The Fernie band Lush Fleece is taking part in a new program to help accelerate musical careers in the province.
Lush Fleece, an ‘alternative R&B’ and ‘indie soul’ band, is made up of Sean Yunus, who goes by the name Chilli, and Barry Jenkins.
Yunus is originally from Toronto, and Jenkins is from the UK, but both have lived in Fernie for several years.
In an interview with The Free Press, Yunus said the band first formed in fall of 2020. Both Yunus and Jenkins had played publicly in Fernie before they came together as a group.
He said they played an ‘industry showcase’ in Vancouver this past October.
They released 10 tracks in 2021, and released a standalone single in February 2022 called ‘don’t take back your love’ that was featured on the CBC show Marvin’s Room.
“Our music is on pretty much every streaming platform,” Yunus said.
He said that they write, record, perform and produce all their own music, and the magic happens in Fernie. He said they take pride in doing everything themselves.
“We hope to maybe perform in Fernie when given the opportunity.”
The program they are in is called ARC, and is labelled an ‘intensive accelerator program’ by a Music BC press release.
“ARC was created to advance the business, creative, and technical skills of recording artists to help them build a sustainable career in the music industry — both at home and away,” the release reads.
The program includes three components throughout late July to September.
First is a clinic, which the press release says will be a ‘multi-day training intensive’ that will teach about the business side of music and provide contacts with ARC mentors. Yunus said they would be heading to Vancouver at the end of July for that.
Next will be a retreat, another multi-day intensive for “one-on-one and group mentorship sessions with world-class industry leaders”. The focus will be on the creative components that go into growing and sustaining an audience and brand. Yunus said that will take them to Princeton for a week in August.
The final component is the show, which the press release describes as “an opportunity for participants to perform at September’s Rifflandia Festival, in front of a live audience of fans, local and international industry members.
ARC’s first cohort includes 15 artists and is supported by a three-year funding commitment of $600,000 from the B.C. government.
“We’re happy to be a part of it,” Yunus said.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for us to get out of town and perform, and expand our fan base, and get our music heard.”