The Lefty Music practicum team.

Photo courtesy: Lefty Music

RTA students kick-start careers for local artists

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By Jessica Valeny 

What started off as a fourth-year RTA thesis project is now an agency for Toronto musicians looking to kick-start their professional careers.

Created by media production students Mitchell Stuart, Julian Muia and Gilberto Vega in September 2015, Lefty Music provides resources to local artists who need help with music production and brand development.

“We want to offer the services musicians need that are not always readily available to them,” Muia said.

For affordable prices, Lefty Music provides everything from music videos, albums, photo-shoots and digital media for their clientele.

“One of our pillars is collaboration,” said Vega. “We work with musicians by giving them our input, but they also tell us exactly what they’re looking for. We throw a lot of ideas back and forth.”

Stuart, Muia and Vega put together a team of people who all share a passion for music, both from an artistic and business perspective.

“We understand exactly what our clientele is dealing with,” said Muia, who is part of a band himself. “Think of it as musicians creating music for musicians.”

The company that began as a school project has paved the path for local artists. Ruby K is one of three clients in collaboration with Lefty Music. The young musician, originally from the small town of Grand Valley, Ont., is currently being scouted by Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Group.

She contacted the company after Muia posted in a Facebook group asking any interested musicians for a copy of their demos. The staff at Lefty Music were instantly taken aback by her music and have been working with Ruby ever since by helping her with promotion and  content creation through her EP, which is being released in March.

“She seriously is unbelievable at what she does,” Muia said. “She’s only 18-years-old and she’s such a talented songwriter. We have so much respect for her and we just know she’s going to be huge.”

But starting a business comes with its challenges, especially when the agency is run only by students who have the task of balancing both school and work.

“There have been a lot of sleepless nights,” said Vega. “Starting a business is super hard. You need to put in a lot of hours of work and deal with school at the same time.”

For Muia, starting a career as a musician requires just as much time, energy and sacrifice.

“Making art is half of it, and the other half is trying to get heard. You have to have almost a soldier mentality and be willing to promote yourself and that’s what we help you do.”

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