By Rashida Powankumar

The tree leaves are blowing gently back and forth as the wind is calm in the mid-air. Although it is fall, it feels like summer. It is the perfect weather to indulge in a sweet–succulent sundae. Many students are on the outside of the building of Centennial College, but one, Zoe Shoultz, instead, is propped in front of a black piano seated on a bench with a large cheerful smile on her face as she shares her success story in the world of music.

Shoultz, 21, is in her second year of the music program at Centennial College, Story Arts Centre. She decided to go back to school because she wanted to invest in her musical abilities. The slew of instruments that she plays include the flute, saxophone, piano, Clariant and guitar. Shoultz is particular about being called by her stage name Joy Xande, which is respected by her classmates.

As she willingly began the first chapter of her story, she had a witted look on her face as she talked about her early-memorable beginnings. At the age of two, she expressed her interest in music. Not only had she heard music in the church that her great-grandfather owned in the United States, but also the music of Western society including Jazz, Soul, heavy metal, funk, classical and Spanish rock.

Being exposed to music at a very young age had led her back into the doors of Centennial College, ready to apply her skills both inside and outside of the classroom.

Xande with a huge smile on her face exposing her even white teeth said with a joyful expression about her experience when playing live at Tranzac nightclub, Toronto, Ont., for the first time. The skills that she had learned within the classroom brought her confidence the night she played.

“I remember throwing on my makeup in the unisex washroom as people were walking in and out, both men and woman,” Xande said. “I should have felt embarrassed but had a duty to perform. Once I got on stage that feeling of embarrassment was gone. I performed and the crowd’s response was very loving.”

When she overcame her embarrassment that very first night as a performer at Tranzac nightclub, she was determined to enhance her musical craft and produce countless songs and demo tapes in the comfort of her home.

Practice, practice, and practice some more Xande recommends to anyone that is willing to grow in their line of work, to invest countless hours.

“Practice even when you don’t want to, it’s better than doing nothing at all,” Xande said.

Understand that the music business is about growth and decay. It doesn’t mean you will be gone forever if you don’t put out a song every single month or an album every year; pace yourself.”

Joy Xande