Entertainment Business Management student Tonye Aganaba is nearing the end of her year at VFS, but she’s got a clear idea of where her career will be taking her in the coming months and years. Before she decided to delve into the business side of entertainment at VFS, Tonye’s music was being heard online and around Vancouver at live events.
Recently, she’s performed on Vancouver’s Urban Rush talk show (watch the performance here) and was profiled in Vancouver View magazine.
We asked her about how her year at VFS is wrapping up, and how the future looks to a multi-talented up-and-comer like herself.
What is your final project and why is it important to you?
Tonye: My final project is a 20-song music compilation called The All Love Album, dedicated to the memory of my friend and bandmate, Randy Ponzio, who passed away in November 2011. Following his death, I reached out to the Vancouver music community and used the skills that I garnered at VFS to license original material from them to create an album that could be sold to raise money for Randy’s three children. The album features 20 heartwarming contributions from some of Vancouver’s most-celebrated artists, including Juno Award-winning rapper Shad, 2012 Juno nominee Mario Vaira, rising Vancouver star David Morin, and Randy’s sister, Valerie Ponzio.
The album was a cathartic and important activity for me to undertake as it helped me find healing in a time of pain and sadness. Randy was an incredible spirit, and his death had a profound effect on the music community, so to see all the artists come together to work on tribute songs was really amazing. The support for the album has been incredible, and I couldn’t be more proud of the finished product! The album has been featured on Shaw TV’s Urban Rush, and I was pleased to perform my contribution “Safe From Harm” on the show!
You’ve been pursuing a career in the music industry for a little while now. What drew you to Entertainment Business Management?
Tonye: I was drawn to this program because I am a firm believer that the key to success is no longer artist management, it is artist empowerment. As an independent recording artist and record label owner, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that in order to attain real success, I must stay on the cutting edge of all aspects of the industry and move into the realm of trans-media production, working on many platforms and expanding my reach. The music industry has changed so much in the last few years, and the former models that have been an accepted standard have slowly become antiquated and irrelevant. The entertainment industry is an exciting place to be right now, but you’ve got to be on the pulse of rising trends in order to find real success!
Students here often discover skills they didn’t know they had. How have you surprised yourself this last year?
Tonye: I have surprised myself in the last year by developing a real interest in Alternate Reality Gaming! I find this unexplored territory so exciting, and the possibilities are absolutely endless for integrating social media and physical marketing campaigns into the ARG landscape. I truly believe that in the future, this will be the most effective way to engage audiences and I plan on exploring the ARG space in more depth once I leave VFS.
What do you see yourself doing one year after you graduate from VFS? How about five years after?
Tonye: One year from now I see myself celebrating the one-year anniversary of my record label, Living Society Records, and operating a successful production house specializing in developing conscious artists that are dedicated to spreading a message of love, peace, hope, and unity through their art. I see myself hiring a team of skilled professionals who share my personal beliefs, and using entertainment to inspire, motivate, and encourage others.
Five years from now I see myself returning from a tour of the world, performing on each continent (including Antarctica!).
Thanks, Tonye! Good luck with the world tour!