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“I’ve always been a freelancer,” CIQ shares, “I reinvent myself as many times as I need to.”

Lately she has been working with a modeling agency, hoping that this relationship will help her out in the fields of music, acting and modeling. “I finally figured out that the DJ industry is 99-100% men only and what that means to me. I’ve searched worldwide for decent management and finally went outside the music industry, and am now working with a modeling agent for music, acting and modeling. I have no idea where this will lead. The focus is international, finally, and I am really happy with this so far. The extra work is really fun.”

“I am also changing my approach in the studio. I feel like I have at least four jobs at the moment.”

“Only once before in my career did I ever encounter not being taken seriously as a producer because I am a woman. That was in the USA. Now I realize this is a worldwide issue in the music industry. In Toronto, I believe I got a lot more work because of my excellent reputation and knowledge. If anything, I was respected more, not less, as a minority in the field.”

“It is what it is. I feel like I’ve climbed to the top of a tall ladder and found nothing at the top. So I guess it’s up to me. So much for a cash job as an international DJ.”

“I can’t even begin to explain how unimpressed and disappointed I am that the DJ industry does not support female talent properly. If anything, women are seriously disrespected in that industry on many levels, and no wonder nearly all the music sounds suspiciously like it was written by men, for men, about men, only. It probably was. In fact, a lot of dance music makes women sound like they have no brains, lost in the music. Like extreme groupies. I used to think all those girls were paid to stand there and scream. I’ve always been an artist, a thinker, a producer, a classical musician. I can’t relate to that at all. Maybe less than one percent of women are like that.”

“As a producer and performer I have never cared what anyone thinks. I just show up. All it takes is one five minute conversation. One song. People connect with me. I’ve never been concerned with the future, as long as I am in control, I have more work coming my way than anyone can handle. Sometimes I’m not offered exactly what I want, other times, it’s great. If I’m not getting what I want, I change whatever I’m doing, or take time off. That’s what freelance is all about.”

“So I’m doing things my way. I can’t conform to an all male industry. That’s insane. It’s not me… it’s them, the industry, the world.”

“My life is my adventure. I enjoy doing unique and different things all the time. I don’t feel the need to conform to anything other than who I really am and what I really feel is right. I have always believed… if you ‘CIQ’ you will find.”

“My experience in the music industry has been a real adventure. People used to tell me I was ahead of my time. I didn’t know if that was true but it does seem as though the world was not ready for me.”

CIQ left her management and went out on her own after working for several of Canada’s top companies. “It was a great time in my life, I was always hanging out in people’s mansions, engineering records, sipping drinks in backyard pools, running into the same friends in London and Cannes. But I felt that need to be an entrepreneur, it was the same reason I respected the people I worked for.”

So she walked away from a high end sound system sponsorship to go out on her own. She found she had a steep learning curve. But it was a time to explore the world and see what was out there.

“I never did find any real partners to work with, in the sense that, since the beginning the music from the electronic music events I did on the weekends with my friends were a completely different thing than working at MuchMusic after school or passing out free stuff from major record labels. It was two different worlds. I felt people wanted me to be a popstar and I was an international DJ. People didn’t even know what that was.”

She did run an international DJ collective for a year with friends, based in New York and Toronto. “I actually flew into the UK and hit several cities to buy vinyl the year before Beatport went online. Most my vinyl records still aren’t available online.”

“But I always travelled a lot, since I was a teenager. When I left home I lived in the USA for two years. For awhile, if I was awake I was usually on a stage with a band. If I wasn’t on stage, I was in rehearsal, or jamming with friends.”

“But the first thing I learned in business when I went out on my own was all about numbers. No matter what business you’re in, numbers are consistent, and my eyes were opened to a whole world beyond music.” She studied the stock market and real estate and creative business models. She also wrote an article on music business models based on her own personal experience. “Then I realized that my time is my life, and my life is worth more to me than work. But I was always motivated by making a difference, spending time with great people, new and interesting experiences, perks and a paycheck that is worth my time.”

“So this is my life. Where I come from, people are real, we’re not impressed by superficial things. We value honesty and integrity. People are more important than anything else. We never walk away from our convictions, and we would never deny who we really are or what we really think.”

“I grew up around mechanics and thought I might be a race car driver. There is no fooling yourself in some industries. I’ve always known it’s my life on the line.”

But whether she is just relaxing on the beaches, or working in a fun job for a decent paycheck, she really doesn’t mind. “Like they say, if you live your life right, once is enough. And I really don’t need anything. I don’t need the glamour, the fame, the thrills. No matter where I am, my life is amazing.”

“If people want to know, I have a true faith in God, and a great family. I always work hard on being the best person I can be. I’m really happy with my life.”

She spends at least as much time with friends, enjoying good cooking, travel and new experiences. “I basically do that for a living. If I were independently wealthy, I’d probably be doing pretty close to the exact same thing I am doing now. Maybe somewhere else with different people, more time with my family, it’s impossible to know. i am definitely motivated by people who care about me. But like all my close friends, I do have a mind of my own. Where I grew up, it’s impossible not to think for yourself. It’s your survival, and it’s your future.”

“If people aren’t honest and upfront with me, I really don’t have time for games. I have more important things to do with my life. I always have a clear conscience and I don’t regret my decisions over the years. I am always true to myself and to my people. If we don’t trust each other, and help each other out, what do we have? I can’t respect when people step on others for the sake of their own ego. I have never been a part of that mindset. If you’re not making the world better by being here, then what are you doing?”


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“Fame was never a high priority for me,” CIQ laughs, “being from Canada, I learned that fame and money don’t always coincide, and it takes awhile for the general public to catch up with what you are doing.”

She’s accomplished a lot of cutting edge projects by staying just under the radar. By the time the mainstream media caught up with her groundbreaking events, and other organizations were looking to work with her, she had already moved on to new projects. “I told them I had decided to focus on more studio work about two months before they called me, to follow my passion.”

“I’m not bothered about fame one way or the other,” CIQ continues, “but depending on what you are trying to accomplish, it can help you or stop you from what you are trying to do.”

When she was younger, she spent more time travelling the world and spur of the moment live projects. But then she started looking for something more. “The internet has given me the ability to reach out more beyond where I’ve already been, to stay in touch with people, and has encouraged me to put more time into the studio, to create a lasting legacy, to share my ideas and creativity with the entire world. It’s a learning process, I am not technologically inclined, but very good once I understand the technology. I’m more of an artist. I like to interact with the entire world via the internet and to communicate creatively this way.”

“I always wanted to leave my footprints in the sand, to carve my name in history. I’ve had the opportunity to see much of the world and hopefully I’ll keep finding ways to give back.”

“It’s a beautiful world, full of wonderful experiences and good people, a perfect Creation of Love, and an opportunity to always better ourselves and live our dreams, and inspire upcoming generations.”


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“I accomplish the impossible everyday, I mean that when I say it, it’s not that difficult,” CIQ explains. “A bit of courage, creativity, perseverance and above all, faith. If you don’t believe something is possible, you won’t try it.”

“Where I come from, everyone believes life is short, and today you gotta live your life to the full. It doesn’t mean we are all adrenaline junkies, and we all plan to be racecar drivers for a living (some of us, maybe), but it does mean we are up for just about anything, and when we have an idea, we do it, right now, not ten years from now.”

“You have to choose your battles though,” she goes on. “My high school sports teacher wanted me on the basketball team. I was more into soccer and volleyball. She told me she’d teach me how to get nine out of ten basketballs into the hoop. So I agreed on that premise. A few days later I was shooting nine out of ten baskets.”

“Life is really based on your choices. If you know what you’re doing, you just make a list and carry it out.”

“As for technique, if you visualize that basketball going in the hoop right before you throw it, you will throw it right where your focus is, and the ball will follow the path you’ve mapped out in your mind.”

“But you really have to choose your battles. Unfortunately I kept messing up my fingers in basketball, jamming my knuckles, and I couldn’t play classical piano with my middle fingers in bandages.”

“It’s all about focus. You will do exactly what you’ve decided you will do.”

“In music and arts, I accomplish exactly what I focus on each day. But if I’m not focussed it’s just a waste of time, so I just get out and do something else for awhile.”

“Anything is possible. I used to drive an hour through storms every day to get to work. Blizzards, thunderstorms, glare ice, extreme temperatures, high winds, freezing rain, once a tornado. I didn’t know it was a tornado at that time. Tree branches kept blowing across the road right in front of me so I was just at the tail end of it. When I got to my destination the hydro wires were hanging down and broken, and I couldn’t get out of my car for ten minutes, until the wind went down rather suddenly. I actually thought driving through that kind of crazy weather was fun at the time, but it did require some focus and skill.”

“Regardless if I leave the studio and get out performing, I might be more likely to play live than DJ. I find the egos I deal with on a daily basis almost impossible. If it’s not worth the trouble, I’ll find somewhere else to fit in. There’s so many great things to do with my life. Why make excuses? This is my life, and life is great, now. I like positive social change, but I’ve put up with a great deal of negativity from people in the process.”

“I hang out with a lot of real estate investors online, among other business people and artists, and one word they use in business frequently is personal responsibility. Basically you bear the consequences of whatever actions you decide to take. Most people are afraid to admit that, at least on that level, and they don’t like to take risks either, which is why they don’t go into business or real estate investing. But the only way to get anything done in this world is to do it yourself.”

“You have to be 100% truthful and realistic with yourself 100% of the time. If you can’t jump across a cliff don’t do it. Here in Canada we are really good at the great outdoors and survival. Most people love conquering the great outdoors here just for fun if they grew up in it, outside the cities and towns. We’re not really afraid of much, the rest of the world is pretty basic in comparison.”


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“I really enjoy the journey,” CIQ says nonchalantly. “I can’t say that I have had one career my whole life really, except that I’ve worked with people, mainly young people, and in a general sense throughout the music and entertainment industry. I’m not really any one thing, I’m a producer, studio engineer and I play a lot of instruments. But I’ve worked for many companies and done different things in all the arts. I hang out with a lot of artists, entrepreneurs, investors, and people working to make a difference in every level of society. To me its about the journey, I may be especially into music, but I’ve never really defined myself by what I do, more who I am, because there is a whole world to discover and this is my life.”

It’s fairly common for Toronto talent to work freelance, jumping from project to project, working for creative companies doing many different things, often simultaneously. “I considered many jobs like paid internships, I perfected my skills on the job working for other people,” CIQ mentioned, “but when people started offering to train me to take over their own companies I thought it through and decided I kinda wanted to own my own project really. At that point I decided to try a few different things, and took an entrepreneurship course, so I’m on this journey now.”

CIQ has a recording studio in Canada where she spends her time working on her own creative projects. A lot of the skills she uses now she learned on the job working for major labels and media and recording studios, not to mention the trades that run the industry in Canada and USA. “I worked for BMG major label promotion department, MuchMusic in the recording studio, some of these jobs only a few days really, paid internship work,” she added. “A lot of other studios and record labels, the keyboard shop downtown… I wrote the gear section for Contact Industry directory, and a few times working with CMJ Music Marathon in New York. And plenty of other freelance work.”

The music industry was a fairly easy experience for her considering she was trained in classical piano and violin since the age of six. She attended York University for keyboards performance in the modern music fine arts program, and Harris Institute private arts school for producing engineering. During that time she worked for a lot of companies to pay her way through school (and some worldwide travel after that!), but ironically it was her social life that first put her on the map worldwide. “On the weekends, my friends and I were promoting events in the rave and club music cultures in Canada and USA. We were in contact and promoting our events through the internet, and through that I became known worldwide,” she says, laughing. “Probably a lot of people didn’t even know I was a performer, going to school, or a studio engineer in those circles. In fact most the companies I worked for probably didn’t really know either, they just knew what I did when I was working for them.” This focus enabled her to work a lot more jobs and get more done, she explains, and maintain a sane social and personal life, not to mention, finish her education.

But on a personal level she has been motivated more by making a difference in the world than by any career or even the perks that come with fun jobs. In high school she volunteered in a youth drop-in centre for school credit that was run by Youth for Christ. This was her first experience working with young people. “Hanging out with my friends really,” she describes it, “and making a difference, which is what I am motivated to do.” Before that she had also spent her summers volunteering on overseas missions construction projects in poorer communities, like a Central American orphanage, and Eastern Europe in the early nineties. Following high school she spent two years in USA, in Master’s Commission programs, working with inner city youth and communities, and making a difference through the arts and working with people. “It’s a lifestyle, really,” CIQ explains. “Excellence, being a role model, making a difference.”


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CIQ takes a few minutes to discuss some of her musical influences…

“You know I was raised on classical music and I was playing violin and piano every day at nine years old, practicing an hour and a half every day. I was playing in a symphony orchestra when I was thirteen years old. After that I dropped music for awhile because I was more interested in travelling the world. After I turned fifteen I spent most of my summers working overseas on volunteer missions.

“I listened to New Order and Nirvana and wore Doc Martens like every other artist in Generation X. I went to a preppy school so we really stood out in a way. It was pretty normal for radio and artists to blend the sounds of electronic and new rock in Toronto area so I was not aware until much later that at that time electronic music did not have the same following that new rock did.

“No doubt the influence of living in Toronto with such a diverse cultural mix, studying modern music at York with everything from modern classical to technology to popular music, and my friends who were in alt rock bands, or great drummers or singers in urban gospel choirs had as much an influence on me at that time as everything else.

“I was always playing in different bands, especially when I was new in Toronto, and before that when I lived in USA for a couple years. I was always trying new blends and sounds working with different artists from all styles of music. I was really happy after I studied studio engineering because it gave me complete control over presentation of the sound.

“But a lot of my influence came from the technology itself, spending years experimenting with electronic keyboard sounds, practising music, and writing my own. Everyone in my family has always had musical talent and played several different musical instruments. It was sort of inevitable for me in a way. Everyone I know has some sort of unique genius. I just happened to be the one that considered music itself more than a hobby, an obsession really, I took it to a new level and somehow I became a producer.

“But my own sound, I like new stuff, fun stuff, different and unique sounds. I’m a keyboardist, I can play a lot of instruments, but its easier to stick to one right now. I just like to have fun. To do something creative that makes a difference. Anything quality goes, but I like fresh and unique sounds.”

CIQ also spent five years as an events promoter based in Toronto, booking artists and DJs from all genres, and promoting events in Canada and USA.


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Some quick links to CIQ Artist and Social sites..







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