Putting the diversity of Ryerson arts on a MAP

Ryerson students gathered around the amphitheatre of the Student Learning Centre with curiosity as a theatrical performance unfolded before them. As a celebration of the arts and the upcoming release of their music on Spotify and iTunes in late May, MAP showed Ryerson what arts students are capable of.

MAP is a project created by 21-year-old Cameron Fox-Revett that gives Ryerson’s talented singers, dancers, and musicians a moment in the spotlight. Ranging from upbeat pop songs accompanied by energetic dancers to softer acoustic pieces, MAP is a truly diverse show.

“I write music that’s extremely eclectic,” Fox-Revett said. “I have a lot of different interests musically, so I could never find anything cohesive as a title because everything was always so thematically different.”

He found the idea for the project’s title during a trip to Scotland, sitting on a hillside with his notebook of lyrics.

“I realized that I had carried them across the globe with me, but they still rang just as true in a different continent,” he explained. “Then I realized everything can be totally different but it’s all united by existing on a map together.”

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With that, MAP was born. It is a unity between different musical styles and the diverse students of Ryerson, similar to how people are connected through music around the globe.

“I chose pieces [for the show] that I thought stood their ground firmly and were unabashedly themselves, but were also so completely genre-mixing,” Fox-Revett said.

Jenna Daley, a fourth-year acting student and a singer in the show, described it as “music that represents the diversity of music in general, but also the people of Ryerson.”

Daley performed a song called “Body of My Own,” a fun, positive tune with a message of loving one’s self and the body that they’re in. The piece is accompanied by a dynamic dance routine choreographed by Ryerson dance alumna Michaela Reichenbach, which added liveliness to the performance.

“It feels good, the fact that somebody is interested in my voice and somebody is interested in me being a part of their big project, being a part of the team,” Daley said.

Both Fox-Revett and Daley think art is undervalued and hoped the show would resonate with Ryerson students who are not involved in the arts.

“It’s important to understand that university isn’t just for textbook work and that kind of stuff,” Daley said. “We study the arts because it’s so underappreciated in the outside world.”

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MAP was a way for a handful of Ryerson singers to professionally record and produce music, which helped them get their foot in the door of the industry.

“I think that there’s a danger in university arts programs that people just end up walking out with a degree and no connections, and it’s not as much of a launching pad as it could be,” said Clare McConnell, who performed an original ukulele piece in the show’s acoustic session. “I think Cameron is changing that.”

Fox-Revett gave his musical peers an opportunity to maximize their potential and really go for it in a safe space where they are supported. He also wanted to give the Ryerson community a taste of what to expect as the theatre school moves into the SLC.

A team of videographers filmed the show, so each artist will have an edited video of their performance for their portfolio. The videos will be released online along with the audio at the end of May. Fox-Revett has received funding from the Student Initiative Funds and Ryerson Communication and Design Society to help bring the website to life and get the songs to the necessary streaming services.

Photos by Izzy Docto