Artist You Should Know: Kaytranada

As we have spoken about in previous weeks, it is increasingly impressive how quickly each music genre has been evolving in recent years, especially in the Electronic and Hip-Hop genres.  Even more compelling, is their recent affinity to mesh with each other.  If you’ve been looking at some of more recent featured artists, you can certainly see the uptick in the blending of genres.  Our ‘Top DJ of 2016’ Flume, the breakout DJ from Australia, has been one of the frontrunners of this trend, almost using rappers exclusively in original songs and remixes.  Tons of rappers have also joined in, such as A$AP Rocky with Skrillex or G-Eazy with Borgore.  Even last month’s ‘Artist You Should Know’ Schoolboy Q has been a part of this trend (see: Hands on the Wheel.) 

This month’s Artist You Should Know is someone who has seamlessly eased his way into this new genre.  Louis Kevin Celestin, better known by his stage name Kaytranada has emerged as one of the up and coming talents in the House and Electronic scene.  Kaytranada was born in Haiti in 1992.  Shortly thereafter, his family moved to Montreal, Quebec.  In his early teens he spent time in his room, which was a shared bedroom with his brother in the basement, creating electronic remixes.  In 2012, at the age of 19, his remix of the Janet Jackson song ‘If’ went viral on Soundlcoud.  Immediately, he was booked to tour as an opener with DJ Ryan Hemsworth.  The shy kid from Montreal who had never been on a plane before was soon performing sold out shows in Europe. He would even go on to find himself opening for Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour. During the next 4 years, he released remixes and small EP’s.

In 2014, he signed with the XL Recording label, finally having the backing to help record a studio release. The following year in 2015, he got the attention of 8-time Grammy winning producer Rick Rubin and recruited him to help oversee its production.  The duo began to work together and in May of this year, the dream came to fruition, as Kaytranada released 99.9%.  The album featured rappers Vic Mensa & Anderson .Paak, as well as numerous other up and coming artists like Little Dragon and AlunaGeorge, who were featured on Flume’s Skin album.  The album has been critically received as one of the breakthrough efforts from a new artist this year, winning the Polaris Music Prize, an award presented to Canadian Artists based on their artistic ability. Kaytranada’s music brings a futuristic twist to Montreal House, and utilizes his feature artists carefully to help accentuate his efforts. Below we picked a few tracks that show why Kaytranada is our Artist You Should Know this month:

Glowed Up Feat. Anderson .Paak: The stand out track on the album (at least to this editor), is the one featuring Malibu-based rapper Anderson .Paak.  The beat is out there, sounding like something straight out of a sci-fi flick.  It’s backing beat is funky, and who better to sing over that than Anderson .Paak. 

You’re The One Feat. SYD: Kaytranada doesn’t neccessairly excite you with jaw dropping bass drops.  His beats are quirky, often sounding like they are right out of a 70’s techno track.  On this track, he shows he also has an eye for artsy video production.

Live Montreal Set: Lastly, we include here a live video of his set at the Boiler Room in Montreal.  Whereas most DJ’s perform to strobe lights and flames while people mosh in front of the stand, Keytranada’s fans are happy grooving to the beat.