Artist Spotlight: Meet Toronto Native KAPRI

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Introducing KAPRI – she’s a singer, songwriter and choreographer, mostly known for her high-energy live performances, drawing inspiration from strong female icons such as Chaka Khan, Janet Jackson, Cher and Tina Turner.

Her Trinbagonian roots also have a strong influence in her artistry, mainly in keeping things jovial and colorful. Musically though, KAPRI is dance-pop with house influence. “Deeper” is her debut single and already, it has generated amazing numbers. The song was #1 on Spotify Canada’s Viral 50 chart, pushing out Justin Bieber’s track “Friends” for the #1 spot.

“I want to make sure I am a part of every aspect of the creative process. For the “Deeper” video, I chose my own looks and found a neighbourhood in Downtown Toronto that 100 percent represents who I am—a Carib-Canadian who’s linked to so many amazing scenes,” she says.

KAPRI was raised by a single mother from Trinidad and Tobago who opened Alberta’s first Afro-Caribbean dance studio. While watching her mom perfect routines to beat-driven Soca rhythms and African drums, KAPRI developed a strong connection to bass and syncopated rhythm. She’s also influenced by soul legends such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan, as well as house-music pioneer like Martha Wash (the latter with whom KAPRI has already shared a stage at Toronto’s World Pride in 2014).

Straying from the hard, robotic sound that seems to be the trend for some of the most popular music out today. KAPRI views “Deeper” as an anecdote to the FOMO-induced moments inspired by the digital age.

“I want to create music that moves you and makes you want to move. The kind of tracks that let you escape to a safe space where you can just be yourself,” she says.

I got a chance to interview KAPRI and ask her some questions about herself and what her music stand for and to see how her debut single represents her as an artist.

Check out the interview below!

Q: Being a new artist is an unbreakable box in the industry. Do you feel like it’s going to be a challenge for you to prove yourself that you are any different from other artists that are out now?

A: My focus is setting personal goals of my own and proving I can reach them. Although like every artist I’m susceptible to comparison I hope my music speaks for itself and I don’t necessarily need to place a marker on myself. To be honest you can always find a uniqueness in every artist that is out there, if you really listen.

Q: You were born and raised in Edmonton, Canada. Why do you call Toronto your home? What makes Toronto a place you call home?

A:Toronto is very special to me! Not only is this city a perfect mix of business and pleasure but I feel right at home and in touch with my Caribbean roots here because of Toronto’s multiculturalism.

Q: How old were you when you started singing?

A: I’ve been singing as early as I can remember but started performing professionally about 4 years ago. My family can vouch for me that holding mini concerts in my living room was one of my favorite pastimes as a child. Cue the back up teddy bears!

Q: I know your mom is from Trinidad & Tobago, is that where you get you style of music from. Since your mother also opened Alberta’s first Afro-Caribbean dance studio.

A: Most definitely! The West Indian culture has such a rich influence in many aspects of my life and especially music. I’ve naturally tried to adopt into my music the Afro and Caribbean rhythms I was raised listening to in and out of dance class.

Q: Who are some of your influences in the music industry, especially when it comes to your unique sound?

A: Icons of the 90’s dance era, such as Martha Wash, Crystal Waters and Swedish singer Robyn have been great influences on my music – but of course Janet Jackson plays a huge role in my live performance.

Q: Your single debut is called “Deeper,” it has such a 90’s dance feel with just enough soul where you can easily catch a vibe. How do you prepare to record a song such as this one? Do you have a daily ritual  before you record to get in the zone?

A:Thank you, I do consider my music to be soulful-dance so I’m glad you picked up on that vibe! Like all my songs, for me the process begins before I reach the recording stage. It starts from the production; ensuring the rhythms and beat cater to the dance floor, then arranging the music itself to match the emotion I’m trying to evoke from the listener; and then finally writing lyrics to the melody. Once this is completed, I’m ready to record.

I wouldn’t say there is anything in particular I do before recording other than drinking plenty of water and ensuring I’m confident with my material before stepping into the booth.

Q: Your video “Deeper” was self choreographed and scouted in regards to stylists. How did the concept for the video come about?

A: Coming up with the concept and pulling this together, I would say came out of urgency. We had just over two weeks from start to finish to pull things together and only 12 hours on the day of to shoot the video. For these reasons, using a “day in the life of KAPRI” concept seemed most natural to execute. For me, culture, fashion, performance and personality were the most important themes to capture in the video so I put myself in “production mode” as I would if I were assisting my mom in one of her dance company shows. I was initially inspired by the vibes of Market 707, so I began story-boarding, casting roles, sourcing looks that would fit my movement and started creating choreography with my long-time dancer, Samuel Davilmar. Aside from my friends who came together to make this happen, we also enlisted a team from the production company, The Field, to visually execute the project. They were outstanding!

Q: The video kind of reminds me of Rihanna’s ‘Please Don’t Stop The Music’ video. Is Rihanna somebody you look up to as far as visuals or concepts for your videos?

A: I love that song! For Deeper, I relied more on personal experience as the inspiration for the music video, but Rihanna has a great visual intuition and knows exactly what works best for her brand. Watching another artist who is confident, forward thinking and unapologetic about their brand to me is inspiration in itself.

Q: Who do you want to work with in the future?

A: I’d love to work with Major Lazer because of their production style and ties to the Caribbean. Artist wise, I’d love to collaborate with Bruno Mars, I think he’s a great musician and amazing performer.

Q: Where do you see your music going in the next 5 years?

A: I hope it touches as many people as possible across the world. Themes of love and positivity deserve a place in mainstream pop culture.

Q: What should we take about from your music?

A: It’s feel good music to make you dance!

Check out KAPRI’s intoxicating new music video for her new single “Deeper”  above and please comment below!

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