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Arts and Cultural Management Student and Goldie Award finalist brings beats to the community

December 4, 2018 | Arts & Culture
I always knew I wanted to do something in music, but it took me a while to find the right fit.

My family owned a record store, so I was always surrounded by music. I listened to a lot of metal and punk growing up and tried different instruments but nothing clicked. When I discovered hip-hop and started making beats, I finally knew what I wanted to do.

The Goldie Awards is a competition for DJs and beat-makers that was started by A-Trak, a DJ from Montreal. I initially had no intention of submitting a track, but then I saw one of my mentors and good friends did, and I thought I might as well too. I didn’t think I stood much of a chance because they get hundreds of submissions, so I was surprised to find out I was one of the finalists and that I’d get to go to Brooklyn to compete.

It was an opportunity to connect with like-minded people from across the world so that I can invite them back to our community and show them what we're doing here. I’m one of the organizers with Sampler Cafe – we put on jam sessions, but for making beats. We do a lot of youth workshops and it’s the best feeling ever. Showing a kid how to tap in a beat and then watching them make the beat by themselves and feel proud of themselves – that gives you the warm, fuzzy feelings. And it reminds me that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

Right now we’re working on getting to some northern communities because not only do they have limited access to the equipment for making beats, they also don’t always have high-speed internet so it’s hard to even access tutorial videos online. We're trying to help fill those gaps.

I got to meet A-Trak at the Goldies. I brought him a Sampler Cafe shirt and told him about what we're doing. Before I did my set he mentioned Sampler Cafe and the work we do to the crowd. It made me really proud to have someone like him acknowledge our community.

 - Paul McMillan, 2nd year, Arts and Cultural Management

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