It was 1995 when CIQ first moved to USA. Among several other creative projects she worked on, she soon found herself playing in several different bands every day of the week. All of them, with her keyboard sounds and skills, were live bands with an electronic music element. But she had to give up her first trip to LA to audition for York University’s modern electronic music program in Toronto. It was a great decision. After her acceptance into the program she fit four years of keyboard performance classes into two years. She spent most her spare time jamming with friends, performing on local stages, and picking up work in the local music industry. Then she studied producing engineering at Harris Institute for the Arts until she found herself working 24/7 in Toronto’s music industry.
But her work in Toronto’s industry started before she even started school. Right before frosh week, she showed up at a local music festival and introduced herself to the bands there. This soon led her into a string of performances in a few different cities. She had started her own band with friends from school but it wasn’t long before they said “say no to gigs” because between the shows, travelling, practices and writing songs, school was getting pushed aside. They had been asked to open for a band at a festival with an attendance of 30,000 people, and to open for them on their upcoming tour. But after talking it over with her band, CIQ and her friends decided to finish school first, because they had just started.
So CIQ decided to get involved with local media instead. Soon she was working with and hanging out with people in radio, print media and TV. She started a few of her own projects, mainly on the internet. During this time she was hitting local shows with her media passes and soon took a trip to Kingdom Bound festival in Darien Lake, New York. When she was interviewing and meeting all the bands in the media tent, a radio network took note of her and asked if she was interested in being a station manager at a new radio station they had just purchased. As tempting as it was, she returned back to school to finish her keyboard studies first.
But what happened next put CIQ on the worldwide map. She went with friends in the media industry to a club night and it was her first real encounter with DJ culture. That night she began working with local events in Toronto’s underground club and rave music culture. For the next five years she worked with several local promoters, booking talent and promoting events. She ran a DJ network online along with an events mailing list and websites with pictures from the events. Most of the events were within a day’s drive of the Great Lakes area in Canada and USA. Often there were three events every week. The internet was still fairly new. Her promoter years were mainly 1998-2002. The scope of the internet put her in touch with DJs and performers, music lovers and the industry worldwide.
She eventually made a decision to put promoting events aside because she wanted to spend more time in the studio. It seemed everything she took on became a full time job very quickly. While she was still in school, she had found time to work for several businesses in Toronto’s industry, mainly in studio engineering and the gear industry. She had worked in the synth shop at Long & McQuade, a handful of studios including MuchMusic and temporary studios in clubs, warehouses and private mansions, and record labels including BMG in Toronto, and independent Hollywood electronic labels in USA festivals. She worked a few times with the CMJ college radio music festival in New York City. She wrote the gear section for Contact music industry directory and joined the publishers at the Juno Awards where they had published the program guide. She really enjoyed networking in the business and artistic industries in Toronto, and her work also took her to other cities including Montreal, London, New York, Miami and Cannes.
She was offered many more opportunities, including taking over well respected business, but she wanted to focus on her own creative project. She set a goal for herself after working for so many companies, to start her own business, to make her own music, and to reach out on an international level. So she took an entrepreneurial business course, started writing songs in the studio, and networking more seriously worldwide.