EVENT RECAP: 06.01 DENISE DE'ION: WIO VIDEO PREMIERE X BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

On June 1st, Team YYZ was on-site inside Studio Bar, as the official media sponsor for the, Denise Deion x Urban Evolution Enterprise Presents: WIO VIDEO PREMIERE X BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION! View the entire photo recap on the official YYZ Hilightz, Facebook page

Denise De'ion is an emerging Toronto Artist/Songwriter/Producer/Dancer and the newest artist on our UEE management roaster. 

Performers: 
@moeonthemic
@team.sstyles
@krystlechance
@tamararussell
DJ @kappamezu

For Event Media Coverage & Promo, Email: info@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on June 4, 2017 .

NEW VIDEO: SETH DYER - BLACK GHOSTS (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

January 27, 2017
Nico Gonzalas

"Don't I live in the same world as you?" 

Toronto based rapper and producer, Seth Dyer teams up with director Adom Woods to give us the visuals to his self-produced single, "Black Ghosts". 

For anyone that has ever had the opportunity to see this young artist perform live or has been paying attention to how he presents himself in images- you can bet that Seth will more than likely be adorned in all black attire. It's become somewhat of a signature for the Hip Hop artist and one of the things we at #TeamYYZ appreciate about this video, is the way in which Seth incorporates his all-black-everything style into the video's aesthetics.

From beginning to end, viewers watch on as Seth gives us a gritty yet dramatic performance against an all-black backdrop, with a single off set ring of light, that illuminates an all-black dressed Seth of course. Highly appropriate considering the song's topic and title.

Director Adom Woods does a solid job at effectively interlacing Seth's on screen performance with live footage of police brutality in full swing against Black men and women - all sprinkled with Adom's "frame-painting" animation of symbols, designs and lyrics not to mention his play with shadows and silhouette's. 

"Black Ghosts" is deeply relevant to the times. Its lyricism, production and powerful harmonies leave an impactful impression on listeners, with an equally powerful visual to match. #TeamYYZ salutes you King for a standout lyrical and visual performance.

YYZ Hilightz encourages our online community to SUPPORT our featured artists by viewing, downloading, buying and sharing their creative works.

For Music Features & Reviews, Email: yyzhilightz@gmail.com for consideration.

Posted on January 27, 2017 .

NEW MUSIC: UNDER ME (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO)| K.RICH FT. JIMMY OCTOBER

Dec 13, 2016
Yafet El Yah

On December 9th, Trinidad & Tobago based production team, Precision Productions , debuted the official lyric video for their latest 2017 release, "Under Me"- performed by Soca artist, K.Rich and features Hip-Hop artist, Jimmy October (T&T). 

Usually when it comes to bumpers, quantity is preferred over quality. Not however, for 2017. Imagine instead, one wine that keeps you yearning for more in fetes, on the road, and for years to come, always enticing and spine tingling in touch and movement. The desire for that kind of experience was the inspiration for this C.L. Productions and Precision Productions release. Working in sync the two camps shaped a musical experience based on amazement, attraction, and probably a few lasting memories to give the world a song, which will stand brilliantly against the test of time.

"Under Me" beat production has an infectious Caribbean sound, infused with splashes of EDM and Alt-Pop. Soca singer, K.Rich's vocals are convincingly smooth throughout the song, and when coupled with the appealing rhyming style of rapper, Jimmy October- "Under Me" displays the necessary ingredients needed in becoming a potential cross-over hit, with music lovers worldwide! 


YYZ Hilightz encourages our online community to SUPPORT our featured artists by viewing, downloading, buying and sharing their creative works.

For Music Features & Reviews, Email: submissions@yyzhilightz.com for consideration. 

 

Posted on December 13, 2016 .

YYZ SPOTLIGHT: DISMANTLE WORKSHOP SERIES

Written by Yafet El Yah

Every single particle of my body
& every fibre of my essence was created on purpose.

So, who dare make me feel otherwise?
Surely, not myself.

Even as I journey
& even as I may stumble, my existence is no mistake.

I was created with CARE
I was created with INTENTION
I was created with LOVE

I am enough.

All of my internal & external pieces were beautifully crafted, for what they are
& when combined, they form a whole that is me.

I Am.
 

(DISMANTLE Workshop Series mantra written by Founder/Creative Director, XOLISA)

 

The Toronto based entrepreneur is known to us and her growing fan base as XOLISA- An international performing Hip-Hop Artist/Producer. A soulful, boom-bap emcee reminiscent of Ms. Lauryn Hill with abilities to rock crowds with an entertaining performance style like her favourite group, ATCQ. The DISMANTLE Workshop Series, launched on Dec 1st, is XOLISA'S newest creative venture that aims to bridge the gap between WOC, through the use of words written, words spoken & words internalized as tools for growth.

#TeamYYZ sat down with XOLISA pre-launch, to pick her beautiful mind and bring to you an exclusive behind the scenes insight on her new workshop series.

Why the need to DISMANTLE?

Think of the game Jenga. Imagine that all of the individual blocks are the pieces of you, and when stacked together, they make up your whole. Our life journey is basically us stacking piece after piece on top of the other, slowly but surely building this tower of an entity, or whole - that is us. During that process of building however, we face ordeals that cause our tower of blocks to sway, shake and sometimes, topple over. Sometimes, we face ordeals that completely tip our block tower over, so that nothing is left standing. Sometimes, we face ordeals that only cause a few blocks to topple over.

My point is that, this practice of building, getting knocked down and then eventually rebuilding, is a life long journey. When we experience hurt, there comes a point within our healing process when we really have to just stop and examine the pieces of our tower that have fallen off and lay scattered on the floor, before we can pick up another block and begin building again.

Often, I've had to spend many long days, months and even years staring at some of those pieces and I mean TRULY examining them for what they represent as a piece of me. I have had to spend time learning to love those pieces before I place them back on my tower and in some cases, I've had to face the harsh reality that some of those pieces didn't actually belong in my tower/whole and weren't needed in order for me to build myself up.

We need to dismantle and take ourselves apart so that we can truly get to know all of the beautiful pieces that make us, us. We need to dismantle and break ourselves down (in healthy ways), so that we can identify if there are pieces that we include in our whole, that are actually hindering us and interfering with our other pieces. Maybe we don't need that block of fear, or that block of doubt in order to build up our tower? Maybe that's why our tower keeps getting knocked over, because it is made up of some faulty pieces? Maybe our towers would stand a lot stronger to the winds of challenge, if it was built without those blocks?

Why Do Women of Colour Need To DISMANTLE?

Women period have faced their own unique challenges in society's history, throw some melanin on that and you've got yourself a WHOLE new world of complexities and layers. Women of colour have been criticized, discouraged, penalized & put down for their hair textures, their facial features, their bodies and beyond. We have had to navigate both the worlds of sexism and racism, misogyny and discrimination. We have been told by our own families that our shades of brown, however brown they are, need to be lighter. We have been compared time and time again to other women in our respective races and placed on this ranking ladder of "pretty", within the "restraints" of still being coloured. Black women in particular have watched their kings be humiliated and emasculated for centuries. The list goes on, and on, and on...all of this PLUS the everyday challenges that we as humans experience period. That's a whole lot of load for anyone to shoulder. 

Women of colour need to dismantle because for far too long, we have been told that our pieces themselves are not worthy...so how in the world could our wholes ever be seen as enough? Women of colour need to dismantle and truly examine those pieces and learn to trust them, love them, appreciate them and believe in them so that we can be the best "towers" that we can be. Dismantle cannot change the negative views and stigmas that others may hold toward women of colour. Dismantle also cannot change the damage that has already taken place in history, toward women of colour. What it CAN do and what I intend for it to do, is to help women of colour strengthen from the inside out, so that we may build a resilience and stance against ANYONE who dares to try and feed us any more lies.

How does Xolisa (WOC, Emcee, International Performer) DISMANTLE on & off stage?

I haven't always known how to dismantle, or that it was even something that I could do. However, I have always been an incredibly introspective person - always looking and searching within myself for answers, always ready to face my darkness and get to the root of an internal conflict. It hasn't always come easy, or without pain but it's something I've spent many years practicing.

Since I was a child, I can remember always "going in" and being intrigued with all of the beautiful and scary things that resided there. I dismantle off stage by continuing to seek answers within. I dismantle by praying, by meditating, by confronting my ego and learning how to be courageous enough to face myself.

I dismantle when I'm off stage by allowing my loved ones to love me, allowing myself to love myself which is all a work in progress. I dismantle when I'm off stage by making sure that despite how busy things may get in my career, that I am taking the to still address any conflicts within my heart. I Dismantle when I'm on stage by allowing myself to truly be taken over by the song or message I am expressing - which I am always learning how to do in every performance.

I dismantle on stage by choosing to keep an ongoing conversation with myself, while I'm performing. Choosing to continue to encourage myself and be as present as possible. Sometimes dismantling on stage means revisiting the original emotion, meaning and intention of any given song of mine and not allowing myself to become glazed or numb to the songs meaning, because sometimes it can happen.

Imagine performing the same song multiple times a day, or a week. It's easy to become robotic in that sense, but truly remembering the root and essence of a song allows me to dismantle that song itself - take it apart emotionally and be reminded of what it stands for.

#TeamYYZ would like to thank you, our readers, for journeying with us once again as we not only offer the official launch of an impacting initiative for Toronto, but as we explore the mind of its founder and creative director - XOLISA. Now that you've read her story, we urge you to visit the official Dismantle Website, explore the workshops and book yours today!

XOLISA - We appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us, and allow us to be here at such an important step in this initiative's introduction to the public. We extend to you our official YYZ HILIGHTZ, #TDOTSalute!

For Music Features & Reviews, Email: submissions@yyzhilightz.com for consideration. 

Posted on December 5, 2016 .

NEW MUSIC PREMIERE: V.O.S - DEAR ANXIETY (FEAT. XOLISA)

Written By Yafet El Yah

The art of storytelling through poetry, spoken word, song lyric and music throughout history has proven to be a powerful bridge for communicating human thought, emotion, feeling and more. 

The majority of civilizations most prolific storytellers- through their writing, performance, and/or musical compositions, have all communicated this one element through their works- The ability to evoke human emotion and relatability through their means of storytelling. 

As the art of storytelling continues to evolve, our history in the making becomes filled with new storytellers who are prolific in their own right and find new ways to push the boundaries of this age old art form.

Toronto emerging spoken word artist, Voice of Silence, does exactly that in pushing the boundaries of storytelling with the 2nd release off of his upcoming "Befriending Silence" album- "Dear Anxiety", which addresses the topic of anxiety in a way that has never been heard of before within a song - raising the standards of using storytelling to evoke more than emotion, but a state of the human mind.

"ANXIETY" What's it to YA?

"Anxiety is a mix of fear, doubt, confusion, and lack of belief in self. To me, it is the voice that I have created to work against myself and my constructive nature by judging and questioning everything I am doing or striving to achieve. I find it ironic that we have chosen to use our own potential to put ourselves down and make us feel inferior, useless, and powerless through entities such as "anxiety", but for some of us, it is something we believe is part of our nature and who we are. Many times in the past, I have made myself victim to this overwhelming feeling and let it consume my mind and how I conduct myself in my day-to-day life, and this track is a letter that I penned to this entity, "anxiety", during one of these moments. By facing this feeling and speaking to it directly about how I will not let it take me away from my goals, "Dear Anxiety" has become a reminder that despite how painful experiencing anxiety can become, it is temporary and we can push past these moments and continue to shine our light as we ought to do.

Photographed by Reesee ZiggaZagga




"Dear Anxiety" is a letter written directly to the face of the entity many of us face internally, alone, in the presence of any uncomfortable or stressful situation, and in silence. Stemming from facing many anxious moments throughout high school and early university, this letter was penned to relieve the burden of this feeling and as a message of hope to the future self when the battle with anxiety rises again.

Brought to life with the grimy hard-hitting instrumental by Nate Smith, additional snare drumming by Paul Merced, and mixing by North English, Voice of Silence and Xolisa trade their internal battles of conquering anxiety and tapping into their higher selves." - Voice Of Silence

 

 

These cycles have become...

...These cycles have become.

 

("Dear Anxiety" Lyrics)

"You know back in the day when you’d accidentally turn your tv onto that channel that wasn’t actually a channel, but instead was a screen of grey, scratchy, buzzing static? The one you would scramble to try and get off of because the sound was so obnoxious and the image was a headache to the eyes? 

Anxiety is the feeling of having that grey, scratchy, buzzing static slowly encircle you from the edges of your mind. Anxiety is like a dull, throbbing pressure that constantly squeezes and compresses you. It creeps in from the farthest perimeters of your mind and takes this hold on you. Taming it, is often like a man jabbing toward a lions open jaws with a wooden stool- trying to keep its bite at bay. 

Photographed by Chantal Rose





Anxiety, for myself, is triggered when there is worry in my life. It often presents itself when I spend too much time focusing on the future & the things that have not, or may not even come to pass. In regards to “Dear Anxiety” my conversation with Anxiety was one of frustration, of defiance and confrontation.

It was me being fed up of feeling enslaved to this energy and wanting to break free from the mental shackles, into a space of peace and higher existence that I believe with all of me, I am deserving of and capable of reaching."
- Xolisa

 

 

#TeamYYZ would like to thank you, our readers, for journeying with us once again as we pick the brains of 2 amazing artists - Voice of Silence and Xolisa. Now that you've read their stories and listened to their new collaboration, "Dear Anxiety", we urge you to spread the word! Be sure to check out our last YYZ SPOTLIGHT feature, "Spoken Word, Hip-Hop's Alter Ego", which offers an in-depth interview with Voice of Silence & spoken word artist, Suviana Suvannah.

Voice of Silence, Xolisa - We appreciate you taking the time to share your stories with us, especially on a topic that is still highly misunderstood. We extend to you our official YYZ HILIGHTZ, #TDOTSalute!

For Music Features & Reviews, Email: submissions@yyzhilightz.com for consideration. 

Posted on December 2, 2016 .

EVENT RECAP: 11.18 | TD MUSIC FRIDAYS: CMI ARTISTS- DENISE DEION, XOLISA, DYNESTI | #YYZHILIGHTZ

On November 18th, #TeamYYZ was on-site at the "TDMusic Fridays Presents: Canada's Music Incubator Artists- Denise Deion, Dynesti Williams, XOLISA & UNITY Charity"- A showcase of #TorontoMade talent. View the entire photo recap on the official YYZ Hilightz, Facebook page

You don’t have to be born – or even live – in Toronto to relate to #TorontoMade. Toronto Made is for those who have been touched by the city, who have found inspiration or opportunity there, and who love the new discoveries it offers around every corner. We shape our cities as our cities shape us. 

For Event Media Coverage & Promo, Email: info@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on December 2, 2016 .

NEW VIDEO: EVERYTHINGOSHAUN - POET (FEAT. XPRESSAKADJXP)

Brampton, ON Hip-Hop artist, EverythingOShauN, debuts visuals for "Poet"- his 5th single release off of 2016 EP "Until Now" produced by Xpress aka DJXP (GSX Music). The video is shot in Toronto by director Customatic displaying exclusive art popping visuals of our city's downtown core.  With over 40,000 plays on Soundcloud, and even more streams on Spotify, "Poet" reveals EverythingOShauN's competitive spirit, so to speak, as well as a multi-layered and intricate rhyme scheme. 

"'Poet is a record off of my debut project, 'Until Now', which was released earlier this year. We came together to make this record to of course turn up but still based on real life situations and the video is just embodying the hook of 'walking round the city' of Toronto by rolling through Kensington Market, the downtown core and then back to the WEST END." - EverythingOShauN

YYZ Hilightz encourages our online community to SUPPORT our featured artists by viewing, downloading, buying and sharing their creative works. 

For Music Features & Reviews, Email: submissions@yyzhilightz.com for consideration. 

Posted on November 29, 2016 .

EVENT RECAP: 10.15 | AUBURN CITY BLOCK PARTY FT. XOLISA (GTBTOUR) #YYZHILIGHTZ

On October 15th #TeamYYZ was on-site for Hip Hop Emcee/Producer, XOLISA "Gaps To Bridges Tour" (ATLANTA) performance at "Bishop City Presents: Auburn City Block Party". Visit the YYZ Hilightz Facebook page for exclusive performance highlights of the soulful emcee in her element.

"GAPS to BRIDGES TOUR" Schedule:
www.xolisamusic.com/gapstobridgestour  
For Event Promo & Coverage, Email: (info@yyzhilightz.com) for consideration.

Posted on November 24, 2016 .

YYZ SPOTLIGHT: BAZODEE MOVIE (CANADIAN PREMIERE)

Written By Yafet ElYah

Trinidadian multi- award winning Soca artist, Machel Montano, makes a successful crossover from music into film, with the release of BAZODEE!

The original film shot exclusively in Trinidad and Tobago, is directed by Todd Kessler, written by Claire Ince with leading roles played by Machel Montano (Lee de Leon), Natale Perera (Anita Ponchouri), Kabir Besides, Staz Nair and Valmike Rampersad. The movie is a dramedy/musical with themes of romance, love, betrayal, Trinidadian Afro-Caribbean and Indo-Caribbean music and culture.

Team YYZ was in attendance for BAZODEE's Canadian launch in Toronto, ON, on September 30th- debuting exclusively at 3 Cineplex Odeon Cinemas. The launch proved successful on its first weekend and has now been extended to October 20th, with 3 additional cinemas showcasing the film for public viewing!

BAZODEE now playing in Toronto, ON until October 20th at these cinema's:

Scotiabank Theatre Toronto - Downtown

Cineplex Cinemas Winston Churchill - Oakville/Mississauga

Cineplex Odeon Morningside Cinemas - Scarborough

Cineplex Odeon Eglinton Town Centre Cinemas - Scarborough

Cineplex Cinemas - Vaughan

Cineplex Odeon Orion Gate Cinemas - Brampton

Click for available tickets and showtimes.

BAZODEE Montreal, Quebec debut is on Friday, October 21st at cinema: 

Cinema Cineplex Forum
2313 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest #101

Click for available tickets and showtimes.


EXPERIENCE THE MUSIC - BAZODEE SOUNDTRACK NOW AVAILABLE ON ALL ONLINE STORES
19 songs from the movie featuring superstars including Angela Hunte, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Wizkid, Runtown, Lilly Singh, Humble the Poet & more! 

SOCIALS: 

Official BAZODEE website.
Instagram  
Facebook  
Twitter

For Event Features & Promo, Email: info@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on October 10, 2016 .

YYZ SPOTLIGHT: Spoken Word, Hip-Hop's Alter Ego

Written By Yafet ElYah

For the past 20 years, Toronto's Hip-Hop scene has been blooming and gaining worldwide recognition with the success of "The 6 god", Drake. During this time, there's also been an evolving underground movement of Spoken Word artists who often share the same stages as our Emcees - especially so over the past 5 years in "The 6ix".

With notable leaders like the Godfather of T.O's Spoken Word movement, Dwayne Morgan; dub poet, D'Bi Young AntiAfrika; and the Che Kothari cosigned- Regent Parks poet, Mustafa The Poet- "The 6ix" has been grooming some dope rhymers who choose the age old art of Spoken Word, now paired with instrumentals to express their social, political and cultural views, much like Emcees do.

Running on a parallel, we have two art forms that are so tightly connected, both based on the crafting of our written language - yet two art forms that embody separate thriving worlds within themselves. #TeamYYZ decided to explore the relationship between Hip-Hop and Poetry, Emceeing and Spoken Word by introducing you to, two Spoken Word artists who like the icons mentioned above, are bridging the gap between the realms of Hip-Hop and Poetry - blending musicianship with word delivery in ways unique to them. 

We introduce to you Toronto's very own, Suviana Suvannah (pictured left) and Voice of Silence (pictured right).

Photographer: Reesee ZiggaZagga 

     Photographer: Elfred Kim


Vast musical landscapes paired with a verbal delivery that communicates the most delicate of truths and the most piercing of feelings, both Suviana Suvannah and Voice of Silence blend music (live and digitally produced) with their Spoken Word delivery to produce fully orchestrated pieces that take listeners on an emotional and spiritual journey through faith, desire, hope and freedom - Suviana Suvannah through her 6 track EP entitled, "Angels" and Voice of Silence through his debut single, "DanceNature" which is a part of his upcoming full-length Spoken Word album, "Befriending Silence". Two solid pieces of work, with two different fuelling inspirations.

What 3 things helped inspire both the, "DanceNature" single and the, "Befriending Silence" album?

Voice of Silence: "Three things that inspired 'DanceNature' and the album, 'Befriending Silence', are the self-reflections about the journey I have taken ever since I started sharing my poetry, the state of the world around me through my personal observations and the people I have gotten to know more closely over the last year. 'Befriending Silence' is a journey formed from the poetry I have written over the last five years, showcasing the journey I have taken as an artist and an individual. The idea was conceptualized one night when I decided to read through all my old poetry and I noticed how they are all interconnected, as each poem was a snapshot of who I was and what I was feeling in that specific moment of my life. This sparked days on days of self- reflective moments, where I realized how much each phase of my life contributed to who I am today and the direction in which I am growing. Being able to appreciate my own journey of growth gave me the urge to share this story in some means of compilation, leading to the birth of, 'Befriending Silence'

 

 

 

What 3 things helped inspire the "Angels" EP?

Suviana Suvannah: "This EP was inspired by my mentors and myself. I am my own inspiration because I am God’s best and most unique creation in this life and I reflect the actions of my mentors. I believe that I am an embodiment of God, so there are many biblical references in the whole EP mainly because I was exploring an avenue of hope by way of divine encounters- so the EP is thematically built around hope. Angelic beings are a point of focus that acts as an usher into hope.

Two musical projects based on deep inspirations, both from artists who began their paths of Spoken Word as performers first, before taking the step to record their works in a studio setting with musical accompaniment, while generally speaking, Emcee's tend to touch the world of recording before tackling stages. 

Think of your favourite album or song ever recorded, now think to a time that you've ever seen that album or song performed live. For many of us, experiencing an album/song and experiencing a live performance of that album/song can be two completely different experiences, and that is coming from an audience members perspective, but what about the perspective of the artist?

Studio recording or live performances- which excites you the most? Why?

Suviana Suvannah: "I learn more about myself and my voice during studio recordings, but live performances are definitely more exciting for me to do. Live performances consist of so many variables that effect how I perform, what I perform and why I perform it. So it ends up being more thrilling and exciting because you can’t routine your energy on stage and you can’t predict how you’re ever going to feel on stage on any random day."

Voice of Silence: "interestingly, studio recording has helped me enhance my live performances, feeding me with ideas and more confidence to share my art on stage, but live performances do excite me the most. The exhilarating feeling of connecting to the audience live gives me an energy that I cannot experience elsewhere, and live performances allow me to incorporate theatrical and visual aspects that cannot be conveyed through studio recording. I feel that I can truly bring in people into my own world for the duration of my performance and let them experience the full range of emotions, thoughts and energy I want to share through all their senses, instead of just listening to my voice."

The art of Rapping and Spoken Word are so tightly connected and based off of one another, it wouldn't be a surprise to learn that Emcee's have found inspiration in the poetics of Spoken Word artists and vice-versa. 

Quote your favourite rap lyric and favourite poetry lyric of all time!

Voice of Silence:

"Softly as if I played piano in the dark /
Found a way to channel my anger now to embark /
The world's a stage and everybody's got to play their part

- (André 3000, "ATLiens")

"Ever since I came across ATLiens when I was in high school, these lyrics and especially this verse has stuck with me until now. The way André 3000 captured his change and growth in this verse is empowering and beautiful. Surprisingly, a favourite poetry lyric does not come to mind for me, as most of my inspiration and influence comes from living life, music, the conversations I have with people."

 

 

Suviana Suvannah:

"I used to be underrated,
now I take iron,
makes my shit constipated
I'm more concentrated." - (Wyclef, "How Many Mics")

and

The Last Poets –“Niggas are scared of revolution”

 

Delving into the lyrics of any given Emcee or Poet is always a fascinating exploration in hearing interpretations, references and understandings, but it's not often that you get to ask the artist themselves to "Rap Genius" favourite lyrics from their own projects. 

 

 

"Rap Genius" one of your favourite lines from one of your favourite, "Angels" tracks.

Suviana Suvannah: "Like the wise men I walked I watched and I seen, Angelic beings like doves leading on east."

"In the lyric stated above, word for word, what I'm saying is that I was diligent to discover where I found hope. The three wise men in the bible saw a star in the east and went towards it. These wise men were astrologists and studied the star. But the point is that if these wise men were not very sensitive or meticulous in their studies, they would have missed the star in the east. What I'm saying is that in this whole EP, if you are not sensitive to understand the poetry then you will miss out on the theme or the purpose of the poem and so poetry wouldn't mean anything to you."

"Rap Genius" one of your favourite lines from, "DanceNature".

Voice of Silence:

"Swing through the vines of this concrete jungle,
it requires more than six seconds
to appreciate the beauty in these straight lines"

"Although it was difficult to pick just one line from 'DanceNature', I had to break this one down. Cities like Toronto are often referred to as 'concrete jungles', the urban equivalent to a dense jungle, and as monkeys (or even Tarzan) are often typically portrayed swinging on vines through the jungle, I compared this to how we, as people, travel through the city from point A to point B, often not taking in the rest of the city that is bursting with life around us. This also refers to the once-popular social media app, Vine, which allowed users to share six-second short videos to their followers. I find that the trend nowadays is to live the 'fast life', to keep moving all the time, to do as much as you can fit into your day, and to do more than the person beside us, as that is what society supposedly demands from us. But to truly appreciate the beauty of the art that shapes our city and the "straight lines" of the architecture, the buildings, the roads, and the network that forms the foundation of where we live, we need to slow down and take more than 'six seconds' to take in the 'Six' and all it has to offer to us. More often than not, our bodies and minds require the break, the slow days, and the days off to rejuvenate and simply observe the world in which we live and grow, which is further illustrated by the rest of "DanceNature".

Speaking of "The 6ix", How has Toronto (city, culture, lifestyle) influenced your art? Speak on it.

Voice of Silence: "Throughout my childhood and early teenage years, both my parents worked during the day, leaving me to learn and grow more independently." says Voice of Silence, "Since I did not have a computer or a TV back then, I would spend my time poring through maps of Toronto and memorizing the TTC transit map, ingraining the diverse neighbourhoods and culture of the city in my mind as I explored. With my grandfather when I was a child, and alone when I was older, I explored most of the city, its people, and its culture to satisfy my curiosity, and in turn, gained a strong appreciation and love for my hometown. Most of my earlier spoken word poems touched upon topics of diversity and culture that came from my experiences of living in Toronto. One of the main factors behind my confidence and curiosity to present my poetry in a unique way stems from the people I have met in the Toronto arts scene, as everyone is expressing their creativity through different channels and the rich diversity of all the talent in the city, truly inspired me to find my own niche in expressing myself."

"My debut single, 'DanceNature', took me approximately a year to finish writing, as each aspect of the poem was inspired by different experiences I have had around the city throughout the year, from the urban lifestyle downtown to the serenity of the natural green spaces in the suburbs."

Suviana Suvannah: "Toronto has greatly impacted my artwork. I began spoken word poetry by advocating for social justice in my community. I wrote poems about police brutality, social injustice and red tape bureaucracy and other injustices. It has been 5 years since then and Toronto is still impacting my work in a way of lifestyle. I draw so much from friends and colleagues and people in the Torontonian culture. In a way, we are all research analysts of our own human condition and as such we gossip and write about ourselves on social media and various ways of expression. Therefore, I draw from Toronto culture as much as I live in Toronto. Toronto influences my art as much as I allow it to. As much as I receive the culture, my heart is penetrable to be affected by it." 

Spoken Word Poet, Spoken Word Artist or Artist - What title is your preference? Why?

Suviana Suvannah: "I am very versatile with what I can do artistically however, I specialize in spoken word poetry, so my preferred title is spoken word artist. The term artist on its own is very general, so I definitely also prefer to use that title to keep my options and opportunities open to other practices that fall in the same category as spoken word because to close in only on 'spoken word artist' is a little too narrow for me to be defined as. I'm a multi-dimensional type of artist, which implies that there are different levels to any art form that I involve myself and different heights that I intend to reach in depth. That definition in itself really exemplifies what I know to be artwork. If I call myself a spoke word poet then I'm only like everybody else."

Photographer: Reesee Zigga Zagga 

Photographer: Reesee Zigga Zagga 

Voice of Silence: "I had interchangeably used all three of these titles at some point, mostly to tailor it toward whomever I delivering or connecting with, but currently my preference is 'Spoken Word Artist'. With this title, I am able to express both my roots as firstly, a poet who found his voice through Spoken Word, and secondly, an artist who expresses through many mediums. While growing up, my passion initially lied within the realm of visual arts, then in creating music, which eventually led to writing poetry. Now I'm bringing it back full circle by infusing my poetry with music and visual arts, adding new dimensions to my art that moves me away from the traditional Spoken Word Poet."

Two Spoken Word artists who present to the world, their very first bodies of work, who we have taken the time with to pick their minds just as their projects make their introduction into a culture rich with content, thriving with energy. Whether you are new to the artistry of Suviana Suvannah and Voice Of Silence, or have caught wind of their growing listening base, here's what both artists hope you take away from their projects.

If your poetry and music were a gift, you being the giver- how would you hope us, as first time listeners would receive it?

Voice of Silence: "As first-time listeners of my debut poetry/musical effort, I would hope you experience it with an open mind and be ready to get a taste of something different from the traditional Spoken Word poetry you may have heard before, and perhaps be ready to feel uncomfortable and challenged. "Befriending Silence" captures a journey from beginning to end, but not necessarily in a linear fashion, and I hope that at least one track from the album connects with you and your current point in life. I sincerely do hope that this also changes as you live life and listen to the album again and again, because this will show that you are changing, learning and growing in one way or another."

Photographer: Elfred Kim 

Photographer: Elfred Kim 

Suviana Suvannah: "I would hope you to open your hearts into a place of understanding. 

I purposely want the gift to feel like it's coded with mystery because I believe it adds to a level of dimension to my poetry.

If I were giving a gift out of selflessness, then I wouldn't necessarily expect any particular reaction from the recipient.

If I'm doing it out of selflessness and not for my own glorification and flattery, then I would give the gift while at the same time disconnecting myself from it because it's no longer mine, but belongs to the person whom receives it."

 

Listen to "Angels" (EP) by Suviana Suvannah

Listen to "DanceNature" (Single), by Voice of Silence


#TeamYYZ would like to thank you, our readers, for journeying with us as we explore the work, creative processes and inspirations of our featured, YYZ SPOTLIGHT artists, Suviana Suvannah and Voice of Silence. Now that you've read their stories and listened to their debut works, we urge you to spread the word!

Suviana Suvannah, Voice of Silence - thank you for sharing your stories with us, we look forward to seeing your rising career take its wings, BUT not before extending to you our official YYZ HILIGHTZ, #TDOTSalute!

Posted on September 22, 2016 .

EVENT RECAP: 09.10 | FREETOWN COLLECTIVE "HOLD A VIBES" (TORONTO) #YYZHILIGHTZ

On September 10th, #TeamYYZ was on-site for visiting Trinidadian artist/musicians, Freetown Collective, for their very 1st "Hold A Vibes'" Live Sessions (Toronto).

The talented duet hosted the intimate event in Roncesvalles Village with the purpose of community building, sharing live acoustic performances of new and older originals and networking with local artists, industry professionals and community leaders.

It was a pleasure to share space with the singer/songwriters at their building session as they aim to bridge the gap between Trinidad's music community with Toronto's, through positive music and building.

For more on Freetown Collective visit: www.facebook.com/freetowncollective

Songs Performed: 
"Sons Of The King"
"All In My Head"

Browse through the YYZ Hilightz Facebook photo album for more behind the scene captures!
For Event Promo & Coverage, Email: info@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on September 19, 2016 .

EVENT RECAP: 09.04 | 1ST ANNUAL THE HEART OF A WOMAN SHOWCASE #YYZHILIGHTZ

On September 4th, #TeamYYZ was on-site for the "1st Annual #THEheARTOfAWOMAN Showcase" inside The Lula Lounge. View the entire photo recap on the official YYZ Hilightz, Facebook page. 

The launching of a new live music/performance showcase highlighting Toronto's best Female Soul, Spoken Word, Hip-Hop & Reggae artists!

Curated/Hosted by: Dwayne Morgan

Performances by:
Melanie Durrant
Charmie
Lex Leosis
XOLISA w/DJ S-Quire of Better Blends Entertainment
Jennie Laws
AMMOYE
Natasha Waterman
Paulina O'Kieffe

For event promo & Coverage, Email: info@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on September 7, 2016 .

EVENT RECAP: 09.03 | BWSF 2016 FT. XOLISA W/ DJ S-QUIRE (GTBTOUR) #YYZHILIGHTZ

On September 3rd, #TeamYYZ was on-site for, "Brooklyn Wildlife Summer Festival 2016" Featuring XOLISA w/DJ S-QUIRE of Better Blends Entertainment. View the entire photo recap on the official YYZ Hilightz, Facebook page.

The debut performance marks XOLISA's (Hip Hop MC/Producer) 10th tour stop on her international #GapsToBridgesTour w/DJ S-QUIRE as her official tour DJ. Tour info: www.xolisamusic.com/live

The #BWSF2016 event was the launch of an 8 day (September 3rd-10th) all indie live music festival showcasing over 60 acts of live Acoustic Music, Live Bands, Poetry, Folk and Hip-Hop hosted inside The Paper Box (Brooklyn, New York).

For Event Promo & Coverage, Email: info@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on September 7, 2016 .

EVENT RECAP: 09.02 | The HEARD Festival FT. YOUNG PARIS #YYZHILIGHTZ

On September 2nd, #TeamYYZ was on-site for Spoke N' Heard #TheHEARDFestival Presents: YOUNG PARIS and SPEK WON. View the entire photo recap on the official YYZ Hilightz, Facebook page.

The live music showcase was the closing event for a 12 day live music-arts-culture festival (Aug. 23rd - Sept 4th) hosted inside Regent Parks, Daniels Spectrum.

Headline Performances By:
Young Paris (#RocNation Artist, NY)
Spek Won (Toronto/Ghana)

Feature Performances By:
XOLISA 
Ase Eschu Bafamet
Esie Mensah The Artist W/Black Stars

Hosted By:
Jordan Veira
Femi Lawson

Music By:
The Dirty B-Sides (Live Band)

For event promo & coverage, Email: info@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on September 6, 2016 .

NEW VIDEO: TONA - GRIME DATE (FT. SKRIPTURE)

August 16, 2016
Nico Gonzalas

Scarborough STAND UP!

Toronto heavy-weight emcee, Tona hits us with the visuals for his new single, “Grime Date” which can be found off of the rapper’s, forth coming album, “The Ivy League”. 

Directed by 88 Everything, the video hits the nail on the head with a visual representation that is just as dark, haunting, raw and grimy as the Tone Mason produced track. The video is set in what looks to be an old abandoned school or warehouse, riddled with graffiti from wall to beam which houses the “effortless flow, without trying” verses of Tona- paired with the adrenaline pumping hook by London’s, Skripture a.k.a Sean Allen.

Listeners are spoiled with another way to bang to the lyricism of “Grime Date”, by being able to watch Tona perform standout lyrics such as, “Sex sells and everybody is buying// And I ain’t buying nothing that they sell, I rebel can’t fail without trying// Been going off for years and my city bustin’ out and just let em know who I am, an effortless flow without trying, this shit lined up with good timing, I told you back then with Kardi, I wasn’t lying!” - and don’t think we didn’t notice the supporting visual appearances by emcee’s, Dynesti Williams and Kayo, whose presence on screen alone has us beaming with Toronto pride and excitement - especially as we wonder if their cameo’s may be a foreshadowing toward an upcoming collaboration on “The Ivy League”? We’ll be waiting patiently to find out!

#TeamYYZ salute’s you Tona for delivering to us another head banger and dope visual capture as you continue to carve your own lane within Hip Hop. 

Now Playing on the official YYZ Hilightz Soundcloud.

YYZ Hilightz encourages our online community to SUPPORT our featured artists by viewing, downloading, buying and sharing their creative works. 

For Music Features & Reviews, Email: submissions@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on August 16, 2016 .

PLAY THE PARKS: SPOKE N' HEARD SHOWCASE | #YYZHILIGHTZ

On August 4th, Team YYZ was on-site for the Downtown Yonge BIA #PLAYTHEPARKS Free Concert Series, featuring "Spoke N' Heard Showcase" - Celebrating the spirit of summer and the global communities that ignite Toronto’s streets. Visit the YYZ Hilightz Facebook page for exclusive performance highlights.

The evening’s bill featured jazz/hip-hop-influenced R&B artist, Shi Wisdom, Emcee/Producer , XOLISA, Singer/Songwriter, Tanisha, and R&B/Roots Reggae Singer/Songwriter, HuNu- All backed by live band The Dirty B-Sides.

For Event Media Coverage & Promo, Email: (info@yyzhilightz.com) for consideration.

Posted on August 8, 2016 .

NEW MUSIC: JUST JOHN - IGNORANT YOUTH (BLACK NOISE)

Photography by: Alexander x Shabazz

Photography by: Alexander x Shabazz

July 19, 2016
Yafet ElYah

Toronto east end (Scarborough) Hip Hop artist, Just John releases his single "Ignorant Youth (Black Noise)" off the upcoming "Renaissance Boy 2016" EP. 


The song intros with a nostalgic sounding electric guitar played by Freddy Kwon, then met by the cinematic score sounding music orchestrated by producer, Lahghost- to which Just John lyrically spazzes on!

"Say we're free but we're Black commodity made from Kings & Queens/ Hard to be controlled when you know your royalty/" - Just John 

This record has a timeless feeling to it and boldly speaks to political issues and emotions effecting Black youth in 2016. 

Now Playing on the official YYZ Hilightz Soundcloud.

YYZ Hilightz encourages our online community to SUPPORT our featured artists by viewing, downloading, buying and sharing their creative works. 

For Music Features & Reviews, Email: submissions@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on July 19, 2016 .

NEW VIDEO: RAZ FRESCO - GOD BODY (FT. LOTHRAXX)

July 19, 2016
Yafet ElYah

Toronto Hip Hop MC/Producer, Raz Fresco of BKR$CLB crew releases new visuals for "God Body" off his "Pablo Frescobar" 2015 album.

The self-produced record is boombap heavy with melodies that ring true to golden era Hip Hop- Raz's flow follows suit on the golden era wave sprinkling "Knowledge of Self" in his barz. "It ain't hard to tell, I excel smoke the L/ look at the stars & I see myself, see myself/ Nigga yea & it's real as hell/ documented I don't talk it yo I really live it in body physics/


In contrast Hip Hop MC, Lothraxx of BKR$CLB laces the track with a modern day flow showing confidence and skill in his 16. 
Visuals are like a trip back in time to NY in 1999- Classic! 

Now Playing on the official YYZ Hilightz Soundcloud.

YYZ Hilightz encourages our online community to SUPPORT our featured artists by viewing, downloading, buying and sharing their creative works. 

For Music Features & Reviews, Email: submissions@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on July 19, 2016 .

NEW MUSIC: JAE ARI - RED LIGHT

Artwork by: Missez Lii

Artwork by: Missez Lii

July 19, 2016
Yafet ElYah

Award winning Toronto Hip Hop artist, Jae Ari debuts the first single "Red Light" off his upcoming "Things Could Be Worse" sophomore project. 

The record's title is a metaphor, a double entendre cleverly explained in Jae's smooth lyrics and flows. "I pull up slow moving fast, papers on the dash/ Problems in the past, foot pedal on the gas Tell em (Red Light) 2x/
I tell em stop! Go go go! We the cool kids, one motto stop with the bullsh*t (Red Light) 2x
"

"Red Light" is a definite record for Hip Hop's "Kool Kids" with an infectious beat that triggers a wavy head-nod. 

Now Playing on the official YYZ Hilightz Soundcloud.

YYZ Hilightz encourages our online community to SUPPORT our featured artists by viewing, downloading, buying and sharing their creative works. 

For Music Features & Reviews, Email: submissions@yyzhilightz.com for consideration

Posted on July 19, 2016 .

NEW MUSIC: LUU BREEZE - SOMETHING IN THE SHADE

Artwork by: 8honcho

Artwork by: 8honcho

June 7, 2016
Yafet El Yah

East end Toronto Emcee/Singer, Luu Breeze drops his long awaited "Something In The Shade" EP. 

The flame spitter blazes every one of his 10 tracks with versatile flows and barz. Leaving listeners feeling the genuine hunger in his raps and reassuring day-one fans that his time away was not in vain- definitely worth the wait! 

Now Playing on the official YYZ Hilightz Soundcloud.

YYZ Hilightz encourages our online community to SUPPORT our featured artists by viewing, downloading, buying and sharing their creative works. 

For Music Features & Reviews, Email: submissions@yyzhilightz.com for consideration.

Posted on June 7, 2016 .