Last March 21st was the International Day For The Elimination of Racial Discrimination and we wanted to speak with Ro from 3409 about his experience in the music industry as a POC artist and how could we help the music scene to make it a better and more diverse place.
1. Introduce yourself and your personal project
Hey, I’m Ro! I’m one of the vocalists in 3409. We are an alternative hip-hop group that enjoys blending genres such as pop, rock, and dance.
2. Did you have to face any roadblocks in the music industry?
One roadblock we’ve faced has been dealing with the fact that our music has been disregarded by many “pop” publications for being “too hip-hop”. What sticks out is that many people who blend pop and hip-hop but are fronted by non-POC individuals have been included in these blogs with songs that lean even more into hip-hop than ours do. Hip-hop is the most popular genre in the world right now, it shouldn’t be a surprise that many contemporary pop acts are inspired by it.
Another has to do with being viewed as a communal teacher when it comes to social injustice. I feel like having a platform has become synonymous with being a spokesperson in the eyes of many. Especially as a musician. I don’t mind having these conversations here and there, especially in person, but it can be quite tiring when people feel like they are entitled to an answer. If it’s something I wanted to address, I’d put in a song
3. How could we change the music industry for the better?
I think there’s also room for growth when it comes to booking shows that cover multiple genres. Our friends at Off The Record have done a tremendous job in having multi-genre showcases and seen that audiences are ready to be challenged by an experience that breaks the norm. I think venues, promoters, and even artists should be creating more events like this. Collaboration is the biggest key to success!
On top of that, we’ve started collaborating with musicians and artists from a variety of genres as our own way to help make a change. Toronto is an extremely diverse city which makes it the perfect place for an inclusive scene to develop. The internet is also an incredible tool for networking and meeting people who share a similar passion without any preconceived notion of how things should be or who you should work with. If the songs and creators are reflective of the diverse ecosystem we live in, the industry will have no choice but to catch up.
If you want to discover more artists, you can follow our ICON playlist. This issue was made by Ro himself.