Anthony Owens Finds a New Tune

Music in an Unlikely Place

Anthony has always loved music. Discovering a new song was “like having a new jacket that no one else has.” Yet when he was younger, the corporate environments he found himself in left him feeling unhappy and creatively uninspired. “I didn’t know how to express myself.”

 

Anthony’s lack of creative direction came to an abrupt halt when he found himself in prison. After getting to know inmates with sentences much longer than his own, Anthony gained a newfound desire to make the most of his life within and beyond bars. In this new setting, Anthony found solace in creativity: he began writing songs and teaching himself music theory. The stronger his sense of purpose became, the more Anthony was able to rise above his situation. “I remember the first time I walked away from a fight. I felt so empowered because I won without having to swing.”

 

A Passion Becomes a Career

Upon his release, Anthony began to experiment with his creative passion and skill.  He created his first mix tape, formed both a hip hop and rock band, and began playing shows to enthusiastic audiences. Shortly after, he received his degree in digital cinematography, graduating as valedictorian from his university, and began directing music videos. After seeing the success of his work, Anthony realized there was not only opportunity to pursue a livelihood in his creative passion, but to create a platform for other artists to express themselves. Anthony founded Audioptix, a multi-media production hub specializing in film, recording audio, and graphic design. “I love being able to take people’s ideas and bring them to fruition.”

 

In need of extra financial support, Anthony learned about Accion through the Utica Industrial Development Corporation, who he had been working with since August 2018. Through UIDC’s partnership with Accion, Anthony received a $35,000 loan to purchase more equipment, including more camera lenses for different kinds of films, allowing him to expand the range of videos he could shoot and better serve his clients’ needs. From both UIDC and Accion, Anthony also received counseling on credit, cash flow management, financial documentation, and preparing a strong application for financing.

 

A Cause Close to Home

While Anthony is currently only working with freelancers, he plans to take on full-time employees as soon as he has the capacity. Anthony also makes it a priority to give back to the community. Determined to empower others to follow his path of self-realization and success, Anthony meets with troubled youth in local detention centers, where he gives motivational speeches and leads creative activities. “I want to challenge them creatively, to teach them to construct instead of deconstruct.”

 

For Anthony, the rewards of having his own business have been life-changing. “I have the freedom to spend more time with my family. It’s so much more about being independent now. I can finally control the destiny of my career.”