NOW’S PREDICTIONS FOR 2019 IN TORONTO MUSIC

As the scene explodes in various different directions, here’s what we think will happen this year

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Mark-Ché Devonish is a key figure in the city's buzzy ballroom scene, one of the sounds of Toronto. (Kate Killet)

This past year was an eventful one for the local music scene, but the conversations around support, spaces, sounds and scenes aren’t quieting as we move into 2019. Here’s what we predict we’ll be talking about this year.

FROM THE TORONTO SOUND TO THE SOUNDS OF TORONTO

The success of Drake and the Weeknd brought the hype machine to Toronto over the last decade, and there have been concerted efforts by the music industry and the media to find the next in their mould ever since. For awhile, that meant the city was producing a million watered-down sound-alikes. Then Daniel Caesar broke out in 2017 and the narrative shifted to a warmer, more organic R&B sound taking over.

The reality is… both sounds were here all along. And there are a thousand more in their own interconnecting lanes, each with the potential to produce a breakout star on the same level. On the hip-hop side, the Regent Park scene has rallied behind the memory of Smoke Dawg, who died tragically in 2018. Young artists like Prime Boys, Puffy L’z and Lil Berete are ready to make their own moves. And that’s just one micro-scene out of dozens.

With less of a public profile, beatmakers are making their mark both here and on major rap releases internationally. In the club and queer scenes, ballroom culture is thriving. Techno and house scenes, meanwhile, are staying vital in mostly underground venues. Punk is getting weirder and more inclusive.

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