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.