Impact Spotlight - Gilbert aka Mr. Program

Who doesn’t love music?

Music, for so many people, is a passion that defines who they are. Whether they compose their own music or simply enjoy listening to the creations of other artists, music is a language of love, experience, hope and joy for people around the world.

For one of our Entrepreneurship program graduates, music is what has helped guide him to be the person he is today. Gilbert attended our Introduction to Entrepreneurship course in 2017. A singer and songwriter, Gilbert took our class to learn more about how take his passion and turn it into a viable business. After completing our course, we worked with Gilbert to help provide him with tools and resources such as blank CDs and a laptop so that he could make his dream a reality.

Gilbert, who is also known as Mr. Program, even wrote a jingle for Beauty in Belize!

We caught up with Gilbert to hear more about his experience and where he is today with his music business.

My name is Gilbert - known as Mr. Program. I'm thirty-four years old and I'm from Belize City, Belize - Central America

Q: What inspired you to be an artist?
A: I have been a musician and songwriter for over 15 years, however, in 2009 I got my first smash hit that went country wide. I gained many fans during that time and received a lot of support. This inspired me to keep working hard towards my dream.

Q:. Can you tell us about the music industry in Belize?
A:. There really isn't a music industry in Belize. We have a lot of young aspiring artists with great talent, however, they need to work hard independently to gain fans and support. Weather it's selling CDs throughout the country or performing at different venues. You have to work hard to sell yourself as an artist. The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) will give you a handout or assistance of some sort but that is very rare.

Q: How will the laptop and blank CD donation assist you with your music career?
A:. The laptop will allow me to promote my music and communicate with my fans on various platforms: YouTube, social media etc. This is extremely crucial to artists in today's world. The blank CD donation will bring income and help spread my music throughout Belize.

Q: Did the entrepreneurship program help you with your career?
A: Yes a great deal. It gave me insight and knowledge of how to handle my music in the business aspect. Sometimes as artists we get excited to share our music with our fans but we need to have a plan and operate as a business. We are the business as well as the artist. We have to protect ourselves and our craft.

Q: What is your advice for aspiring musicians/artists in Belize?
A: There are no music labels in Belize. You must work hard on your own. Be proactive and learn continuously, educate yourself on the legal aspects of being a musician. Protect your music at all times. Learn about the different platforms that can help your music spread to more fans. Talk to established musicians and learn from them. Ask them what their biggest challenges were. These conversations will help you navigate properly.

Make sure you check out Gilbert’s YouTube channel and watch for more of his amazing work!