Welcome to the new year of 2016! And welcome to SOCAN’s Group of Six – six of the many SOCAN-member artists that we, and especially our A&R Department, believe will be among the ones to watch as they strongly emerge, or even break through, this year. In alphabetical order…
CHARLOTTE CARDIN – It’s incredibly rare to find all the right ingredients in a single artist. Yet that’s the case with Charlotte Cardin, a musician who clearly has the talent, the voice, the charm and the bona fide potential for an international career. Emerging front and centre in a big way, via her very popular stint on talent show La Voix (Québec’s version of The Voice), Cardin has since taken time to carefully develop her songs, her sound and her marketing strategy in order to maximize her impact when the time came. If what’s to come is true to what she’s offered us so far – “Big Boy,” “Les Échardes” – this year will definitely be the one where she makes it big, and shares her distinctive songs with the whole world. Cardin’s pop sensibility has that rare quality of being simultaneously intimate and grandiose, and sung with stunning maturity despite her young age. Charlotte has been added to Spotify Canada’s list of artists to watch in 2016 and will release a few more singles in both English and French until the launch of her first full-length album in the Fall of 2016 on the Cult Nation imprint (Iris, Dear Frederic). But we’re already convinced…
JAHKOY – Toronto-bred singer-songwriter/producer Jahkoy Palmer has coined a label to describe his way of switching musical styles – from mellow R&B to fluent rap to energetic dance grooves – as the “Bipolar” sound, now also the name of his new collective. Whether it’s the bold lyric and warm sound of “Still in Love” (which has reached more than 450,000 Soundcloud plays) or the dancefloor-filling beats of “Hold Your Hand” (almost 400,000 plays), he’s clearly got a knack for creating songs that captivate listeners. Jahkoy gained a wide range of musical experience in various projects (he started rapping at the age of 11 under the name of Raheem), then moved to L.A. a few years ago, where he managed to collaborate with siblings Willow and Jaden Smith (Will Smith’s children) as part of their 1234 Creations crew. He was recently granted the opportunity to work in a Grammy Songwriting Camp put together by 1916 Management – who also manage hot Toronto-based songwriter/producers Matthew Burnett and Jordan Evans – and he’s working on a possible publishing deal with the company. Jahkoy is now also supported by the likes of Pharrell Williams and Apple star DJ Zane Lowe, as he prepares his debut album for 2016.
MEGHAN PATRICK – Bowmanville, Ontario’s Meghan Patrick has been steadily rising on the Canadian country music scene for the past few years. In 2013, she won Durham, Ontario radio station KX96’s Super Star Search, landing a recording session with Canadian Country Music Association Award-winning producer Mike Francis, and feature airplay on the station. In 2015, she opened for international star Wyclef Jean at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square as part of the Panamania arts and culture festival during the Pan Am games. In between, she’s played songwriter circles, hosted open stages, headed West to record songs, showcased at Canadian Music Week, and made regular songwriting trips to Nashville. The daughter of a DJ mom and a guitar-playing father, Patrick studied opera and jazz at McGill University in Montréal, and then became the lead singer of roots/bluegrass group The Stone Sparrows before going solo. She writes, co-writes, and sings honest, sometimes gritty country songs about life, love and relationships – like “I Don’t Drink Anymore” and “The Moments That Matter” – while deftly avoiding cliché. Now that she’s signed with The Agency Group for bookings, and inked a record deal with Warner Music Canada, she’s busy recording for her debut solo album in 2016.
POMO – Even though 2015 wasn’t a walk in the park for David Pimentel (a.k.a. Pomo), the new year is revving u to be a rocket ride for the young Montrealer, now based in Vancouver. In 2016, he’ll release the sum of the creative work he’s been toiling on since the release of 2014’s EP, Distant Lover. The first part of the year will be devoted to opening for British house music sensations Disclosure on the European leg of their tour in February. His work with British singer Frances – recently picked in the BBC’s Sound of 2016 survey, as well as nominated in the Critic’s Choice category at the Brit Awards – will come out as she releases her first full-length album containing their collaboration, “I Care.” His work with California R&B singer Anderson Paak on the song “Am I Wrong,” featuring acclaimed rapper Schoolboy Q, will also be released in 2016. Also slated for release is his own debut album, which should prove interesting, coming from a young creator who says he’s disappointed in a lot of productions he hears from his peers. In Pomo’s words, they’re content with just reproducing what they hear, instead of creating something new by stepping outside of their comfort zones. His album promises to be made in the spirit if a beat-maker who’s not only interested in sounds, but also in meticulously crafted songs.
SAMITO – This Mozambique-born polyglot moved to Montréal 10 years ago. After studying music at McGill University, he’s collaborated with Radio Radio, and was featured on Pierre Kwenders’ recent album. Samuel Carlos Matsinhe (a.k.a. Samito) decided that the time had come to spread his wings and fly on his own, with his distinctive hybrid of world and electronic music. Samito was chosen as one of the 2015-2016 Révélation Radio-Canada (breakout artists), and doesn’t hesitate to mix unlikely influences. His songs match typically African melodies and chants to digital rhythms – which he doesn’t use simply to spice things up, but manages to perfectly integrate while creating a truly unique sound. Samito should take the modernized world music scene by storm very soon; more precisely, on Jan. 18, 2016, when the single (and companion video) for his massive song “Tiku La Hina” will be released by OkayAfrica, an influential website whose backers include The Roots’ ?uestlove. He’ll also embark on a tour of Québec in February, and release three more singles before the launch of his album (on the Costume Records imprint) in the spring. Everything points to the fact that Samito will be fine-tuned and ready to take on the world by the time the summer sun shines on us once more.
TENNYSON – Tennyson is Luke and Tess Pretty, two teenage siblings from Edmonton who create delicate, intimate, electronic music that’s earned a recommendation by like-minded, JUNO Award-winning EDM artist Ryan Hemsworth – who’s released their music before via his Secret Songs online imprint. Tennyson’s unique songs – sometimes ambient, sometimes whimsical, always captivating – may seem breezy and supple, but except for the occasional happy accident, are often painstakingly crafted for months on end. The brother-and-sister duo like to include real-life sounds in their recordings, like dial tones, alarms, doors, and breathing, that usually sound like they’re coming from inside the listener’s own home. Oddly, their musical education actually came from busking, small gigs, and playing jazz covers while touring across Canada – in the summers between school years – in a band with their father (who’s also a drummer). So far, their singular, playful-but-mature sound has garnered them praise from such thoughtful media outlets as The Atlantic, The Guardian and NPR; a loyal online following (“With You” has now received more than 930,000 plays on Soundcloud, “Lay-by” more than 740,000); and a management deal with Matthew Langille, who also represents Hemsworth, BadBadNotGood and Holy Fuck. It’s only going to get bigger and better in 2016.