Tell us a bit about what you do.
I lead the Producer and Songwriter Management Division at Miami-based NEON16. I’m in charge of negotiating deals on behalf of our clients while helping them develop as producers and songwriters. At NEON16 we represent some of the biggest Latin producers and songwriters.
How did you get into the music industry?
I’ve had a passion for music since a young age. When I was at UCC I would DJ the mixing events between boarding schools, and in IB1 I founded the UCC DJ club with my friend, Akeil Zarudny ’15. We taught other students how to DJ and we’d also sit down to listen to and discover new music.
Given my passion for music, once I went to Dalhousie for commerce I decided to apply for an internship at Sony Music Canada and was able to kick-start my music career. Following this internship, I did two more at Culvert Music, an independent music label, and then went to the United States as an intern at Live Nation doing shows.
While in the U.S. I met my mentor, Jeff Aldrich, in Los Angeles. He introduced me to Lex Borrero, in Canada, who had just stepped down as the Co-CEO of Universal Music Canada and had moved to Miami. I began interning for his partner, Carlos Pineda, in Toronto and then was called to join NEON16 as a full-time employee in June 2019.
Tell us about your experience in UCC boarding, coming to Toronto from Colombia. How do you feel your time at UCC prepared you for your life?
My decision to come to UCC changed my entire life. I don’t think I would be working in my dream job had I not come to UCC. Being away from my family at the age of 16 and living alone in another country really helped me to mature and value family.
Is there an achievement or contribution that you’re most proud of?
So far, it’s having three of our seven producers land on Latin Billboard Top 10 Music Producers of 2021. This was a team effort and we were able to achieve it by having the leadership of our CEO, Lex Borrero. With him we were able to produce Kali Uchis’s entire album, which had the major hit, “Telepatia.” In addition, we were able to have major music placement with Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Selena Gomez and Rauw Alejandro, which helped our producers earn spots in the top 10.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? What advice would you give to current UCC students?
Always dream and be extremely passionate about the things you really enjoy doing. In addition, be persistent. Lastly, If you have connections with friends, family or school alumni, use them wisely because, if used properly, they can help you in vast amounts.
Where do you hope life will take you in the next five to 10 years?
Right now I’m very focused on the present at NEON16, and I’d like to continue growing and expanding the company. And in 10 years from now I’d like to be a great leader and an influential person in the music industry.