Step Forward – Gino McKoy

By Krisha Yasi

Gino Justin Hudson McKoy is a Trinidadian-born Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, record producer, actor and screenwriter. He was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago and moved to Canada when he was three and a half years old. He graduated from the University of Toronto with an honours degree in World Religion and Political Science. During McKoy’s university years, he was the founder and president of various cultural groups and successfully maintained leadership roles in various sports. Born into a family of bankers, he shifted away from political science after graduation and decided to follow his family’s footsteps in the financial sector. He attained a well-paid position at a bank and things started to fall into place. After some time, McKoy realized something was missing as his days seemed short of excitement.

Ever since he was young, Gino has had a strong passion for music. His creativity and passion for music grew after he made the decision to leave the bank and follow his dream. He attended the Mississauga School of Music and took vocal lessons. While at school, Gino was trained by Marat Maxutov, a classically-trained Russian musician who studied and taught in Kazakhstan. From then on, doors to the music industry began to open up.

In 2005, at the Musical Classical Steel Drums Competition in the United Kingdom, McKoy’s song Steelpan Music placed third in a youth competition. At the 2006 World Cup Soccer Tournament in Germany, The New York Times rated his original song Soca Warriors Anthem as a favorite. A third original song titled West Indies Forever was played on the first day of the opening match of the World Cup of Cricket in Jamaica in 2007.

In all three instances, McKoy’s music was well received by the international media including accolades from The New York Times and BBC. Even with little to no marketing budget, his songs were able to gain international attention.

In late 2008, McKoy met Canadian sound engineer/producer, Nick Blagona at the Metalworks Studio in Mississauga while mastering one of his songs. Soon after they commenced work on his commercial debut pop rock album. The project was taken over in 2010 by legendary Hollywood producer David Kershenbaum. McKoy completed his debut album “Step Forward” in March 2010 after deciding to move to Los Angeles, California.

These days, he is working with the legendary producer David Kershenbaum to re-mix and re-master the debut album for release in the fall of this year. He has also started working on his two speculative screenplays for feature films, while also launching a merchandising line, called Lydgio Fashions, co-founded by McKoy and his mother, Lynda. In his spare time, he has taken small acting roles for the T.V. series America’s Court and has plans to act in feature films as his career progresses.

Even with his success in the music, movie and fashion industries, McKoy is also working hard at building his multimedia corporation Goldove Entertainment Inc., which started in Canada and has now been expanded to include an office in Los Angeles. The corporation started in 2004 and continues to grow as negotiations with producers in L.A are currently being discussed. Combining all three of McKoy’s loves–music, film and fashion—the new company stands poised to become an entertainment force in Hollywood as well as worldwide in the near future.

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What inspired you to follow your dream?

“Growing up seeing my father’s dedication to music, playing the keyboard and songwriting. My mother always reminded me of my God given talent to sing and that I should pursue what I was gifted in doing and she also had a love for singing. Having that never ending support from your parents is invaluable in terms of inspiration.”

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What advice can you give young teenagers with talent growing up in Toronto?

“Pray, have faith in their talent and do not let anyone persuade them to abandon their dream or what they love to do. Even if they face hardship and trials and tribulations, never give up. There are times that you will be tested and think you should give up, but never do it, failure is not the end and nothing can replace experience and learning from your mistakes. Always do your research of the industry, if you decide to make it your career, it may be your love and passion but in this world, it is also a business. You have to know your industry before you dive head first into it. Knowledge is power in the music and film business, knowledge can mean the difference between you succeeding or being taken advantage of.”

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What style of music do you do?

The music I do is classified as Pop/Rock. I like to call my music a fusion or mix unlike any other. Due to my Caribbean background which is a blend up of cultures itself, I have a wide range of musical styles.

McKoy hopes to have his latest album finished to release before the end of 2012, in time for the Grammy Awards deadline for 2013.

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