The spotlight on FCAD talent

Garbo Kwan Photo: Amanda Skrabucha

Garbo Kwan
Photo: Amanda Skrabucha

Stefanie Daugilis eyed the crowd in front of her, took a deep breath and began to sing her rendition of All of Me by John Legend. She was the first of eight acts to perform in FCAD Stars.

“I’ve always loved being on stage, even though I always get a little nervous beforehand. Going first especially reinforces this idea but hey sometimes you just have to dive in,” said Daugilis, a fourth-year photography major.

FCAD Stars is a talent show created by the Ryerson Communication and Design Society (RCDS) featuring students from the Faculty of Communication and Design’s nine different schools.

“I wanted FCAD Stars to be an opportunity to showcase the talent we have in FCAD. As students in creative fields, I know many people have outside hobbies that they’re really great at,” said Megan Matsuda, the RCDS vice-president of events.

The show was inspired by the Ted Rogers School of Management talent show, TRSM’s Got Talent, after Matsuda had attended their first show three years ago. In the future, Matsuda says she hopes to feature a wider variety of talents, as this year included a dragon dance drum performance, but many singing and dancing acts.

The first place winner was singer Mackenzie Salhany, a creative industries student, who performed Settle Down by Kimbra accompanied by a looper. The machine recorded sounds she made through the attached microphone. The sounds were repeated through the speakers, creating the background music to Salhany’s vocals. The audience watched as she created a beat, pushed a few buttons and proceeded to layer on backup vocals and other sounds to form a complete song with only her voice. Salhany called it a “big sung-symphony made on the spot.”

Mackenzie Salhany Photo: Amanda Skrabucha

Mackenzie Salhany
Photo: Amanda Skrabucha

Danielle D'Costa Photo: Amanda Skrabucha

Danielle D’Costa
Photo: Amanda Skrabucha

“You see guitarists do it all the time with foot pedals. I basically do the same thing, I just control my loops at my fingertips,” said Salhany, “Then it’s all about building on top of it, adding harmonies and the instrumental parts that you’d usually have other musicians play, only I sing it.”

Salhany had learned to loop a year ago, renting a looper and watching tutorials on Youtube trying to achieve the same effects. Salhany said she still learns new tricks on it almost daily, adding that it’s the “craziest little machine.” Writing for loops isn’t that different either, she added, it just requires more focus than when she collaborates with her band mates.

The audience was already full from watching the performers, but Matsuda mentioned the idea of potentially incorporating the work of students into the show. FCAD Stars would provide the opportunity for a more diverse audience to see work being created from across the faculty.

“I feel like I’m getting to know my program more. I heard a lot of people talking about it, and a lot of creative industries students were in it, so I thought I should go check it out and support them,” said Kelsey Giesbrecht, a creative industries student.

Daugilis admits that she had, after the show finished, “promptly creeped, lurked and followed the winner, Mackenzie Salhany on Instagram.”  She said, “It allows for connections with other talented people, and just being social in a new arts environment.”

After Salhany’s name was announced, she took her place back on stage and accepted her plaque, smiling wide at the audience. “It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by so many other creative individuals, and everyone that performed last night was bang on. I can’t wait to collaborate with these people,” said Salhany.