GTA ARTISTS PT. 2 | 100K AND BELOW
BY BRENESSA ROACH | MARCH 18 2023
Current Monthly Listeners: 60K
Zenesoul (pronounced Zen-Soul) is an R&B/Soul singer from Toronto. She was born in Nigeria and began writing at the young age of 11. She released her first single “Pricey” in August 2018. Zenesoul first gained attention after the release of her single “How It Feels” in March 2020. In November 2020, Zenesoul released the song “Love and Be Loved” – which was a collaboration with Aaron Ridge, a singer from Toronto. “Love and Be Loved” is her most popular song of over 2 million streams. She also became a first-time Juno nominee as this song was nominated for “Traditional R&B/Soul Recording of the Year” in 2022.
I started listening to Zenesoul after the release of her single “Same Old Mistake” in November 2021. “Same Old Mistake” also happens to be one of my favourite songs by her. Being a fan of her music since late 2021, it has been really nice to see her grow and see her become a Juno-nominated artist. Additionally, she recently released “Love Island” – which is her first single of 2023.
Listen to “Same Old Mistake” by Zenesoul on Spotify:
Check out Zenesoul on Instagram: @zenesoul
Current Monthly Listeners: 1.9K
Verhoog is an Indie-Pop musician and producer who blends elements of Alternative and Indie R&B into his music. He writes and produces all of his own music and even has some collaborations with his close friends (The Kount and Error404).
I had the opportunity to ask Verhoog a few questions to help me write this article and here is what he said regarding how he got into music; “I started playing instruments when I was 8 years old, starting on bass guitar. I started writing music when I was 17, but it was just lyrics and guitar chords in a book, and then when I was 19 I met The Kount and we wrote an EP together called “childhood”. Thats where it all started! That year we moved to MTL together and I started producing my own stuff, and then released my first single “Forget Her” in May 2016.”
“Forget Her” is Verhoog’s most popular song of over 1.3 million streams. He has released many songs throughout the last few years. As of right now, he released the single “Pretending” on January 5th which is a collaboration with The Klout. Additionally, he released his EP Hundred Acre Wood on January 26th. This EP consists of 5 songs and the first song “Drunk” is actually my favourite one.
Verhoog is currently working on securing the funds for a new project and is writing/recording every day. Additionally, he is also doing live shows as a guitarist/bassist for Toronto artists like noirr, Maya Malkin and Olive B. Verhoog says, “This year, I plan to make the switch from having a full time job into being a full time musician, so you can expect a higher quality and quantity output from me in 2023.”
Special thanks to Verhoog for providing me with some information. As well, this article is posted on his birthday s, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO VERHOOG!
Listen to “Drunk” by Verhoog on Spotify:
Check out Verhoog on Instagram: @verhoooog
Current Monthly Listeners: 50
Ziqai is an Alternative-R&B singer-songwriter from Toronto. He started making music in April 2021 and dropped a few songs under a different artist name (which now he has taken down). Ziqai writes his own songs and he records them in his basement home studio. In 2022, he spent the whole year experimenting with different sounds and styles in order to find his own voice/style. Now with a clearer vision and understanding of where he wants his music to head, he recently dropped his debut single “KIDS” on March 10.
“KIDS” is such a chill song and I really liked it. I had the opportunity to listen to Ziqai’s older music which is also great, but you can tell how much he has improved and grown over the last few years. Ziqai actually reached out to me recently and I instantly wanted to feature him because I think he has a lot of potential and I think he can definitely grow a lot of fans this year. Although he only has one song right now, he is working on a bunch of new music and in the process of deciding what he is going to put out. I’m very excited to hear what other music Ziqai will release and very excited to support him on his musical journey.
Special thanks to Ziqai for reaching out and providing me with some information.
Listen to “KIDS” by Ziqai on Spotify:
Check out Ziqai on Instagram: @faarissiddiqui
Current Monthly Listeners: 240
Emma Campbell is an indie pop/folk singer-songwriter. She grew up surrounded by music as her mom is a music teacher and songwriter. She started singing and playing piano from a really young age and always aspired to do music as a career. When she entered Western University for their Popular Music Studies program, she began writing a lot more music and released her first single “Freezing” in August 2020. Emma writes all the songs that she releases. All of the songs she has out were written alone, but she has co-written with friends and musicians she met through social media.
Her latest release is her debut EP Oh Emma which came out on May 24, 2022. This EP was produced by Michael Wojewoda who she worked closely with in 2021 at his studio in Toronto to decide how she wanted each of her songs to sound like. This EP consists of 4 songs; “Oh Emma”, “All That We Can Get”, “Wrong from Right” and “Lit the Fire”.
Since the release of Oh Emma, Emma has been writing a bunch of new songs and also in the process of recording a few of them. She is aiming to release a new single this summer followed by a few more songs as the year progresses. In terms of live performances, she has a few gigs lined up in London, Ontario before she graduates. Additionally, she is opening for The Honest Heart Collective at Rum Runners next Friday, March 24th alongside Charlie Weber & The Glorious Failures.
Special thanks to Emma for providing me with some information.
Listen to “Oh Emma” by Emma Campbell on Spotify:
Check out Emma Campbell on Instagram: @emmaxcampbell
Current Monthly Listeners: 238
Steven Chau, also known by his artist name CHAU, is an artist, choreographer, actor and director. From a young age, Steven has always been surrounded by music and loved the impact music had on him. As a child, he would always create little tunes in his head based on how he was feeling that day. When his dancing picked up and school got busy, singing and songwriting became a hobby to him. However, during the pandemic, he reconnected with his love for songwriting and he filled a journal full of lyrics. He mustered up the courage and released his debut single “Serious” on February 14. This song also has an accompanying music video which he co-produced and acted in. “Serious” was created after CHAU found a Type Beat on YouTube that he liked and then wrote all the lyrics, melodies and harmonies.
Currently, he is balancing being a full time Media Production student at Toronto Metropolitan University and learning to become a better director. In terms of directing, Steven was an AD (assistant director) on the “kiss me thru the phone” music video for Korean-Canadian duo CLUB BOYBND. Additionally, he also has a freelance dancing, choreographing and teaching job while working on auditions with his acting agency.
Once school is done in April, he is hoping to merge all his directing, acting, dancing, and singing-songwriting passions to create a cool new project. In terms of being an artist, it’s a huge learning curve for him, but he wants to continue to see where it all goes and I am very excited to support him and see his growth in every aspect of his creative career.
Special thanks to Steven Chau for providing me with some information.
Listen to “Serious” by CHAU on Spotify:
Check out CHAU on Instagram: @itschauchau_
Current Monthly Listeners: 31.5K
JAE KIM is a Korean-Canadian singer, TikToker and influencer from Toronto. He released his first single “Love Kills” in October 2020. “Love Kills” is a chill, R&B style song. In August 2021, he released “Waiting in the Summer Rain” which is a Lo-Fi (low fidelity) hip-hop, chill song. In March 2022, JAE released “in june” followed by Haven which is a double-single consisting of; “Weekend” and “Come Over”. From his debut to 2022, you can really tell that he experimented a lot with different styles and genres. He is currently affiliated with EXPOSITION and released “Secret” which is a collaboration song with Nomichit and Jessie Cabrera on March 3rd. Additionally, his latest single “Lullaby” was just released on March 10.
I actually have been listening to JAE since 2020 because I found him on TikTok and I have noticed how his voice and musical style has definitely grown. I think he has also found his style which can definitely be heard in his newest releases. Additionally, I watched CBC Gem’s show titled Topline where JAE played the character Shin and I think he is super talented in general with everything that he does.Really looking forward to see how he grows musically and in general this year.
Listen to “Lullaby” by JAE KIM on Spotify:
Check out JAE KIM on Instagram: @jaezfx
You can find all 6 songs mentioned in this article on our Spotify playlist below: