We usually talk about artists and producers here. But this time, I’m putting the spotlight on Mercenary, The Hired Shooter aka Young Torontino. If you haven’t heard of him yet, you’re gonna be hearing about him now. Yes. We know all the elements of Hip Hop and what everyone does. But if you need to drop music videos for exposure, a talented video shooter is essential in getting your visual product out there.
I had the privilege of getting to know Mercenary in person over the course of a few days, and being present for the shooting of 4 different music videos, while in the East coast. These included Estee Nack’s video “Jorgeramos” featuring Codenine & Daniel Son, Rome Streetz video “Wickedest Ting” featuring Daniel Son, Pounds’ joint “Traffic”, and Edweird’s “Lost Soul” dropping very soon. I saw Mercenary in full work mode with his ability to think of quick ideas on the spot to bring out the best and enhance the final product. The Young Torontino is a beast at what he does and is passionate about perfecting his craft. I came up with some questions so that the world can get to know him better.
Where are you from originally?
I am from Toronto, of Latin American descent. My dad was a DJ, so I have been around music my entire life.
Where are you currently located?
I’m currently in Scarbrough, the East end of the city here in Toronto.
How long have you been shooting videos?
I have been shooting videos for about 16 Months. I started in March 2017. I usually turnover videos the next day with no re edits, and my clients are always happy with my quality of work.
Who did you shoot your first video for?
My first video I ever shot was with someone that I knew in my old Don Mills neighborhood. The artist went by $ource and the name of the track was Needed Me (Remix).
Who was your first breakout artist that you feel really helped get you more recognition and set the tone for this path you chose? Can you elaborate on some details?
It was definitely Daniel Son. I reached out to Daniel because I was a fan of his music and I felt that working with him would advance both our crafts. I was trying to get into the music video scene without any experience and a lot of artist did not want to work with me because I was new and hadn’t put in any work before. Daniel gave me an opportunity to display my craftsmanship and we came out with a video for Young Memphis. All the squad did was run around the ends and I captured it perfectly, posted by a Chinese restaurant spot, burning backwoods, and corner store stops for blunt wraps. We posted by the homie Edweird’s building ballin it up and juicing it down. It was my first video with Daniel and we crushed it. The next day the video was done and it was a masterpiece. To this day, I still think it’s our best video yet. It was a couple of days after my birthday, and it was also the first time we ever met. The connection was solid from that point on.
Name some honorable mentions of artists you’ve worked with?
Daniel Son, Asun Eastwood, Saipher Soze, Rome Streetz, Crimeapple, Meyhem Lauren, Pounds, Dre Barrs, C4 aka Fourrrr and Edweird. The list is still growing.
What other talents do you have besides shooting videos? Do you rap? Make beats? Etc.
Before I ever touched a camera, I made beats for a few artist in my neighborhood after high school. I stuck with it until I took directing seriously. I also used to rap and write rhymes for a couple of people. I can’t name who, but I would consider myself a ghost-writer.
Any final things you’d like to say or let people know how to get in contact if they’re interested in setting something up with you?
Any artists that need work WORLDWIDE can contact me at email@example.com
Depending on the budget for video + flight = varied outcome of the results. The more the artists are willing to invest, the better the product will come out, but quality is something I uphold no matter what.
The future is promising for Mercenary, as he continues to build his résumé. He’s very dedicated and serious about his work, even if he has to take the lead from the artist and tell them what to do as he sees fit. I witnessed it with my own eyes and he means business. After being a part of those 4 video shoots, I can honestly say he takes pride in what he does and gets it done in a timely manner without compromising the quality. If you’d like to see his videos, hit up his YouTube channel, Mercenary Productions.