With three Grammys, an Academy Award, and over five billion streams, The Weeknd has conquered the music industry, but he didn't do alone. Thanks to help the from his XO team, including creative director La Mar C Taylor (La MarXO), who is responsible for the creative marketing of XO and conceptualizing art direction for tours, merchandise, album artwork and more, Abel has become one of the most successful artists from Toronto.
It's a real "started from the bottom, now we're here" as both creatives came from essentially nothing. "We didn't really have an outlet for creatives to come, collaborate, and use tools to fabricate and launch ideas into the world," Taylor tells us. "We had nothing like that. We had to figure it out our own."
To help make sure the next generation of Toronto creatives don't go through the same struggles on their path to success, La Mar and Ahmed Ismail have created the Toronto-based arts program of our dreams with HXOUSE.
Created to help empower future industry leaders, their mission statement reads: “HXOUSE is the next-generation incubator and accelerator that is at the forefront of fostering innovation and opportunity for creative entrepreneurs. We facilitate connections between talent and industry to build mutually beneficial relationships between future talent and current industry titans.”
The brand celebrated the opening of the space with an "Open HXOUSE Powered by Google Pixel 3" event earlier this month. They showed off the 30,000 square foot facility in Toronto, Ontario, which houses a fashion/textile room, 3D printing lab, photography, music, and film studios, fine metal and jewelry labs, venue space for live events, a common area for people to mingle, and much MUCH more.
The variety of different labs and studios help bring together a wider demographic of artists who may not normally interact. To help further that integration, HXOUSE creates "challenges" (group projects) for members. In the groups, "we make sure that one creative is not a duplicate of the other," Taylor adds.
That same thought process went into the two celebrity-filled panels hosted at the launch event bringing in a wide variety of rappers, singers, producers, photographers, designers, and more. Each panel focused on two key topics of success. One focused on the importance of visual identify featuring Dr. Woo Nabil, Daniel Arsham, Matthew Williams & White Trash Tyler, while the other included Swizz Beatz, Halsey, Cash, BOI-1DA, OPN, Mustafa The Poet, and Wondagurl discussing how up and coming artists can break into the industry.
The event concluded with a hype concert featuring Toronto-natives The Weeknd and Nav, alongside Bryson Tiller and The Neighbourhood.
The first HXOUSE is officially open, head to there site for more information. Watch our recap of the event in the video above featuring a sit down with La Mar discussing the importance of having a creative incubator.
In other news, Travis Scott opens his own store in Houston.