Jean-Michel Blais is a pianist and composer who grew up in rural Quebec. He began writing original compositions by age 11, and by 17 he was invited to the Trois-Rivières Music Conservatory. However, the constraints of formal training drew Blais off his musical course. He stopped playing piano until years later, when he rediscovered his love for music while settling in Montreal. Decidedly not limited to the keys as his compositional palette, Blais’ music is imbued with an emotional depth that belies its wordlessness. His playing and composition are poetic in themselves, with an inspired understanding of the inherent lyricism in instrumental music.
Il, his critically acclaimed 2016 debut album, was written and recorded by Blais over two years, culled from rolls of accumulated experimentation into an enchanting, unignorable arrival. The debut album would go on to amass 50 million streams worldwide, reaching #1 on Billboard’s classical chart in Canada 14 times. Dans ma main, the sophomore release by Blais, is an expansive album of post-classical piano with strands of electronic detail. Blending his conservatory skill and precise pop sensibility with synthetic accompaniment, Blais creates unique environments where the piano’s intimacy can be subtly disrupted at any time.
Since the May 2017 release of the full-length album Hôtel de Ville, four-time Juno Award nominee Scott Helman has maintained a relentless touring schedule in support of the album and its hit singles “Kinda Complicated,” “Ripple Effect,” and the gold-certified “PDA.” After a headlining tour across Canada in fall 2017, Helman started 2018 with dates in Singapore, Hong, Kong, Australia, and Japan before heading to Spain and Italy for multi-artist festival shows. In summer 2018, he was invited to open for Vance Joy’s five cross-Canada tour dates. Those shows went so well that he was asked to join Vance Joy’s European tour.
Finding his musical influences in album-focused artists such as Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, the Cure, and Paul Simon, Helman has established himself as one of Canada’s leading young songwriters.
In 2014, he released “Bungalow” as the first single from his debut EP, Augusta. The song introduced a fresh voice to the musical landscape, and his versatility led to tours across Canada, playing with Tegan and Sara, Shawn Mendes, and Matthew Good. Opening for Walk off the Earth on extensive tours of the United States and Europe, Helman stood alone on stage night after night, winning over skeptical audiences and building an international fan base.
In 2015, he beat out 11 other artists to win Spotify Canada’s Emerge program, and in 2016, he topped the Teen Vogue list of voices to look out for that year. By the time Helman returned to the studio to work on Hôtel de Ville, he had been nominated for a 2015 MuchMusic Video Award, two 2016 Juno Awards, and performed to massive national television audiences on both award shows.
Oliver Jordan is a 21 year old singer-songwriter who’s soulful music stems from the defining moments of his youth. Writing from his experiences with love and loss, Jordan draws musical inspiration from artists such as Coldplay and Lauv. The Berklee College of Music senior independently released his first EP, Ignite, during the spring of 2017, and is currently developing his sophomore project, set to release in the coming months.
Formally known as Linus Hablot, Hablot Brown is composed of Linus Lester-Hodges, Austin Brown, and John Brown. Bringing an interesting blend of vastly contrasting genres, the band borrows from diverse musical backgrounds and influences such as Nick Hakim and Tom Misch to create their own unique sound that is difficult not to fall in love with.
Transforming pain into transcendence is the genius of many pop artists; Doe Paoro brings an entirely new depth to that process. On her third album, Soft Power, the Los Angeles–based singer-songwriter digs into her frustration and anguish, and ultimately comes away with a newfound strength that is profoundly inspiring.
“So much of the album is about reclaiming parts of myself that I had lost,” explains Doe, originally from Syracuse, New York. “It’s about being a woman, and what exactly that means at this particular moment in time; about witnessing a lack of justice when it comes to men and control. Both at the personal and societal levels, I was watching people in power play games with our lives, with the environment. I found this theme reappearing in the music I was writing during this period; it was less intentional and more about a certain kind of catharsis.”
Naming Carole King among her inspirations, Paoro notes that the more urgent feel of the new record comes partly from reconnecting with the instinctive approach of her earliest songwriting.
“One of my intentions was to drop any questions about what might be inventive, and just focus on writing songs that felt true to my experience,” she says.
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Caroline Jones coproduced her album Bare Feet with Grammy-winning and Academy Award–winning producer Ric Wake (Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, and Trisha Yearwood). Bare Feet rose to no. 20 on the country albums chart and no. 15 on the iTunes country albums chart. The album features the single “Tough Guys,” which spent six weeks at no. 1 on CMT.com’s 12-Pack Countdown.
Rolling Stone named Jones one of the “10 Country Artists You Need to Know,” calling her “an ambitious, entrepreneurial guitar heroine primed to bring back the pop-country glory of the Nineties.” Billboard called her one of the “15 Country Artists to Watch in 2018.” Throughout 2018, Jones has been touring with artists such as Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles, Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill.
In 2017, she was on the road with Zac Brown Band and shared the stage with Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and Toby Keith at the Trying to Reason hurricane relief benefit concert. A live duet with Buffett led to a charity single release and, ultimately, a partnership with his label, Mailboat Records. Jones previously toured schools and universities nationwide—including underserved and charter schools with Stedman Graham—on the Heart Is Smart School Tour. Jones is the host of Art & Soul on SiriusXM.
Watch Jones’s music video for “Tough Guys”:
The Nude Party congealed as one unit in the southern mountain town of Boone, NC in 2013 and gained their namesake very literally. Bonded by isolation, house party debauchery, a religion based on pushing the limits of bad taste, and a precocious predisposition towards the Kinks, the Animals, and the Velvets, they have burgeoned into a rock and roll act to be reckoned with. As the hysteria at their local shows steadily increases, so does their reputation with local law enforcement, forcing them daily more to seek employment anywhere but home. The band has been occupying themselves with a string of self booked tours and one night stands, which have linked them up with with bands such as the Growlers, the Oblivians, La Luz, Night Beats, and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
Tommy Newport puts all his skills on display with the stunning release of his debut album “Just To Be Ironic”. Support for Tommy has been strong since the start, with co-signs, by BadBadNotGood, Giles Peterson, Sticky Fingers, rotation on Best Of The Week by Apple Music, featured in HBO’s hit TV show Ballers, and industry tastemakers alike. Tommy, independently released the album "So Long And Thanks" (under the name Milmine) in 2017, with absolutely no promotion or marketing behind the project, the project eclipsed over 2 million streams across YouTube, Spotify & Apple Music.
The 13-track album is a personal diary from Tommy and the album’s co-
producer, Toronto based producer 4th Pyramid. Tommy has the heart and soul of a true musician. Having released his first single “I Forgive You”, a funk soaked ballad that takes listeners deeper into Tommy’s idyllic world, the buzz began to spread. With years beyond his age in craftsmanship, Tommy is moving forward in full force into 2019 with the announcement of his own headlining tour across North America.
The Brook & the Bluff is a four-man band from Birmingham, Alabama, that is currently based in Nashville. They are known for their evocative blend of instrumental talent and vocal harmony. These elements are readily apparent in the band's debut track, “Masks.” Having initially gained momentum through Spotify, the song has helped spur the band forward in their musical pursuits. The group's first year as a full band has been widely successful. They charted on Spotify's US and Canada Viral 50 Playlists, performed at the NAMM shows in both Nashville and Anaheim, and sold out shows in Atlanta, Birmingham, Huntsville, Nashville, and Opelika.
Singer/songwriter/producer Sid Sriram represents a collision point of radically different worlds; a true hybridist. He graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Production and Engineering; here is where he started exploring and building his own sound. Sid Sriram's music creates a bold cross section where Pop/Soul, his Indian Classical roots and alternative/ambient music clash vibrantly.
Sriram was raised on a dynamic, rich foundation of South Indian Classical (Carnatic) music; this form is his creative framework and anchor. He grew up soaking in the music of legendary artists such as Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Jeff Buckley, The Beatles and Luther Vandross; these influences have defined his artistic evolution. With his work in Indian Cinema soundtrack music resonating with millions, Sid Sriram has developed an exponentially growing, die hard fanbase. His live productions are exhilarating, engaging and vulnerable; thousands pack out venues to experience his emotionally immersive shows.
In his own words, "I think I make music for those who are in need of some healing. Producing and performing music is my form of release; I want to create experiences that allow people to feel through a spectrum of emotions." With his daringly unique debut LP "Entropy" releasing later this year, Sid Sriram looks to impact the world.