Since the introduction of The Weeknd, the world has become familiar with a new sound in R&B, one that’s fuelled by drug addictions, dark atmospheres and moody vibes – all of which have subsequently laid out the blueprint for several artists to come, including Kentucky native Bryson Tiller. What’s been understood as a niche ‘Toronto Sound’ has taken its journey across the border and into this 23-year-old’s world, spawning hits like “Exchange” and “Don’t”, and even inciting The Weeknd to jump on “Rambo” himself.
For Bryson Tiller, a high school dropout, success has come at an alarming pace. He started making music and quickly landed on Timbaland’s radar. “[He] told me to quit my job. [I] went down there and he was busy,” he says of the opportunity. “He had this artist named Tink that he was working with, and he was really focused on her, and he didn’t really have time for me and didn’t think it through. He felt bad, but you know, it just told me there’s no turning back. I had already quit my job and I worked really hard to get that job, so now I gotta keep going. I gotta keep making music and see where it goes,” he states firmly.
This game is all about the decisions you make, the people you meet and who you surround with.’ I just always kept that in my mind.
Not long after that encounter Bryson once again captured the attention of the music industry elite – OVO Sound, to be exact. While it was rumored that he had signed to the label’s imprint, Tiller ultimately settled down with RCA Records, following the advice of his manager and lawyers. “There was really nothing at RCA that made me want to sign with RCA. Obviously I wanted to sign to Drake, but I’m happy with RCA now – very happy, actually,” he says. But prior to that decision, he sat down with both Noah “40” Shebib and Drake for some words of wisdom. “[40 and I] really just talked about things sonically, and stuff like sound and music. We also talked about the things you have to do when you’re signed to a major label,” he says. “And Drake, when I first talked to him and asked him for some advice, he said this to me and I’ll never forget: ‘A lot of really talented people fall deeper and deeper into a hole based on this character… This game is all about the decisions you make, the people you meet and who you surround with.’ I just always kept that in my mind.”
Bryson admits that he never listened to Kentucky artists growing up, but rather the likes of Chris Brown and Omarion instead – with the exception of one artist. “Static Major is from Louisville, Kentucky, and he has a different way of approaching every song and harmonies and stuff like that, and I try to implement that in my music too,” he says. Static isn’t the only influence in Bryson’s music, as he goes on to say: “I really want to work with The-Dream. I wanna figure out how he’s been doing all the stuff I fell in love with. I just wanna sit down and pick his brain, like ‘Yo, how did you do this?’ He’s a dope harmonist, and I always wanted to know how to do that.”
If there’s any advice the young rising talent has, it’s to stabilize the fame and family. “Don’t get caught up in anything – not even in work. I got family back home and I can get caught up all the foolishness and ruin what I have back home, and if I get caught up in work, I can still possibly ruin what I got back home, know what I mean? I just try to keep everything balanced.”
As for the rest of the year, Tiller has two goals – create a solid album, and “chill with my daughter.”
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while
What do you get when you combine the start of a worldwide tour and the release of a highly-anticipated album on the same day? Ask Lord Huron’s founder and frontman, Ben Schneider, and he’ll say a pretty damn exciting journey ahead. The band’s third album, Vide Noir, released April 20, is already receiving accolades for its raw, lyrical storytelling from songs like “Wait by the River” and “When the Night is Over”. To engage fans at a deeper level, the band plans on creating immersive experiences that elevate the album’s narratives. Lord Huron’s tour includes a stop at Toronto’s Sony Centre on July 25, and at Osheaga in Montreal on August 4. Schneider spoke to us about his love of storytelling, Raymond Chandler influences, and what it was like working with Flaming Lips’ producer David Fridmann. G—You grew up in Michigan. Is that where your interest in music began? BS—There was always music on at our house, and I remember imagining the people the songs were about. The storytelling of songs is what’s always captured me most. As time went on, I was able to convince my parents to let me play bass in the orchestra, which led to me
Morgan Saint was born into a creative life. Upon growing up in Mattituck, NY with a family of musicians on her mother’s side and parents who worked in interior design, Saint graduated from Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, where she has lived for the past six years. With a major in illustration and a focus on photography and graphic design, Saint has executed a clear vision of her musical artistry. In 2017, at the age of 23, Saint released her debut EP, 17 Hero, on Epic Records. She is a storyteller at heart, combining all of her talents to reveal her narrative as truthfully as possible, one vignette at a time, as seen in all three of the EP’s videos, “Glass House”, “You”, and “Just Friends”. She co-produced each glossy, beautifully choreographed, and high-definition clip with Nathan Crooker, but the lyrics are all hers. They come from personal places yet are vague enough to be relatable. Her electronic pop is lo-fi, but you’ll most likely find yourself snapping your fingers to it. As Saint prepared for a sold-out show supporting Missio in Austin, Texas, Georgie connected with her to discuss coming into her own as a songwriter and