Album Review: Leikeli 47 and LCD Soundsystem

Leikeli 47

Text: Toni Styles

Leikeli 47 is a rapper from New York City and quite possibly the heir to the throne of sassy, biting rhymey-rap. If Missy Elliott and the Ol’ Dirty Bastard, aka the ODB, had a child, it would likely be Leikeli 47. Like Missy, she is sufficiently other worldly with her signature attire that consists of various ski-masks, and, like ODB, she has no censor when it comes to her content. I’ll be the first to admit, the popular often stilted lyrics coming out of the studios of many of today’s female rappers just don’t do it for me. Having listened to several of her vanity themed tracks, I must admit there are some catchy lyrics. On repeat from her recent album “Wash & Go” is the single “Braids tuh’da flo(w)” — a song that puts you in the middle of a club huddle with the artist and her “girls” as she sings line after line of girl power: “Lit. Brand new outfit. Braids down to the flo. Y’all already know. My girls don’t trip, my girls keep winning, my girls don’t lose, my girls just keep on, getting braids to the flo.”

I like discovering a brand-new sound, something that knocks you out with originality — music that is confusing, ridiculous, even scary. Yes, I’m one of those annoying ’90s kids who swears by the artistic superiority of the musicians who haunted the charts during the last decade of the 20th century. Over the course of that period, everything was fresh; primarily because the music industry and labels were unafraid of taking a chance on, and ultimately courting both variety and quality. But, while Leikeli 47’s sound is not the 9th world wonder, she is a sort of wonder “kid” — from my understanding, a part of her mystique is that nobody knows her age. What really makes her stand out is her content more than her sound; she has mastered the ability to genuinely tell a story for an individual listener that remains consistent throughout her tracks. In other words, she, like the best talent, knows who her target audience is and what they want — she does not fail to deliver the goods. Perhaps, in that sense, the ski mask is a necessity, one that not only sets her apart, but also keeps the focus where it should be: on her ability to leave an impression on the listener. If Leikeli 47 can break away from the one-size fits all sound that is festering among  female rappers of the day, she may very well have something great to bring to the industry, something that can even last as long as “braids tuh’ da flo(w).”

LCD Soundsystem is a rock band from Brooklyn, who made their debut in 2002. Their sound is an ’80s-esque cooler than you, their lyrics are ’90s-esque moody distortions, and their overall delivery is an ’00s-esque startling awakening that refuses to bow to the status-quo. Think emo-pop, if you so desire. Simply put, this is music that must grow on you. Yes, that was quite blunt, but nevertheless, in most cases, quite true. LCD Soundsystem is not for a quick listen, it has too much depth to be handled so carelessly. This music is for tea time, a time when you can relax and detach yourself from yourself. On repeat from their recent album ‘American Dream‘ is the title track with lyrics “You took acid and looked in the mirror. Watched the beard crawl around on your face. Oh, the revolution was here — that would set you free from those bourgeoisie. In the moment, everything’s clearer, when the sun line exposes your age. But that’s okay.” The album does not come with many surprises, the music is thoughtful and the tracks transition well. Admittedly, the genius of LCD Soundsystem has yet to make itself fully known to me, but it does exist. I would say, give them a try if you like music that makes you think and maybe, just maybe, get up and dance.

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Ones To Watch: Up-and-Coming Talent on Our Radar

Art work by Michelle Cheung for Novella Magazine

As our readers well know, Novella is that friend who keeps giving you suggestions on what to do, wear, read, watch, etc., perhaps at a rate father than you can keep up with. It’s the inner grandma who’s paranoid that you don’t have enough to eat that compels us so. In other words, it’s with love and affection and a kind of cultural anxiety and an insatiable need to dictate. But mostly with love. Without further ado, let our contributors come at you with their choices of up and coming individuals of talent you should take second and third servings of.

Drew Brown, Editor-in Chief 

Kelela Album Art – Take Me Apart

Singer and Songwriter Kelela has consistently been making good music since her 2013 debut mixtape, Cut 4 Me. We last heard from the songstress back in 2015 with the release of her EP ‘Hallucinogen’, which garnered good reviews, and yet she is still not a household name. In October, Kelela will release her debut studio album Take me Apart, and if her current single LMK is any indication of what we can expect from the second generation Ethiopian-American singer, I have no doubt that we will be hearing her name a lot more.

Hoon, Managing Editor

Relief of Julian the Hospitaller from Chris Knapp’s ‘States of Emergency’ published in the Paris Review this summer

Chris Knapp’s essays and fiction have been published in the pages of the Paris Review and the Los Angeles Review of Books, which for many — perhaps too many — writers today, is considered a sign of ‘having made it’. The blurb on Knapp on the Paris Review Daily says that he ‘lives in Paris, and also sometimes Brooklyn, with his wife. He’s recently completed a novel.‘ He’s achieved residence and certain placeness (the latter may be my fantasy) on both sides of the Atlantic, a functioning relationship, and finished a novel. Despite all these good signs, things many – perhaps too many — writers would kill for, I think Knapp is still up and coming. Judging from his short story, ‘State of Emergency,’ he has a lot to say. Knapp weaves the personal with the political, the immediate with the faraway past and future in his essays and stories — the stuff of good writing. If his circumstances have changed since the the Paris Review wrote his short bio, and if his website, which you can visit here, is telling the truth, he also has strong ties to Charlottesville, Virginia; I’m eager to hear what he has to say.

Adina Heisler, Contributor

While Phoebe Robinson has been an active writer, actress, and standup comedian for several years now, it’s only recently that she’s been getting the attention she deserves. Her podcast with Jessica Williams2 Dope Queens, just wrapped up its third season, and her solo podcast, Sooo Many White Guys, recently finished its second season. She also released a book last October called You Can’t Touch My Hair (And Other Things I Still Have to Explain). This is all on top of being a writer for Portlandia and appearing in the show I Love Dick. Robinson is an utterly delightful comedian, and brutally honest about all topics, from race relations in the U.S. to her love of dad-bods.

Meg Summers, Contributor

One of my not-so-guilty pleasures is following every member of the Toronto-based band, The Beaches, and admiring their musical talents, individual styles, and overall “cool girl” vibes. This band seems to always be busy touring both Canada and the U.S., recording and creating fabulous music videos. In fact, their latest, Money, shows off the band’s creative edge and incredible musical abilities to create catchy and aesthetically great pieces. Look out for more from The Beaches as they are sure to continue growing a buzz around Toronto and far beyond. Follow them on Instagram here.

Kimberley Drapack, Contributor 

Morgan Parker — photo by Kwesi Abbensetts

Morgan Parker’s ‘There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé‘ is a standout success. Parker successfully intertwines pop-cultural and political titles to her poems that explore the complexities of what it means to be a black woman, isolation, femininity, and so forth in the context of the 21st century. She also folds in personal references, Marvin Gaye lyrics, and Hip Hop. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

Chris Zaghi, Fashion Editor

Photo: Giphy

That Poppy may have been making videos on youtube for quite a while now with the help of her director Titanic St. Clair, but 2017 seems to be Poppy’s big break. Not only did her Instagram explode over night, her music career has finally caught the eye of Island Records, which have sent her on a North American tour that’s sold out in a few cities already. But Instagram fame and tours aren’t what makes her so interesting. It’s her entire persona that makes her so different from any of the pop acts parading around the music scene this year. Labeled or suspected to be everything from a satanist, Illuminati puppet, robot, and even a matrix like computerized entity, Poppy has created a satirical musical persona that pokes fun and exaggerates the all too common assumption that most pop stars sold their souls for fame. Like her persona aims to be, Poppy is a delightful mix of sugary sweet pastel princess with a mysterious, almost sinister, inner turmoil that often bubbles to the surface in her videos, leaving viewers dying to know if she really does live inside a computer or if she’s been brainwashed by a big record company and completely changed from her former self. It is a fresh take on the idea of what a performer and their performance can be.

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A Conversation with Parris on Rose Gold

In special relationships an artist has with their craft, their inspired beginnings often vary. Whether it’s through a musical upbringing or an early interest in performance, there is a connection that is hard to put into words. And once that connection is found, it is hard to ignore and will forever fuel your creative drive. There are many notable up-and-coming artists in the Toronto music scene, and Parris is certainly one of them. We had the opportunity to chat with him about the inspirations behind his writing process and his upcoming project, Rose Gold, with which he brings us classic R&B with a twist. Get ready for it.

Kimberley Drapack: How did you first get involved with music?

Parris: My mother used to constantly play great albums in the house while we were cleaning or doing other things like going to the grocery store or even on our way to church. She would play anyone from Michael Jackson to Sade, and ’70s and ’80s new wave & alternative rock. Her catalogue of music is definitely a part of the reason why I’m doing music today. I was always singing all of her favourite songs everywhere we went, but my mother wasn’t one to judge me, even though it must have annoyed her at times. The voice I had then isn’t [like] the voice I have now. My passion to create music was self-induced but my mother’s positive influence over me definitely had an enormous role in the reason why I create music today.

K: What’s has it been like growing up in Toronto and your music developing within this scene?

P: Growing up in Toronto has been a blessing. I’ve met so many great minds living here in the city and built relationships that I know will last my entire lifetime. It is a big city with a tight knit community of creatives. Sometimes people’s egos clash in the music scene but it’s minor given the potential for growth within the city. Making music in the city with my friends is probably the most exciting to me. It fell into place naturally as if it was meant to be.

K: Your upcoming project, Rose Gold is classified as an R&B album. Can you tell us about the project?

P: Rose Gold means the world to me. This is going to be one of my most collaborative works but it’s pretty personal. I don’t want to give it all away just yet, but I’ll let you know that most of the subject matter on it is relationship based. This project is going to be something people will really appreciate because the content isn’t only up with the times, it also has its own unique sound to it.

I’m 23 years old, and before my birthday, which just passed at the beginning of this year, I told myself that I’d be more patient and take a lot more time with the whole process. My previous tape Point Five was pretty solid but it was a bit forced. I don’t regret the way I went about it because I definitely learned what I needed to know now to make Rose Gold a solid piece of art.

K: What inspires your writing process?

P: I used to get writer’s blocks all the time. I have breathing and meditative exercises that not only help me with writing but also help me with life in general. I’m a big believer in Christ and grew up in a Christian home so it all balances out for me in the end. That’s a bit off topic, but it has a lot to do with how I deal with the stresses of having creative blocks. I write best when I’m inspired and as soon as I feel like I’m losing it I walk away and come back to it at another time.

K: What other producers, songwriters and/or artists do you see as your primary inspirations?

P: There are definitely some really hot artists and producers coming out of the city right now who’ve inspired me to do more than I’ve ever done musically [so far]. Artists and producers like Villabeats, DrewHoward, & MaxG have amazing work ethics that I not only admire but try to mimic myself.

K: What are the biggest sacrifices you have had to make for your career, if any?

P: The biggest sacrifice that I’ve made is time with my family and friends. People assume that there isn’t much work and time put into beautiful works of music but once they get into the studio and see the process, their whole concept of the industry changes. I love and think about my family and friends all the time so having them in my mind while I’m creating keeps me fluid.

K: What can we expect from you in 2017?

P: What the world could expect this year is a bunch of smiles and a lot of laughter. My team and I are so blessed to be able to bring beautiful music to the world. There isn’t much else we could ask for. Everyone behind this project seems to be of a really content vibe and that’s what it’s all about.

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A Conversation with San Fermin at Wayhome 2017

There are certain artists that take many years to find a sure footing in the music industry and be recognized for their work. San Fermin is not one of them. A short while after getting out of university, Ellis Ludwig-Leone began composing music for his best friend, Allan. Soon after that, they gained a record deal and began writing for an entire band. Their numbers quickly grew and so did their success.

We sat down with San Fermin’s lead musician, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, who writes and composes all the music the band releases, to discuss their festival experience and San Fermin’s beginnings. 

Kimberley Drapack: How did you meet and form the band?

Ellis Ludwig Leone: Allan, one of our lead singers, and I had been close friends for a long time. We met when we were like 15, and I’d always had bands with him. I went and studied classical music in university and when I graduated I wrote this record for him to sing, and I didn’t really have any plans for it, I just thought it would be fun.

We recorded it and got a record deal and then suddenly, the record label was like, “you gotta go tour.” That changed everything, then we had to get together all the band members. It totally went in a way that I did not expect.

K: Fresh out of school you were ready for the next step, and then it found you. 

ELL: Yeah. I studied classical music and I was thinking about going that way and suddenly, we had this record that was getting attention from people who weren’t classical musicians at all and then I sort of just realized that it was a pop record. That led to touring a lot and, now, here we are.

K: Tell us about your early years. Was it easy to get your off the ground or were there other obstacles you had to overcome?

ELL: The cool thing was that we had a lot of press attention right away, which I am thankful for now because I probably didn’t realize at the time that that was fueling everything and bringing people to the shows.

That said, you can be on lists, but people still need to discover you. You still play these shows where you’re taking eight members of a band — it’s a big band — and you’re taking them to these expensive places, and the logistics are crazy.

So the big challenge for the first couple of years was making it work financially, which is kind of a boring problem, but real. Everyone kind of bought in and devoted their time to it and now we’re at a point where it feels like it’s a real, stable, good thing that everyone loves doing. We’re going on tour for half the year.

K: Touring is always fun?

ELL: Yeah, it’s great and it’s tough. I think a lot of people who don’t tour, when they hear, “oh, you’re going to Toronto this weekend, that’s great, I’d love to go there” but a lot of what we see is hotels and venues. Every now and then you have a day where you can explore a city but there isn’t a lot of downtime and travelling.

There are moments when your body hurts. You’ve gained weight because you’ve eaten like shit, and those are real sacrifices that I think people, when they talk to you, don’t really take seriously, but there are things that are downers. For the most part, I really like it.

K: What was your time like at Yale? Did you feel as though your formal education offered a guideline for your future music career?

ELL: I think so. When I was in school in classes I often felt like a little bit of an outsider. When I started an indie band, I still felt a little bit like an outsider but I think it’s sort of good to always feel outside of the paradigm. Then you are thinking about it, and you’re questioning what’s good, what draws you to it, and what doesn’t. I think that was a pretty big thing for me.

I was just writing music in a way that made sense to me and happened to make sense to other people. It helped me think about how to write for all those instruments.

K: So you write every piece for each section? 

ELL: Right. I write a score.

K: So it’s within your classical training?

ELL: You saw the show, so it’s gone away from that a little bit. Which is what happens when you’re playing festivals or rock. You’re playing these venues that are made for rock bands so you sort to push towards that. I happily did that. But there is still a lot of that classical stuff in there where parts are notated, I think about the arrangements a lot, and I’m very careful with how I divvy up the notes.

K: Was that something you kept in mind when you were writing your newest album?

ELL: The new record was kind of interesting because as I was writing it, I really knew who I was writing it for, because I’ve played a hundred shows with these guys. When I write a sax line, I really tailor it to Stephen, when I write a trumpet line, I tailor it to John. I think that’s led the live show to be more of a coherent, explosive thing.

K: So, it’s come a long way from knowing your bandmates for years now?

ELL: For the first record, I just wrote it. Whoever I could get to play it, it was great, but it was a different relationship.

K: You released your self titled album in September of 2013. Can you explain some of the emotions and backstory behind the records on this album?

ELL: That was a very exciting and weird time. A lot of stuff went really quickly — it went from a sort of bedroom project to where the third of fourth show we ever played was a Tiny Desk concert. The fifth or six show we ever played was Bowery ballroom, and suddenly we were doing this thing.

I didn’t know what keyboard to play, I was still making all these decisions. It was a really intense time because there was all this stuff coming down the pipe that I was figuring out how to respond to as it happened.

“Oh we have to make a music video?” Well, fuck… I don’t know. But that was really exciting and cool. I remember hearing Sonsick, which was our single on that record, on the radio for the first time.

K: What was that feeling like?

ELL: It was crazy! I was just driving with my girlfriend or something, and I thought, “wow… people know this song.”

K: Are there ever times where you felt like there are other songs you would rather play instead?

ELL: Yeah… let’s leave it at that. There’s a few singles that we play because the fans expect them, but we’re kind of over it.

K: Your third album, Belong, released in April of this year and your single was released through TIME magazine. What can this album teach the listener about you, or just in general?

ELL: The thing that I wanted to do with this record is that I wanted to write a record that felt both more accessible to people — just from the type of sounds, there are no interludes, it’s more direct songwriting -—but also make the lyrics more personal. In the past, I’ve hidden behind the lyrics a little bit. I think it was accomplished. I think the songs have a bit more of a glossy sheen to them. If you spend time with it, it’s stuff that comes from deep and somewhat tumultuous place in my life. Pulling off that trick, making something seem sleek but also have depth, is somewhat difficult.

San Fermin

K: Are there certain songs that you listen to in this album or earlier albums that you don’t listen to all the time, but you hear them and it brings you back to a certain moment in your life?

ELL: For earlier albums that definitely happens. There is a song on the first record called Daedalus. I was in Banff while writing it and I was thinking that the record needed a closer, something special. We were writing it and leaving the studio and thinking that I made a really good song there. Then I didn’t play it for years, and we played it the other day for the first time.

K: What is it like making a setlist for a big music festival like Wayhome?

ELL: For a festival like this you have a stripped down set, where I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily all of our best songs but in a way it’s all the songs that work the best in this setting. Some songs I really like that you just can’t play here. You can’t really play the acoustic ballads. You need an audience who is all there for you, but here you have people that are here for you and people who are walking by, and you want to be able to catch them with a festival jam.

K: In making that setlist, are you driving for that?

ELL: You think about that and you think about songs that are immediately graspable and that hit hard, and you think about the image that you want to project at that festival. Are you trying to reach new fans or are you trying to play the funnest, most party song? Or are you trying to curate this sort of thoughtful experience? When you have forty-five minutes on the main stage, you think, let’s hit them with our best. Sometimes it changes. Today I made the call to play Methuselah, which is an acoustic-chiller song from the first record, instead of No Devil, which is a big anthem, just because I wanted to do it.

K: Is that the most fun part of running a band?

ELL: The most fun part is after the shows when you get to meet people who the songs resonate with. It still feels unreal to me. If I haven’t played a show for a couple of weeks, I’ll forget that there are all these people out there who care about what I do and it makes me feel really good when I get to meet them. It hasn’t worn off yet.

K: Have you ever met a fan where you’ve had that genuine experience, where they tell you about a tough time in their life that your music has helped them through?

ELL: Totally. Our fans are really loyal and intense about that. When we go on headline tours, we’ll have a bunch of people in the front of the crowd who know the lyrics to all the songs, and that’s really cool. You’re here for a deeper experience that you had with this stuff.

I feel like I’m someone who has trouble talking to strangers a lot. I have trouble connecting, and to suddenly be like… that you can connect to someone is a special thing.

K: Was there ever any stage fright?

ELL: Weirdly, even though I write all the music, I’m probably not someone who people are watching as much on stage because I’m in front of the keyboard.

There was a little bit of stage fright at the very beginning but after that it was pretty clear that A) nobody was counting on me to do anything too much and B) shows are fun. I have a lot of great musicians with me. Even if I totally stopped playing, we’d still be a great group of people.

K: Is that the best part, being around people you have great relationships with for eight months or so at a time?

ELL: It’s a strange relationship, because in a way, it’s almost like a sibling, but then weirdly, you’ll get home and maybe you won’t see them for a couple of months. You won’t call them or anything, and then you’ll get back together and you’re closer than close, because you’re literally spending all your time together.

K: Do you feel as though your band is tailored to a festival setting, or a sort of more intimate setting?

ELL: That’s changed. At the beginning of the band, I was all about intimate spaces. We then started to have some success at festivals and I thought that was really fun. My ideal shows are at a thousand cap room but they’re all there for you. That’s the best, you get a little bit of the size. I just like playing for a receptive audience. That is what I care about the most.

K: What was it like in the first show you had where you saw an audience member singing back your lyrics?

ELL: It happened pretty early on, but the first time I really remember it was at a Lollapalooza after show in 2014 where I realized that everyone in the crowd was singing along. That was awesome. I remember getting in the van after and saying, “Guys, we’re onto something.”

K: Did this reaffirm that you needed to keep going?

ELL: Yeah. Since it’s become more routine, I take it for granted sometimes. But when we perform Sonsick and everyone sings that one part, the fact that they even took five minutes out of their life to memorize it, is more than I’ve done for them, so it makes me feel special.

K: That must be a great connection you create with people, in that, you may not know them on a personal level, but you do in a way that you didn’t know about.

ELL: They’re at least familiar with some part of me and when I talk to fans, I appreciate that we can start on some common ground.

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A Conversation with Begonia at Wayhome 2017

The music industry is tough enough without certain standards it holds for women. Often, women are expected to look a certain way and live a certain lifestyle, all the while creating consistently good albums and starting a family of four. The music industry — the entertainment industry as a whole — regularly scrutinizes women on a daily basis according to the standards it’s set.

This can be a difficult way of life for many, but there is often a light at the end of the tunnel. Artists such as Alexa Durks, otherwise known as Begonia, are working to eradicate this standard. Living her life as true expression of her authentic self, Alexa is a role model for women to look up to. Not only does she have a killer voice, she has a great attitude about life and works hard to achieve her goals.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Alexa to discuss her beginnings in the girl group, Chic Gamine. Continue reading to fall in love with her, just as we have after chatting with her about her life on the road.

Kimberley Drapack: How did your love for music begin?

Alexa Durks: I started pretty young. I was always interested in singing and I was a loud kid, so I was always singing at home. Nobody in my family is a musician besides myself, but everyone was always listening to music or singing. It was instilled in me at a young age.

It was always something that I felt like I wanted to do and I don’t think I felt like I always would understand how or why, but I always felt I was connected to music in an emotional way. I went to church as a kid, sang in church, and was in musicals as a child. It’s a typical start. 

K: What was the first CD you ever purchased?

AD: My dad had a Columbia House subscription. I’d always try to mooch off his subscription and get him to get me something. I started listening to the Beatles because my dad liked them. The first CD I bought with my allowance money was in the fourth grade. It was Destiny’s Child, The Writing’s on the Wall. I went crazy.

K: Do you have a favourite Destiny’s Child member?

AD: Well obviously Beyoncé. I was in a girl group, Chic Gamine, I know what that is like. Not in the same sort of way. 

K: That’s how you began singing?

AD: I started singing for a gig when I was like sixteen or seventeen. I was still in high school and I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t understand how I could make it a career, but it was something that I wanted to do, and I could make money doing it, so it blew my mind. I started touring with Chic Gamine, when I was nineteen or twenty. It was an early start. I had no idea what was going on, and I sometimes still have no idea what’s going on.

K: Was it exciting in that you were getting out of your hometown and traveling?

AD: It was an adventure. I still have a romanticized view of the road and certain aspects of it. That’s why I still tour, I do it because I love it. I’m going to stop when it stops being fun all together.

That’s kind of what it’s like, you kind of have to be able to get on a stage and enjoy what you are doing, because people can feel that authenticity. You don’t want to do it when you don’t like it anymore, that’s when a lot of bullshit can come in.

K: You describe Begonia as being on a spectrum — with one end that is dark and grievous and the other a petite, elegant flower. What is it like finding the balance between these two sides and how does it relate to your music?

AD: I’m not necessarily what a lot of people would classify as the stereotypical pop star in any sort of sense. If you look at me, there’s meat on my bones, I’m a person that is pretty outspoken in certain ways. I can also be shy and timid, and there are all those sides.

If we’re really going to cut to it, as women, in that age in the industry, you’re supposed to look a certain way and be a certain way, and I struggle with that duality all the time of the person that I want to put out there and the person I really am, which is my authentic self that doesn’t always have my makeup done perfectly or doesn’t necessarily know when or if I’m going to have children. I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life but I know there are women in the industry who do not have specific roles. I feel like that’s where I find myself, in the middle of that, trying to represent the “other.”

K: Do you feel as though you’ve felt pressure in a way to express that women are supposed to be categorized a certain way, or fit a certain look?

AD: I respect it all. If you are being an honest, authentic person, who is representing yourself, you don’t have to look any specific way. There shouldn’t be a standard.

K: Tell us about your EP, Lady in Mind. What stories does it tell? What was the writing process like to produce this work?

AD: It was the culmination of a lot of years of writing songs and kind of shelving them, and not knowing where I was going to put some of these songs. I was in a band for so long where we had a really collaborative writing process, so I would write some of these songs on my own and not really know where they would fit.

Over the course of the years, it just encapsulated so many different topics. Being in my mid-twenties and trying to understand where I fit in as a woman in the industry, trying to understand my own female fragility. I got out of a really bad relationship at the time that was pretty emotionally abusive, that played a part in some of these songs, but I think the common thread in the content is trying to find the power within yourself in the dark moments. Each song has a realness to it because I’m just talking about my authentic experience. Anyone could possibly relate to it if they’ve ever gone through shit.

It’s about the relationship within yourself, a relationship with the same or opposite sex, and the world around you.

K: What genres would you describe your music to be in between? Do you find the label of a certain type of genre can be limiting?

AD: It’s a limiting question, but you have to kind of know. I do feel as though I have a pop sensibility to my writing but it is more on the alternative side. It’s not necessarily the type that would play on the Top 40 radio, and I know that.

There’s some R&B underpinnings, there’s some soul underpinnings. I draw inspiration from so many different places, but if you really have to put it down to what it is, it would probably be pop alternative music.

K: What did it feel like when your single Juniper, from your new five-song EP, Lady in Mind, reached number one on CBC Radio 2’s Top 20?

AD: It was super cool. I wasn’t expecting it. We just put the song out there to launch the project a year ago, and when CBC picked it up, it was a nice moment. It was a validating moment where people wanted to hear what I do, people are interested in what I’m doing.

I would have done it either way, but it’s one of those moments where you’re thankful. Hearing your song on the radio at any time is a pretty exciting thing. My mom would look up on the website when it would play.

K: Are your parents your biggest cheerleaders?

AD: They come to all my gigs. Since when I was a kid to when I was a teenager playing in shitty bars, they would come to every gig I ever played. When I quit my full time job right out of high school and said I was going on the road, they didn’t necessarily understand what that meant — I didn’t understand what that meant. They thought, “that’s cool, but you are still living at home, how are you going to make money?” I didn’t even know. Once I got more of a handle on the industry and kind of figured out what I was doing then they could understand it better, but they’ve always been super supportive.

K: For those not in the industry, they can see your line of work as more of a hobby than a job until you get a certain validation of playing a big festival. Can that be frustrating?

AD: I’m used to it, that’s part of it. When you are a small potato like me, you do have to prove yourself and whether I like it or not, that’s part of the game. I know it, and I’m just going to go out there and do what I do no matter what.

K: What can we expect from you in the future?

AD: I’m touring right now and this summer. I’m working on a new album and I’m going to be in the studio in the fall, so hopefully by next year you are going to hear some new stuff.

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