Meet the MusicWorks Mentor: Zaki Ibrahim

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Zaki Ibrahim, one of Canada and South Africa’s leading artists and entrepreneurs, will be offering inspiration, advice, and tips for being a professional artist. In this Roundtable Discussion for Professional Artists, on September 12, participants will have the opportunity to learn about Ibrahim’s successful and unconventional career journey. Learn about how Ibrahim built her name, launched a label, and found success in Toronto, while also using her absence from one location to build presence in another. She is an artist who is known for her multiplicity of influences and identities and her process, very much about immersion, connection, and being there. Ibrahim’s music brings elements of spoken word, hip hop, soul, house and 70s pop together, filtered through the prismatic and often contradictory lenses of personal, historical, and scientific relativities. 

From one angle, Zaki Ibrahim’s career is punctuated by extended absences from the Toronto scene where she built her name, launched a label and found success. From another vantage, for an artist who is known for her multiplicity of influences and identities, absence from one scene is in fact presence in another. Throughout her career, from Vancouver to South Africa to Toronto and many points in between, Ibrahim has worked against the encroaching systems and machinery that would limit or dilute her vision. Ibrahim’s work pushes back against binaries, against reductiveness, against the clenching muscles of expectation.

Ashley Au is a Winnipeg-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and queer creative. A multifaceted musician, Ashley specializes in the upright and electric basses as a sessional musician and as a composer, working with artists across a range of disciplines. Current and past projects include work with Weakerthans frontman, John K. Samson; folk roots songstress, Carly Dow; internationally-acclaimed Americana tastemaker, Scott Nolan; Juno award-winning songwriter, William Prince; Ojibway-composer & jazz trumpeter Chuck Copenace; Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers; and Canadian live hip-hop outfit, Super Duty Tough Work.

Get to know her better with our little Q+A...

What invention do you think will be popular in 20 years?

Zaki: The Outernet. The network of communication and information gathering that exists outside the internet and digital technology. Essentially increasing the practice of utilizing parts of your brain that do more than what we think it can do now.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in your life?

Zaki: Spin on my head (trying to breakdance battle) and ended up in hospital unable to turn my head without pain for a month. That and touring up until 7 months pregnant and almost not allowed to fly back to my family. 

Who is your favorite person or group to follow on social media and why?

Zaki: There’s a woman named Maryam Hasnaa she is holistic healer and medicine woman that drops beautiful pearls of knowledge every other day to marinate on.

If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?

Zaki: A seasoned astral traveler and akashic healer... MD 

What drew you to the music industry?

Zaki: I was always musical and drawn to making and performing music.  As a child it was the realm of imagination and reality altering. As a young adult, hip hop and it’s connection to community, self expression and motivation to challenge yourself. As an adult I’ve been drawn back to the industry and held in it by the emotional and spiritual connections that I’ve made through music. 

Find out more about this workshop and register online

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