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City On My Back Archives » Moni in the Middle…Interview With Junia-T

Moni in the Middle…Interview With Junia-T

hyperadmin | Interviews,Moni in the Middle | Friday, May 14th, 2010

Junia 1

“As an artist you still need to know about the business side of things to be successful.” says Junia-T, Toronto MC, producer, businessman and big brother to so much young talent in this city.  “Since I was 15 years old (spitting in our school cafeteria ‘Cafrica’) I was observing and getting mentored by my crew SMC out in Sauga”.

From building schools in India to defining success for himself over 10 years of taking in the GTA music scene, Junia has paid close attention to his fellow scene makers and learnt from some of Toronto’s dopest promoters and artists on how to develop a versatile career.  “I essentially started out as a water-boy.  I was too young to get into shows my crew was performing at so my boys brought me in as the dude with the drinks.  They took me everywhere.  I learned a lot of what I know now from those days”. Since then Junia has continued repping his west side crews Ridgeway and Hustle & Flip, at the same time building up his repertoire downtown and in each corner of the City.

Full interview after the jump!

Photos: Danielle Da Silva www.danielledasilva.com
Space: Czehoski’s, 678 Queen Street West www.czehoski.com

Junia is also one half of rap duo ‘Smash Brovaz” made up of himself and Crook.  Throughout the years, each has grown into their lyrical style and are ready to take their music to another level pushing out various video and audio releases this year.  On the group side, Smash Brovaz is putting out another album this year and hoping to throw down another successful Boom Box Saints event, which has consistently rammed spots over the past few years.  On a solo tip, Junia is putting out a self produced tribute to 90’s beats.  “A lot of people don’t know I make beats, but I produced the first Smash Brovaz album”.  The new rnb inspired album will feature the sweet sounds of Toronto up and coming soul Diva (shes sweet as pie though) T. Ana Cole and Ishe from Cali.  All this to say Junia is a pretty busy guy and he’s been chopping it up since his preschool days.

Junia 2
I heard you had a pretty well connected reading buddy in kindergarten.  Did he inspire your music career?
AH! You mean Dave Guenette! Yes I was lucky to have a connect reading buddy. He actually indirectly inspired me to do music through what he read to me. He lived down the street, and I didn’t realize he was in the music scene until my older cousin brought home a copy of the first “Tumi And The Volume” CD. Shortly after Crook and I released our first LP, I was reunited with Dave at Alto Basso on a Monday night. I gave him a copy of our record, and since then he has always supported the movements.

Who are the people in the Toronto music scene that have supported your development as an artist?
Wow, there are many…but to mention a few…I’d have to start with Drex & Gavin from The Remix Project. Before there was Remix, there was a studio in the lakeshore area called “Inner City Visions” where myself and Crook learned a lot of our foundation skills in the studio, and met a lot of the people we still work closely with today. For example, Bryan “Be” Espiritu did the artwork for our first LP, Big Pops (Northern Profit) and I also was given an opportunity to go to Cuba through ICV.

Outside of ICV, I.James.Jones also influenced my development a lot. When Crook went to Australia to live for a year, I.James kept a brova sharp through building a lot of music with me during that year, and keeping me on a stage performing. While I was learning the ropes with I.James, I was re-introduced to DJ NaNa through the Good Music Party, which I ended up hosting with I.James . Through the Good Music Party, Nana decided to add me to his movement, and has continually kept be busy and challenged with new opportunities.

And Finally, my home teams…Hustle & Flip Ent, and Ridgeway Ent. Having people like Rich Kidd, Northern Profit, Kemikal and a business minds like Murdock, Addy & Courtney in your circle, you can do nothing but get stronger, and more wise.

DSC_3510resized

You are also a part of rap duo Smash Brovaz.  Who else is part of that crew and what are your upcoming releases?

The crew consists of Crook and myself. We’ve been a team since 2005, and haven’t stopped banging em joints. After we released our EP last year, we decided to take what we’ve learned over the years, and put them into practice for 2010. We’re releasing a full length project supported by videos and all that good stuff. This time around we’re working with all of the people in the city we’ve always wanted to link up with.  From producers, emcees even visual artists. Gonna be a good year…..yuh zee it!

When did you guys start getting commercial play?
Around May last year. We’ve always had the college DJs supporting us, but didn’t really know how to get the music to the next level. After we attended the Stylus awards, we linked up with Ty & Arcee, then the rotations began. BAM! Phat shouts to Real Freqs & OTA LIVE for supporting Smash Brovaz indeed!

Junia 4

Not only do you rap, but I heard you make some sick beats.  Who have you produced for and what new production projects are you working on?
Im glad you’re asking me this question.lol. I’ve been out here for a while, and many heads still don’t know I produce!! I produced 22 tracks on the first Smash Brovaz record, and put out a solo mixtape where I did most of the production too! hahaha. Anyhow, I’ve been producing for I.James.Jones, T Ana Cole, PG, Kofi Kain, Roshin, Rayhaan & Ishe from Cali. As far as projects, I’m looking forward to my R&B compilation. It’s currently untitled, but keep your eyes open for it! It’s gonna be a blast to the past!

I know you have been a part of the REMIX movement.  What other projects are you working on and why do you feel it is important to work with youth?

I’m currently working with a non-profit group called ‘Gettin’ Schooled’ which is raising funds to build schools in India for Dalit children. I first started building on this project when my good friend Danielle Da Silva came back from India, and was inspired to be a part of the change needed over there. At the time I had already worked with “Turning The Tables” through Schools Without Borders, and had also mentored at “Artistic Effusion” and was experienced enough to effectively support her.

They say children are the future, and being an older brother has truly proved that to me. My brothers look up to me, and my influence does cause an effect. Once I realized that, I started to take my power of influence seriously and haven’t stopped helping the youth ever since.

dalit

How can we support your project in India.
If you want to support the project, keep up with the website igetschooled.org . Also, you can join the group on facebook. Keep you’re eyes open, they’re will always be opportunities to support!

Why Czehoski’s?
Czehoski’s has been supporting that quality hip-hop for a minute now. The Beat Lounge has been there for a while, and they’ve had a solid Sunday night with my favorite DJs! Toronto is lucky to have a spot where there’s a dope patio, and they play classic music. Can’t go wrong with that combo! Also Dj NaNa & I will be doing a new friday night weekly there. So come through and see what I mean.

Check out Czehoski’s for yourself.  Every Friday Junia, DJ Nana and the likes of Mensa and L’Oquenz hold it down.  It’s a Party…TONIGHT!!!!!

Its A Party!

www.twitter.com/deejayNaNa: http://www.twitter.com/deejayNaNa
facebook: Deejay NaNa
www.myspace.com/deejaynana: http://www.myspace.com/deejaynana
www.epresskitz.com/djNaNa: http://www.epresskitz.com/djNaNa

No Comments »

  1. BAM BAM!

    Comment by KemiKAL — May 14, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

  2. Good look JUNES!!!Hustle & Flip…We got next!

    Comment by COYOTE — May 14, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

  3. YES JUNIA-T!!! – Burd & Keyz

    Comment by BurdandKeyz — May 14, 2010 @ 6:18 pm

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