Nigerian born, Toronto-based artist TOBi drops his brand new single and visualizer “Flowers” via Same Plate Entertainment/RCA Records – click here to listen/watch. The guitar-driven track allows TOBi’s undeniable bars and effortless flow to lead the way for this genre-blending song. This release is the first single off of TOBi’s forthcoming album coming soon. Recently, TOBi released his elevated COLORS performance of “Flowers” and his song “Move”was featured on Netflix’s buzzing new movie release Do Revengestarring Camila Mendes (Riverdale) and Maya Hawke (Stranger Things).
TOBi on “Flowers” and his forthcoming album:“This is one of my favorite songs I’ve done. The definition of unapologetic soul music. I wanted to tell a story of what it meant to be a man, growing and learning and dealing with my vices. Protecting my peace, while navigating the challenges of life. This song is a turning point in my mental journey. Addressing fears, seeking therapy, paying homage to those who are living.. its a lot to unpack in the verses but at the end of the day it feels so good to be alive and creating and I’m grateful for every moment.”
Nigerian-born, Toronto-based recording artist TOBi is the winner of the 2021 JUNO Award for “Best Rap Recording of the Year” for his latest project Elements, Vol. 1. Elements blends hip-hop, R&B, soul, grime & Afrobeats and features some of TOBi’s favorite producers and musicians worldwide, embodying the sounds and music that have influenced his artistry. Prior to this album, TOBi released his debut STILL in May 2019, exploring themes of vulnerability, post traumatic growth, self-reflection and masculinity in his time emigrating from Nigeria to Canada.
In 2020, TOBi signed with Same Plate Entertainment/RCA Records and in 2021 his single “Whoa” with fellow Torontonian rapper Jazz Cartier was released to critical praise. “Whoa” follows a slew of tracks released over the summer including “Off The Drugs” with Mick Jenkins, “Come As You Are” featuring Baby Rose and “Don’t Touch!,” which was praised by Complex for its “smooth production…elevating [TOBi’s] empowered musings on the hairy side of the Black experience to new heights.” TOBi, who was nominated for the 2022 JUNO Awards, has continually released music including his Shall I Continue? bundle, Too Hot (Maxi Single) bundle and single “That’s Alright” this past year. Most recently, TOBi dropped the single and video for “Before We Panic” – a prelude that set the tone for his new music. Now ready to share that music with his fans, TOBi shares “Flowers,” the first single off his forthcoming album coming soon.
“Consistently takes unexpected turns yet culminate in her most cohesive project to date… Bears traces of everywhere WILLOW has been throughout her career, which feels both storied and like it’s only just beginning.”
Additionally WILLOW has announced a pair of release shows in Los Angeles at The Novo on October 31st and New York at Terminal 5 on November 3rd. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience <COPINGMECHANISM> live!
Hot on the heels of her recent debut EP Red In Revenge, 17 year old hyper-punk pop artist Sophie Powers has shared a music video for the track “See Me!!” Sophie remains as hands-on as ever, acting as the creative director and clothing designer for the new video. Fans can watch the music video for “See Me!!” now here.
“Filming this video was a super fun project for me! I designed an outfit and creative directed it with the intention of embodying a 90s MTV blink-182 or Avril lavinge style music video,” shares Sophie. “Of course, I wanted my own modern twist and I credit Cayenne for editing the video with me to look exactly like that. It’s very nostalgic but still modern and very chaotic! I literally got to smash a car and spray paint billboards for this. It was one of the most fun music videos I filmed.“
Spending the last year cultivating a unique blend of punk and hyper pop, 17-year-old star Sophie Powers recently released her highly anticipated debut EP Red in Revenge, available today via Set Records. Brimming with the spellbinding energy of her unique “hyper-punk” hybrid and unique artistic vision, the EP follows Sophie’s adolescent exploits; from ending relationships and friendships, to finding your confidence and dealing with the challenges growing up.
At just 17 years old, Sophie Powers is a bold voice beyond her years. She understands the unique pressures of modern girlhood and uses her experience to write unfiltered, devil-may-care anthems about the ups and downs of being yourself. One minute she’s confident and cool, with the sneering attitude of a punk rock front woman, and the next she’s vulnerable and raw, channeling the loneliness of contemporary life in a stirring ballad. Combining the crunchy sound of punk with today’s hip-hop and pop, Powers is the sound of the future.
With over 2.5 million streams since her debut “Loney Army” in 2021, Sophie has found her music on popular editorial playlists such as SALT, the cover of New Punk Tracks, Punks Not Dead, It’s a Bop, Rock Favorites, Punk Unleashed, and many others. Her recent collaboration with Kellin Quinn on “1 Thing” continued Sophie’s on-going conversation surrounding youth mental health, while her recent track “Life Goes On!!” reminds her peers the importance of moving on from heartbreak. Sophie has alos recently teamed up with fast-rising alternative singer/rapper DE’WAYNE on single “Greed,” a rock anthem focused on the destructive results that come from one of the most deadly sins of all. Most recently, Sophie has collabed with online sensation NOAHFINNCE on the fast-paced “Clearview“. Quickly making a name for herself, Sophie has received praise from the likes of The FADER, American Songwriter, Alternative Press, The Noise, Exclaim and CelebMixfor her unfiltered and uncompromising voice.
Somali-Canadian singer-songwriter Amaal has returned with a hypnotic, new song and visual for “Honey,” the first single off her highly-anticipated sophomore EP Milly, set to release this fall. The Dan LeMoyne-directed video captures Amaal’s transcendent alter ego Milly, an unapologetic version of herself that embraces intimacy and female autonomy without fear of shame or judgement. Paper Magazine premiered the video earlier today, describing the track as “impossibly slick with cool metallic percussion throughout, as Amaal’s vocals glide smoothly above.”
In the video, Amaal physically and figuratively awakens with slow, jolted movements, shedding old inhibitions and welcoming a sense of sexual liberation considered explicitly taboo in her conservative Muslim community. “The music is a celebration of my womanhood,” she explains. “It’s the sound of me reclaiming my power, my pleasure, myself.” Amaal croons over the melodic beat, produced by GRAMMY-nominated duo Nicky Davey (Beyoncé, Zayn, Syd), as she moves through moody blue, purple and red-orange hues drenched in Cuchara jewelry and ultramodern pieces from Marine Serre, Sho Konishi and Herve Léger (styling by Lebani Osmani). Watch the “Honey” video here, and stream the track here.
The fourth of ten children, Amaal began her remarkable journey in war-torn Mogadishu, where she and her family lived until they were forced to flee as refugees in the early 1990s. Starting over fresh in Toronto, she embraced the poetic nature of her cultural heritage but bristled at the conservative structures and customs that came with it, particularly the repressive expectations placed upon women. By the time she hit 20, Amaal had grown bold enough to begin making her own music, but she still felt limited as to what she could sing about, so she focused her creative energy on politically and socially conscious material inspired by the civil unrest in Somalia and the struggles her people faced as a result. It was powerful stuff, to be sure, but there was more to Amaal than being a refugee, and she longed to express the fullness of herself and her story in her art. In 2019, Amaal finally worked up the courage to step outside of her comfort zone with the release of Black Dove, a daringly vulnerable collection that found her reckoning with love and heartbreak and desire in her music for the very first time. Though it felt incredibly risky, the EP was a critical smash, garnering a Juno nomination for Soul/R&B Recording of the Year, racking up millions of streams online, and prompting rave reviews across the board. Complex hailed Amaal’s “airy and ethereal vocals,” while Vibe proclaimed her a singer “like no other,” and Exclaim! dubbed her “an artist that demands attention.” Amaal’s sophomore EP, entitled Milly, will be released fall 2021.
Winner of the 2021 Juno Award for Best Rap Recording of the Year for his project Elements, Vol. 1, Canada-raised/Nigeria-born TOBi and Mick Jenkins today release an old school groove “Off The Drugs” via Same Plate/RCA Records.
Speaking on the inspiration behind the song, TOBi says, “When I smoke, I see things clearer and I’m way more aware. So I’m intentional about how I use it. I think more money should go into researching things like cannabis and mushrooms for their healing properties. Just the way I look at it, so many things are actually drugs—alcohol, gambling, even social media cuz it affects brain chemistry, but all that shit is legal. Whereas things that can legitimately heal if properly understood and done correctly are stigmatized, it’s wild. Mick came thru and bodied the verse as he should, and we’ve got a video on the way too. I just wanna live life to the fullest and enjoy this while it lasts. Life to me is a good trip if you let it be.”
The slow burning track follows a handful of TOBi’s singles “Come As You Are” featuring Baby Rose and “Don’t Touch!” which Complex heralded for its “smooth production…elevating (TOBi’s) empowered musings on the hairy side of the Black experience to new heights.”
His re-working of track “Family Matters” with Flo Milli was described as a “dynamic” and “impassioned reboot” (Atwood) and Highsnobiety declared it a “formidable pairing.”
TOBi released his music project ELEMENTS, Vol. 1 in fall 2020, heralded by the critics, combining hip-hop, R&B, soul, grime & Afrobeats. The project features some of TOBi’s favorite producers & musicians worldwide and embodies the sounds and music that have influenced his artistry. TOBi was voted by Complex Magazine as “a top artist to watch” and has received critical praise from Interview Magazine, Pitchfork, Vogue, Teen Vogue, L’Officiel, Paper, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Clash, OkayAfrica, Flaunt, Exclaim!, Refinery29, Essential Homme, COLORS, and many more. The rising star announced his partnership with Same Plate Entertainment/RCA Records last year and has enjoyed over 49 million streams globally. Prior to ELEMENTS, TOBi released his debut album STILL in May 2019 followed by a deluxe edition, exploring themes of vulnerability, post traumatic growth, self-reflection and masculinity in his time emigrating from Nigeria to Canada. STILL’s release was followed by two new singles “Holiday” produced by !llmind, “Paid,” the “City Blues Remix” featuring The Game, the “180 Remix” featuring Kemba and the “24” remix featuring all Torontonians SHAD, Haviah Mighty, Jazz Cartier and Ejji Smith.
TOBi has cited the work of Gil Scott-Heron, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Marvin Gaye, Eartha Kitt, Florence and the Machine, and Andre 3000 as some of the artists who have inspired his work, particularly his lyrics.
“She’s got an attack in her flow, juxtaposed with a finesse in her lyricism and a hunger in her vocal tone. Her family gave her traditions, Toronto shaped her, and California helped form her sound.” – Toronto Guardian
Toronto-based queer alt-hip hop artist, Lex Leosis, shares her EP, Terracotta, today– just in time for peak summer vibes. The now Tiktok rap battle champ is also debuting a brand new video for “That Feel,” which shows an easy, breezy afternoon of skating in the sunshine. Leosis’ signature attitude is in full force in video with her lioness hair, long nails and high energy.
“That Feel” feels like a celebration, and this new release deserves exactly that. The video was shot in both Los Angeles and Toronto. Director, Yohalmo, who is embedded into longboard communities in LA, shot all the California scenes. He brought together the cast and both main characters Shannen Soriano and Laura Paragano. Director, Sharleen Meinke, who also directed the “Wanted” official video, shot Leosis’ parts in Toronto.
The previously released single and outlaw anthem, “Wanted,” arrived with an icon Thelma and Louise-inspired video. The debut single from the project was the sunny, tropical-beat infused, “Won’t Wait,” which showcased a breezy, bouncy beat under Leosis’ vulnerable lyrics and she yearns for real talk and love, but not at the expense of self-worth.
“Won’t Wait” and “Wanted” were produced by Rainer Blanchaer (Drake, The Weeknd, French Montana, The 1975), who is an executive producer on the whole EP. Having met through Leosis’ roommate, Blanchaer became a pandemic pal, and one of the only people she’s seen consistently during lockdown. They’ve used their time making music together in Leosis’ bedroom studio and the result is Terracotta. Describing the new EP, she says:
“In the Terracotta pots process, clay starts by being refined and molded. Through fire, time, and attention to detail…the terracotta pot is complete. I wrote this project through the pandemic. I was coming off releasing “Mythologies” (March 2020) and I was sad that I had to cancel a lot of my roll-out plans. No interviews, shows/tours or celebrations. I put my whole heart into that project and to see that I couldn’t continue my rollout because of the pandemic was a big blow. Instead of letting it defeat me, I decided that it would make me stronger and that I would use this time to rebuild.”
Creating a space to make music in her bedroom, she decided on a re-design for her space to inspire her creatively. She says, “I started looking into color palettes that would inspire the re-design…and there it was Terracotta. The summer had passed and it was getting colder and we were all aware of what was about to happen. Locked down in the cold with little sun. Like a lot of other people, my mental health doesn’t do well in these conditions. My bedroom design had to be warm, it had to be bright and happy. It had to channel summer. The vision of summer 2021 represented a time where this might all be over and things may be better.”
She adds, “So as the pieces of my bedroom start to come together, so does this project. My space is giving me the energy I need to focus every day. I immediately started learning instruments (piano and MPD). The Terracotta bedspread becomes the place I write “Won’t Wait.” I started daily meditation and writing a verse every day. I was lying down on my geometric gray rug when I came up with the hook for “Reality.” I start working out more and envisioning my live show. I was surrounded by plants in terracotta pots when I penned “That Feel.” Then at the end of this writing period, I have a warm, bright home space, at the exact same time as I have this incredible project. One year later and I’m a completely different person.”
Leosis also admits, “The EP definitely had a muse. Someone I really love and has consistently inspired me. This EP details all the feelings I’ve had about them, and consequently, about myself over the last year.” A dedication to the softness that quarantine created in her, a part of herself she didn’t have time to look at before, she also had time to dig through her grandfather’s old jazz records that she loved as a kid. When he passed in 2009, the records were given to her but had been dusty until Covid made her slow way down. The piano, saxophones and live drums on those records inspired the live elements on the new EP and Leosis says, “He had this foresight to leave those to me. We used to sit in his car outside our house and just listen to Jazz and I loved music as a kid.”
Between her quality time with Rainer, her grandfather’s records and her time to be with herself, she found a way to channel summer’s warmth, growth and freedom into 6 tracks. Terracotta is out everywhere now.
Terracotta EP Tracklisting
Hold Yah Down
Known for her dynamic flows, aggressive stage presence and elaborate story-telling, Lex Leosisis a name you will soon remember. With a unique gravely vocal delivery, acrobatic flows, and a mastery of her instrumentation, Lex breathes life into Hip-Hop and mesmerizes with her rapping abilities. Setting herself uniquely apart by holding space for various causes and using her platform to support other women and non-binary artists and creatives, Lex is not afraid to give props where it’s due.
Born in the west end of Toronto, Lex Leosis has dedicated her life to her music and artistry. Juggling her hiphop career, a plant-forward cooking website and catering company, and holding down multiple jobs, Lex prides herself on hard work, discipline and survival, traits she picked up from her mother. It gave Lex the energy to perfect her craft, grow her career and exchange stories with artists from all over the world. Lex is loud, opinionated, constantly fighting for what she believes in and hungry to make something of the Leosis name. She’s got an attack in her flow, juxtaposed with a finesse in her lyricism and a hunger in her vocal tone. Her family gave her traditions, Toronto shaped her, and California helped form her sound.
From humble beginnings, Lex first found a home in hip-hop at rap competitions and cyphers. She met a number of creatives through online rap communities and has up and parted from Toronto multiple times to join her peers in cities all over the U.S. to collaborate, make music and perform. Sharpening her teeth participating in various rap battles, Lex was widely known as a hip-hop force that could outrap anyone. Spending most of her time in the Bay Area of California, Lex has allowed her traveling influences to expand her music sound and capability.
Lex spent 2017-2019 devoting herself to Canadian rap group powerhouse, The Sorority. The group made waves with a 2016 International Women’s Day Cypher, and went on to release a debut album and toured extensively, sharing stages with artist like Miguel, Joey Badass & Snoop Dogg. After the group disbanded in 2019, Lex lead 2020 with her debut full length, Mythologies, a darker trap-heavy project that allowed her to explore her Greek roots and family history. Despite a derailed album release plan due to COVID-19, she followed the project up with summer bop, Pull Up, and the rap/house collaboration, Swerve, with DJ Cazztekand released under Armin Van Buuren’s label, Armada.
Lex found opportunity and inspiration during COVID lockdown establishing a new sound, taking control of her artistry by learning keys, bass and taking vocal lessons. She formed a team of creatives around her and using her tools, experience and community, developed her quintessential Lex Leosis sound with smooth west coast vibey instrumentation under melodious hooks and biting hip hop verses. Searching for an outlet to continue to rap bars, Lex began daily duets on Tiktok and has amassed over a million views on her videos and had drawn the attention of Tiktok Canada and numerous artists from The Arkells to K Flay.
Keep your eyes on this rising star as she continues to blaze her own trail in hip hop.
*Photo credit: Natasha Gerschon
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