February Vibe featured artist: K-Riz
By: Lindsay Chopiuk
Toronto-born, Edmonton-based hip-hop artist K-Riz builds bridges with his music. Creating music that reflects hip hop from Canada’s East and West, the melodic MC mixes progressive hip hop with elements of 90s R&B. Having grown up in a musical family, K-Riz has been creating music since his early teens, and up until recently, he’s kept his music to himself. Four years ago, he decided to start taking a major step forward in sharing his talents and as a result, he recently released his debut album, Fresh Air.
In our conversation on a chilly, dull Edmonton afternoon, we talked about his new album, seeking out culture in Edmonton, the evolution of our local music scene, and how, through his music, he wants to connect with you and make the world a better place.
While working on this album, he recalls having gone through a tough time personally, and finding that writing was a therapeutic experience for him. “To get that stuff off my chest,” he says, “felt like a breath of fresh air.” He wants it to be uplifting for everyone who listens to it, too.
Soft-spoken and open, K-Riz talks about the potential music has to foster connections between people. “It can reach you in ways that talking to somebody can’t. If you can identify with somebody’s emotions, if your emotions are relatable with somebody else’s, that’s a connection,” he says. “If I’m going through something and I can honestly write it out for people to listen to, maybe if somebody’s going through the same thing, they can hear it and feel like they’re not alone.”
K-Riz has been enjoying a recent surge in memorable responses to his music. Clearly passionate about reaching people, K-Riz tells me about his excitement in hearing fans’ interpretations of his songs. He’s gaining new fans who have his entire set down by heart, and he’s getting powerful audience responses. In recalling one show in particular, one of his greatest moments so far, he says, “the energy they were giving me was just kind of like an out-of-body experience.” He adds, chuckling, “I didn’t even know who I was.”
So how rare is it for Edmontonians to be able to experience such great local talent? “Edmonton is honestly one of the best music scenes in Canada. It’s just so different,” he tells me. I asked him about where he sees Edmonton’s hip-hop scene going, and he says it’s on its way to becoming a hotbed. “There’s not much coming out of western Canada, hip-hop wise. I feel Edmonton is the next place, just because the city’s bubbling. With the new arena downtown in the summertime, I can’t wait to see what it’s going to be like. It’s exciting, the city’s changing.”
One of the way he sees the scene growing is through events like AGA’s Vibe. “Hopefully this opens doors for other hip-hop acts. There’s a lot of good hip-hop out here.” He’s looking forward to seeing new faces at Vibe, and sharing his music with a new crowd. “People should just come out and expect to have a good time.”
Check out a K-Riz, Josh Sahunta and headliner GRAY this Friday at Vibe. Tickets are specially priced at $10 for February and can be purchased here or at the door. AGA Ultra members receive free admission.