Bay Dream Records Shifts Focus to Live Entertainment
Story by Michael Charlebois, Photo by Doni Song Productions
While hip hop is being celebrated around the globe this year to commemorate 50 years since its beginnings in New York, local hip hop is gaining even more momentum thanks to a group of young individuals who are going the extra mile. The local appetite for hip hop in Thunder Bay—largely isolated from the genre’s historically metropolitan roots— has been moderate at best. As there was no recording studio here that specialized in hip hop, Liam Maguire opened up Bay Dream Records in 2020 to try to fill a gap in the landscape. Now, with a slew of releases from the artists under their label, including Maguire himself, Bay Dream Records has transitioned into the world of live performance in order to help fund their operation. “We’re still making music, but the focus has definitely shifted,” Maguire says. “In the music industry, if you really want to make a living off of it, it’s pretty much impossible just releasing music. That’s why we’ve been doing the live events. It’s more of a business. It also helps get the word out about us.” Since the shift, they’ve had a busy few years, performing at over 30 shows and hosting around 15 themselves. They’ve hosted the likes of 2000s Canadian rappers Choclair and LB Spiffy at local venues such as Atmos and The Westfort. They’ve also collaborated with Norteños Cantina to offer karaoke services on Thursday nights. “Getting into this […] I tried not to think of it as a rapper, but more so as a business perspective,” Maguire says, adding the key to growth locally is to connect Thunder Bay with other cities. “Someone was from Kenora, and they said they drove down to Thunder Bay just to come to Thunder Bay because there’s no recording studio around there.” He says the opportunity to bring Bay Dream to a wider market is in the plan down the line. “I want to grow the local scene for sure, but I think to really grow […] you have to branch out,” Maguire says. “One thing I want to do is put on bigger and bigger live events in places with a larger entertainment market.” “I’d like to dip my toes into Canada-wide tours and establish networks in all these different places.” To learn more, visit baydreamrecords.com.