Tobagonian Artist KAPRI Is Conquering the Music World

Fueled by her love of 90s club music and her rich Caribbean roots, Canadian singer-songwriter KAPRI is a cross-cultural phenomenon. Universal Music Canada’s latest domestic signing, KAPRI was born and raised in Edmonton, now calls Toronto home, and boasts Tobagonian roots.

In 2017, her debut single, “Deeper,” earned the coveted No. 1 spot on the Canadian Spotify Viral Chart, which amassed more than 115k streams through Spotify alone and succeeded artists like Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and Drake for the #1 spot on the music platform’s Canada Viral 50, all in its first week.

Performing and dance seems to be in KAPRI’s blood. Her mother, well-respected Tobagonian choreographer Sharlene Thomas, migrated to Canada in the 1970’s and opened Alberta’s first Afro-Caribbean dance studio. While watching her mother’s perfect routines to upbeat-driven Soca rhythms and African drums, KAPRI developed a strong connection to bass and syncopated rhythm.

She’s also influenced by soul legends such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan, as well as house-music pioneers like Robin S and Martha Wash (the latter with whom she shared a stage  at 2014 World Pride parade in Toronto). Rather than emulating her heroes, KAPRI goes deeper on “Deeper,” offering a modern take on 90s dance music with a blend of soul.

“It’s not about hopping on the 90s-is-back train,” she said, of her distinct musical flavour. “But rather bringing emotion back to the dance floor where it belongs!”

Straying from the hard, robotic sound of recent dancefloor bangers, KAPRI views her song “Deeper” as an anecdote to the FOMO-induced moments inspired by the digital age.

“I want to create music that moves you and makes you want to move,” she explained. “The kind of tracks that let you escape to a safe space where you can just be yourself.”

It’s an M.O. that’s been informed by KAPRI’s own education both in and out of school: she holds an honours degree in Communications and Psychology from Carleton University, is a devoted fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and has spent the past few years cutting her teeth in some of the country’s most esteemed dance clubs in Montreal and Toronto.

“If you have a passion for something, don’t let anyone deter you or hold you back.”

It is worth mentioning that in 2014 Kapri came to Trinidad and Tobago with her mother to explore her heritage and had the privilege to perform and share the stage with John Legend and Earth, Wind and Fire at the Tobago Jazz Festival where local crowds, promoters and media took notice of her energetic performances.

KAPRI’s musical influences and instincts have served her well. Her passionate approach to soulful dance music has garnered an international following, and her goal is to prove that “positive vibes can be powerful and not predictable.”

“If you have a passion for something, don’t let anyone deter you or hold you back,” she added. “Keep an open mind and take in suggestion with an open heart but be true to yourself, and that goes for any walk in life.”

Photography: Calvin French | Hair: Ashvin Bally | Makeup: Kirk Thomas | Fashion: Peter Elias & 212 Location
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