1 – She is an Exceptional Producer, Keyboardist & DJ.
2 – She has an extensive background in music and in charity.
3 – Her talent and ideas are original and fresh.
4 – She has a reputation to spark revival.
5 – She needs a reason to believe the masses believe in her.
6 – She has a reputation for integrity and being true to herself.
7 – She is an in demand role model.
8 – She deserves recognition for her world class talent.
9 – This poll determines pay rates for DJs.
10 – Very few women EVER rate in this influential poll.
11 – She will bring many talented deserving artists with her.
12 – This world needs her.
CIQ will need thousands of votes from YOU, the masses, to rate her in this poll.
“Yes, it’s true I often work for media,” CIQ explains. “It works really well when it’s connected with projects and the scene I am working in in a greater capacity, mainly electronic music right now, but I have done a lot of work in the media with many different styles of music over the years.”
“I’ve been offered a lot more jobs over the years than I’ve been able to accept, because most jobs are really in a full time capacity, and most of what I do is freelance. I’ve done a lot of events, festivals, interviews, writing articles, and a great deal of just assistance type work in just about every type of media.”
“People have been very generous with me over the years bringing in a lot of creative work because I’m very professional, I get the job done, on time and on budget, often early, and with a level of expertise that most companies don’t expect. I often work freelance for a lot of different companies. Most entertainment companies pay me extra, if they can, and there are lots of great perks. Everyone wants more repeat work, and they like to have me around.”
“But media is not a high paying job, it’s a job that you do for the passion. The work never ends. It just keeps piling up. But the people you meet are what it’s really all about. It’s the kind of work people willingly do for free. Probably most entertainment industry work is like that. Obviously you need money to live, but no one really cares where your money comes from, it always comes from somewhere. So the rest is just gravy. You do this work for the adventure and for the experience.”
CIQ has been involved in the entertainment industry on many levels throughout her career, ranging from different media to underground events production, music studios and record labels, the gear industry and worldwide travel. Her media profile is online at CIQ Media and more at Gsynth.com/Portfolio.
She also loves working for charity when she has the opportunity, particularly youth charities. “I love the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives,” she explains. “It’s the real reason for everything I do.”
“I am definitely interested in partnering with more media in a greater capacity in the future, particularly to move forward the cause of electronic music worldwide, and into the mainstream of modern culture. People can connect with me on this at Facebook.com/ShanaChristineGray or email@example.com. It’s a lifestyle for me, a passion. Electronic music has always been a huge part of my life and who I am.”
“I’m not willing to give up my studio work at the moment, but definitely interested in coming alongside more media to move forward the cause of electronic music as much as I can. I usually do freelance, but I am open to whatever opportunities may come up in the future.”
“Media is all about supporting the scene you love, mutual support for other artists, for events, the industry, and every aspect that builds the scene. The music community is like a big family, and we really operate like a family worldwide, especially in the electronic music community, because we were underground for so long, and we did it all for the love of the music.”
“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.”
CIQ, better known in music industry circles by her producer name Gsynth, takes a few minutes out of her insanely busy schedule this week to introduce herself to the worldwide music industry, for those who have not yet had the opportunity to meet her face to face.
Included here is the transcript from the videos, which are posted on CIQmusic and Gsynth video channels.
Hi everyone, I am CIQ in Canada… originally from “Hollywood North” also known as Toronto. (Laughs.) Most people probably recognize me by my producer name, Gsynth, since about 1995, USA. Some people may know me by my real name, Shana Christine Gray.
At this point I’m looking to do something worldwide in an artistic and business capacity to make a difference in the world. A bit of background on me, since a lot of the industry don’t seem to know me worldwide.
I played violin in a symphony orchestra when I was 13 years old. I’ve been self educated since then in psychology, business, social causes, and my favourite saying in high school was ‘the world is his who can see through its pretension’. At age 15 I started working worldwide, nonprofit causes, I spent my summers overseas in Central America and Eastern Europe. I was trained classically in piano and violin since the age of six and nine.
I did two years of postsecondary training in music at York University in modern electronic music performance, and I studied producing engineering in the studio at Harris Institute in Toronto. I studied business under Robert Allen’s protege program from America. Previously to that, my first postsecondary education was two years in the USA in the arts discipleship program in Master’s Commission. At that point I worked with youth, young adults, children and all ages.
I also taught myself fretless bass guitar in one hour when I was 20, and I taught someone else how to play piano in two hours. I play a lot of musical instruments, run the recording studio by myself, and I’ve worked in nearly every capacity in the music industry, many more in the greater entertainment industry, and other industries and businesses, mainly in Canada and USA. I’ve worked for many top companies in the music industry in Canada and USA, while I was still in school. Some of those would include MuchMusic, BMG Records, Contact Music Industry Directory, and CMJ Music Marathon in New York City… and the rest of those were in Toronto.
Basically I’m a producer, entrepreneur and artist, with six years of postsecondary formal education, a lifetime of classical music education in piano and violin, plus self education.
Most people who know me from the internet, probably know me from my DJ network, DM4C, which covered one fifth of North America, and my events list StreetBeatz. I was an events promoter, worked in media, organizing events, booking talent, performing live myself, mainly electronic bands… all this while I was still in school, approximately 97 to 2002.
I may well be one of the most talented modern electronic keyboardists and producers in the world. I don’t consider myself to fit into the current DJ industry right now that claims that the top one hundred DJs in the world are 100% men. (We actually had a good laugh about that in Canada, because it IS fine arts, people.) I also don’t fit into the A&R expectations of pop singers, because I didn’t want everyone else writing my songs for me, telling me what to wear and what to do in all of my music videos. (I actually found that process rather offensive to be honest.) My current favourite saying since about the age of 20, is ‘Look at the nations and watch, and be utterly amazed, for I will do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”
(continued in 2nd video…)
I am Canadian, I am a Christian, I accomplish the impossible every day. One more thing I want to add… I graduated in a preppy high school with 98.5% average in math and science. I don’t even like math and science. So please don’t underestimate me. (Laughs.) I spent a lot more time on travel, outside trips in and out of school, and some in the gifted program.
At this point people who hire me for jobs tend to offer me upfront contracts, with clear expectations of a time frame and enough money to motivate me, otherwise you probably won’t get a response from me. Most top companies I worked for did pay me an extra 50% after I completed my work. I haven’t worked a lot for others since I was about age 28. I have been travelling worldwide. I was a little bit bored with what was left of the Canadian opportunity. I really had accomplished all of my goals here. So I have attended a lot of music and business red carpet events, and the internet has made a lot more possible in recent years. So expect to see me more online. It is my goal to do something worldwide. So I’ll see you around everyone… Peace Love Unity Respect.
CIQ would like to wish everyone a beautiful and blessed New Year 2012.
“I really believe life is what you make it, I believe in the power of prayers, choices, visualization and action,” CIQ says, “I encourage everyone to imagine the world they dream for and to create it, to reach for their highest dreams, to never give up, to give the best of themselves to this life and this world. To believe in Love, in Truth, in Action, to reach for their highest dreams, and give the best they’ve got to make good things happen in the world. It all begins with you, in your heart, in your friendships, and as you reach out.”
Some random 2011 behind the scenes memories in CIQ’s life are posted at Facebook.com/CIQmusic . Enjoy, and all the best for the New Year!
When a Canadian says, “the world is my backyard,” they might be referring to Toronto, one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. But it is more likely they are referring to the endless expanses outside the cities, otherwise known as the Great Outdoors, that makes up most of Canada’s geography as one of the largest countries in the world.
A lot of Canadians grow up outside the cities and towns, and in order to survive they must learn basic survival skills. They don’t have buses and taxis to drive them home. They must learn to drive through all types of extreme weather, especially in the winter. That might include snowstorms and blizzards, glare ice, hail, heavy rains, freezing rain, lightning, high winds and maybe the occasional tornado, to name a few. Snowstorms can last for weeks and the snowbanks often rise higher than the cars and people. Snow shovels are essential gear. It’s not uncommon to rescue each others’ cars from snow banks in the winter when they slide right off the road. You don’t wait for a tow truck in the extreme cold when your friends could be there in a fraction of the time. It’s pretty normal for teenagers to test the limits of their cars in fields and empty parking lots in the winter to learn how to handle a car in the snow. Everyone keeps survival gear in their cars and houses. You don’t get far without it.
But to Canadians, even though lives are saved every day (and many people do that for a living), they laugh about it. It’s a matter of daily life, and most Canadians consider the Great Outdoors to be their playground, a place for all types of sports. Hiking is popular, so are hobby vehicles, including all types of boats and airplanes, and even children drive four-wheelers now. But even though people joke that they risk their lives every day, they remain humble about it, knowing that any poor decision could really be a matter of life and death in the Great Canadian Outdoors.
There is also a sense of responsibility and a sense of wonder that comes from living in a place with such radical weather and four distinct seasons. There is a high respect for human life and lower respect for people who abuse that privilege. It’s not that Canadians are tough, but just in order to live day to day, they have to know how to survive. And many work in medical or safety careers, including emergency workers, and others make a difference every day in the lives of others. They also deal with the local crime which comes and goes.
People who frequently overcome great obstacles typically have their priorities in full view all of the time. They know how to keep their heads screwed on straight and expect that from each other. They don’t have time for people who don’t have other peoples’ or society’s best interests in mind. They typically see through people in three seconds and can tell you what kind of person they are and will call them out to their face if they consider them to be flaky or dishonest. No one wants to depend on someone who isn’t on the same page if you actually needed anything. People survive because they depend on themselves and each other.
These are the people who grow up in Canada’s great outdoors, and when they speak, people listen. No matter where they go in life, they make a difference. They don’t bend their integrity for anyone and couldn’t care less what others think of them. Because they know what life is about and the reason why they are here.
And because they are strong people, the great outdoors is sport. When you see hobby aircraft flying around in the sky, hear four wheelers in the fields and forests, and see speedboats on the lakes, and all manner of outdoor sports, the Canadians are outside enjoying their beautiful and sometimes insane weather!
For some, live improvisation is not just a skill, it’s an art form.
“The focus of my study at York University was live keyboard improvisation and electronic music,” CIQ explains. “I studied four years of keyboard performance classes in two years, and relied on my classical background to get into the courses through auditions.”
But improvisation wasn’t new to her and neither was the music industry.
“The year before I started university I was living in Phoenix, Arizona and I was basically playing in bands everyday.” This included her live alternative rock electronic hybrid band, Bean Dip, as well as several other bands and special events where she played with other bands, mainly keyboards, sometimes violin, vocals or bass guitar.
“The first time I walked into a recording studio I was nineteen years old and the producer showed me how the entire studio worked. I never forgot a thing.”
Her piano teacher who prepared her for her first university classical audition compared her early original music to Jean Michel Jarre. Not only did she pass her university audition, she completed her Grade 8 Conservatory piano and Grade 2 Theory (minimum entrance requirements) with the Royal Conservatory of Music in less than a year (normally a two year course), and won several awards in classical piano competitions and a scholarship that year for her performance.
“Most of my piano lessons and violin lessons were actually before I entered high school. I really didn’t do anything in high school except hang out with my friends and travel a great deal.” Her music teachers at that point had already taught her everything they could reasonably teach her, and she started spending summers working overseas in places like Central America and Eastern Europe. “I was so bored in high school I took calculus just to see if I could do it.” She graduated with a 98.5% average in maths and sciences. “I spent a lot of time on school trips and other activities.”
“When I’m in the studio I’m so intuitive with the mixer I forget it even exists. I just play with the controls and move the sounds around and alter the effects.” She studied producing engineering at Harris Institute for the Arts, but before she graduated she was working full time in the music industry, for several top companies like BMG, MuchMusic, Contact, and Long & McQuade. Her weekend social life was promoting dance music events with her friends from Canada and USA. She also did some work outside Toronto, mainly festivals like CMJ in New York, but most of the festivals she attended were really just for her own interest, in locations such as Miami and Detroit in USA, London, UK, and Cannes, France in Europe. “It was really quite glamourous, to be honest. Hanging out in mansions and bumping into friends in random locations such as London. Going to awards shows in limos and attending all the industry parties and events.” But glamour doesn’t always pay the bills. “I was hoping to find a good manager but my experience working with management was basically I just stopped getting paid.” The music industry was going through a lot of changes at that point so she took her own business course. “I’m still trying to figure out where I fit in the music industry. Basically, I don’t. The music industry will have to change to accommodate me.”
At this point she considers her music a pretty expensive hobby. “Really it’s more like an Olympic sport. I don’t like to waste my time on projects that don’t go anywhere. At the end of the day, if I’m happy, that’s what matters.” As far as management, she really doesn’t trust anyone. “Most people I’ve met are all talk and no action. It’s not really helpful when you’re trying to get something done.” No doubt she would love to have a real job touring or just making her own records, whichever comes first, but dependable partners are few and far between when you’re a talented female DJ, keyboardist and producer. “You can only go so far on your own. You can’t tour on your own, not if you’re a female DJ. You can do everything in your studio if you don’t mind taking forever to do it.”
It is true that Shana Christine Gray was raised in a strict musical family, where she practiced classical violin and piano every day for an hour and a half at the age of nine. It is also true that she was the youngest ever violinist in the Northumberland Symphony Orchestra at the age of thirteen. She remembers her violin teacher playing a note on the piano over and over until she had the perfect pitch and tone on her violin. Excellence was expected. It was through these exercises that she learned to listen closely to the music and develop her ear, which translates quite easily into the studio, and mixing music as a studio engineer. She was known in Toronto for her unique talent as a studio mix engineer, when she studied keyboards performance at York University, and Producing Engineering at Harris Institute for the Arts, and worked in the music industry in Toronto.
These days she prefers a quieter lifestyle near the beaches outside the city and away from the bustling downtown Toronto traffic. She spends most of her spare time in her own recording studio and plays as she likes.
This week however she has taken note of the annual DJ magazine poll known as the Top 100 DJs. Probably most artists have a love-hate relationship with competitions, not sure if they are really relevant or if time spent on them will pay off in any way, but they certainly can be fun.
Since the usual poll results turn a predictable result of a 99% male dominated industry, she has been curious to see if a woman can make an impact in 2011.
If you believe that a woman such as Shana Christine Gray can compete on an international level with other male DJs and producers, particularly considering her female traits easily make her unique, please take one minute and cast your vote of confidence in her direction here: http://www.djmag.com/top100 Just write CIQ in the number one spot and submit it!
Also be sure to check out her presence on social networks and consider saying hello either at twitter, facebook, or myspace. Watch for her, she is unpredictable talent, but you can follow her or search google for her names CIQ music, DJ CIQ and Gsynth.