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    Emerging Artist Profile – Aijia Waithe

    Toronto singer/songwriter and actress, Aijia Waithe began singing at 2-years-old, while growing up in a charismatic church community. In 2008, at the age of 14, Aijia was accepted into the musical theatre program at Wexford Collegiate School and went on to pursue her studies in music at Humber College.

    Currently attending Humber in the Bachelor of Contemporary Music degree program, and in her final year of study, Aijia’s progression has led to her receiving the 2013 Archie Alleyne Scholarship Award (AASF) for aspiring musicians, the 2014 Trish Colter Award and the 2015 KCLC Scholarship (Kingsway Community Life Centre). After receiving the 2013 AASF award, Aijia was introduced to Mr. Alleyne’s Evolution of Jazz ensemble, having the opportunity to perform alongside some of Toronto’s best musicians and in front of some of the most significant contributors to Canadian society, such as: Archie Alleyne, Andrew Scott, Michael Arthurs, Stacie McGreagor, Artie Roth, Roger Williams, Alexander Brown Cabrera, Alexis Baro and Jackie Richardson. Along with these successes, Aijia was also recruited to the independent record label Upright Music Republic (UMR), releasing her first single, “C.L.A.S.S,” in August 2014, which has been recognized across North America and England. This song was also the feature on Emily Mills’ “How She Hustles” campaign and breakfast brunch video and was performed at the Jackie Richardson Tribute Concert in October 2014.

    Most recently, Aijia was invited to represent Canada, by singing the national anthem at the Formal Torch Ceremony for the 2015 Pan Am Games. She also had the privilege of singing behind the legendary Stevie Wonder in his final North American tour of "Songs in the Key of Life" at the Air Canada Centre in October 2015. Keep your eyes peeled for this rising star as she prepares to release her debut EP entitled, “I Am the Colour,” this
    summer, 2016.

    1) What was the biggest inspiration for you entering music as a career?

    The biggest inspiration for me entering music as a career was in grade 11, when I sang lead in my high school’s Christmas show on Michael Jackson’s, “I’ll Be There.” During this same year, I landed the role of Mimi Marquez in our annual musical, “Rent,” realizing then, that I was destined to the arts and music was certainly the driving force of my passion. Music had always been a part of me, but it was this year I realized it was truly a part of my destiny, far beyond a ‘liking’ or a ‘hobby.’ I wanted to become serious with music as a career.

    2) As an emerging artist, what are you hoping to gain from attending the Music Business Seminar?

    I hope to gain a better understanding of the different angles regarding music as a business, in order to help me facilitate the most productive strategy to be successful in my endeavours as a musician. This industry is not always consistent, so to do my best in supporting what I believe can be a promising future, I would like to seek some more council in the areas of self-promotion, budgeting and publishing rights.

    3) What artist / group / organization do you feel is best taking advantage of the current music industry climate most successfully?

    Great question. I would have to say that Snarky Puppy is one group that comes to mind. Not only have they embraced a sound that compliments elements of jazz, funk, hip-hop and soul, which many audiences, age groups and backgrounds can relate to, but they have established a brand that allows listeners to feel inclusive
    and quite interactive. I believe this is a great way to engage listeners and truly speaks to the overall character of the band. There choice to collaborate on their albums Family Dinner Volumes One & Two has also contributed to their strength in promoting artists who they support as well as their own brand. Snarky Puppy has become, what I believe, the most innovative musical groups in North America through their decision to reach beyond the confines of ONE set musical genre by simply making music that best represents each individual within the band, those they collaborate with and choosing to be creative without apology. Through filming, live recordings and various interviews, Snarky Puppy utilizes the media to their advantage and quite intelligently by creating no
    confines between them and their audience.

    4) What upcoming projects are you most looking forward to?

    I am currently very excited to share that I have been working on an upcoming EP entitled “I Am the Colour,” which is to be released this summer 2016. It is comprised of all original material and the very first project to call my own. Many fabulous musicians have contributed to the making of this project, so I look forward to sharing the result of my process and some of the content leading up to the final stage. Some of the artists on the project have already been recognized amongst the Toronto music scene including: Karen Jewels, Jesse Ryan and Otis Williams. Details regarding date of release are TBA. Cannot wait to share!!

    5) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    In 10 years I can see myself finally established in determining a steady work flow as a musician and actress. By this time I also plan to complete a Masters degree by which I would become a registered music therapist having the option to work as my own business amongst homes, long-term care facilities or clinics geared, preferably towards children. However, the future may hold other plans and in 10 years I could very well be travelling
    with my music all while filming a series.

    Lightning Round:

    Favourite new artist: Its a tie between Jonathan McReynolds and Cecile McLorin Salvant

    Last live concert / show you attended: Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” concert

    Best piece of advice you received: Everything you are and everything you can be is already inside of you…it’s a matter of watering the seed and watching the acorn grow into an oak tree.

    Favourite non-musical activity: Working out!

    If you didn’t work in the music field, what would you want to be? An elementary school teacher

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