were abruptly scrapped (thanks COVID-19) and Winterhalt has turned her attention to fostering an online community. This month, she launched the Good + Plenty Producer’s Club, a Facebook group for women, trans and non-binary producers and audio engineers. It’s a resource she wished existed when she was starting out.

“To know there are others who have faced similar obstacles … and can offer advice is so incredibly helpful,” she says. “Community is so important and I think men in the industry have found it so easily because there’s so many of them.”

In less than a week, the club had attracted nearly 50 local members — a number that surprised Winterhalt, who had only met five other female-identifying producers during her two years in the field. The isolation of the career is partly to blame. “When I’m producing, I spend eight hours in my basement in the dark alone,” she says.

Ila Barker, an Anishinaabe singer-songwriter from Berens River First Nation, is new to the world of producing and excited to have a space to ask questions without judgment.

“I’ve been really hesitant about looking like I don’t know something, especially in professional settings,” she says. “It’s a safe place for us to learn without showing off.”

Barker has been working as a solo artist for the last 10 years and is passionate about making the industry more equitable. She runs a music program for Indigenous youth and actively seeks out other women and artists of colour to work with in the studio and on stage. While there’s more work to be done, she sees Good + Plenty as an important step in the right direction.

“There’s a lot of allies for equity, but we need more help,” Barker says. “We need more people to step aside and open doors… and say, ‘Hey, there’s 10 white men on this lineup, why don’t we get someone that’s not a white man.”

For Winterhalt, the long-term vision for the producer’s club is a place to share resources among members, while also acting as an online directory for music organizations looking to expand their hiring pool.

The club has also led her to start a Good + Plenty podcast for women interested in “nerding out about audio engineering” — a project that started because she couldn’t find any podcasts on the subject.

“The only thing I could find were hosted by dudes usually interviewing other dudes,” Winterhalt says. “I just thought this is another hole that could be filled.”

Visit goodandplentywpg.com for information on the podcast and producer’s club.

eva.wasney@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @evawasney

Eva Wasney

Eva Wasney
Arts Reporter

Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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