Toronto is slowly but surely morphing into a pioneering location of the new sound: with artists such as the Weeknd, Tory Lanez and Drake pushing through the music industry and breaking charts left right and center, it’s no wonder why everyone wants to claim the Six or collaborate with someone from the city.

It may come as a surprise to many on an international scale, but in the city, versatility and hustle never go unnoticed. Toronto’s been on the come up, and things are only looking up for the city with a vast array of artists putting out new music and just as many producers to back them.

I’ve lined up a short list of artists (in no particular order) who may just be Billboard 100 bound and you should be tracking closely:


1.  Jazz Cartier aka Jacuzzi La Fleur (Jaye Adams)


The Toronto native released his first studio album Marauding Paradise in early 2015 and is now onto the next with studio album Hotel Paranoia ; a heavy mixture of dark vibes and upbeat tempos, fans were immersed in the intimate thoughts of Jaye Adams and they quickly took a liking to the release of Marauding Paradise letting word spread naturally like wildfire. The worldly traveller put years of time into the studio album and the response has been heard well past the Canadian border. Cartier who recently finished touring, most definitely shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. With a fan base which is consistently growing into a church of its own religion, it’s anticipated big things are to come for Cartier in 2016.


2. Rochelle Jordan aka ROJO

With an intuitive mix of R&B and Pop, ROJO hails out of the East End of Toronto and has been making her mark in the music industry for years now. Having released ROJO (the EP) in 2011, Jordan forced the industry to start taking notes; including major names such as Billboard on their Next Big Sound archive in 2014  earning her vocals a feature on Donald Glover’s (Childish Gambino) popular Telegraph Ave off of the very successful album, Because the Internet. Jordan dropped “Follow Me” this past year and the response was overwhelming, the song alone has received nearly 350 thousand listens on her Soundcloud page, alongside her new release, “Fight For Us” (a collaborative effort with Sepalcure)  that showcases just how delicately her voice handles every song she touches, ROJO is the East End Princess the R&B game has been waiting for.


3. Sean Leon

Stumbling across Leon over a year ago while listening to “Pretty Girls Put Boys in Cemeteries” through an active music forum was an A1 find that got me hooked automatically; Leon has a sound that makes you want more. With multiple works which dabble in Rock, Rap and R&B he strays from your conventional rap artist. Narcissus, the Drowning of Ego is one of Leon’s strongest works, but his repertoire is ever growing, the Ajax creative is multifaceted and has the credentials to show for it. Also producing music as a one man show, Leon intuitively created the IXXI out of his distaste for major labels and drive to create and distribute music in its purest form apart from the commercial. Leon is on the road to big things as an independent and has no problem letting us know.


4. Dillan Ponders

Dillan Ponders is the rapper who does whatever he wants and doesn’t care who knows it, Ponders, an artist of SMMG recently announced the release of his album RETOX (now available to purchase on iTunes) and continues to bring the grunge to Toronto rap, one blunt a time. His sound lusts after head bangers and vibes that will probably blow out one of your speakers if you let the bass ride out. DP is unapologetic and his rebel behaviour comes through in his sound putting him on the fast track to urban royalty.


5. Allie

Sade may have an estranged child out there that she has no idea exists and her name is Allie. The Toronto beauty’s neo-soul sound brings a calming allure around that can make any day right, though hinting plenty of 90’s R&B vibes in her sound, there is nothing outdated about her musical productions. Allie embodies the essence of youthfulness and feel good vibes putting her high on the list of must hear artists.


6. Lais

Pakistani born but hailing from Toronto, Lais is the sound of desire and late nights in the city. After hitting the web with his popular mixtape Session One, the ball  was set to start rolling, Lais was being declared the the next in line all over the web. Playing with his ability to seduce the city with his melodic voice or rapping over the smoothest productions Lais has shown he has the versatility to be more than just an artist falling in line with a dark sound. With 114 recent release catching some high praises from major sources, prepare to have Lais around a little longer.

7. Daniel Caeser

Looking for someone who delivers music filled with emotion that feels naked to the very core? Canadian artist Daniel Caeser has handles on that job. Caeser, also a collective member of IXXI (cc: Sean Leon) creates smooth notes of sensual ambience and R&B which come together with every song he’s released, he is an artist who comes undone with his artistry and unapologetically so. After the release of Praise Break it was a set in stone, I was officially a Daniel Caeser fan, and if you have yet to hear his rendition of James Vincent McMorrow’s “Cavallier” (Caeser: “Chevalier”) you will be too.


8. RamRiddlz

The original “Sweeterman” singer caught a major wave after having Drake co-sign and remix a hit which took over summer 2015. The Sauga man still in university still found time to focus on his love of music and continuously produce and elaborate on his brand. His new single “Hey, Mr. RamRod” brings a new vibe which heightens the versatility of  Ram’s sound. Keep an eye out for this new artist in 2016.