Halifax artist creates space for future talent as Nova Scotia’s music industry grows – Halifax
When people hear the name “HUGTAPES: Halifax Underground”, the curator / organizer of the platform Christophe Toulany wants the words “uplifting, diverse and honest” to come to mind.
Toulany said that as much as he enjoys uplifting vibes, he wants to give Halifax artists, who may have had difficult life experiences, a platform to express themselves honestly and intimately.
He creates HUGTAPES, with the help of musician Francis Desaux aka Frantik, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to create a way for marginalized and disenfranchised artists to create and promote their work.
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Toulany, who goes by the name of Paollo 13, has been an artist and promoter of the local music scene for about fifteen years, and he noticed while making music that something was missing.
“There really wasn’t a place for emerging artists to network and be seen, either digitally or at shows, that’s really what started,” he said.
“I realized that artists who were on the same level as me were ignored, that there was nothing for us. And I wanted to fill that void… there are so many amazing talents in this city… and I want to be that person to organize what I felt like the vibe of our city, ”he added.
In mid-September, the platform released its first track “Chips” with MAJE, KXNG WOOZ, LXVNDR, Megz, Frantik and Paollo 13, produced by Dennis Lim-Sersan and recorded by Bucky Blanks.
In the first week, the single received over 5,000 streams on Spotify and the platform is working to release more.
According to Toulany, HUGTAPES will release “mixtapes” which feature a wide range of local emerging artists on a quarterly basis, including Savage Tha God from Halifax who worked with Toulany to produce some of his music.
He said it was a very exciting time for emerging artists where the Halifax music scene is “resurrected” and he wants to play a role in that, despite the challenges COVID-19 has brought.
“About three or five years ago… it was almost like the dark age of Halifax music where, again, you had the same established people… and there really was no real one, like young talents who were rising, ”said Toulany.
He said artists did not have the resources or the know-how to create in a visible way.
“People started to say that no one was going to save us except ourselves,” Toulany said.
So now people are seeing brands popping up like ‘Pineapple Express Media’ which is a media company founded in 2019 to support underground artists through multimedia, digital media and print media, and of course there is a HUGTAPES.
Toulany said COVID-19 was a “forced cooling off period” that has helped the growth of the local music scene.
“It united us. We realized that no matter what genre or style of music you like to create, we are really all in the same boat and this music scene only works if we support and rely on each other. And I think it also excited us to be leaving. “
He said artists have no choice but to sit down and reflect on themselves.
“I felt it was a good thing for me to get away from the business genre of the music scene and the fear of missing something… it made me sit down and think about this. that I have to establish, ”said Toulany.
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Music Nova Scotia executive producer Allegra Swanson said there has been a ton of growth in the industry.
“I think we’re at a really exciting time right now for emerging talent,” Swanson said.
“There are a lot of emerging talents who, despite the pandemic, have worked incredibly hard and created a lot of digital content to ensure that their music still reaches audiences not only in the province but across the country and abroad. She added. .
As a non-profit organization that focuses on the development and promotion of Nova Scotia’s music industry, it has launched a concert series featuring emerging talent, as well as a program of artists in residence.
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The Artist-in-Residence program will provide a local emerging musician or group with financial and professional support as well as performance opportunities to help them develop their career. This year, the selected performance will receive $ 20,000 in cash and prizes.
“We have five groups vying for the spot, so the talent is really amazing here. And that’s something that hasn’t been stopped by the pandemic, ”Swanson said in an interview Thursday.
The Bombadils, Kids Losing Sleep, KXNG WOOZ, LXVNDR and Pillow Fite performed for the grand prize at the Grand Oasis Stage in Halifax on September 17th, with KXNG WOOZ as the winner.
Swanson said the organization is now focusing on the recovery process, particularly through grants, which have been made easier for artists to apply.
She said that a $ 3,000 grant can make a big difference in an artist’s career.
“Although I have been in this position for a year, it was obviously a very different year from normal. I would have gone to see a lot more shows if that had been possible, ”she said. “But what I saw is that I think there is a lot of misinformation or misconceptions about what we can offer and how we can help artists.”
She said the grant application is for everyone, even if an artist is not a member, and the organization is here to help artists navigate this process.
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Grant money can be used for marketing, recording, or video creation.
“The biggest success we see from emerging talent tends to be people who use their community and try to support others and ask questions and reach out, as it can often be a lonely place when you’re alone. . “
From applying for grants to participating in competitions and simply communicating with other artists, Toulany wants local musicians to know that there is support available to them.
Toulany said he felt very lucky to have been able to surround himself with people who are motivated and supportive of the platform.
“I developed these relationships with people on the basis of being trustworthy and reliable, and people know it. They can count on me to represent their voice in a way that is beneficial to them, that they are heard and that I don’t change anything or that I never try to put anyone down.
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