Sound: Laid-back and sensual.. If you like: Drake, Tory Lanez, The Weeknd Why you should listen: Blending sweet, smooth vocals with muted raps, Montreal-born, Toronto-based Notifi has made a COVID-cozy album that’s as comforting as a velour onesie. It’s soothing listening for unsettled times. Best track:Bye Bye Blackbird
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His Jane and Finch neighbourhood in Toronto might be rough-and-tumble, but the songs he writes and records there are smooth and stirring, and rising R&B and hip hop star Notifi insists there’s no place like home.
The hook-rich tracks propelled by Notifi’s searching, soulful singing and rhymes seem certain to make him another shining star from the Six. And his just released EP Mad Man should help him get there.
HOME: “Jane and Finch has always had that stigma of being a high-crime, high-violence place but it’s where I’ve called home for 12 years. It’s moulded me, it’s helped make me who I am today. I can never say anything bad about it. I learned resilience there, and how to stay focused.”
PANDEMIC EFFECT: “The pandemic has created this kind of new space. Everything shut down and was not accessible anymore, and all I had was music to really focus and lock in on. No real distractions.”
INFLUENCES (THEN): “Kanye West, Michael Jackson.”
INFLUENCES (NOW): “Drake, The Weeknd, Tory Lanez.”
SECRET SAUCE: “Vibrato adds something to a song. It’s a flavour. I try to sprinkle that in when I can.”
DRAKE EFFECT: “It’s 1,000 per cent real. Drake’s inspired everybody. He inspired me. I don’t know who he hasn’t inspired with his once-in-a-lifetime career. He really did all of this and he came from here, he came from this city.”
WATCHING: “I’m a big fan of the DC Universe. I love watching Supergirl and The Flash. I have a Flash ring.”
RAPTORS: “Got to support the home team—always. Kyle Lowry is going to go down as the greatest Raptor of all time. But it’s time for a rebuild.”