The Overcast’s annual Albedo Grant gives a local, community-bettering endeavour a pot of cash to help them do their thing. The emphasis is on start-ups or an organization facing a specific financial barrier to growth. This year’s pot is $12,500, courtesy of sponsors/jurors Dean MacDonald, John O’Dea, and Phil Keeping’s family. We will reveal this year’s top 5 contenders, one a day all week long, before announcing the winner as May’s cover story. 

Who is Jacob Earle and What is His Plan?

As a younger musician, Jacob was finding his performances limited to school and community events, and wanted an opportunity to perform original material more broadly, in proper music venues. Upon recognizing youth artists from all disciplines were facing similar barriers in getting their work out there, a light bulb went off and Early Bird was born.

Early Bird will be Earle’s way of “bringing the tremendous talent of our youth to a wider audience.”

“I have faced and overcome the barriers of the dreaded ’19-plus’ written on the door of arts venues. As the sole proprietor of Early Bird, I will provide a service to minimize these struggles as much as possible, and create the all-ages events needed in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

“Without enough stages for younger artists to express their art, and make money, many abandon their dreams before they get a chance to even start. We want to catch these artists in time to prove their talents.”

How Will Early Bird Work?

Whether it’s an under-19 artist who wants to see their paintings in an art gallery, a musician looking for a gig, or a stand-up comedian just waiting for the opportunity to make people laugh, they would need only go and meet with Early Bird, and “we will make this happen. And to make matters easier, it is a simple process.”

Youth artists simply set up a consultation with an Early Bird team member, to pitch their idea about an event, or what it is they’re looking for achieve, and Early Bird works with them to make it happen.

“We will not only be creating events by request of artists, we will also be creating our own events as well. Having had the experience of being a part of many shows and events, as well as putting off numerous of my own around town, I have been constantly building my skills in many genres of the arts.”

Earle is currently studying the ins and outs of the industry in the Performance, Business, & Technology program at College of the North Atlantic, where he is “building my knowledge in events management, performance skills, budgeting, grant applications, portfolio development, marketing, and many other useful tools towards creating this company.”

Earle is About to Launch a 5-Week Youth Battle of the Bands at The Levee 

Earle does know where the scene is at, despite being underage. This month, he’s partnered up with Gene Browne, owner of The Levee, as well as GN Audio and MusicNL, to launch a Battle of the Bands for youth bands. It starts on April 30th, and will run on Saturdays thereafter, from 2-7pm, at no cost to the bands.

“He’s only 18 and already has a good head on his shoulders,” says Browne, “and wants to build the underage scene so that when these bands are older, they’ll be better ready for the live music bar scene in St. John’s.”

The winner of the Youth Battle of the Bands will win 40 hours of recording time, 100 pressed CDs of their album, a MusicNL Membership, and a Zoom recording rig. Earle’s ongoing event will showcase 24 bands – two dozen youth bands — this spring. The events will also give bands a chance to sell merchandise. Cover is $10, and there’s door tickets, food/beverages.

How Will Early Bird Use this $12,500, Exactly?

As it stands, Jacob is running on volunteered services and his conviction NL needs an organization like Early Bird. “I would like to take my ideas to the next level and be able to register Early Bird as an actual business, and open up an office or workspace where I will be able to meet with artists and my team in a professional environment.”

This space will become a hub for youth arts in St. John’s, one that’s being used to “promote these young musicians, actors, painters, etc. and events.  I have some big plans for Early Bird which will include things such as summer camps, mobile applications, and websites.” In short the grant will give him “the kickstart I need to make Early Bird a running business faster, and easier.”