Bahay Collective Wants To Boost Underrepresented BIPOC Artists In Montreal's Music Scene

"Bahay" means "home" in Tagalog and the collective is described as a "home for all artists."

Contributing Writer
From left to right: Lil Waterboi, Mando, and JTONDABEAT in front of "Bahay" sign.

From left to right: Lil Waterboi, Mando, and JTONDABEAT in front of "Bahay" sign.

@lamdam12 for @bahaycollective | Instagram

Montreal is packed with talent, but there's no denying that not everyone gets the same opportunities to express their talent as others. That's exactly why Chuong Trinh, otherwise known as Lil Waterboi, decided to start Bahay Collective in 2019 — because he felt as though there wasn't enough representation for BIPOC artists in the Montreal music scene.

"Our ambition has always been to support the local and BIPOC scene. We originally focused on the Asian community because when I started making music, I didn't see a lot of things like this," he explained.

So Lil Waterboi took it upon himself to start a music collective that could provide opportunities for artists where he didn't feel there were many.

MTL Blog got the chance to speak with Lil Waterboi who told us all about the who, what, where, when and how of Bahay Collective.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

What is Bahay Collective?

Bahay Collective is a music studio and creative agency that puts its main focus on supporting BIPOC artists in Montreal.

"Basically, we want to do anything that helps artists get an equal levelling with bigger artists and label artists," Lil Waterboi said.

"Bahay" means "home" in Tagalog and the collective is described as a "home for all artists."

Today, Bahay Collective is made up of CEO Chuong Trinh aka Lil Waterboi, COO Mandy Tran aka Mando and Head of Music Jholeson Miracles aka JTONDABEAT.

The collective has worked artists like Lil Waterboi, Mando, JTONDABEAT, Yenny Yuka, Yessir, Gxlden Child, Ted Park, Miaya, Ching, and YNG Travs.

How did Bahay come to be?

Bahay Collective began in 2019 as a non-profit organization.

Originally, it continues as a collaboration between Lil Waterboi, McGill's Association of North American Born Asians (MANABA) and McGill University Filipino Asian Students Association (MUFASA).

At the time, MANABA wanted Lil Waterboi to throw a concert and MUFASA was fundraising for Typhoon Ompong relief.

"So I put two and two together and we did one event where it was a concert but we were also raising money. That's how the first Bahay event came to be," Lil Waterboi told MTL Blog. The first concert saw performances by artists like Lou Phelps, Lil Waterboi, and Gxlden Child — all of which are from Montreal.

"Bahay" was the name of the first event and then continued on to become the name of the collective.

"The reason I started hosting shows was because I had a lot of friends who were artists, but most people, no just Asians, Montreal artists in general, there aren't a lot of opportunities to perform or grow your career. But for Asians, it's even less," the artist said.

"Right before COVID, we had a lot of momentum. We held a concert called 'Crazy Rich Asians,' based on the movie," he told us. Then the pandemic hit and such events were no longer possible.

During this time, Lil Waterboi made the choice to turn Bahay Collective into a company. "I really wanted to focus on the people who wanted to do music for the rest of their lives," he said.

Once this decision was made, Bahay opened up its music studio, which gave them a space to continue to work on "BIPOC representation and building up the Montreal music scene." Now, the collective is back to throwing concerts and working with different local artists.

What services does Bahay offer?

The collective provides all kinds of services to help artists with their artistic development, ranging from recording, mixing, and mastering to graphics, such as cover art, motion art and lyric videos, plus marketing services like press blasts and ad management.

Essentially, everything you need to help your artistic career take off.

Anyone can book a session with Bahay online, which would take place in their music studio in downtown Montreal. Then the rest is history!

Alanna Moore
Contributing Writer