Bahay Collective wants to boost underrepresented BIPOC artists on the Montreal music scene

Montreal is full of talent, but it is undeniable that not everyone has the same opportunities to express their talent as others. This is exactly why Chuong Trinh, otherwise known as Lil Waterboi, decided to start Bahay Collective in 2019 — because he felt there wasn’t enough representation for BIPOC artists on the scene. Montreal music.

“Our ambition has always been to support the local scene and BIPOC. We first focused on the Asian community because when I started making music, I didn’t see a lot of things like that,” said he explained.

So Lil Waterboi took it upon himself to create a music collective that could provide opportunities for artists where he didn’t think there were many.

MTL Blog had the chance to speak with Lil Waterboi who told us all about the who, what, where, when and how of Bahay Collective.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

What is Bahay Collective?

Bahay Collective is a music studio and creative agency that focuses on supporting BIPOC artists in Montreal.

“Basically, we want to do anything that helps artists get on par with bigger artists and label artists,” Lil Waterboi said.

“Bahay” means “home” in Tagalog and the collective is described as a “home for all artists”.

Today, Bahay Collective is made up of CEO Chuong Trinh aka Lil Waterboi, COO Mandy Tran aka Mando, and Head of Music Jholeson Miracles aka JTONDABEAT.

The collective has worked with artists like Lil Waterboi, Mando, JTONDABEAT, Yenny Yuka, Yessir, Gxlden Child, Ted Park, Miaya, Ching and YNG Travs.

How was Bahay born?

Bahay Collective started in 2019 as a non-profit organization.

It was originally a collaboration between Lil Waterboi, the Association of Asians Born in North America (MANABA) at McGill and the Asian Filipino Student Association of McGill University (MUFASA).

At the time, MANABA wanted Lil Waterboi to hold a concert and MUFASA was raising money for Typhoon Ompong relief.

“So I put two and two together and we did an event where it was a concert but we were also fundraising. That’s how the first Bahay event was born,” Lil Waterboi told MTL Blog. The first gig saw performances from artists like Lou Phelps, Lil Waterboi and Gxlden Child, all of whom are from Montreal.

“Bahay” was the name of the first event, then went on to become the name of the collective.

“The reason I started hosting shows was because I had a lot of friends who were artists, but most people, not just Asians, Montreal artists in general, it’s not there aren’t many opportunities to perform or advance your career. But for Asians, it’s even less,” the artist said.

“Right before COVID, we had a lot of momentum. We had a concert called ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ based on the movie,” he told us. Then the pandemic hit and such events were no longer possible.

Meanwhile, Lil Waterboi makes the choice to turn Bahay Collective into a business. “I really wanted to focus on people who wanted to make music for the rest of their lives,” he said.

With that decision made, Bahay opened his music studio, which gave them space to continue working on “representing BIPOC and building the Montreal music scene.” Now the collective is back to organize concerts and work with different local artists.

What services does Bahay offer?

The collective provides all kinds of services to help artists in their artistic development, ranging from recording, mixing and mastering to graphics, such as cover art, movement art and lyric videos, as well as marketing services like press blasts and ad management.

Essentially everything you need to get your artistic career off the ground.

Anyone can book a session with Bahay online, which will take place in his music studio in downtown Montreal. Then the rest is history!

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