When it comes to making music in 2016, it pays to be multitalented. Perhaps no up-and-comer embodies that idea more poignantly than Toronto's Tory Lanez. The 23-year-old rapper/singer/producer/director/fashion designer's hit single "Say It" dominated the charts this past fall, and we're crediting his ability to switch effortlessly from thought-provoking bars to clear and smooth R&B high notes.
Lanez spent much of his youth bouncing back and forth between his native Canada and the States after his mother died when he was 11 years old. He spent time in New York, Georgia, and even South Florida building up his rap career and, by age 16, had also taught himself to sing, creating his current sound by melding the two.
In an interview with Nice Kicks, Lanez brands his unique sound as "swavey" — "a two-adjective word. A lot of people use it as an attribute, but the real definition of swavey is a genre of music," says Lanez. "The genre of music is the genre of fusing more than one together. I know it sounds strange, but if you ask an artist what they do, they're going to say that they rap, they sing, they do rock — a lot of people are multitalented. They get looked at as confused, but I don't think that they're confused. I feel that they're just talented, swavey artists."
Lanez' swavey banger "Say It" managed to hit home for the older crowd with its recognizable Brownstone "If You Love Me" sample while enticing the younger crowd with its smooth, modern lyrics. Even R&B singer/songwriter Sevyn Streeter paid tribute to the crowd favorite with a remixed version from a woman's POV.
Though that track is still trending, Lanez has a store of hidden gems among his long list of mixtapes — he's dropped 11 total and is overdue for a proper album in 2016. Ahead of his show this Sunday at Culture Room, catch up on your Tory Lanez discography, because word on the street is he's known to take it way back to his 2011 projects.
7 p.m. Sunday, January 24, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $15 plus fees. Call 954-564-1074, or visit ticketmaster.com.