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YEDaily: Jory Kinjo

After jazz was removed as a major from Jory Kinjo’s university program, he took to the road with an R&B band, where he learned the beauty and passion of singing and song writing from some of the world’s best “teachers”, including the Tragically Hip and ZZ Top in today’s YEDaily

After touring all over Europe, America and Japan, Jory Kinjo developed his passion for the music with the help of some of the best in the industry. Once home, he started his music company, Kiai Music Inc., where he now produces show, tours and manages 9 different acts and artists in Canada and Japan in today’s YEDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I write, perform and produce music. It sounds simple enough yet my job description is endless. My thoughts, ideas, emotions and ultimately my performance are my product. As an independent artist, its what I to do with that product that is the challenging part. There is no formulated way to ‘make it’ in the music industry, so we all try as we might. The actual music is the easy part. Social networking, booking shows, touring, moving gear, driving, working out, side jobs and trying to remain relevant are all within the job description of a working musician.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I started my company, Kiai Music Inc. after I had left my long time band, Mocking Shadows, who I’m actually performing with again, and went out on my own.  I wanted to take control of my own path as an artist and realized no one was going to do that for me but me. I no longer had anyone else to share the workload as I described above and needed to operate as a blanket company to achieve anything. When I started Kiai Music, the only ones working there were my guitar and I – my basic inspiration was survival. We are now a small company with 4 full time employees that produce shows, tours and manage 9 different acts and artists in Canada and Japan.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I really enjoy that my day-to-day changes all the time. I could be travelling, recording, writing or performing on any given day. These are the good days of course, others are spent on the computer mostly, returning emails, booking shows, trying to raise funds and looking for ways to make small dreams come true. The great days are when those dreams do come true – we brought NYC ska/reggae legends, the Slackers to Calgary for the first time ever in their 20year history and back to tour Alberta for the first time in 10 years. These are the encouraging accomplishments that came from a spark of an idea while listening to a new record. I love coming up with new ideas for shows and artists, realizing them and then trying to take things a step further. Honestly, the absolute best part of my job is the support I continually receive from my great friends and family. I’m constantly amazed at how much people show me they believe in me – I take great satisfaction from the love I get from the people in my life.

The most challenging part of my what I do is to try and find a way to take things to the next level. I started this company as a way to further my career, but how do I do that with others as well? Finding creative ways to accomplish this is not always easy.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself continually recording, touring and performing all over the world, doing what I love. I see my company growing to help me and all our artists achieve this at a level I can only still dream of right now.

What does success look like to you?
Success will constantly change its appearance to me personally. At one point in my life, simply making enough money to buy food and pay my bills was my definition of success. I believe in recognizing small steps thus gaining the ability to see even further up the path and then re-defining it.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Touring with B.B. King was a big one for me. He would sit down with the band after signing autographs for 2 hours and give us advice and critique our show. Seeing a legend like that still passionate after so many years gave me drive.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Really love what you do. If you are one of the lucky ones to be able to say that – I believe you’ll always be able to find the drive needed to make it work.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Many friends approach me to help support charities they believe in and I always try to make that possible in some way– ones involving children are always the one most important to me – my next charity show is for the Give a Kid a Lift Foundation which provides elevators in homes for kids in wheelchairs. Kiai Music became a supporter of the Red Cross after the Tsunami hit Japan – that was an important cause for me as well.

What to you is notable?
Integrity and compassion are notable. People who posses these qualities receive the respect of others.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone all the way!

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