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We are pooped. Seriously. Bestival really took it out of us and we couldn’t be happier. Florence + The Machine made us scream “YAS QUEEN” while Nas had us foolishly trying to rap along. But what makes a music festival especially great is the opportunity to find out about new artists or at least give us the opportunity to show off our knowledge of the early acts.
Check out five artists that you need to listen to from Bestival Toronto.
Alessia Cara (above):
This 18-year-old Brampton gal is one to watch. Her beautiful song “Here” is a very strong contender for song of the summer. We always have it blasted in the Much office. It is sleepy, groovy and we can never resist a good Portishead sample. Her quicky 15 minute set was a major highlight from day one with three original songs including “Here” and one cover, The Neighborhood’s “Sweater Weather”. She exuded both youthful innocence and grown-up swagger. Plus, she held our attention on stage with a simple outfit of grey T-shirt and jeans. This girl needs no frills. She has the skills.
Another young local, 17-year-old Harrison is poised to be an very in demand producer and performer. He is definitely one of those people that makes you look back in dismay at the person you were at that age. He takes 80’s style beats that we all secretly or not so secretly love and gives them a modern grimy twist. His set was very early on day two but was well attended by Toronto’s young and cool. A great way to start a perfect summer day.
This Montreal group is a reminder that that city’s musical renaissance is far from over. Fronted by the uber cool Jane Penny, TOPS is ethereal, poppy and dreamy. Something about their song “Outside” makes us want to gather our most important items into one bag and drive into the unknown and never look back. The performance at Bestival was a welcoming invitation to people as they got off the ferry. Although they were on early in the day, we definitely see them quickly moving up the bill on music festivals like Bestival.
Boy oh boy. Shamir is our man. Gaining huge momentum around the release of his new album, Shamir makes music unlike anything we have ever heard. His music is a perfect fruit smoothie. It combines disco (bananas), funk (strawberries), R&B (orange juice) and gospel (mango). But you can still taste all of the flavours. Does that make sense? He also has an incredibly unique voice and gives us so much fashion envy. His set was mid-afternoon on day two, and he was able to somehow bring a little of his hometown of Vegas to a Canadian island.
Tei Shi is one cosmopolitan lady. The Buenos Aires born singer now lives in Brooklyn but has also lived in Colombia, Vancouver, Boston and Montreal. Her music is whispery, pretty and, yeah, we will say it, sexy. This is R&B you can really fall in love to. At her Bestival set, the slight performer commanded the stage and she luckily just missed an absolute downpour. She also made bolo ties look very very cool.
(Tei Shi picture courtesy Bestival)