By Bora Caglayan
Kiana “rookz” Eastmond is an award-winning entrepreneur, the founder of Sandbox Studios, and the former Executive Director of Manifesto.
Sandbox Studios, is one of the most successful Urban Music Artist Development and Recording facilities in Toronto. The studio has opened its doors to both international and local talent such as Cardi B, Tory Lanez, Kid Ink and some of the city’s brightest up and coming acts.
After working with legends within the music industry as well as with budding stars, it became evident to rookz that Canada lacked the infrastructure to develop a healthy and sustainable urban music industry. So rookz began to fill in this gap by dedicating her efforts to having Sandbox Studios welcome all artists within the urban music genre in order to create new opportunities for the youth in the urban music genre across the country. By doing so, rookz has opened countless doors for those within the community who might not have gotten their break otherwise.
As a self-starting entrepreneur, none of rookz’s success came easily to her. After being out of her home and dropping out of high school at a very early age, rookz’ independence and individual strength were tested. Her financial and emotional struggles of trying to meet rental payments for her first studio location, and struggling with homelessness after giving up her apartment to be able to afford this rent prevented her from reaching her current level of much-deserved success sooner. Her ability to overcome these obstacles gave her even more motivation to achieve her goal of founding her own studios.
As the Executive Director of Manifesto in 2018, rookz has had an extensive experience with various organizations. Through her various public sector and music industry endeavours, rookz has decided to take on the challenge of sustainability and fill in the gaps in the music industry in order to create the much-needed space for showcasing within the world of urban music.
When it comes to creating a model for creative collaboration and social impact, rookz is unapologetic, vocal and ambitious; and she has no plans of slowing down or keeping quiet anytime soon.
A recognized brand of her own, rookz worked with Nike in a national campaign that focused on unsung heroes. Soundcloud featured her as one of four studio owners bridging music in North America. In addition to these mega-brands, rookz has also been featured by YouTube Music, Jordan, American Express, Air Canada, and Live Nation and appeared The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, CP24, ELLE, Complex, FLARE Magazine, Vice, Exclaim and NOW Toronto, among others.
Inspired by the challenges she faced in her adolescent life and inspired by the resilience of her also-entrepreneurial mother, rookz’s dedication to building something out of nothing and working to better one’s self and their community helped to create her brand, #CreateFate.
The brand focuses on highlighting the idea of accountability, resilience, and the importance of grit, coupled with faith, in accomplishing one’s goals to create their own unique path; as she puts it, “your conditions don’t have to be your conditioning”.
Her motto and accomplishments have most recently won her the role as the first Global Ambassador for the Global Institute for Conscious Economics’ “Future Skills: A Conversation with President Barack Obama” event taking place on Thursday, January 23 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
To purchase single or table tickets, visit the Economic Club of Canada’s website at www.economicclub.ca. To find out more on rookz, visit www.rookz.ca or follow her on Instagram at @rookz.
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