A listening Session with SonReal – 7/21/2016


TCM had a chance to sit down with Canadian rapper SonReal before his sold out show at the Varsity with John Bellion yesterday. It was a listening session on his tour bus, of his upcoming EP “The Name”. Making music for 10 years SonReal has become household name in Canada – being nominated for 5 Juno awards – and is gaining fans at a rapid pace in the US.
The session started after getting his laptop hooked up to their brand new tour bus. Brand new? Why yes, the old one crashed Wednesday in Nebraska (and I am not making this up) in a corn field after a tire blew.
No Warmup – this song refers to the skater term First Time, No Warmup and was fast pasted and quite catchy.
All I Got – starting stripped down, this is a love song. According to SonReal those are quite hard to write as it’s the most covered theme. He prepared for the recording by listening to Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” all night.
Hot Air Balloon
SoHo – A song he just released last month that was produced by Vancouver producer POPS

SonReal is at a transition stage in his career. He has spent the last 16 months in studio and has a ton of songs ready to release. Switching from releasing songs online to working with a major label may disconnect him from some of his older fans but expose him to a ton of new ones.  His songs have a likability and stand out. There is a bit of pop in them, but in a good way.  He has been playing new songs live and according to him “People are losing their shit” in a good way.
To him, being an artist is always changing and his inspirations Bowie, Chance the Rapper, Kanye, and his tour mate John Bellion because “You never know, what they are going to do next”

We also spoke about his videos which are quite well produced, quirky, original and very entertaining. He is trying to avoid rap clichés (standing in front of a blinged out car) and in my book he is succeeding rather well. One theme that was prevalent through our talk, was that SonReal does what he loves. He needs to do what he feels is right, and he takes his fans along on his journey, risking loosing some that may not be able to keep up with him. Overall, I found SonReal to be a very cool and interesting artist and look forward to his next time in the Twin Cities.