Winning the 2018 CMRRA Cyril Devereux Award may have come as a shock to independent label liaison, Whitney Pineault, but it’s certainly no surprise to her colleagues.
Over the last year, Pineault has consistently brought excellence to her role, built robust relationships with her licensees, and embraced leadership responsibilities.
It is these qualities coupled with a positive attitude that caught the attention of her peers.
“I’ve definitely been willing to take on more responsibilities this year,” she reveals. “I like to learn about all aspects of our company and I’m always willing to step up if required.”
“During her time with CMRRA, Whitney has proven herself to be an invaluable member of the licensing team. She has taken on every challenge presented to her with confidence and enthusiasm. Her knowledge and experience allows her to be proactive and to confidently face any task ahead of her, not to mention the quality of her work is exemplary,” noted her supervisor, Tonya Small.
Pineault hails from Espanola, a small town an hour west from Sudbury that’s home to one of Northern Ontario’s last remaining pulp and paper mills.
“Before he retired, my dad worked at the mill for 42 years without missing a single day,” she said.
Pineault was surrounded by music in her youth. Her brother played the drums in a rock band and many of her friends were also in bands.
Her love of jazz inspired Pineault to become a classically-trained pianist as a young girl. She switched to saxophone when she joined her high school’s jazz band.
For as long as she can remember, Pineault dreamed of moving to the city and working in the arts.
She applied to Durham College’s Music Business Management course and was accepted in 2005.
In her final year, Pineault began a field placement with indie label and music company, Arts & Crafts Productions
Shortly after college, Pineault landed her first industry job at CMRRA.
After two and a half years at CMRRA, Pineault left to join Universal Music Canada as a distributed labels coordinator, where she managed relationships with over 50 independent record labels.
“The labels would send me album artwork and a master copy of their new releases and my job was to make sure all the timelines were met to get product into stores,” she explained.
In 2012, Pineault switched gears.
“I wanted try something completely different,” she revealed. “So, I made the decision to study psychology full-time at Ryerson University.”
Nearing the end of her studies, Pineault found herself longing to return to the music industry.
“I missed working in music so much,” she said. “I was still really interested in psychology, but it wasn’t quite the same.”
Pineault rejoined CMRRA in 2016 and quickly moved into the role of independent label liaison, a position that capitalized on her deep experience and connections with independent labels.
“My role now is very customer-focused which I really enjoy,” she said. “I love connecting with the labels, solving problems, and ensuring we have good working relationships.”
Pineault was appointed to an acting supervisor role for four months last year, overseeing her department as well as CMRRA’s Pay-As-You-Press team.
Looking ahead, Pineault would like to continue gaining experience in account management. One of her goals this year is to start her own music blog on emerging Canadian artists.
In her spare time, Pineault likes to read, listen to true crime or music-related podcasts, attend concerts, and play with Heidi, her special needs cat she adopted seven years ago.
The Cyril Devereux Award is named after CMRRA’s first general manager and long-serving treasurer to honour outstanding individuals with the qualities that Devereux best exemplified.