Music Industry Arts grads announce their debut single ‘As Good As It Gets’

Years to Burn, a synth-pop group, will release their debut album together this summer
Photo: Salem Mars
Janessa van Koppen, left, Jakean Mason, right, performing at the Arts Hub in Brockville on June 23rd, 2023

Janessa van Koppen and Jakean Mason, who together form the musical group Years to Burn, met six years ago at Algonquin College as students in the Music Industry Arts program.

“We really only started making music [together] maybe in the past three years,” said Mason, one half of Years to Burn. Mason and van Koppen had previously been making music on their own, but came together for the first time last summer to perform their solo music around Ontario.

Now, they’re ready to release the music they’ve been working on together over the past three years for their newly formed group, Years to Burn.

In a March 15 Instagram post, the group shared they are excited to release the track as their first single together after really connecting to the song while experimenting with different genres.

Years to Burn, is set to release their debut single As Good As It Gets on all streaming platforms on April 5.

The song has a heavy, yet inspiring message about an individual struggling with their mental health while attempting to still enjoy life, a topic many people will understand.

“It definitely is a really personal song. I’ve struggled with mental health issues since I was in middle school,” said van Koppen.

The group hope to reach an audience who will connect to the song and find comfort in knowing they aren’t alone.

“We just want them to know they’re not the only one’s in that situation,” said van Koppen.

The single is the first of many to come, with Years to Burn confirming a summer album, although it hasn’t been named yet. The group are aiming for a June release of their debut album.

The synth-pop group plan on having many summer performances to celebrate the release of their first album.

Mason and van Koppen became friends in their final semester at Algonquin College before graduating in 2019. The program, they both agree, had a positive impact on their careers.

“The professors, they’ve had such an profound impact on my artistic life,” said Mason. “I feel I was in a better place when I left the course. I felt I could run this as a business.”

Mason’s bandmate, van Koppen, also had a positive experience in the program.

“The program is a really broad thing where they teach you how to record and produce,” said van Koppen. “They teach you how to use different software, but they also teach you the business side of things.”

Michael Bond, a professor in the program, says there are many tools they use to assist students.

“We own studios, production companies, work at events, and deal with the back-end of all areas,” said Bond. “We always try to involve students outside of the college where appropriate and give them the opportunity to make connections in the real world as much as possible.”

Mason and van Koppen credit professors who are active in the industry for their confidence in making music professionally. Their families, they say, have been a huge inspiration and support in their lives.

“I was told I was singing before I could talk. My parents would sing to me, and I would sing myself to sleep,” said van Koppen. “When I was 10 or 11 my uncle picked out a guitar for me for Christmas.”

Mason, who is self-taught on the guitar, played Rock Band as a child, a game where players can perform popular rock songs with a controller, which is modelled after an electric guitar.

He soon after got a guitar of his own.

Years to Burn’s debut single As Good As It Gets will be available on all streaming platforms on April 5.

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