Cape Breton’s up and coming music scene is on fire. But from center stage you might not see Andrew Mortimer; founder and talent manager at Next Big Thing Talent Co. Mortimer, in his early twenties has been interested in music management from a very young age. A Sydney native, Mortimer recalls his childhood goals, “While watching shows like American Idol, I never dreamed of being the entertainer on stage. I wanted to be one of the judges.”
Before Mortimer turned twenty, he had already started his own business; scouting and encouraging young talent in Cape Breton. He created Cape Breton’s Next Big Thing High School Talent Search, which has grown in both participants and attendance each season. This past spring season five wrapped up with much success and anticipation for season six next year. From the talent search, Mortimer admits he is blown away by the talent of high school aged Cape Bretoners, “Honestly, each year I am shocked by the performances,” says Mortimer. The competition has accumulated quite a following and has produced some of the hottest upcoming acts in Cape Breton. Past winners of Cape Breton’s Next Big Thing Talent Search include Breagh MacKinnon, Brittany Coombs, Lena Murphy, Charlotte MacDonald and many well-known runners up like Kyle Mischiek and Johnathan MacInnis.
Local hip hop artist Kyle Mischiek has been topping the Canadian charts with hits like “Something Bout Summertime” and Cape Breton’s youth anthem, “The Island.” Mortimer says that he saw great potential and enthusiasm in Mischiek early in season four, “Kyle is young, but is very mature about going after his dream. He is on the move, playing shows and events all the time.” Mortimer laughs that he sometimes feels like more of a chauffeur than a manager, accompanying artists to gigs all over the island.
In the spirit of entrepreneurship, Mortimer agrees that he would not want to be doing anything else. “It isn’t always easy to start something new, especially being a young person,” he explains. However, Mortimer points to the support from both community and sponsors that have helped the talent search reach its success.
This summer has been a busy one for Andrew Mortimer and the gang at Next Big Thing Talent Co. Performing at various shows, events and festivals, you can catch Kyle Mischiek at the International Celtic Colours Festival performing with Ashley MacIsaac and at Music Week Nova Scotia as one of the showcase artists. Johnathan MacInnis, who recently hosted his own show at the Savoy Theatre, will be taking part in a tribute to Cape Breton’s first lady of song, Rita MacNeil in the “Remembering Rita” show set to take place at Rita’s Tea Room. MacInnis’ debut album is coming out in September.
Through Next Big Thing Talent Co., Andrew Mortimer is not only creating his dream job, but fostering the dreams of many talented young people in Cape Breton.
Hospitality at the Hampton
From greeting customers at the local Burger King to welcoming guests at the new Hampton Inn by Hilton Sydney, Hotel General Manager, Glen Morrison, has enjoyed personal and professional growth in Cape Breton’s hospitality industry. A University College of Cape Breton graduate, Morrison was excited not only by the study of hospitality and tourism, but also the breadth of such opportunities innate to an island famed for its beauty. Recognizing everything that Cape Breton has to offer, he trained his career goals on continuing to live and work on the island he has always called home.
Originally from Gardiner Mines, and now residing in Glace Bay with his wife and three children, Morrison was recently named the new manager at Membertou’s prized Hampton Inn. Attached by pedway to the prestigious Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, the hotel boasts 128 guest rooms, a 1,500 square foot meeting space, artfully rustic dining quarters, full gym facilities and a pool with a super-sized waterslide.
“Having held many positions within hotels in the Sydney area, when I was presented with the opportunity to assume the role of General Manager - to build a new team in a new hotel – I embraced the excitement and the challenge, both,” Morrison explains. “In addition to enjoying working with a newly-formed team to build Hampton Inn’s business, I am floored by how quickly the team’s spirit and the culture of a successful hotel have become an integral part of both the Membertou community and the Sydney business network.”
The future is bright for Morrison and the staff of the Hampton Inn. Hotel owner, DP Murphy, recently committed to opening 40 new hotels across the country by 2030. With sights set on the Membertou hotel positioning itself as a stand-out property among the total projects, Morrison speaks of the personal advantages, “Working with DP Murphy in the Sydney location allows me to do the job I love to do: work with fellow Cape Bretoners and stay close to family and friends.”
Glen Morrison and his staff strive to accommodate guest needs, large or small, and to provide outstanding hospitality - a trait that comes naturally and for which Cape Bretoners are legendary.