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Emerging Toronto Musicians You Should Give a Listen

If you’re a Toronto/GTA native who’s feeling a bit patriotic and looking for new music to sink your teeth into then we have a list for you! Some of the best up-and-coming or recently established musicians can be found just around the corner. No need to cross any borders. The talent is only a few postal codes away, and the local music scene is booming. Here is a carefully curated list of some awesome blossoming Toronto musicians.

CJ Wiley

CJ Wiley isn’t one to be put into boxes. Resisting gender labels as well as challenging genre conventions, their music is a mixture of multiple elements. Described as “a little bit country, a little bit garage rock,” Wiley’s music defies genre expectations while also straddling a line between sentimental and biting. Their latest EP All Our Love is about “finding humour in hardship and reflecting on push and pull relationships.” Wiley hopes their single of the same name makes it clear that love and pain are not the same thing.

Elissa Mielke

Listening to Mielke has been likened to a religious experience, which is just as well, considering the handful of biblical allusions in her music. For example, comparisons to Judas Priest and references to Jesus and Mary. Her powerful, emotionally stirring voice is highlighted by simple, bare bones melodies that let her notes do the talking. Mielke is also known for her appearances in music videos, including “The Zone” by The Weeknd featuring Drake. Though she’s an Ontario native that got her start in Toronto, she recently made the move to LA.

Tange

Album covers of band members biting into tangerines and repeating social media imagery of tangerines give you a taste of what this trio of young women—consisting of Deanna Petcoff, Hannah Bussiere Kim, and Sabrina Carrizo Sztainbok—is all about. With a blend of experimental pop and punk, they’re as refreshing and zingy as tangerine. Tange’s debut EP tangible takes the ordinary and finds the silliness in it. In the songs, the spotlight is on the everyday absurdities and head-scratching moments of being a young woman. This talented group boasts three singers, who all receive their chances to sing their parts.

Luna Li

Hannah Bussiere Kim is making big waves in the Toronto music scene. Not only is she part of the aforementioned band Tange, she’s also paving her way as a solo artist, known by her stage name “Luna Li.” The Korean-Canadian singer-songwriter takes on a different sound under her moon fairy-inspired moniker. Her aim is to embody an ultra-feminine, ethereal, dreamlike vibe. An accomplished musician, her list of skills includes playing violin, guitar, piano, and harp.

Terrell Morris

Terrell Morris sees himself as “a writer first and a musician second”—in other words, the poetic elements of his music are his number one priority when he’s creating his music. Morris dives into his past, transforming introspections into diaristic storytelling in the form of heartfelt and invigorating hip hop. Morris gives his listeners permission to take a leap into his mind and join him on the journey of exploring his inner dialogue.

A Short Walk to Pluto

A band of four fronted by leading lady Emma Armstrong, the band describes themselves as “what would happen if Alanis Morisette joined Rush.” A Short Walk to Pluto is high-energy and ready to disrupt the status quo. Their thrilling music has people flocking to them and waiting for their next catchy tune on social media, especially TikTok and Instagram. Their numbers, currently over 700K across the internet, speak to their appeal and ground-breaking artistry. 

Nemahsis

Palestinian-born, Toronto-raised singer, Nemah Hasan (better known by her stage name Nemahsis), began her rise to prominence on TikTok after she opened her account to tell a story of discrimination she faced as a Muslim woman. Being one of the few hijabi musicians in the industry, she’s determined to hold onto her cultural identity even in the face of pushback. Themes relating to her heritage feature prominently in her music, particularly with songs like “what if I took it off for you?” which discusses the pressures to remove her hijab in order to blend into Western culture. Her candid lyrics and crystalline, lilting voice have been drawing a growing audience.

Luke Miles | Contributing Writer

Winter 2023

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