Rolling Stone: "The Scene: Canada"

For what was probably the most fun gig I've ever had, I got hit up by Rolling Stone to host a travel series introducing viewers to the music scenes in three Canadian cities. We started off in Victoria, British Columbia, a small but POPPIN city where like 4 out of 5 people are huge music fans and help support a festival scene unlike any I've ever seen. Imagine Austin, Texas, but with the scenery of a mountainous Canadian island. I was all aboot it.

 

Next we hit Toronto, which is basically the epicenter of today's pop music. We all know about Drake and how he made "The 6" a household term, but on this trip I learned about all the other prolific Toronto artists-- Daniel Caesar, Torey Lanez, Justin Beiber, Shawn Mendes, Jessie Reyes, Kardinall Offishall-- including the man credited with giving "The 6" its nickname, Jimmy Prime. It's crazy that so many successful artists all hail from the same city just a stone's throw from the one where I live now. Toronto is hugely proud of the success of their music scene, and told me about the MASSIVE plans they have for the future.

 

Finally we made it to Montreal, a vibrant, incredibly diverse city where I got to meet some captivating artists and fake my French. Enchanté, bae. Montreal is equally split between Anglophones and Francophones, so it's totally common to turn a street corner and suddenly need a translator for everything. But c'est parfait: from the way-too-dope acts at the Pop Montreal festival, to the massive drum circle at Mount Royal, to the cobblestone roads and old European vibe, Montreal felt like the perfect blend of tradition and experimentation. Next time I go, I'm gonna practice my French and stay way longer. I highly suggest you do the same.

Afika Nxumalo