The music agency Pro Tao-Ming Lau decided to do their own thing in 2018. After working for cutie for outlandish record labels and booking acts like Joanna Newsom and Death Cab, Lau felt ready to start a new kind of booking agency. Blue Crane would be different – it would prioritize women and artists, and offer the representation and resources to help them flourish.
“People sign young rappers from Brampton or Scarborough and give them a month or two to develop as artists instead of the two years they would give to white musicians who are given more access,” she says. “We need sustainable support from labels and management.”
Lau was born and raised in Vancouver, but she knew Toronto was the perfect place to start her new adventure.
“For me, Toronto is an opportunity and all the intense, exciting things of a big, sprawling city,” says Lau. “It symbolizes the security and freedom of moving out of a smaller city like Vancouver and making myself who I want to be.”
Lau finds joy in supporting her artists, including notable signings like Toronto DJ Bambii and Montreal rapper Narcy, as well as emerging talent like up-and-coming R&B star Zaki Ibrahim. She is determined to change the industry from the inside out. Blue Crane prioritizes under-represented artists, but it also helps create an inclusive and safe environment by working with consultants to offer workshops, provide training manuals for event organizers, and ensure that venues and festivals are accessible to people with disabilities.
Now with four employees, Lau has big plans for Blue Crane, including branching out into recruiting.
“We want to promote musicians and give artist staff the opportunity to be hired by music companies,” she says. “There’s so much talent here.”