Bay Area-based hip hop artist G-Eazy – a.k.a. Gerald Earl Gillum – is riding a wave of success following the late 2015 release of his second album, When It’s Dark Out. The record spawned a hit – “Me, Myself & I” (featuring Bebe Rexha) – and an extensive world tour schedule to promote it. His rare off days have landed him in the studio, working on features for other artists, as was the case with a recent visit to Vancouver’s Warehouse Studios. “When you get a song that catches on, your phone starts blowing up.”
G—Have you enjoyed making time to get into the studio during this tour?
G-Eazy—It’s nice to get out of the routine of tour. The studio’s where I can get lost and find peace. It’s just hard to find the time.
G—How have you dealt with the new level of success you have reached recently?
GE—Nothing can prepare you for how busy it gets. It’s life-changing; but it’s not all bad. I’m about to help my mom buy a house. She’s never had that in her life. That’s one of my biggest motivators – to help take care of her.
G—I read about her being at one of your shows on the road recently. Has she been with you on this tour?
GE—She tells me what cities she wants to go to and I get her flights.
G—You’ve talked before about shutting out the outside world when you’re in the studio. How do you accomplish that?
GE—It’s just airplane mode; it puts up a block to the whole outside world. That’s the way I focus in the studio and wrap my head around the music. I don’t let anything distract or pull me away from that.
G—Your new album’s a pretty personal one. How did you build the confidence to take that approach?
GE—I had to work up the courage to not only talk about some of this stuff, but to share it with the world. I couldn’t have done that on the last album. It’s about having the right people around you to push and encourage you.
G—Who’ve those people been?
GE—My A&R, Jean Nelson, who’s also part of my management team. He did A&R on some of the most classic albums in hip-hop. He’s got a million Biggie stories; T.I., Lil Wayne, Drake, Minaj, too. He’s worked in these same situations with artists that I look up to. He pushes me in the right way.
G—I want to ask you about the G-Eazy brand. How do you balance creating a story against the media, who are gonna write their own story?
GE—I keep my personal life out of the media as much as possible. I’m not talking about who I’m dating or what I’m doing in my free time. I just go in the studio and make my music. I let that speak for me.
G—You have a BA in Music Industry Studies from Loyola University. Was the music business education that you received influential?
GE—I picked up a few things at school but it was more or less the people that I met that helped me more. I met my manager there, and I built some of my team there too. They were a bunch of kids my age who had similar goals of making it in the music business.
G—Do you think the way that you embrace life facilitated finding like-minded people?
GE—I’m big on collaboration. I’m not an extremely social person. I’m pretty quiet most of the time. But I am big on working with other people who inspire me. I think that’s what’s dope about music – it brings together people with different skill sets, backgrounds and influences to create something together.
Duckwrth cannot be pinned down. The 28-year-old rapper, born Jared Lee in South Central, landed like a splash of mixed paints with his debut full-length I’m Uugly in fall 2016. Its 10 elastic tracks stretch across hip hop, chill wave, funk, and punk, all shrouded in a soft-focused haze. He aptly calls this impressionistic concoction “psych rap.” Early last November, Duckwrth released An Xtra Uugly Mixtape. Whereas I’m Uugly exalted the beauty that lives within the harshness and griminess of everyday life – from the physical to the political to the socioeconomic – An Xtra Uugly Mixtape encourages being unapologetically you. It is, as Duckwrth writes on his Soundcloud page, “the anthem for your rebellion.” Fittingly, the tape is higher in energy; the guitar sounds are cranked. An Xtra Uugly Mixtape is his attempt to put hip hop and rock on equal footing within the same piece of music. An Xtra Ugly Mixtape is also a gradual step towards fulfilling his stadium rock ambitions. Duckwrth had one of his most formative musical experiences at a stadium show. “I used to do the whole protest [thing] and be more politically driven,” he says. “But then there was a time when
Over the past four years, Halifax pop artist Ria Mae has accomplished dreams she has openly spoken about: being produced by fellow Nova Scotia success story Classified and touring with Tegan and Sara and Coleman Hell. Since creating her self-released demo of “Clothes Off” in 2013, she has signed with Sony Music and Nettwerk Management. The former has helped develop the careers of Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies, Coldplay, Dido, Sarah McLachlan, and many more. The finished version of the song – her major label debut – earned Mae her first Juno nomination, for “Single of the Year” in 2016, which put her in direct competition against Drake, The Weeknd, and Justin Bieber. From Mae’s new home in Toronto, only two days removed from a cross-Canada tour with Scott Helman, she spoke with Georgie about her sudden rise, working with Classified, stepping up as a voice for LGBTQ groups, and more. G—As you’ve discovered, you can make a lot of unexpected connections in a small town. But that can be a good thing because working with people who differ from you in their approach forces you to create from new perspectives. Do you ever have reservations about working with people who
Three years after the release of his first EP, Augusta, Canadian singer-songwriter Scott Helman has unleashed his debut full-length LP, Hôtel de Ville, a collection of 12 alt-pop coming-of-age tracks. The 22-year-old Toronto native who successfully broke into the music industry in his mid-teens earned himself two Juno Award nominations, certified gold status for his hit, Bungalow, and began quickly fielding comparisons to the likes of Vance Joy and Jeff Buckley. With a new level of acclaim awaiting him, Helman has recently finished his cross-Canada Scott vs. Ria tour with fellow Juno nominee Ria Mae. We thought it would be the right time to ask him about his momentous musical journey. G—You got your first guitar when you were ten. Was this what led you to become a musician? Scott Helman—I used to mess around on my friend’s guitar, and really wanted to learn how to play. So, I asked my parents for a guitar for Christmas. I remember coming down the stairs and seeing it, and knowing instantly what it was because of its shape. I never put it down after that. G—What kind of music did you listen to growing up? SH—My parents are British immigrants, so