Roommates, best friends, business partners – Akeda Hosten, 23, and Darius Calliet, 22, are trying to fill a niche in the St. Louis arts scene. On Friday, October 27 the duo hosted a concert at Blank Space to launch a Black-owned business – The Moves – founded by former Washington University student Chandler Malone.
The Moves’ primary platform is a social media app bringing friends together with a live feed and easy access to booking tickets for a night out. Malone and his team at The Moves are simultaneously working to provide people of color with connections to the tech industry through their forthcoming foundation.
Hosten and Calliet, too, are in the early stages of founding their entrepreneurial project, Nina Productions. For the launch event, Nina Productions brought out budding local artists like Matty Wood$, Anwar, 4 Deep, and Sad Boys Anon to perform. Hosten, an artist himself, also held stage. But event planning is a small part of Nina Productions’ vision.
Earlier this year, Hosten and Calliet transformed a third bedroom in their apartment into a home studio filling it with high quality recording gear. Hosten said he wants to foster a collaborative atmosphere with their small space. “As an artist, in order to achieve your best content, you have to feel comfortable enough to let you’re your guard down and relax and mess up sometimes,” Hosten added, “that’s where your creativity will flow from.”
“I’ve been too studios before where the energy is off, but here I want people to feel like they are in their element, artistically”, Hosten said. Calliet goes further, “We’ve worked hard to create the right atmosphere at the studio, the walls, for instance, are full of local artists’ work, which itself helps set the vibe.”
Between the two of them, artists have come to Nina Productions for an array of things. Said Hosten, “We offer most all music services: production, beats, recording, mix and mastering, features – all of that.”
“With Nina Productions, we are trying to make a space for people in St. Louis to have a platform, to brainstorm, to really work on their craft,” Calliet said. Calliet, who describes himself as a creator, does personal web page design and also helps artists on the business end of their marketing themselves. Soon, he said, Nina Productions hopes to invest in their own property for their studio and to host more events for local artists.
Given the potential for growth and collaboration in the city, Calliet and Hosten say they have long-term goals here. “In however many years, when you look back on the history of the art scene in St. Louis”, Hosten said, “we want to be looked on as a hub of artistic energy in the city.” Characteristic of their relationship, Calliet jumps in mid – sentence, “A space where ideas began and people came together.”
Hosten and Calliet are always on the same wave length. It is a bond that has been fostered over the last five years. “I trust Darius, so I know he wants me to be the best musician I can be.” Hosten adds, “And at the end of the day, I want Darius to be the best developer, businessman, and person he can be too.”
“We’ve come up together, so we don’t have anything to gain from each other except the joy of seeing each other do better.”
Calliet continues, “I know we can only do so much, but I’m here for whatever it takes to help people in St. Louis, people in the black community especially, succeed with their craft and what they are trying to create.”
For more information on Nina Productions, visit http://www.ninaproductionsstl.com/.