Tag Archive: freelance

“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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“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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