Troy Junker made a presentation at Durham College (DC) recently – the place he says gave him a second chance to pursue a career in music.
Junker, 27, is a graduate of DC’s Music Business Management program.
The Canadian Metis rapper, was born in Prince Albert, Sask. before moving to Jacksonville, Fla. when he was five years old.
Even though Florida is historically known for its hip-hop artists, it wasn’t until he moved back to Prince Albert in Grade 7 that Junker started listening to rap.
During the next few years, he was able to network on Myspace, a social networking website and he received his first taste of the music industry having met an underling who was signed to California rapper The Game. The two rappers collaborated on a song and Junker’s journey into the rap game officially began.
He dropped out of high school in 2009 so he could pursue a music career full time but after a few years of receiving no buzz, he gave it up in 2011.
Junker was working in the uranium mining fields in Cigar Lake, Sask. for three years until he got a call from an old friend convincing him to quit his job and take another stab at music.
“One of my best friends was at Durham College a year ahead of me (and) really loved his (MBM) program,” he says.
So Junker enrolled at DC.
Although he was excited about the opportunity, education wasn’t always an easy road for Junker.
“When I was in high school, I didn’t care at all,” he says. “I was selling drugs, I was skipping school and then when I came to Durham College, I applied myself as best as I could.”
Junker had a valid reason to stay on his best behaviour.
Due to his Indigenous background, he was able to get funding for school from the government.
“They turned me down three times previously and I finally got them to fund me to come to school,” he says. “I had to make sure that I didn’t skip and I needed to be on my best behaviour.”
Junker made the trip down to Oshawa and says he was grateful for the benefits of coming to DC, such as being able to use the equipment at school.
“I was recording in the Durham College studios, but I wasn’t releasing anything,” he says.
“I was always just kind of building up my catalog so I could plan their releases.”
After a successful two years in the MBM program, Junker began searching for placement opportunities.
“I ended up seeing a job posting on Facebook to help release a record through this group called A Tribe Called Red.”
It was only a 17-week job posting, which discouraged Junker. He says he was contemplating going back home for the summer to work in the mining fields so he could make “a whole lot of money.”
But a last-minute change of heart made him decide to apply for the position, which he ended up getting.
“I helped release their album called We are the Halluci Nation,” he says.
The experience of working with a major group made the decision to stay worth it, says Junker.
“I got to see how a professional album should be released and I got to see the inner workings of a management company and network with all different kinds of people.”
Once he left DC in 2016, Junker says he got to learn a lot about the music industry.
“I was able to see the inner workings of the art scene in Canada, like how they have grants and funding for the arts,” he says.
“The last two years I’ve been trying to create business plans and figure out ways to get larger budgets to be able to do cooler projects.”
He also credits his time in the MBM program in helping him find work.
“I feel all the skills that I built, topped up with all the information from Durham College really helped me get the job,” he says.
On his return trip to DC in late January, Junker spoke to first year MBM students.
“The first hour was just talking about myself and explaining my story and the second hour was all about the ins and outs of artists management,” he says.
Junker has recently released two projects named Time Capsule and Trilly Madison.
He is currently working on a third, titled The Path.