Momentum has been steadily building for Ottawa rapper DRAE, punctuated by a buzzworthy performance at 2017 RBC Bluesfest, one of the biggest and best music festivals in North America. On top of being well-received by the audience and critics alike, the performance held extra meaning for DRAE (born Andre Thibault), as it was the culmination of nearly a lifetime of friendship and music with longtime bandmates and collaborators Braden Sabourin (guitar) and Matt Robillard (drums). The trio’s musical journey starts more than ten years ago when they met in high school, eventually forming a rock band together — The Second Silverado — and competing in the LiVE 88.5 Big Money Shot in 2013.

The following year, the group took the summer off, allowing DRAE time to tap into his audio engineering background and tinker with another form of music he had long been a fan of: hip hop. In the beginning, DRAE took on every aspect of writing, recording and engineering himself before eventually bringing Robillard and Sabourin in, a decision he believes has helped him grow as an artist. “I create music from my own headspace — lyrically, production wise — and now that they are involved, it’s cool to have not only the instrumental influence, but the emotional influence from their perspectives as well.” Now tighter than ever, the group continues to work on new material and keep that momentum going. “We’ve worked hard to get to where we’re at right now,” DRAE professes. “What separates what we’re doing from everybody else is just straight perseverance. I say this with a great amount of fear, but also optimism — this is my Plan A, B, C, D, E, F.”

Building on a strong year that saw the band perform at JUNOfest and Bluesfest, as well as win the Toronto Independent Music Award for Best Urban Recording, DRAE shows no signs of slowing down in 2018. With a follow-up project to his debut LP “E/SCAPE” in the works, expect plenty of singles and new music to come. Stay in the know everywhere online @itsdraemusic!

May 10, 2018 11:00 pm Tika, HMLT, Sophia Danai & More