You know it, your friends know it but you heard it here first. Montreal is a diversified city filled with talent, but NO opportunities. Truth is, if you stick around here - that talent will soon get absorbed by your 9 to 5 day job.

And if you DO make it, you won't stay here long enough to share your story. Thankfully I was able to catch an interview with a Montreal born Italian sensation, right before he fled off to his next exotic location.

Meet Paolo Rocco, International DJ and music producer.

"[Growing up], I wanted to work in business and marketing. I remember when I was 15 I was intrigued with the stock market. Which 15 year old cares about the stock market?" He didn't always know he wanted to be an Artist, but he knew he was hungry to make it.

Paolo later fell in love with music, precisely deep house and techno and did go on to join the business world but as an entrepreneur marketing himself and his own brand.

After many years of getting refused by label companies, came his big break.

"In 2012, I had my first single (Move Body, Move Forward) come out on a small indi German label called Klasse. It got charted by industry heavyweights like DJ Sneak and climbed up to the Beatport top 10 chart (#6)

And as they say, the rest is history.


Being an artist can be very frustrating.

"Starting off in the industry can be frustrating because you are putting ALL your energy, time and money in your music without much respect coming back to you. It's hard to get your name out there. Even if you're lucky enough to get a big break, it can take years before that happens."

Then when you finally build a name for yourself, there's more pressure on you. Now, I HAVE something to lose. I sometimes get in my own head and wonder what the response will be to an upcoming record of mine. You don't have that kind of pressure when you're starting off. You tend to care a little less about what people will think because there's not much attention on you to begin with. You just want your music and name to get out there.


Here's some advice I wish I knew when I started:

Build the best product you can.

Your product will be the heart of your success. Don't worry about having a manager, agent or business plan. All of that is useless unless you have an amazing and unique product. People say it's about who you know, but the truth is, I didn't know anybody when I started. I got to know the right people after they liked my product.

 Don't take advice from just anyone.

Be careful who you take advice from. Especially from local artists who might have more experience than you, but haven't achieved the type of success you're after for themselves. The advice you will get from them is not meriting - it doesn't come from experience, but from a theory that hasn't been proven yet. The artists who manage to make it aren't so caught up in the local politics. Sometimes looking at other territories is exactly what you have to do to get exposure and respect in the market. That's why when Montreal wasn't giving me the break I wanted, I started searching for it and eventually found it in other countries.


Don't idolize or copy

Be unique. Figure out what it is that makes YOU different and maximize on that.


Don't be patient, don't be humble

They say to "be humble", but they don't tell you that the definition of humble is: 1) having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance and 2) of low social, administrative, or political rank.

It's just a way to keep you under control. Just like when they say "be patient" without giving you a valid reason why. Why should I be patient when it comes to hustling for my dreams? Because you're too lazy and can't keep up?


What's next for Paolo Rocco?

Paolo is now based between Montreal and Berlin. Check out his nex Montreal showcase March 26th at Stereo for "Paolo Rocco & Friends".
Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and SoundCloud.
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