Second Annual Write Ya Life Conference Hits Columbia College

By: Nick Samuel

Students at Columbia College Chicago gathered at 1104 S. Wabash Friday for a chance to network with music industry professionals at the second annual “Write Ya Life” Music Industry Conference. These students, ranging from rappers, poets, singers, DJ’s and music producers, attended a panel discussion followed by various breakout sessions.

Panelists included Da Internz (Producers), Sara Anwar (Bad Boy Ent./Interscope Records), Adonis Sutherland (RCA Records), Jay Sloan (ASCAP), Anthony Saleh (Atom Factory/Emagen Ent.) and Melissa Victor (Island Def Jam). In the breakout sessions, these professionals gave students advice on how to network and market themselves.

Rapper Kia~Leon, who is currently working on his mixtape “The Occupation,” said he attended the conference to learn about having the right image in the music industry. The Occupation will be released in early 2013.

“I’m going to push certain singles I like off of the mixtape in January,” said Leon. “I’m also shooting a promo video soon called ‘The Shining,’ which will introduce the mixtape.”

Leon, 18 and freshman at Columbia, said he has collaborated with other Columbia students/artists such as Vito and Stevie Rockit. He attended the conference’s after party which featured rap artist Pusha-T. Kanye West, founder of G.O.O.D. Music record label, signed Pusha-T to the label in 2010.

“My dream is to work with Kanye,” said Leon. “I dream to be part of G.O.O.D. Music; they’re like a family.”

Fans can follow Leon on twitter at Kia_Leon.

Seno, rapper and songwriter, said he attended the conference to gain more understanding of how to sell himself as an artist. He also said he wanted to learn other’s perception of what the industry means to them.

“From the Start,” which is Seno’s upcoming mixtape, will be released before Christmas. Seno said he has been working with Columbia artists such as R&B/Pop singer Ame Houston and rapper P-martt.

Seno also attended the Pusha-T afterparty.

“I want to feed off of him on how to have energy when performing,” said Seno, who is a continuing freshman at Columbia.

Fans can follow him on Facebook at

Upcoming rapper Vito, 24, said he attended the conference to narrow the gap on what he wants to do in the industry.

“I don’t know if I want to be in front of the camera or behind the scenes,” said Vito, who is a freshman at Columbia. “I can do A&R, work for artists and find venues.”

His mixtape, called “The Long Awaited Mixtape,” can be found on his website “The Love and Auto-Tune,” which is his R&B demo, can be found on the same site.

Vito has collaborated with Columbia students/artists such as Kia~Leon and Ricky Pearson. He has an upcoming performance at the fundraising event “Jammin’ with Jane” at the Birdsnest. Fans can find him on Facebook at

All of these student/artists are working beyond their limit to brand themselves and to get insight on how to survive in the industry. Some big named artists and DJ’s now started off where these artists are at now. There is no doubt these artists have an impressive resume behind them. Who knows–in the next few years these upcoming names could be well-renowned names across the globe. Only time will tell. From interviewing different artists, I learned that each person has a different story to tell, and the artist inside of them is anxiously waiting to be heard.


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