Meet the 15 artists that were selected to participate in this year’s professional and creative journey
Sadé Awele is a Nigerian-born singer-songwriter who channels her Yoruba and Igbo heritage into her bold, innovative, Afro-R&B sounds. With strong influences from the iconic Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, Beyoncé, and Lauryn Hill, Awele plays with both the familiar and the experimental in revolutionizing the afrobeats and R&B genres, making her a unique rising star on the Canadian music scene.
Sade’s recent accomplishments include her hit single Intuition which was featured on Oscar Qualifying festival – Atlanta Film Festival, Toronto Short Film Festival and Paris Short Film Festival. All of which has brought great exposure to a song with over 30,000 overall streams since its release in March.
Having recently embarked on a tour in Europe where her music was acclaimed to be refreshing, funky, and energetic, Sadé is now making final preparations for the release of her upcoming EP in the fall of 2023. There is so much to come from her sound with exciting collaborations underway.
Maddie Storvold is the black sheep love child of a folksinger and a comedian. Her songs “could well be heard drifting out of a Greenwich Village folk club in the 1960’s” (Edmonton Folk Fest). Born on an airforce base in Northern Alberta, but raised a nomad, based in the Middle East, she had traveled to over 30 countries by the time she turned 18 and moved back to Canada to complete a degree in English & Philosophy. This wealth of diverse experiences and the intimate study of the craft of words can certainly be heard in the singer’s music. In February 2019, Storvold released a ballad, “Don’t Say You Love Me”, written and produced by Bryan Adams. The single shot to #1 on the country charts in less than 3 hours. As a live performer, Storvold has been described as having a “commanding stage presence, a quirky sense of humor, and a knack for capturing moments in song” (Vue Weekly) – like if Joni Mitchell did stand-up. A fast regular on the festival circuit, Storvold has brought stories and songs to the Edmonton Folk Fest, Canmore Folk Fest, Tiny Lights, Bear Creek Folk Festival, Wild Mountain Music Festival, Festival d’ete, Cavendish Beach Music Festival, Calgary Stampede, Interstellar Rodeo, and many more. She offers a catalog of tender flower folk – with a splash of piss and vinegar – at the forefront of a new generation of storytellers.
JUNO-nominated Amanda Sum assimilates elements of Indie-Pop, Jazz, and Alternative Folk into her eccentric and genre-bending sound. The vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist’s idiosyncratic work freely traverses music, theatre, and performance art, engaging diverse audiences and championing underrepresented artists. Amanda’s debut album, New Age Attitudes, has been covered by CBC, Exclaim!, and the Vancouver Sun. Reflecting the themes of the music, this record was created by an all-female team, and played by a 6 piece all- Asian girl band. Members of the team include Emily Millard (producer), Olivia Quan (engineer and mixer), Mary Ancheta (synths), and Jamie Lee (drums). Amanda’s music video Different Than Before was nominated for Music Video of the Year at the JUNOS, and won the SXSW Music Video Jury Award. Directed by Mayumi Yoshida, the video stars Hollywood’s Tzi Ma. As Theatre Replacement’s COLLIDER Artist in Residence, Amanda developed an experimental theatre version of her album. The piece, New Age Attitudes: Live in Concert, is part pop-up book, part performance. It premiered at The Cultch in the spring of 2023, and has tour dates set for 2024. Described by Stir Vancouver as “endearingly quirky at face value” with “surprising emotional depth”, this show brings together Amanda’s theatre making and music practices. Based in Vancouver, BC.
With the release of their forthcoming In Waves EP, The Bankes Brothers are about to light up Canada’s indie-rock scene.
The Victoria, BC four-piece—brothers Nelson and Morgan Bankes on vocals and guitar, lead guitarist Carson Cleaver, and drummer Gray Oxley—formed in a pool hall one Friday night in 2017. Less than a week later, they played their first gig. Within three days of that first show, they had written a handful of original songs, including an early version of “”See Me Run””, the EP’s soulful, swelling closing track.
Determined to define their own sound, over the next year the band played every gig available—from community fairs to jazz clubs—and rapidly built a reputation for wailing new life into classic hits. This acclaim landed the band a residency at the Canoe Club in 2019, where they sharpened their live show every weekend in front of raucous audiences—until the pandemic abruptly pulled the plug. Filled with the electricity and drive of their live shows, the band used the pressure cooker of lockdown to channel their creative energy into writing fresh songs. When the world opened back up, The Bankes Brothers came bursting out with a refined sense of direction and purpose.
The result is In Waves, a six-track shot of dopamine spilling over with irresistibly catchy melodies, exhilarating vocals, and joyous indie-rock instrumentation. Produced and recorded by indie legend Steve Bays, the EP is the culmination of the band’s wide-ranging influences–from Elvis to The Strokes, Paul Simon to The Pixies—coming together in a way that defies sonic parallels yet remains welcomingly familiar. The debut begins and ends with The Bankes Brothers on the move— “Walkin’ to the Beat” and “See Me Run”—a fitting reflection of a band that is about to hit its stride.
the della kit is a Queer, multifaceted artist, encompassing the roles of Vocalist, DJ, Producer, Composer, Songwriter, Curator & Singing Teacher. Born into a lineage of Jewish and Italian Jazz musicians in Boston, MA, her musical upbringing began early on. After her parents, who met at Berklee College of Music, settled in a small town in B.C., Canada, della’s talent flourished. By the age of 16, she was captivating audiences with her scatting and freestyling abilities in nightclubs and music festivals.
Having toured worldwide, della has had the privilege of sharing the stage with esteemed artists such as Mos Def, Bilal, and Quest Love. Her recent album, “”moonbeams + frequencies,”” led to a significant milestone in her career – signing with Art Haus, alongside renowned acts like Talk, Serena Ryder, and Adria Kain. The album showcases a rich collection of songs that seamlessly blend genres, produced in collaboration with AstroLogical. “”moonbeams + frequencies”” is a captivating sonic journey, fusing neo-soul, jazz-inspired elements, and funk. Its evocative narratives of healing and self-love have resonated with listeners, accumulating over 300k streams across 146 countries and earning placements on notable Spotify and Apple Music playlists.
In 2022, della’s artistry garnered attention from esteemed media outlets like CBC, Much Music, and Range Magazine. She also graced renowned stages, including Juno Fest, Toronto Jazz, and Winnipeg Pride, delivering electrifying performances alongside talented artists such as Dylan Sinclair, The Hallucination, and Maurice Brown of the Free Nationals.
With boundless creativity and an unwavering commitment to her craft, the della kit continues to soar in her remarkable musical journey. She is currently in New York writing new music and sitting in on Jazz sessions before returning to Canada for Music Festivals and Showcase across the west coast.
Emma Kade is an award winning singer/songwriter from a small town in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. Channeling sweet melodies in combination with unforgettable lyrics, there is a song for everyone in her music. At the age of 25, she already has almost 10 years of professional songwriting under her belt, and has written everything from Country, Folk, and Pop, to Hip-Hop, Gospel and Dance music.
Emma Kade released her debut album, “Transparent” in 2015; a collection of songs written at ages 15, 16, and 17. The album showcases the maturity of her introspective through her autobiographical lyrics, drawing inspiration from Blues, Country, Pop, and Folk music.
In 2018 Emma won the Kootenay Music Award for Best Pop Song for her work on the song Until My Heart Quits, released with Gospel artist Terrance Richmond. She started gaining momentum in her career after opening for several Juno Award winners, including Canadian Icon, Dean Brody.
After collaborating with brother DJ duo Steam Phunk and record label Chill Your Mind, her most successful single, Let Me Go, has gathered almost a million Spotify streams in its 5 month life, with listeners in over 150 countries.
Emma Kade’s music is fresh, captivating, and will be stuck in your head for days! You’ll want to take note of this passionate up and coming pop artist!
With over 4 million career streams to date and songs featured on some of Spotify’s top alternative editorial playlists, FKA Rayne is working hard to cement herself as an upcoming staple in the Canadian alternative scene.
The Vancouver based artist first started releasing original music in 2019 with her debut single ‘Do with that’, later followed by a FACTOR funded EP ‘False Love’. Originally dabbling in pop before switching over to her current nu-metal and industrial influenced sound, FKA Rayne received radio play at some of the top stations in Canada, was made the face of Amazon music’s ‘artists to watch 2020 list’, and was invited by Live Nation to play pre-show for Billie Eilish.
Despite the promising opportunities found in the pop world, it just wasn’t where her heart was set. After releasing her EP, FKA Rayne spent almost a year evolving her sound; delving back into her emo kid roots, and falling in love with early 2000’s nu-metal. During this exploration phase, FKA Rayne signed on with a new manager (Abir Hossain), and was connected with her producer Reed Hoelscher, with whom she wrote her alternative debut single ‘Side Effect’. Since its release in June of 2022, ‘Side effect’ has received over 1.6 million streams and been added to almost 50k fan playlists. Later releases ‘Kill Me Now’, ‘Loathe’, and ‘Can’t take me’ have also been well received by streaming platforms, receiving placements on editorial playlists including ‘Misfits 2.0’, ‘Ready to rock’, and ‘Equal Canada’.
FKA Rayne is continuing to release new music on a 6-8 week schedule, with plans to complete an EP by the end of 2023.
KAPOK is a fusion of soul hop, R&B, Pop, Rap and everywhere in between. Whether on stage as a solo act or weaving through the pockets provided by his backing band, you can expect an entire spectrum of vibes. With his witty and heartfelt wordplay, chill demeanour and ability to deliver surprisingly smooth choruses, KAPOK is really a dynamic artist. Pulling from his plethora of life experiences, his multicultural background and his drive and ambition as a father you can see where this passion stems from. Originally born in Toronto, Westcoast at heart and soon to be internationally known for his independent flare and works with artists such as De La Soul, T3, Potatohead People and Misha, Kapok is music for the people.
Kate Yahn is a rock/pop artist from Vancouver, BC. She combines the glamour and strength of rock n’ roll with a sophisticated storytelling edge. Often echoing the energy of Stevie Nicks, the vocal abilities of Linda Ronstadt, and the style of Debbie Harry to draw listeners in.
Yahn’s “Edge of Nothing (Take Me Home)” (March, 2023), co-written with Michaela Slinger (604 Records) is an unanswered plea for vulnerability, shrouded in rock-pop synths and walls of self defence, pulling from influences Miley Cyrus, Paramore, and Donna Missal. “At its core it is an operatic ode to the lovers who won’t get too close, the romantics with their curtains drawn, and the ones who get away,” says Yahn.
Trained in Musical Theatre in Toronto and New York, Yahn performs locally at Guilt & Co, and produces tribute shows (Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours front-to-back). She secured a 2023 NXNE (Toronto) showcase through a Breaking Sound performance.
Born in Vancouver, Canada, on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations peoples. Red River Metis and Ukrainian descent, her mom hails from the North End of Winnipeg, Roostertown and Point Douglas. Meanwhile, her father immigrated from Buenaventura, Colombia, to Vancouver in the early nineties. Prado Monroe wrote her first poem at six years old and was gifted her first guitar at 13, quickly starting to self-produce and collaborate prolific on Logic Pro X.
Prado is a seasoned listener. From Bjork, Nelly Furtado, Britney Spears, and Crystal Waters – to the melodic trap sonics of Chief Keef, MIA, Azealia Banks and Kanye West. She released music on Soundcloud under the moniker of “Alienkanye”. The singer-songwriter and producer began lending pen to other artists, further unearthing her love and disposition to wordplay and pop music. Prado learned to lead without fear using her unique sound and no-bullshit delivery.
Her sister Zuleyma shot every cover for her first project at “THOTFUL STUDIOS,” A photography, dance and recording studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her sister Zuleyyma founded the studio with a shared mission/vision to create incubator programs for disadvantaged minorities and uplift promising LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC artists in Canada. THOTFUL’s purpose and space pioneers independence and liberation for marginalized artists.
Teon Gibbs is quickly becoming one of the most well known voices coming out of Canada. The two things that really separate Teon from his peers are his show stopping performances and his willingness to take risks with his art. Always pushing the boundaries of genre and innovation, Complex UK has stated that Teon’s work has “hit on a fusion sound that has been sorely under-explored.”
Exclaim! has described Teon as having a natural ability to blend serious themes with soulful tracks, delivering a thoughtfulness that sets him apart from many of his contemporaries and he demonstrates a willingness to go to places that most artists would be afraid to.
Teon Gibbs is currently working with 3 x Grammy Award winning producer Chin Injeti. They have created a core sound that blends soulful chords, big 808s and thoughtful lyrics. thoughtful lyrics and thick 808s to paint a nocturnal canvas to which Gibbs can display an intimate understanding of who he is and how he is more than just a product of his environment.
“I might do it for the culture” is a statement piece that Teon has coined and he is looking to do just that.
After years of artist development, I started by releasing 3 singles over 2021 to growing success. My debut single, “Chamomile Tea” was connected to a fundraiser for the non-profit Anxiety Canada and surpassed my monetary goal within the first 24 hours. My second single, “Hydrogen Peroxide” is currently at 44,000 streams and counting along with my debut music video which I created with esteemed Vancouver based production team, East Cherry. I have spent this past year continuing to train, save funds, and create new relationships with collaborators. I am creating a catalogue of songs I will be releasing in 2023 as a bigger project collaborating with producers like Mothe (The Wrecks), Adam Thein (Djo, The Aubrees), Zabrina (Berklee) and Alex Flagstad (5SOS, UPSAHL). I am passionate about sharing my mental health journey and queer pride honestly and positively through my music and representing myself authentically as a queer, mixed race black girl in the pop music space for others like me who don’t see themselves represented.
Vox Rea features Kate Kurdyak (lead vocals/piano/guitar/violin) and Lauren Kurdyak (vocals/piano/percussion). The two sisters released their debut album, To Bring You My Heart, on 604 Records in 2017 under the name “The Katherines.” The album garnered over a million spins on Spotify with songs featured on playlists including New Music Friday, Pop All Day, Fresh Finds, Hot Hits Canada, Indie Pop Chillout and the Canada Viral 50 chart.
After a hiatus to study philosophy in the mountains, the band resurfaced under the moniker, Vox Rea, in the fall of 2020. The new name’s intentional ambiguity allowed for an identity beyond the stereotype of being labelled a “girl-band” and represents the reclamation of their creative control. Every part of the project – the music, the image, and the message – is created by the band. Vox Rea focuses on art as an experience as opposed to a product and their music chronicles the odyssey of a group of artists trying to come to terms with their generation’s place in the human story. Themes of addiction, self-doubt, lust, identity, independence and grief form the undercurrent of lyrics that are deeply introspective. Hell bent on creating a meaningful life amidst the siren songs of consumerism and efficiency, Vox Rea believes in the revolutionary power of art.
Since the release of their first single “Dose Me Up” in 2020, Vox Rea has garnered over 700k streams on Spotify and their music has been added to editorial playlists including New Music Friday, All New Indie, and Fresh Finds. Their single “Damn (Unstuck)” was featured on the cover of Folk & Friends and made Spotify’s Top Folk Songs of 2021. Vox Rea has played in music festivals across North America including SXSW, Treefort Music Fest, Laketown Shakedown and Capitol Hill Block Party.
With new music on the horizon alongside their first European tour, 2023 looks to be a promising year for Vox Rea.
WALLGRIN is the experimental pop project of Vancouver-based composer, improviser, vocalist and violinist Tegan Wahlgren. Drawing from an array of musical influences — including a background in fiddling and choral singing — Wallgrin’s sound moves between lush string-based orchestration, beat-driven pop and ornate vocal arrangements. Their spirited and raw live performances have led them to perform at The Great Escape, Tallinn Music Week, and FOCUS Wales, as well as alongside artists such as Okkyung Lee, Jenny Hval and Nicole Lizée. Wallgrin’s sophomore album, Yet Again The Wheel Turns, was released in 2022.
Vancouver’s Winona Forever have ridden a wave of musical curiosity and chemistry further than imagined when forming in high school. After spending formative years touring Canada and packing Vancouver’s resilient DIY venues, the band stumbled into an international following with 2017 single Keep Kool. Listeners were quick to tune in to previous releases while waiting for 2019’s Feelgood, a sophomore album that sold out a first vinyl release through Kingfisher Bluez label.
In 2022, Winona Forever started to distribute new singles through Acrophase Records, with an aggressive US touring schedule allowing longtime cross-border listeners to finally come see the real thing. With a catalog offering thoughtful, tangled rhythms and frantic garage-rock head nods, Winona Forever refuses to be boring.
2023 LP Acrobat (Released April 14, 2023) offers 9 tracks of pop songwriting and fresh production chops, signaling another chapter in the Winona Forever songbook. Having lived together for many years, Winona Forever’s live show plays as a confident and witty conversation between friends. With milestones such as Pop Montreal, SXSW, Treefort Fest, Sled Island and an Audiotree live session under their belt, the band continues to push forward towards fresh musical territory and new adventures.