Tonight is the very first open mic in our brand new open mic series, MAC at West Edge! We’ve partnered with Common Ground Café in Port Credit to bring you these events all summer and fall! Join us every third Thursday of the month to enjoy music by local talent, plus art work on display by Mississauga’s very own artists.

We sat down with tonight’s host, MAC member, Marty Award nominee, Teens Got Talent 2017  winner, Rotary SingFest winner, AND Sheridan College 2018 Graduating Class portfolio contest winner, Kendra Charest-French!

You’ve been with MAC (Mississauga Arts Council) for a while now, how do you feel being a MAC member has helped advance your music career in Mississauga?

Ever since I joined, MAC has been supportive of me from the very beginning and I am very grateful to be apart of such an amazing organization in my city. MAC has definitely helped me advance in my music career, as without them I would not have had the opportunities I had come to me so quick, including winning Teens Got Talent last summer which gave me the chance to go on (and come first place) in the Rotary Singfest, record my music in Metal Works Studios, and perform and be recognized at other prestigious events. Because of my involvement with MAC, I was even nominated for emerging solo vocal artist at the Marty Awards here in Mississauga, which was such an amazing experience.

This is your first time hosting an Open Mic event for MAC. What are you expectations for the night?

Although I’ve never hosted an event like this, I do have experience with public speaking and getting up in front of crowds, so if anything I am super excited for tonight! I cannot wait to see the open mic performances tonight as Mississauga has some amazing hidden talent!

From any aspect of your creative career, what accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am very proud of where I have come and accomplished with my music so far, but my biggest accomplishment was probably my college makeup portfolio. There were many obstacles with the completion of it, as it was my first time working with photographers, hiring professional models from an agency, and the immense organization and time I had to sacrifice for it all was a huge challenge. On top of this, I was personally in charge of shopping for, styling and doing hair and makeup for all these shoots, which was quite stressful but also very fun to see my vision come to life. In the end, my hard work paid off when I won first place out of my entire 2018 graduating class in Sheridan College’s portfolio contest. I was extremely happy that other people believed in my vision and ideas as much as I did, and it goes to show how much self-sacrifice and hard work really goes in to accomplishing your goals, but it is most definitely worth it.

So you’re also an insanely talented makeup artist! Being in multiple creative fields, do you find they compliment each other?

Surprisingly they absolutely compliment each other! As a performer myself I have always been obsessed with the fashion and art side of music, so when I represent myself as a musician, I incorporate my makeup skills and ideas into my overall look, which I believe makes me unique and separates myself from the crowd. It also helps me discover who I am as an artist and makes me feel confident and beautiful in my own way! On set of makeup jobs, I have also met a lot of other creatives/musicians, which helps me draw inspirations from others and even form collaborations.

Where do you draw motivation & inspiration from? Do the same things inspire both your music and your makeup looks, or do you find they are too different of disciplines to interconnect?

I believe my inspiration for music and makeup is very similar, as the whole reason I began experimenting with makeup as a child was because of watching MTV and seeing music videos of my favourite artists with unique makeup and looks, which made me want to try some myself. I have always been attracted to non-conventional and unique art – or things that others might not understand. Lady Gaga has always been a huge inspiration for me fashion and music wise, and this goes towards my songwriting inspiration as well. I see other artists following their vision, expressing their art and being unapologetically themselves, which is what I strive for as an artist.

What advice do you have for emerging performers/musicians, some of which may be performing throughout our MAC at West Edge Open Mic series?

My advice for emerging performers would be to never ever give up on what you are doing if you truly love it. There will always be people that will try and diminish your goals and dreams and it’s so easy to get down on yourself about that, but keep pushing through and being YOU. If you work hard and truly believe in yourself, others will believe in you as well. Most importantly, go out there and have fun, because at the end of the day there’s no better feeling than getting up and presenting your art and talent to the world.

You can keep up with Kendra on Instagram, Soundcloud, and YouTube!

Come out to MAC at West Edge TONIGHT at Common Ground Café (157 Lakeshore Rd W) to see Kendra and fellow local Mississauga artists perform. Tonight’s confirmed performers include Jad Habits, Asantewaah Anokye, Jen Cortez (AKA The Prof), and Abhithi, with featured artworks by Nisreen Art. Festivities begin at 7:00PM! See you there!

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