It's hard to narrow down to just one Toronto born and bred musician when the city is notable for spewing out musical talent, Drake (Toronto either loves him or hates him), Metric, and Broken Social Scene to name a few. I settled on one of my personal favourites (because I've already written about my other favourite Charlotte Day Wilson), who's mellow R&B tunes and skin tickling vocals make them frequent my playlist : Rhye.
I must be transparent with you, the band's origins only make them half-Torontonian. Originally they began as a duo, a partnership between Mike Milosh, Toronto-bred singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, and Robin Hannibal, Danish producer. Naturally a half-Danish, half-Canadian band appeals to me... However, the duo started making music in L.A., where they mysteriously released two singles on the internet, not much info as to who exactly the singer is. The band remained relatively anonymous for quite some time.
This is a big deal because...well it kind of sounds like a woman singing! Their debut album released in 2013 was called "Woman" and the cover art is in fact a woman. So imagine, the confusion when these songs were released, gained popularity, but the question remained as to who was singing. (Note : one of the first things that comes with googling them is the question "Is Rhye a woman?")
Now that I've discovered the voice belongs to Mike Milosh, it's even more compelling. His voice is soft and wispy and at times quite high, and in many cases, easily mistaken for a female voice. I think it's quite impactful that Milosh embraces this and there's a sexiness to the sound that is almost amplified because he is a man, who though personality-wise is as masculine as can be, sings with this feminine facade.
I think what I like about this music is that sometimes, it's so beautiful, it can almost bring me to tears. There's a humble and raw vulnerability in each song, which evokes emotions that almost everyone has felt before. The songs are incredibly touching. They also are terrific to improvise dancing to.
Rhye's newest album "Blood" is brilliant, but also sadly results from the break up of the duo. Milosh goes forward with the band as Hannibal stays absent due to his previous commitment to the duo Quadron. Nevertheless, Rhye thrives. Below is my favourite song of the album: