On April 4th, ArtReach presented ‘Sounds from the 6ix’, as part of Platform A's A Talks, a series of roaming salons that gather artists, art educators, writers and creatives of all types who are innovating how e make, see and engage in the arts. The event took place at one Toronto's epicentres for creativity, Nia Centre for the Arts.
This highly anticipated 3-hour event gave Toronto youth the opportunity to hear from well-known Toronto producers Eestbound and Frederick “Free” Brobbey as they discussed the art of production, engineering and how Toronto is building its own sound. Audience members also got a chance to engage with the producers with a Q&A and were able to network with them and other youth in the space. The talk was moderated by Mustafa El Amin, the Founder and Executive Director of Mystand Mentorship and NorthBlock Entertainment. MPP Robin Martin, who represents the riding of Eglinton – Lawrence, opened up the event with a congratulatory presentation to Platform A on receiving the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant which supported the A Talks series.
Bryan Van Mierlo, better known professionally as Eestbound, is a Toronto based music producer who is best known for his impressive production work on hip hop artist Travis Scott’s multi-platinum song “Antidote”. Eestbound has collaborated with various artists and producers in Toronto and internationally including Toronto producer Wondagurl, artist Young Thug, Sean Leon, and Tre Capital. Eestbound is the co-founder and co-facilitator of In Studio Collective, an ArtReach-funded program that works with youth to develop skills in production and audio engineering for music, podcasts, and radio.
Frederick “Free” Brobbey is the Creative Director of JustOverMusic: MusicLinks and the lead coordinator of Grassroots Music, another ArtReach-funded program that engages youth in artist development and music training. Free’s reach is not just local, but his networks include international artists, musicians, and music labels. He continues to create spaces for young and emerging artists to safely explore and express their creativity with and among mentors, and to work to achieve their music objectives.
With accredited names in attendance, engaged youth audience members were eager to get in as many questions as they could! One youth asked Eestbound, “Do you have any tips for someone on how to stay eager in this music game if their work is constantly being overlooked and being kept underground?” Eestbound answered confidently, “One important point is that the guy who made Thriller for Michael Jackson was 47 years-old when he did. Everyone has their own time, don’t be worried about someone surpassing you- you have to take your own path to get to where you want to be. Just focus on you more and enjoy the ride, because if you don’t enjoy the ride, then this probably isn’t for you”. Free added, “Just stay true to what you’re doing, you’ll always find your place, and that is what we’re all looking for. The second you see something that looks cool and you start doing it, that’s where you’ll start losing yourself. And it’s hard because we all want to get in, we all want to be accepted in whatever way. It’s just taking the time to recognize what you’re competing against and where you are”.
A lot of youth were curious to hear more about Eestbound’s work on the hit song Antidote by Travis Scott. He shared, “Let’s say someone comes to you and says I want you to make the best beat you’ve ever made and I want you to finish it in a week. You’re not going to. The pressure becomes too much and you’re going to force yourself into something that usually only happens organically. So, I try to not focus on that at all, so I can just do whatever and just have that mentality of F’it and make whatever I feel like and hopefully it clicks. With Antidote, that was not a beat where I made it thinking to myself, ‘yeah I’m going make a hit record right now!’ It was just another project to me”.
Sounds From the 6ix was a huge success, as youth in the space were left with an eagerness to create great content and a drive from the belief in knowing that they have what it takes to carry their work to the next level!