Kyle Cooke attends college while working at his home studio as his side hustle. Photo credit: Mohit Kumar

When Kyle Cooke, an Algonquin music industry arts student, first started mixing beats in his basement at the age of 17 living in Gatineau, he realized he didn’t just want it to be his passion: he wanted it to be his profession.

“Love for music was always around,” said Cooke, now 26. “But when I heard “Make It Rain,” that’s what really got me into music. Eventually, I decided to learn it.”

During the initial years of his career, Cooke made beats on his own by using different software and YouTube that helped him gain the required skill for the basics.

Cooke has collaborated with over 200 different local artists by producing beats, mixing songs and even featuring in some tracks. He also believes that working with different artists helps with producing diverse music that cannot be categorized under a single genre.

His career took a new turn when he discovered Algonquin’s MIA program where he could polish his skills.

“I never knew there was a course that offers proper music classes until last summer,” said Cooke. “I joined Algonquin College to learn the engineering behind songs and also the business aspect of the industry.”

Cooke joined Algonquin college just before the first lockdown. His second semester was postponed, but he eagerly waited for the college to reopen because he was in awe of what the studio at the college has to offer.

“He is busy outside the college as well. He has been working as a producer and engineer,” said Colin Mills, the program coordinator for the music industry arts program at Algonquin College. “He is pretty engaged and outgoing in the class and was in the industry even before he started college.”

Cooke works tirelessly on music production in his home studio, NU Vision, and also works at UNIYEN studios in Ottawa. Usually, clients visit him for music and mastering.

“Unlike Toronto, Ottawa is still a young city when it comes to making trendy beats and music,” said Cooke. “Ottawa locals are trying very hard and I believe in the coming five or six years Ottawa will be giving competition to Toronto and Montréal.

Cooke is currently working on various domestic and international projects, including a song featuring rappers based in Atlanta, and a future collaboration with O.T. Genasis.

“My key to making good music is my mindset,” he said. “The mindset of a student who is always willing to learn new things. Music is my emotion and love and I enjoy making every bit of it. The lockdown has given me a chance to know music more deeply which grew my connection to music. I hope one day Ottawa will get recognition for its music and talent.”