The Indie Music Scene in Toronto

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Image source: http://canadianmusician.com/

BY: DT THE ARTIST 

Toronto is a bustling and busy city. There is always something going on. And the same can be said musically of our city, Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America with a population of around 3 million people. Which means almost 10% of the entire population of Canada’s 34.6 million people lives within our city borders. With an eclectic landscape of venues from restaurants, to clubs, to performance venues and concert halls, an artist visiting Toronto can easily network, and participate in events, shows, showcases, and open mics. Being able to take advantage of the media outlets as well, ranging from online radio, and online tv, to terrestrial radio and tv.

Toronto has become a hotbed for noticing talent, as they say all eyes are on Toronto. And making moves such as becoming a music city in partnership with Austin, Texas the host of SXSW music is growing here. Toronto hosts a music conference entitled NXNE (North by North East).  Although the independent scene seems to be thriving, there are many outlets for the independent artist that is being pushed out of the downtown core due to construction and new condos going up everywhere you look, which is now creating a new dynamic and opportunities in new and developing areas. As a city, you have a new generation of artists and media content creators building new platforms to share the arts with.

If you are an artist looking for a chance to get on stage or network with other artists then Toronto is the place as every night there is an open mic or showcase or concert happening somewhere. If you’re looking to build your audience you can check out openmicscene.com and openmictoronto.net. Besides just having the ability to perform you would do well to look into some of the up and coming media in the city. To name a few check out wwetv, Hott TV, fam tv, and Muzik vue, and zongbyte. These platforms are building bridges for artists to be able to take steps in the right direction and build on their audience. For shows and performance opportunities you can look into Raw Dog ent, 90-Nickel Entertainment, and for the ladies look into Stacee Brizzle, she usually organizes ladies only performance events, “Brizzle’s Kitty Palace” but the guys are welcome to go and support.

I have heard from many artists in the city saying that they don’t do open mics. But the open mic is the best place to test out new material in front of an audience. It gives you live feedback and often the organizers put on other events and are always looking for talented artists. As well when I am developing an artist, the first thing I ask is what does their audience look like, who is their target market. It is necessary to perfect your craft, and build your show, while engaging audiences, and new communities. Another opportunity I feel like many artists are not taking advantage of is that we have so many legendary artists in the Toronto scene such as Michie Mee, Choclair, Kardinall Offishall, Ray Robinson, Dru, Solitaire, Rochester, and so many more. Reach out to them for mentorship, as well as to do features, so that you can build your reputation with a better understanding of the industry and musical landscape. Do not miss out on the amount of knowledge and wisdom that we have in our city, we have legends that have taken the hard road to clear a path so that the new generation of Indie artists can succeed.

As an independent artist in the Toronto scene, or even for visitors, take advantage of what the city has to offer. Yes, we have eyes on us, but you have to be doing something worth noticing. So, make sure that you utilize every opportunity available in the city of Toronto.

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