indicatorMoney and Financing

Money management for the working artist

By ATB Financial 16 February 2024 2 min read

Today, KTheChosen, is an award-winning TEDx speaker, hip-hop artist and performer. 

But nine years ago, K was a student on campus, opening his first ATB bank account.  

Finding his footing as a working artist has come with some financial learning curves for the Calgary-based rapper: registering a business, setting aside money for taxes, and managing a higher income.

K’s relationship with money and banking has evolved. Kind of like his music career. 

ATB sat down with K to talk about money management, investments in arts and culture, and the importance of asking questions. 

Q: What’s it like being a working artist? 

A: It's been interesting to navigate, because obviously, you have a lot of costs that you incur: recording music, making album art. 

At the beginning, you end up doing a lot of things yourself, because it's the cheapest way to do it. But it also means it's the slowest way because you did every single part. 

As I've grown as an artist, my opportunities have also grown. I get paid more for gigs and my music actually gets a little bit more marketing spend behind it.

Q: Have any ATB advisors provided you with advice you could share?

The best thing to do is to ask questions.

I think a lot of times money scares people. And we feel like, if you ask a question, someone might judge and not give you the response. But obviously, you don't know what you don't know. 

But I love going to the bank because it’s super friendly. 

I remember getting my first credit card. I was like, so why do I need a credit card? What do I do with it? ATB referred me to the right person. 

Q: Why is it important to invest in the arts and music?

A: I think it's a great way for people to express themselves and a great way for people to then spend their money on things that they enjoy. 

But obviously, if the art is not sustainable, we lose it very quickly, right? Whether it's artists moving to other cities or artists disappearing because they can't afford to be an artist. 

It's important for banks and other institutions to invest in that because these are the people whose money you're managing anyway. 

Q: What’s the best money lesson you have learned? 

A: Around year four [of my career] was when I started getting booked for corporate gigs. 

At that point, it’s just figuring out: okay, if I'm making this much from music, what's the best way to reinvest it? And how do businesses that are just a one-person business at the beginning, fund themselves and manage their money?


Learn more about KTheChosen on his website

The Branch for Arts + Culture

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