Are you passionate about something that may not be related to your field of study? If you make it a hobby it just might spark a movement. A few students have shown just how that can happen.
Andre Mullings and Mohamed Mohamed, both second-year students in ARBUS, started a record label called BLKLST. Currently, the label has 13 people who work under it in Toronto, Waterloo, and Hamilton.
The label’s first goal is to establish itself locally and then move to global impact. They have held events in Waterloo with large turnouts.
“What better place to do that then Waterloo?” asked Mullings. “Cause most kids are from other places, that’s how word spreads; they go back to their cities and talk about it.”
The label has three artists signed to it:
- LEO. : a 19 year old artist who hails from Hamilton, Ontario. He is starting to make a buzz with over 200,000 plays on Soundcloud as well as being featured on Complex Magazine Canada and Noisey. LEO.’s music has also been played on some of the top radio stations in North America. With flows that match those of top R&B artists, there is bound to be a LEO. song for everyone!
- Genom: is a 19-year-old artist from Hamilton, Ontario. Influenced by many artists including Kanye West, Drake, Andre 3000, Led Zeppelin, Micheal Jackson, his sound is lush and vibrant while maintaining lyricism. He strives to join the ranks of the greatest artists in the world.
- Kevin Rose:Being the youngest artist in group at 18, Kevin’s voice is bound to captivate listeners within the first few seconds. Originally from New Jersey, Kevin has moved to countries such as England, Portugal, and has now taken residence in Hamilton, Ontario. His sound has been influenced by his experiences growing up and the music he has been to exposed to globally.
Mullings spoke about the beginnings of the idea to start a business. “[Mohamed] started BLKLST. Originally it was called Modist, and was actually a clothing brand.”
Mullings and Mohamed bonded over an interest in music. They decided to create their own independent label, with local artists they both knew as clients. Their label takes care of distribution, music curation, equipment, and anything else.
“It’s something we really love,” said Mullings. “We see the impact things like OVO has had on the culture in Toronto. There are big labels too in the United States, like QC, TDE, who’ve had a huge impact. So, it’s something we want to be a part of one day.”
The name for the label came from one of their artists. “There was no real significance behind it. It just rang with us,” Mullings said. “Maybe in hindsight … BLKLST is kind of like you’re written off, maybe people doubt us … We definitely want to make our mark in the industry, so it’s definitely a name that stuck with us.”
Mullings admitted that a KW-based record label stands out in the tech- and engineering-driven community. “There’s a lot of start-ups that I see coming out of this city that are really interesting, that maybe don’t garner that amount of attention because they’re not an engineering student or something, per se,” he said. “I hope this interview can inspire students with different kinds of interests to pursue them. You only have one life so you might as well take the shot while you still can, while you’re still here.”
If you would like to get involved with BLKLST, get in touch with Mullings and Mohamed at firstname.lastname@example.org.