magazine showcases unsigned Canadian acts in our Showcase section. We publish this section online to help further promote Canadian artists.
To have your band considered for Showcase, go to www.applyforshowcase.com.
Where: Montreal, QC
Although Neisy Wilson’s music rests comfortably in the realm of jazz music, she brings a unique world view to the table. She began studying music at age seven, performing at festivals in her home country of Cuba, followed by tours throughout Europe, Jordan, Egypt, Latin America, and the United Arab Emirates before settling in as a resident of Montreal.
In addition to her work as a performing artist, Wilson also works as a film and television composer as well as scoring in the videogame industry. Her most recent effort is 2014’s Inside My Soul EP, a three-song release that serves as a showcase for her undeniably smooth vocals and knack for grabbing melodies.
Where: Toronto, ON
Rich vocal harmonies help Crooked House Road stand apart from many of their contemporaries in the folk music world. Formed in 2013, the quintet released their self-titled debut record in May 2015. Produced by JUNO winner Ken Whiteley, the record has earned the group critical acclaim and radio plays from coast to coast. While guitar and voice are the unquestionable cornerstone of the band, the addition of drums, violin, and mandolin serve to fill out their sound quite nicely.
Crooked House Road has earned a significant amount of notoriety in their hometown thanks to their work with the CHR4Women benefit concert series, which has helped raise money for charities that assist impoverished women throughout Toronto.
What: R&B, Soul
Where: Toronto, ON
Husband and wife team Edward Monzon and Rachenne Rogozo are the core of Toronto acoustic-soul group The Muso Project. Since forming in 2008, the duo has released three albums, including their latest, 2014’s Dare Yourself. One of the songs from that record, “Thousand Times,” was selected as the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize winner for Session One in the R&B category.
In addition to being a staple of their hometown music scene, the pair has also successfully licensed tracks from Dare Yourself for television use. One listen to their track “Miss Melody” or the funky, bass-driven “Dare Yourself” and you’ll quickly realize that the attention and acclaim are indeed warranted.
What: Rock, Blues
Where: Hamilton, ON
Like The White Stripes, The Black Keys, and Royal Blood before them, Montreal blues-rock band Les Deuxluxes prove that, sometimes, less can be more. Comprised of just two members, guitarist-vocalist Anna Frances Meyer and drummer Etienne Barry, this duo wholeheartedly bashes out the blues with a definite rock edge and hints of garage and rockabilly thrown in for good measure.
The songs on the group’s latest release, Traitement Deuxluxe, harbour a raw energy that pays tribute to the ethos of the aforementioned groups while carving a path that is soulful, powerful, and uniquely theirs. Les Deuxluxes ultimately show that Canadians can indeed play ball when it comes to churning out gritty rock and roll.
What: Electronic, Pop
Where: Toronto, ON
Formed in 2013 by vocalist Lexie Jay and drummer Jon Fedorsen, Featurette is an electronic duo that stands to be one of the next big names to emerge from within Canada’s borders. Compared to contemporaries such as Tove Lo and Aurora, the group spent the bulk of last year recording their two-part debut record, Crave, with producers Josh Sadlier-Brown and Marc Koecher.
At Canadian Music Week earlier this year, Featurette’s high-energy sound and performance no doubt played a part in the band being dubbed a live highlight of the festival. That buzz will help set the stage nicely for the upcoming release of the first installment of Crave this fall.
What: Celtic, Traditional
Where: Dartmouth, NS
While the Maritimes have churned out their fair share of music, which spans virtually all genres, the roots of Celtic music will forever run deep throughout the region – a tradition proudly upheld by Nova Scotia’s Celtic Rant.
Formed in 2008, the group has built a dedicated following throughout Atlantic Canada, turning out three records thus far – 2008’s self-titled effort, 2010’s Encore, and 2013’s Celtic Rant III – A Clancy Rantcy. Like The Clancy Brothers and The Barra MacNeils before them, the music of the Celtic Rant trio basks in their simplistic set-up, relying only upon traditional instruments including guitar, fiddle, mandolin, pipes, and their harmonious vocals. It’s a wonderful mix that does right by the Maritimes’ musical reputation.
What: World music
Where: Toronto, ON
Toronto’s Zeynep Ozbilen is looking to break down any preconceived notions on what world music can be. She infuses Balkan and Mediterranean influences with modern beats and production, allowing her music to sound both familiar and fresh to the listener.
Ozbilen grew up in Istanbul, where, for more than a decade, she was lead vocalist in the Latin-influenced band The Latin All-Stars. Her most recent solo release is Zee, a 12-track album that showcases Ozbilen’s talent for uniquely combining traditional Turkish songs with energetic jazz and Latin melodies. The album has drawn praise from numerous media outlets, many of which laud her outside-the-box approach to world music.
What: Hip-hop, jazz
Where: Winnipeg, MB
Hailing from the city that is home to Portage and Main, Beatox (nee Adam Fainman) is a jazz-inspired beat-boxer and rapper. The son of a successful musician mother, Beatox acquired a wide appreciation for different styles at a young age. Together with fellow rapper SMRT, Beatox formed the hip-hop duo Butter Pretzels, which would go on to release a couple of albums.
Musically and lyrically, Beatox’s songs would appeal to fans of A Tribe Called Quest while his rapping style is reminiscent of Arrested Development’s Speech – literate and infused with a rather specific energy. He is currently collaborating with students from the University of Manitoba’s jazz program to create a record that he says will take listeners “on a journey through darkness and light.”
With big names like Steve Bigas (Taj Mahal) and Daniel Lanois (U2, Bob Dylan) credited as producers on Dirty Cheat, the debut EP from Hamilton’s Laura Cole, some might be drawn to her music out of curiosity alone. The good news, however, is that Cole has the goods to warrant your time.
Cole’s vocal talent is simply undeniable, showcasing influences from the likes of Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, and Amy Winehouse. She pulls no punches throughout Dirty Cheat, choosing to exercise the demons of infidelity on the appropriately named title track while “Death Row” solemnly (yet also somewhat playfully) documents the end of a relationship. “These songs are my catharsis,” she says. “Honest stories I am telling because I have nothing to hide.” Combined with her talent, Cole’s honest approach to her subject matter is sure to resonate with music fans from coast to coast.
What: Classical, Flamenco
Where: Guelph, ON
Inspired by the stylings of John Williams and Paco de Lucia, the output of Guelph classical-flamenco guitarist David Catallo manages to showcase impressive rhythmic techniques and overall technical prowess.
For the last dozen years, Catallo has studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as under acclaimed musicians including Emma Rush and Brian Katz, to name but two. His studies have served him well and their influence can be heard throughout his debut effort, La Fuente y El Arroyo. The album boasts an eclectic mix of flamenco-rooted compositions as well as world music-inspired classical pieces. Catallo’s undeniable talent will surely be discovered by the masses before too long.