By Andrew Bardsley
CALGARY – “I really wanted to open up a Mongolia Grill, but my dad shot that idea down pretty quickly,” says Stephanie Hutchinson, jokingly. Instead she’s locked on to the local jazz and is leading the charge.
Hutchinson is the Vice President of Chronograph Records, a Western Canadian-centric record label, focused primarily on Calgary and surrounding areas budding jazz scene. Hutchinson, who runs the label with her husband, Kod, proposed a different type of deal — a renewed arrangement that focused on the artist.
When they began the label in 2005, she initially was uncertain. “The joke,” she says, “was when we started I hated jazz. I respected it from afar but I just couldn’t get into it.” That changed quickly once she immersed herself into the community. “When I get an artist I just dive into the product. I just listen and try and understand the music.”
Her educational background, in commerce and entrepreneurship, also propelled the label and helped develop it to have regional reach that also stems beyond. Chronograph Records, has grown significantly in the past decade and now represents nearly 30 artists. “What gives me such joy is seeing a project from beginning to end. I love seeing a record from production to release and knowing that we were a part of that.”
She adds. “We grew out and began getting recognition across the country and then we started getting distribution internationally. What we wanted to do was to get recognition for the prairies. We thought that there could be a different way of doing this.”
A large part of making a difference for her and Kodi was “to give the artists here a fair deal”,
which meant fighting for them to be payed fairly and appropriately. “You wouldn’t ask your caterer to cook for free. We are selling these artists out into the world, that is why we started.”
Hutchinson was recently recognized for her work, having been nominated for Industry Person of the Year by the YYC Music Awards.jazz, Stephanie Hutchinson, YYC Music Awards