CONVENE is a conversation series with a narrative arc focused on the creative community in Toronto. We develop meaningful conversations with artists and creative professionals to provide audiences with practical resources, opportunities for networking and the inspiration to take important next steps.
In this episode, we spoke to Mason Windels, Co-Founder of Summer Cool Creative Agency and the Montreal-based web radio station n10.as. Mason Windles shared his journey growing his business, amplifying artists, and advocating for infrastructure changes in Montreal. Given Mason’s experience managing distribution and product order fulfillment logistics for artists, he offered a fresh take on what improvements are needed within Canada. Mason also shared a common sentiment: the greatest way to curb burnout and build sustainable careers is to address the overall lack of infrastructure and investment in the Canadian music industry.
1 hr 7 min
In this episode, we connected with Kevin Amougou who is a Montreal-based artist manager, and is the founder of the music management company NOTE (Next One to Enjoy) and the label Coat on Club. Kevin has been making moves and building bridges since his early days as a club promoter. From Kevin’s perspective, several elements such as access to information and intergenerational mentorship are needed to build the music scene in each city. While Kevin acknowledges that cross-city and bilingual collaborations are slowly happening, he explains that one of the most challenging barriers from a Montreal perspective in building an ecosystem is the lack of institutional recognition that is given to R&B and Hip Hop.
1 hr 2 min
In this conversation, we spoke to DJ Pøptrt, who is an Indigenous DJ and artist from the Mohawk Nation of Kahnawake. DJ Poptrt brings a very important and overlooked perspective to this conversation regarding collaboration and language barriers, specifically in the ways they impact the Indigenous cultures living near both Montreal and Toronto. She explains that the Francophone language barrier not only challenges the connection between the Anglophone artists and talent in Montreal but also, the Indigenous artists, leaving their history, their art, and their stories out of Canadian art, music, and culture on many levels. DJ Poptrt is passionate about the role that knowledge sharing and community development plays in building a music ecosystem and developing artists on an individual level.
44 min 54 sec
In this episode we spoke with FLOW 93.5FM on-air personality and “Made In Toronto” host, Ricochet on his role as a culture curator shining a spotlight on the city’s talent and advocating for Black music in Canada’s radio industry. Although many would say that radio is fading as a medium, Ricochet believes that commercial radio will evolve, adapt and continue to be a valuable discovery platform for local artists in each respective city. He shares his opinions on why this is important, especially given the scarcity of Hip Hop outlets at the commercial radio level in Canada. Ricochet also talks about the misperceptions and disconnect between the music landscapes in Toronto and Montreal and how that is a barrier to collaboration. As a suggestion, Ricochet shares his thoughts on how influential Canadian artists and platforms can play a role in influencing culture and collaboration between Montreal and Toronto.
41 min 57 sec
In this episode, we speak with Toronto-based Producer Junia T about the valuable learnings gained through his debut album Studio Monk in 2020. He shares key insights on his collaboration philosophy — humanizing, grounding, and preparing a space that is free for creativity to flourish, while also prioritizing investing financially into each collaborator, recognizing their value and paying them at their rate. In respect to the Montreal/Toronto ecosystem, Junia T highlights the DJ and Party scenes of each city as major facilitators in establishing connections and promoting discoverability. Staying close to his roots in the studio, Junia T also offers suggestions on how studio spaces can become key contributors as physical spaces where talent can connect, where the community can be built and art can be made.
34 min 59 sec
In this episode, we spoke with Montreal-born and raised Naya Ali about how she is intentionally paving the way for herself in a market with substantial gaps in support and infrastructure for Anglo rap artists. Naya Ali has taken initiative to lead cross-city and bilingual collaborations with producers and artists from Montreal and Toronto. She also speaks on how this approach leverages the uniqueness and diversity that each city is known and loved for, ultimately making music that can resonate on an international level.
40 min 40 sec
In this episode, we spoke with Obuxum, Toronto-based Somali-Canadian producer and beatmaker, about her experience expanding her music to the gaming industry and how that has inspired new avenues. Obuxum offers advice to emerging artists looking to build and connect in Toronto’s music industry, pointing to the valuable resources available in community art and music spaces. Obuxum also shares her experience performing in major Montreal festivals like Pop Montreal and Mutek, and how they have exposed her to other Canadian and International talent. In the future, Obuxum imagines that more diversity and connections could be fostered in the Canadian landscape overall if hybrid programs and experiences were designed to bridge the gap between Montreal and Toronto.
41 min 15 sec
In this episode, we spoke to Charlie Wall-Andrews, Executive Director of SOCAN Foundation, Educator, and Ph.D. candidate at the Ted Rogers School Of Management. The conversation begins with a discussion around how music education, programming, and fund development/investment can support the music ecosystem and empower artists in having sustainable careers. Charlie identifies what she believes to be three key barriers to the Montreal x Toronto collaboration: resources (funding, etc)., time, and equity & diversity. We also discuss the richness of culture and identity that is present in cities like Montreal and Toronto, as well as the opportunities to find alignment and solidarity around issues that affect the Canadian music landscape as a whole.
1 hr 1 min
In this episode, we connected with Montreal-born photographer and visual storyteller Naskademini who’s eye for capturing high-profile brands and people has been featured in publications like Hypebeast and Complex. Naturally, Naskademini impresses the importance of archival documentation and visuals on music culture, artist identity, and fan connection. Especially as Canadian artists from cities like Montreal and Toronto who are often imitating their U.S counterparts, it’s important for Torontonians and Montrealers to own the sound and nuances of their cities so they can cultivate Canadian pride in their music and visual identity. Naskademini also encourages the notion of intentional collaboration between Anglo and Francophone artists as a way of purposefully acknowledging their goal of bridging the gap and amplifying the talent of both cities on a global scale.
1 hr 3 min
In this episode, we spoke with Cadence Weapon, Edmonton-born, Toronto-based rapper, producer, writer, and poet about the importance of sustaining the history and culture of the creative community in both Montreal and Toronto. Right out the gate, Cadence Weapon expresses his passion for archiving music history and believes it is key to preserving culture as music expands to new audiences, generations, and cities. Cadence also lends his lived experiences as an artist who has lived and worked in both cities to highlight the distinct differences between the communities, cultures, mindsets, and infrastructures. He suggests that collaboration can exist between the two — that Montreal can influence Toronto to be more of an artist/cultural incubator and that Toronto can bring more of its business acumen to the table. Cadence Weapon believes that bridging the strengths of both cities together in a cross-city collaboration is a clever tool; one that he utilizes because of the way it elevates the energy, creativity and execution of the work.
1 hr 2 min
In this episode, we spoke with Koudjo, one part of the Qcltur - a media platform promoting local and international Francophone artists in Quebec and beyond. From the beginning of the conversation, Kuodjo shares the importance of building trust with artists in collaborations and expresses that genuine connection and relationship building is the secret sauce that translates into the most authentic representations for their community and culture. Kuodjo shares his thoughts on how mainstream media outlets skip out on connecting with the Hip Hop & Rap Francophone and/or Anglophone culture and pridefully promotes the Qcltur team and their role in being a platform that amplifies these overlooked voices. Kuodjo also sparks a few exciting ideas for future cross-city collaborations that have the potential to bring tangible movement to building the Montreal-Toronto ecosystem.
46 min 17 sec
In this episode, we connected with Aisha Wickham, Program Consultant for the Ontario Music Office at Ontario Creates and seasoned builder, investor, and promoter of Canada’s Music Industry. Throughout her career in Toronto, Aisha has been hands-on in the launch of two Black-owned radio stations and the development of artists and infrastructure that supports artists’ ability to thrive in the Canadian landscape. We talked to Aisha about the challenges that continue to exist in Toronto’s industry despite over 20 years of growth, as well as the key solutions and actions that are needed to create more equity, exposure, and amplification of young artists and music industry professionals.
42 min 10 sec
In this episode, we spoke with Chris Wilson who is a venue booker, music promoter, and cultural programmer and is the Director of Programming + Brand Partnerships for The Drake Hotel Properties. For this conversation, Chris brings a helpful POV and language to help us understand the synergies and disconnect between both cities and how the difference in values influence each city's music ecosystem from the individual to the institution and business. Chris Wilson also offers some practical thoughts to spark collaboration among industry players at all levels. From artists to their agents, and from venues to media outlets, he sees collaboration as a force that can strengthen the music economy, infrastructure, audience, and overall sustainability of music in Canada.
57 min 47 sec
In this episode, we spoke with Yasmine Seck who is the founder of Montreal PR company Sounds Good, and started by building roots in the underground scene as a DJ and founder of Obsolete Collective. Yasmine speaks on the challenges that Anglo-speaking and French-speaking Hip Hop, Rap, and Electronic artists experience within the music and media infrastructure in Quebec. She also cites a combination of streetwear brands and party promoters that have been instrumental in creating space for the current wave of music coming out of Montreal. Yasmine shared that she sees the potential for collaboration and musical synergy between the scenes, so long as perceived barriers like language and discoverability are overcome.
49 min 43 sec
In this episode, we spoke with Daniel Seligman who is Co-founder and Creative Director of Pop Montreal International Music Festival which has been showcasing international artists from all disciplines and parts of the world since 2002. Having lived and worked in both cities, Daniel offers a personal and professional perspective on the differences each city is grounded on. Daniel sheds light on Toronto being a commercial hub for the industry and Montreal being an artists’ playground with ample access to festivals, art, culture, and funding bodies that invest in art as a part of the Quebec identity.
36 min 52 sec
In this episode, we spoke with Josephine Cruz aka Jayemkayem who is a multidisciplinary creative entrepreneur based in Toronto. For this conversation, she drew on her experiences as a DJ, running an independent record label, Bare Selection, alongside her partner Freeza Chin, and all she does as co-founder and director of the community radio station, ISO. Jayemkayem used an analogy of her real-life cousin in London (UK) to describe the potential connections she sees between Montreal and Toronto and she spoke to the power of grassroots collaborations with people and spaces holding shared values as a way to build those linkages. One of the keys we discussed was how creative uses of spaces (including not being dependent on physical spaces) can strengthen this inter-city collaboration.
49 min 28 sec
Is there a moment in the past year where Hip Hop Art opened your mind and shifted the way you look at the world or clarified your perspective? For CONVENE "Hip Hop Art and Thriving in the World" we had DJ Mel Boogie of VIBE 105.5FM, digital artist and illustrator Tooncrew, one of Canada’s foremost Hip Hop lyricists Eternia and Chedo (host and founder of The Come Up Show) in conversation about how Hip Hop and the art inspired by the culture plays a role in making sense of life and inspiring their crafts and careers.
2 hr 3 min
Talk about branding is everywhere: whether it is about running a business or how you represent yourself in the world. At the heart of the brands that last and have impact is the idea of aspiration. This conversation on how to align your brand with your aspiration (and the pitfalls to watch out for along the journey) featured Talya Macedo of Somewhere Else, Gloria Chik of Rogue Stories and founder of The Flight Pack, and photographer Kadeem Ellis. This conversation took place inside of Free Space in partnership with The Creator Class.
1 hr 51 min
CONVENE ‘What's Your Work Worth’ dealt with questions we all face around the value of our work. Whether you are running a team, creating a product or providing your talent, the question of the worth of your work is one of the most difficult we face. How much do you charge for what you offer, what you do and what you make? How do you know when unpaid/underpaid work is actually an opportunity or when it is just being taking advantage of? To answer these questions and more, this conversation featured Rollie Pemberton aka Cadence Weapon and producer and manager Iva Golubovic, along with Rahul Madan and Eric Richards of WIL Studios. This conversation took place at Free Space in Toronto in partnership with The Creator Class.
1 hr 52 min
CONVENE "Breaking Down Music Management" had the subtitle, “From Therapists to A+Rs”, which sums up the experience of so many who work in music management. It is a role that a lot of people describe kind of falling into, but requires an important skill-set. Our goal here was to demystify what it takes to build a career as a music manager. This conversation featured Ricardo Chung of Ransom Management Group, Ayisha Jamal who is an entrepreneur and managed Zaki Ibrahim, Laurie Lee Boutet of Wednesday Management and Ricki Bekzadeh from The Remix Project whose management roles include PVRX and DVSN. This conversation took place as a part of the Manifesto Summit in Toronto at Free Space.
59 min 23 sec
CONVENE “Publishing Your First Photobook” was a one-on-one conversation with Oakland-based photographer and creative director Craig Hackey. The photobook is a form that is important to photographers (from the masters to amateurs and hobbyists), and is a form that is relevant to a wide-range creatives. Where does one even begin is the question that most people don’t ever get past. In this conversation, Craig walks us through how a period of deep disappointment led to the photography project that birthed his first photobook, COME AS YOU ARE. We took at deep dive into the process of making the book, from the image that sparked the theme to how he cut out countless images he loved to create a more focused narrative. Lastly, we got into the fact that the creative portion is only the beginning of the process, and that the strategy to share, market, sell and discuss the book is by far a larger portion of the time and energy it takes. Bottom-line: if you want to make a photobook, whether it is one copy or a thousand copies – do it. This conversation took part in partnership with Free Space and The Creator Class.
1 hr 2 min
CONVENE “Sign on the Dotted Line” featured Jonathan Ramos of Ink Entertainment and Rap Season, Kiran Ray (actor, podcaster and entrepreneur), foundational Hip Hop Emceee Jelleestone and entertainment lawyer Divya Shoshana. This conversation covered a range of creative industries (film, music, podcasting, photography, creative direction, event production and more), offering practical tips and wisdom from experience. Some the questions included: What do I need to cover in a contract? How do I negotiate without risking an opportunity? How do I introduce a contract into a collaboration? What's the best way to protect my ideas and intellectual property? This conversation took place in partnership with Artscape Daniels Launchpad with support from Canada Council.
1 hr 47 min
"The Deal on Deals" featured Allison Outhit of Six Shooter Records, Vivian Barclay of Warner Chappell Music, Tanisha Clarke of Not What You Expected, and was hosted by Eternia. This session was designed to cover the full spectrum of deals that exist in the music business. This conversation took place as a part of CONVENE: The B-Side of the Music Business, which was a full day of workshops, panels and performances presented by Watrvision Creative, Factor Canada, City Hall Live and Free Space on June 2nd, 2019 in Toronto.
1 hr 27 min
"Growing in the Industry Through Labels + Management" featured Tao-Ming Lau of Blue Crane Agency, Gavin Sheppard of The Remix Project, Quiet as Kept and Public Records, Toronto music industry O.G. Ivan Evidente and was facilitated by Chris Penrose. The session was designed to bring valuable ideas on how to build a career and/or business in labels and management. This conversation took place as a part of CONVENE: B-Side of the Music Business, which was a full day of workshops, panels and performances presented by Watrvision Creative, Factor Canada, City Hall Live and Free Space on June 2nd, 2019 in Toronto.
48 min 48 sec
"Building a Marketing Plan" featured Dreyuh Safo of Rap Season, Mark Nabeta of trevor//peter, Carey Riley of Sony Music Canada, T-Nyce, and was co-facilitated by Wan Lucas and Chris Penrose. This session was designed to bring forward valuable ideas on how to approach marketing music from a range of perspectives. This conversation took place as a part of CONVENE: B-Side of the Music Business, which was a full day of workshops, panels and performances presented by Watrvision Creative, Factor Canada, City Hall Live and Free Space on June 2nd, 2019 in Toronto.
40 min 14 sec