If there’s one thing that gets most of us through the day, it’s music. Whether we’re scrolling through SoundCloud looking for mood tunes to help alleviate a case of the Mondays or listening to a mixtape someone has sent our way, not a day goes by without some kind of music playing in our office.
Since our inboxes tend to get inundated with lots of projects from artists interested in coverage, we decided to spotlight some of the names we’ve been hearing about every month. This time around we’re focusing on our neighbors in Canada. So get to know these nine artists from across the border.
Take a look at past installments here.
After becoming a staple of the Montreal beat movement, Tommy Kruise has now become a true icon in the Quebec music scene. After releasing a mix through Fool’s Gold Records in early 2013, the producer has continued to grow his brand beyond his music through a video series with VICE highlighting Quebec culture. He continues to release amazing music, as shown by his Memphis Confidential Vol. 2, which came out earlier this summer.
Hailing from Edmonton, Tennyson is a brother-sister duo who have decisively claimed the electronic-dream sound as their own. Luke and Tess’ versatility – they are both multi-instrumentalists and vocalists – creates a signature sound that is deeply influenced by jazz music. They’ve played the historic Fonda Theater in Hollywood and the Bowery Ballroom in New York, while opening for Secret Songs label head and fellow Canadian, Ryan Hemsworth, who they’ve recently inked a deal with.
Toronto-based River Tiber has consistently impressed fans and artists alike with his ability to create unique soundscapes and translate emotions through his work. Like Ekali, he is an RBMA alumni, and like Ekali, he also has a Drake credit under his belt (“No Talk” was sampled on “No Tellin”).
He has drifted in and out of genres seamlessly, notably producing for Pusha T, Mac Miller and Freddie Gibbs; having a production feature on KAYTRANADA’s 99.9%; and working with jazz-hop trio BADBADNOTGOOD (credited as a cellist no less). With a number of EPs already released, the ceiling is literally the sky for this young artist.
The daughter of classically trained musicians, RYAN Playground grew up surrounded by art. She started her career as a model, with spreads in Elle and contracts with Travis Taddeo and Vera Wang, among others. The young Montrealer recently launched her music career, releasing her debut EP, Elle, via Secret Songs earlier this year, with the standout being a collaboration with Hemsworth, titled “Folders.”
After joining Hemsworth and Harrison on the summer Secret Songs tour, she played the Canadian festival circuit and just debuted a summer single along with an interview through Vogue. Ryan is working on her next project, due out in 2017.
Navigating the Canadian production scene in 2016 isn’t easy, but Harrison has emerged from Toronto’s Drake-era with a sound that he can definitely call his own. Dripping synths, bouncy percussion and a bubbly brand all come together to create this new wave artist. With his next album set to come out through Secret Songs the young producer toured Canada earlier this year with RYAN Playground and label owner Ryan Hemsworth.
Like Tommy Kruise, High Klassified was picked up by Fool’s Gold Records a couple of years ago and has only elevated his brand since. He has production work with some of the most up-and-coming names in hip-hop including Tunji Ige, Mick Jenkins and 2 Chainz. His original productions have also garnered attention worldwide. When you include his work with his label boss A-Trak on their Low Pros album and “Laval Ou Rien,” his clothing collaboration with top Montreal streetwear outlet Off The Hook, it’s clear that this young star is just getting started.
Another Canadian artist who has continued to hone his sound amid the chaotic Toronto music scene is Daniel Caesar. The young crooner has combined a breathtaking voice, beautiful melodies, and spacious production to catch the world’s attention.
He recently worked with BADBADNOTGOOD, French producer Stwo, and the previously mentioned River Tiber. Yet, as is often the case, it is his solo work that has really set him apart. With two brilliant EPs under his belt (most recently Death & Taxes), the 21-year-old continues to define his distinct sound.
Seeing early success on Tumblr was the beginning for Nicole, but it wasn’t until fellow Canadian, Grimes, took note of the Ontario native that things really took off. Since then she signed to Grime’s label Eerie (which was created solely to release Dollanganger’s album) and has been aptly labelled as the former’s protege.
Her brand is focused on desolate American imagery and her music matches it perfectly, with startling percussion and vivid lyrics that will make even the stablest person feel uncomfortable. The 23-year-old accompanied Grimes on part of her Rhinestone Cowgirls tour last fall.
Hemsworth is definitely the most veteran name on this list, but that doesn’t mean he is any less Buzzworthy than the others. His sound can be described as the perfect combination of hip-hop and electronica, as he often brings out the vulnerable side of even the hardest hip-hop artist. He has worked with Tory Lanez, UV Boi, and Kitty Kash, and was the direct support for Tinashe’s most recent world tour after having production credit on “Wrong” from her Amethyst album.
What really separates him, however, is his willingness to give back to the community who created him through his imprint Secret Songs. The label, which initially was built for “friends-only,” has created a platform for so many undiscovered artists across the world and has been home for many artists on this list.
Vancouver native Project Pablo has emerged as one of the must interesting and exciting names in the Canadian electronic music scene. While living in Vancouver, Patrick Holland’s chunky synth lines and warm house sound naturally fell in with the forward-thinking house label 1080p, whose platform helped establish his unique brand.
Since moving to Montreal a number of years ago, he has continued to flourish, starting up his own label, ASL Singles Club, and playing the likes of Boiler Room, RBMA and Piknic Electronik, on top of a European tour earlier in 2016. With a number of amazing releases already under his belt this year, including standout, “Warm Priority,” the prolific producer looks poised for a strong 2017.
Speaking of music and Canada, if you find yourself in Montreal be sure to check out the RBMA activities happening now through October 28.
- Writer: Alex Mactavish/Highsnobiety
- Main Image/Featured Image: Scott Pilgrim