This year I had the pleasure and luck of being one of a select group chosen to be a part of the 3rd annual OVO Summit. When I first heard about the event I was absolutely stoked; would the 6ix God bless us at the door? Would there be a red carpet? Would there be celebrities? Some of these things happened and some of them did not. The summit took place on Thursday, July 28th from 12-5pm at an undisclosed location in downtown Toronto. Beforehand all invitees received emails letting us know that we couldn’t bring guests or take photos and that there would be tight security. According to Ricki Bekzadeh of the Remix Project, the aim of the summit is to “Provide youth from Toronto with an exclusive behind the scenes look at the music industry. Attendees will leave feeling more knowledgeable and connected to the music industry”.
Personally I took away a few new things from the summit so I would say that they remain true to their intent. As each invitee entered the building (the address was given out the night before) they had to check in with security. Once cleared, everyone received an OVO swag bag containing an owl branded notebook and pen to take notes. I saw many familiar faces in the crowd and even met some new ones which makes me think that I’m on the right track at the beginnings of my musical career. When I say familiar faces though, I mean people who are known party hosts in the city, artists with tens of thousands of YouTube views and even award winning producers.
The way to be invited to the event it seems is to have previously participated in a city program such as the Remix Project, a master class with Urban Arts or ArtScape Toronto, be a part of a recording program at a community center, have started your own movement like a magazine or art gallery or maybe you just know someone on the inside. No matter how you got there, it was definitely a good day to participate in.
The summit took the form of a talk show where the host interviewed 3 people from different parts of the entertainment industry. At the end of the interviews a few of the invitees got to ask questions. The line-up included Derek “Drex” Jancar who is the co-founder of the Remix Project, Director of OVO Fest and manager to newly signed OVO artists Majid Jordan. We then had Nicole George who is Senior Vice President of Membership at ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) and finally… super prouder Metro Boomin! Drex guided us through the process of starting up the Remix Project and then moving into talent management. Nicole spoke on performing rights organizations such as ASCAP and how they help artists get paid, and then Metro Boomin told us about his journey to the top and the 10 hour drives he’d take to Atlanta to get work done.
The underlying theme of the day was definitely to work hard and even when you think you’ve worked hard enough to work some more. The speakers wanted us all to know that if you stay on track and keep working on your craft, your hard work will show and the rest will come. Personally I believe them because the group Majid Jordan was actually discovered on Soundcloud by Noah “40” Shebib. Anything is possible, but you will definitely have more luck if you seize the opportunities given to you. Of course some opportunities will pass you by but that’s when you have to be brave enough to create your own!
My only criticism of the event is that I was really hoping Majid Jordan themselves or Roy Wood$ would have come out to speak to us. It was great to hear from people who have so much experience in the industry but I would have loved to hear from these newly signed artists who seemed to literally be plucked off the streets and overnight successes. Also, it would have been nice to have a musical performance during the break. Other than those things, the summit was a good investment of time; maybe the 6ix God did bless us after all.
Asha Mullings aka Ekelle is a Toronto based artist, model, and writer. You can connect with her on Twitter and IG at #officialekelle.