Prolific, Toronto-based rapper and screen director Sean Leon boasts an artistic range and clear-eyed vision that sets him apart, with a style that changes all the time. He founded an artistic collective called IXXI, or The Initiative, in 2012, and has now seen that bear fruit with the 2017 breakthrough success of his colleague and friend Daniel Caesar. Leon’s relentless, obsessive love for music translates into his songs, and he often makes dark aesthetic choices in his music that can be powerful and affecting. Originally from Toronto’s Eastern suburb of Ajax, he dropped out of high school to pursue music, and often spent more than 20 hours each day in the studio. He’s confident, brash, even arrogant—and his new audio/screen project, CCWMTT, released late in 2017, is poised to break him through to widespread commercial success in 2018.
Bülow is a 17-year-old artist currently finishing high school in the Netherlands, but planning to move to Canada. Born Megan Bülow, she’s also lived in Germany, the U.K., and the U.S., and began busking on the streets of London, England, when she was only 11 years old, and was discovered at a summer camp in 2016. Her first release, “This is Not a Love Song,” racked up thousands of spins on SoundCloud and earned playlist action on Spotify, despite her being a virtual unknown. After writing and recording with producers in Toronto, London, and The Hague, Bülow has released her debut, three-song EP, Damaged Vol. 1, and her bouncy, catchy, subtle electro/R&B/pop songs are gaining some serious traction. She’s already begun earning rave reviews and drawing tens of thousands of listeners for her immediate, honest songs, and has recently signed a deal with Canada’s Wax Records.
Fresh out of college, Joe Coupal went straight to work with award-winning Toronto music/post-production audio house Eggplant LF, editing music and scores for television series. After several years spent editing, mixing, and arranging screen music written by other composers, Coupal seized the opportunity to attempt his own submission for an onscreen song. It’s a testament to his talent that he won this first pitch he ever composed, for the hit original Netflix series True and The Rainbow Kingdom – the creative team for which includes Pharrell Williams’ i am OTHER (sic) company. After he won the pitch on his single episodic, call-to-action song (“The Wishing Tree Song”), the impressed True creative team decided to have Coupal and Eggplant submit theme ideas as well. His work earned him first prize in the animated category of the 2017 SOCAN Foundation Young Audiovisual Composers Awards. Coupal’s success has only grown since then, and looks to continue to do so in 2018.
The tsunami prompted by the late-2017 release of Une année record (A Record Year), the rapper Loud’s first solo album, shows no sign of abating, as evidenced by the frenzy surrounding his sold-out concerts, and his ever-increasing buzz online. By all accounts, 2018 is the year when the Québec rap scene will anoint this versatile singer-songwriter, who initially made his mark as one-third of Loud Lary Ajust. France is also hungry for him, and his album will be released there thanks to a partnership with a Universal subsidiary. In other words, he’s poised to have… a record year!
Having emerged into the public eye as on- half of the duo Eli et Papillon, her participation in SOCAN’s very first Kenekt Québec Song Camp, in 2016, literally changed the course of her career. Thanks to Kenekt, she met Marc Vincent (Ruffsound), Mike Clay of Clay and Friends, and Étienne Dupuis-Cloutier (DRMS), and later Jeff Marco Martinez Lebron (Realmind). This group became the core of a new urban-music sound, an irresistible pop/hip-hop hybrid, of which her single “Soleil” was only the first shiny glimpse. This explosive piñata is about to burst wide open in 2018 – and not just at home in Québec, but overseas as well, where Rose has already generated a lot of interest.
The Montréal songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is the perfect example to prove that an international development strategy, carried out with determination and conviction, always bears its fruit when one has a solid musical offering. Since the release of his 2017 debut album of sophisticated electronic pop, Coastline, Geoffroy has crossed many an ocean and border, and has developed a taste for such travel. Already, his 2018 calendar is quickly filling up with European, American and Canadian gigs. He’ll also set some time aside to write and produce new material, which should be out in Spring, as well as a sophomore album slated for late 2018 or early 2019.