Toronto songwriter Abigail Lapell draws from roots, indie and punk traditions. Winner of the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Award for Contemporary Album of the Year, she’s toured across North America and Europe, performing on vocals, piano, harmonica and finger style guitar. Hide Nor Hair, her sophomore CD/LP, is out now.
Andrea Ramolo is a multiple Canadian Folk Music Award nominee and one-half of the acclaimed folk/pop duo Scarlett Jane. Her third solo album NUDA, produced by Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) was mentioned on the 2017 Polaris Prize longer list. Her newest recording- an homage to Leonard Cohen - will be released on a nation-wide tour this November. Andrea has co-written music with Matt Epp, Tom Wilson, Luke Nicholson, and Miss Quincy to name a few and has recorded in the studio with Lee Harvey Osmond, Andy Maize, Martha and the Muffins, and more. She has played many of Canada’s major folk and music festivals and toured nationally and internationally for the last decade. Among others, Andrea has had the pleasure of singing alongside Gordon Lightfoot, Ron Sexsmith, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Lynn Miles, and Adam Cohen and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
APHROSE is an Indie-Soul artist from Toronto, Canada. Raised in the culturally diverse neighbourhoods of Scarborough, Aphrose's musical tastes were shaped by all the various genres present in her Trinidadian household. Soul and gospel are obvious influences, while she’s also inspired by traditional styles such as Soca, Calypso, Reggae but also Bollywood soundtracks and even Country. Taking her audience with her every step of the way, Aphrose has a reputation in Toronto for her powerful and soaring R&B vocal stylings fronting and supporting the many bands and artists she performs with. She had the honour of working with and learning from industry heavyweights such as Daniel Caesar, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Nikki Yanofski, to name a few, and continuously strives to grow as an artist and make her dreams a reality, through dedication, commitment and love of her craft. Aphrose released her first single (produced by Scott McCannell, Giordan Postorino & Jim JR.) in June of 2017 and has subsequent single releases spread out over 2018. The upcoming record will reflect her new outlook on life, love and overcoming hardships through the vantage point of being a fully a actualized woman hitting her stride and finding her true voice as a writer and vocalist.
Azniv Korkejian, who makes music under the moniker Bedouine, draws on folk and 70s country - compelling influences, but not necessarily the music that surrounded her early on in life.
Born in Aleppo, Syria, to Armenian parents, Korkejian spent her early childhood in Saudi Arabia. After her family won the green-card lottery, she moved to the U.S. at the age of 10. Paying homage to folks magnets like Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen, but in her own startlingly unique voice and lush arrangements, Korkejian’s 2017 debut as Bedouine is “a modern folk masterpiece” (The FADER) from “a future legend” (The New York Times), and “one of the most charming albums of the year” (The Guardian).
Born in New York and raised in Montreal, Common Holly (AKA Brigitte Naggar) puts unpredictable compositional elements into a singer-songwriter/folk framework, packaged in textured, eclectic electro-acoustic production. Her forthcoming album, Playing House, contemplates the notion that it is conscious thought and deliberate action that defines and cements maturation from child to adult.“Playing House is an expression of how I want to begin my adult life. It is my first real effort to create something that is entirely deliberate—the beginning of my journey of thoughtful action, and of daring to express myself outside of my bedroom. The creative process expresses my learning to take up more space and to put my silence behind me, while also dealing with the ending of a formative four-year relationship that had become the center of my young adult life.”
Fronted by Mar Meredith, For Esmé is an unabashedly feminist exploration of self-love and the courage of conviction in uncertain times. Refracting light through dark places, Righteous Woman invokes the urgent and personal to reflect on and reposition the multitudes of womanhood, to push back against the patriarchy, to offer the possibility of living on one's own terms.
Gabrielle Papillon’s music is open to interpretation-though it remains confidently, almost nonchalantly rooted in folk, on her newest release, ‘Keep the Fire’ she has embraced her pop leanings and pushed them to the forefront. The songs pulse with strings and drama, keys, and evocative percussion. So stay open, interpret. Sing out, dance slow. Hold the spark, keep the fire.
You hear it a lot these days – the idea that something is greater than the sum of its parts – and yet there’s really no better way to describe the musical essence of the Good Lovelies. Kerri Ough, Sue Passmore, and Caroline Brooks – immensely talented vocalists and songwriters in their own right; however, it’s their voices interwoven in harmony – powerful and pure, organic and inspiring – that elevates the Good Lovelies from impressive to peerless. Over the course of their decade-plus career, they’ve covered plenty of stylistic ground, adding tinges of pop, roots, jazz, and even hip-hop to their country folk core at various points. The trio first united in 2006 for a one-off performance and has since compiled a catalogue of four studio albums, a pair of EPs, a live album, and Christmas collection. Through it all, the unmistakable sound of their intertwined voices has been the sonic anchor, and that remains true as the Good Lovelies now look to push further into the mainstream with their most accessible and pop-influenced output to date. Their upcoming collection offers a perfect balance between a more modern production style and the wholesome musical influences that have made them a household name over the years. What’s more, the songs themselves build on the Good Lovelies’ familiar foundation with a widespread appeal. If what happens next goes according to plan, though, the Good Lovelies will see their profile propelled to new heights thanks to a contemplative creative approach and a new spin on the signature sound that’s earned them audiences and accolades the world over. The music, the album, and the trio – all are greater than the sum of their individual parts. Simply, that’s the Good Lovelies
From the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Jennah Barry is a singer, songwriter and musician.
Loyal, casually self-deprecating and mostly honest, the music is juicy pop gossip with a folk back-bone, produced by Colin Nealis (Andy Shauf, Aidan Knight).
Kayo Guevarra was born and raised on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Inspired by the likes of Bob Marley, The Fugees, Kardinal Offishall, 2Pac, and Jay-Z, Kayo began honing his talent through poetry at the age of 14. Eventually, Kayo turned his poetry to songs, that “sugar with the medicine” approach to songwriting is the basis for what Kayo’s music is all about – combining the sounds of rap, dancehall, and soca creating a uniquely aggressive and penetrating sound while penning songs with substance and purpose
"About two hours north of Toronto, there’s a studio nestled in the woods where you can go to write and record, free from distraction. It’s co-owned by Lisa Conway, a writer, musician and composer who makes kinetic avant-pop music under the name L CON. Conway, who holds both Canadian and Swiss citizenship, has composed music for performance artists, filmmakers and dancers, but it’s her solo work that expresses a vital, singular worldview and establishes her as a compelling artist to watch. Conway will layer seemingly disparate component parts – a violin, sinewy drum programming – highlighting the rhythmic or emotional threads that connect the whole. She also has the vocal chops to carry raw, minimal piano ballads; her work is engrossing, the kind of music that dims all the outside world’s white noise." - Red Bull Music Academy
MAJE is a Canadian songwriter, performer, and entrepreneur. MAJE gained major recognition in 2015 when he won $10,000 for a song he wrote based on Viola Desmond. In early 2016 MAJE entered the CBC Searchlight competition and made it to the top 10 in the region. In 2017 he released his first mixtape “Insert Flame Emojis Here” which has been nominated for The Halifax Coast, Music Nova Scotia and East Coast Music Awards.
Matthew Byrne released his highly-anticipated third album - Horizon Lines - on August 11, 2017. This newest collection of traditional material explores a unique repertoire of songs from both sides of the Atlantic and continues Byrne’s journey through his own unique musical lineage. A guest appearance by Matthew’s dad (Joe Byrne) makes for a particularly special moment on this recording. Another highlight is an original ballad by Byrne, penned after discovering a fascinating family connection to a beautiful love story - “a traditional song just waiting to be written”, as he describes it. Byrne’s ever-evolving creative partnership with producer Billy Sutton shines throughout Horizon Lines with thoughtful interpretations of traditional songs anchored by Byrne’s polished guitar work and commanding voice. Their treatment of the repertoire shows a mutual sense of when to build (with accompaniment from Newfoundland’s finest players) and when to let a melody and story stand alone.
This alchemy of crisp Faraquet-ish guitars, tumbling vocal melodies, and intense lyrical intimacy will come as no surprise to those who’ve followed the band this far.
Ever since forming in September 2014, Mauno (pronounced Mao-no, and ironically named after bassist / vocalist Eliza Niemi’s completely unmusical Finnish grandfather) has had a wandering sound that refuses to be pinned down. On Rough Master, they strayed from twisting grunge-pop to piano ambience and string-accompanied haze, in part inspired by Niemi’s background in classical cello and prog rock.
Winners of a 2017 Canadian Folk Music Award and a Toronto Independent Music Award, Moscow Apartment is a young duo driven by a mixture of sweet harmonies, belted refrains, and clever wordplay. Their songs easily slip and shift through a variety of genres to create a distinct indie folk rock. The heart of their work is exquisite songcraft and their songs easily slip and shift through a variety of genres to create a distinct indie folk rock. When they sing together it is like honey to the ears. Moscow Apartment has very quickly made a strong impression in Canadian folk and indie music circles. They have already graced the stages of Winnipeg Folk Festival, Hillside and Summerfolk as well as played venues such as Lee's Palace, The Horseshoe Tavern and The Black Sheep Inn. And they are only 15 & 16 years old.
Nicole Ariana’s live show fuses hypnotic Alt-R&B vocals, shadowy electronic production and stunning psychedelic visuals. In late 2017, the Halifax-based singer/songwriter released her EP STRAND featuring production from Eric Dingus (Drake's "If You're Reading This It's Too Late") and TeamSESH's drew the architect to follow up a handful of collaborations with Dingus and his Dream Sequence Records roster (three of which were featured on OVO Sound Radio). 2019 will see Ariana release "Bad 4 Me", a risque, moody and melancholic EP produced by Dylan Guthro.
Pansy Boys is a musical duo consisting of twin brothers Joel and Kyle Curry. Pansy Boys released their debut EP, entitled "In Days of Yore", in May 2017 and have been active ever since, writing and composing new material constantly. They released a follow-up single entitled "Under The Weather" in May of 2018. The pair describes their sound as lush and atmospheric, diving into both a world of nostalgia as well as a more experimental world. Conceptually, the EP "In Days of Yore" focuses on issues of identity and fleeting youth, as well as the anxieties of the LGBTQ+ experience, both past and present. Joel and Kyle are recent graduates of Concordia University in Montreal, QC, gaining BFA's in music. Pansy Boys collection of work has been featured in media outlets such as VICE Canada, OUT Magazine, NOW Magazine and CBC Arts. Their aim is to create a world for themselves and their audiences, both sonically and visually, that represents their lust for a cinematic and soft life, however insatiable that may lead them to be.
Glowing with catchy pop hooks, Rachel Beck’s distinctive piano melodies and emotive vocals are captivating audiences across Canada. The PEI songbird’s first single, Reckless Heart, hit #1 on the CBC Music Top 20 in March 2018 after earning the most online votes for six weeks straight. Beck’s stunning debut, produced by Daniel Ledwell, lures the listener into an ethereal and enveloping soundscape, as the songs take one on a trek across a wide emotional range – from regret and grief to wonder and joy.
Russell Louder is a trans musician, producer, performance artist, curator, party-thrower and ring-leader based in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Their experimental electronic dance pop explores the ever-evolving internal landscape of identity, grief and romance. Their performance and curatorial work - currently taking shape as the 'GLAMCAVE' party series - also explores joy and celebration as sites of queer community, resistance and survival.
Sorrey delivers an unapologetic reminder of how the heart pulses strongly during our fading romances. The Prince Edward Island-based band performs shoegazey dream rock featuring direct-to-the-heart lyricism that never loses conviction.
With over a decade of experience in the music industry at 23 years old, T. Thomason is a force to be reckoned with in the Canadian music scene. T. Thomason has garnered multiple ECMA and Music Nova Scotia nominations, placements on Degrassi, songwriting awards and recognition as one of Canada’s Top 25 Under 25 by CBC Music. T. has shared the stage with The Trews, Joel Plaskett, Gord Downie, Collective Soul, Fefe Dobson, Dragonette, and Carly Rae Jepsen, to name a few. Most recently, Thomason has been named Casino Nova Scotia’s Artist in Residence for 2018. In 2015 and early 2016, T. took personal time off to hone his musical direction and develop his EP, “sweet baby”, with producer Dave Henriques (Justin Nozuka / Iskwé). The EP was released independently online in 2016, and re-released in May, 2017 on COAX Records. A conglomerate of Thomason’s songwriting sensibilities and reverb-y indie rock anthemic choruses, “sweet baby” garnered him a 2017 nomination for Rock Recording of the Year at the Nova Scotia Music Awards. In November 2017, T. and Dave embarked on a new collaborative journey developing the pop/electronic sound of Thomason’s first full length record under his new name, featuring his new voice. Album release is schedule for early 2019, while in the meantime, Thomason is releasing his first single, Bliss, on August 10th.
The Lifers, led by sisters Liv and Anita Cazzola, are an art-folk/rock collective from Guelph, Ontario. Their intertwined voices dynamically convey vulnerability and strength. Softly plucked strings, accordion swells, and lush cello and upright bass arrangements give way to rip-roaring drums, soaring melodies and overdriven frenetic strums. Their stories juxtapose tenderness and explosive energy, sometimes within a single breath. The Lifers explore notions of home, family and community, highlighting the beauty, vulnerability and power of nature, challenging both genre and audience. With influences like Feist, Dan Mangan and The Staves, The Lifers have released LP " Out and In" (2016) and EP "Set the Sails" (2014). Whether in an intimate duo arrangement or with the thunderous six-piece band, The Lifers have been an unexpected gem at festivals such as Hillside and Summerfolk (2016), on Canada's East (2015, 2017) and West (2015) Coasts, and in listening rooms and on radio waves around Southern Ontario. The Lifers will be releasing their sophomore album Honey Suite in May, 2018. Their new material is more personal than ever, touching on themes of place, sisterhood, mental health, and environment. To contribute to the push towards a sustainable and equitable future, 75% of the album collaborators are female-identifying, 85% are under 30, and their activities and process reflects their mindfulness and research on how each activity impacts the environment. The album's first single, Front Door, was released in January 2018, with a second single to follow in March 2018, titled Sister. Fans can see The Lifers as they tour Honey Suite throughout Canada, the US and Europe in the spring. The Lifers gives thanks to the support from the Ontario Arts Council, FACTOR and their IndieGoGo backers for making their album creation and tour possible.