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Toronto Indie Talent to Watch

Toronto offers a full course and I’m sufficiently suffonsified.

I know a guy who, when he’s had enough to eat, he pats his belly and says “I’m sufficiently suffonsified”. That’s how I’m feeling right now. My hunger for Toronto music is being well fed again this summer. In fact, I could be down right gluttonous if I wanted to be.

So with all this music in the city, why was Toronto so under-appreciated by the 2014 South by Southwest festival (SXSW) in March? The Toronto Star said “But the sole event actually bearing the City of Toronto stamp is a late-afternoon showcase titled “Toronto Turns Up,” featuring More Or Les, Ariana Gillis, July Talk and the Arkells (who are from Hamilton), at the Canadian Independent Music Association’s “Canada House” headquarters at Friends on 6th St. on Saturday. That’s it.” Toronto turns up do we?

Last October, Toronto signed on to the Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance. This “twin-city” pact is supposed to be supportive of the Toronto music scene and Toronto tourism. I wonder if our Mayor getting arrested just as he was to leave for the crucial meeting in Austin had anything to do with the scant support we seem to be getting now? Well, I’m not going to talk about it anymore. I don’t have enough information.

What I would like to talk about is the fun I’m having following a few of the musicians who are hard at work entertaining us right here in Toronto. I never go to SXSW anyway. There’s enough going on right here. Here are some examples of some Toronto music talent who are noted for being creative songwriters as well as having a strong stage presence.

Genre: Pop/R&B/Rock

A musician I’ve been following right from the beginning is Lyric Dubee. Lyric was just a little kid, just starting out when I first met him. I’ve written about him and interviewed him for Youtube. He’s made incredible leaps and bounds since then. His musical abilities have matured, his voice has matured and he has been to every music event he can get his hands on. Not just here, but south of the border as well. He has been networking like crazy with other talented musicians and producers and you can tell it’s rubbing off on him by the way he’s presenting himself now. Lyric is very much pop music, but the kid can play anything on guitar and keyboards. He can rock it out with the best and his R&B is soulful.

Lyric was entered in the Multimedia Film Festival of York Region for his video ALIVE back in January. They screened the video at 2 different locations in York Region to start with then added a 3rd and a 4th surprise screening. ALIVE (recorded and produced by Zach Ramelan) won the first place award in the music category.

Lyric just came out with a new music video for his song BLACK ICE. This song made me cry. Isn’t he too young to write like that?

Lyric played NXNE June 15 at Harbourfront after spending the morning on Breakfast Television CP24. He’ll perform 7 new tunes from his 3rd album for NXNE June 19 at The Hideout.

Buy on itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/lyric-dubee/id434060533

Genre: Pop/R&B

Image courtesy of Kristen Anzelc
Image courtesy of Kristen Anzelc

Kristen Anzelc is another young Toronto artist that I’ve been following for years. Her father Greg is a talented drummer and a fixture in the Toronto music scene. He and Kristen have put together a band of seasoned professionals, who together with Kristen’s pretty and strong voice, and her skills as a songwriter, make for a captivating performance. I watched Kristen perform June 13 at Monarch’s Pub. I was blown away by her performance. She sings Adele, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5, covers exactly like you hear them on the radio. I love when covers are done in a way that I can sing along to. Her range is amazing. Kristen also performed some original music that is equally impressive. She’s is planning a trip south of the border soon to do some writing and recording. Watch for her. She’s definitely one of the next best young pop stars to come out of Toronto.

Genre: Metal

Photo courtesy of Burning The Day
Photo courtesy of Burning The Day

Getting into the heavier music now, one of my favourite bands from the recent Wacken Metal Battle in Toronto is Burning the Day. Congratulations to Mutak (Montreal) for winning the battle, but I really enjoyed the performances from BTD. The crowd went crazy in the mosh pit for them. It was a lot of fun. Once again, here are performers who have a talent for songwriting, as well as having a strong stage presence. This fan video doesn’t do justice, but have a little look at their final WOA performance at Opera House.

Buy on itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/burning-the-day/id164106044

Genre: Adult Contemporary/Soft Rock/Country Rock

"Selfie" by Jacqueline Lovely Perras
“Selfie” by Jacqueline Lovely Perras

Jacqueline Lovely Perras has been playing the Toronto music scene since 1990. Her first show was at the legendary Rock and Roll Heaven. In 1991, she played the iconic Toronto bar Gasworks – watch for a new documentary on that venue. Jacqueline’s latest project is with her partner, drummer and singer, Serge Wisotzky. Jacqueline and Serge have been collaborating since November and are currently recording a Rock album called EVERMORE as a dual project. They have a softer project called ONCE UPON A TIME, which should be released in September 2014. The single Behind Closed Doors has been posted on ReverbNation. I love Jacqueline’s voice, especially when she rocks it out. She’s also a lot of fun to watch live. She understands how to perform. I can’t wait to hear her new music.

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