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.”
Starley’s path to platinum status has been filled with starts and stops. After years spent trying to launch her career in her hometown of Sydney, Australia, and later in London and the United States, the popstar hopeful grew depressed. Her anxieties heightened. She was ready to quit. But before she decided to shift her focus onto her next passion – fitness – she made one final attempt at music. Telling herself that God works in mysterious ways but to remain faithful in his process, Starley penned the personal salve, “Call on Me”. The song caught the attention of Australia’s Central Station Records. Since then, everything changed for Starley. Central Station’s subsidiary, Tinted Records, released “Call on Me” as her debut single last July. Epic Records re-released the track later in October. To date, the song has peaked at number 70 on the Billboard Hot 100, and its remixed version by Aussie producer Ryan Riback has garnered over 338 million Spotify streams. Starley is currently touring North America for the first time supporting British electronic group Clean Bandit. Georgie got some time with the budding singer to talk about her mainstream ascent, dealing with mental health, and the importance of fitness
Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch first met in the 11th grade, when they started performing together in a jazz quartet known as the Flown Tones. Although the band later disbanded, Rehbein and Dausch stuck together, and the pair went on to experiment with folk, reggae and electronica sound combinations. Eventually, this led to the formation of Milky Chance and the 2014 release of their debut album, Sadnessecary, which later went on to become a multi-platinum success. Now, three and a half years later, Milky Chance is ready to embark on a new adventure with the release of Blossom. The album’s first single, “Cocoon”, continues to climb the charts as the Blossom Tour makes its way across North America. Lead vocalist Rehbein spoke to Georgie about touring, writing and how being close friends with Dausch has benefited the band. G—It’s been about 3 ½ years since the release of Sadnecessary. How has your approach changed between your first and second albums? Clemens Rehbein—I wouldn’t say it’s changed in the way I write songs, but rather how we’ve developed as musicians. The songs are made of the same foundation, but they’re influenced by our experiences on the road and playing on stage. G—Was it
Jacob Sartorius’s path to fame has become an increasingly familiar story: teenaged internet sensation breaks out into mainstream pop stardom. But what sets the 14-year-old Virginian singer apart is his self-awareness and early career savvy. In 2014, Sartorius began uploading clips of himself singing and dancing to Vine. After amassing around 500,000 followers, he switched to musical.ly, where he began uploading videos of himself lip-synching to his own songs. Whereas Vine allowed him to show off his musical theatre background, musical.ly allowed him to show off even more of his lighthearted side. Musical.ly became a new way for him to promote his music and connect with his fans. Sartorius’s fan base has grown so large that he is currently touring internationally for the first time, across seven countries, in support of his debut EP, The Last Text. Georgie caught up with him by phone in London, England a day before he performed in front of 2,500 fans at the O2 Arena. In preparing for The Last Text World Tour, Sartorius has already started developing the work ethic necessary to endure major pop stardom. For 15 to 20 days leading up to the tour, he worked with his voice and movement coaches for up to ten