For those unfamiliar, Matthew McCalla (aka McCallaman), is a Toronto-based producer/DJ who’s been making a name for himself over the past few years. He’s most notable for producing 2015 XXL freshman, Goldlink‘s single, “When I Die,” as well as the opening track on his latest album, “And After That We Didn’t Talk.” He’s worked on tracks for rising Toronto artists like Andreena Mill, Redway, Clairmont The Second, and NY R&B vocalist Mariami. As a DJ, he’s played for hundreds at sold out venues in Toronto like the Rivoli, Drake Underground, Sterling Room, done festival mixes at Canadian Music Week, and has opened for acts like Cities Aviv, River Tiber, & Adria Kain. His music has been in Joe Kay’s mixes, played on Beats 1 Radio, and he’s been featured in one of Toronto’s biggest lifestyle blogs as one of the top 10 upcoming producers.
McCallaman dropped his debut EP, Black Pop, this past August, giving listeners a tasteful sample of his own artistic vision. The EP features a handful of Toronto’s rising stars, as well as his own voice, blended with a smooth compilation of drums, keys, & synths that give off a very Frank Ocean-esque vibe. Each of the 5 tracks stand out in their own right in terms of sonic flavoring, yet flow together in a way that is masterfully cohesive. Oozing with soul, chilled beats, and subtle ambiences, Black Pop allows your mind to ascend, leaving you in a cloud of tranquility and inspiration.
But in McCallaman’s words, the essence of Black Pop spans beyond the scope of being “just an entertainment piece that is soothing to the ears.” In an exclusive interview discussing the record, he articulates the deeper rooted theme that inspired the record:
“Black Pop on the very surface is a title meant to describe what it is North America likes to appropriate but not really appreciate: Black Pop(ular culture). From the music, to the way we talk, our slang & ways of dressing; a huge portion of it is used & mimicked by the mainstream society around us. Yet, like many black inventions, very little to no credit or respect is given its creators. The name Black Pop is meant to bring attention to the music & culture many like to be apart of without saying its real name. Commonly used synonyms for it are: urban, soul, or ghetto. Although history has proven it is more profitable for the underprivileged to dance, sing & keep their mouth shut when it comes to the social injustices facing their people.”
- McCallaman [interview with Smoothie Tunes]
The video for Black Pop‘s lead single, “Home Tonite,” produced by Zach Surprenant, premiered today. The visual is a perfect counterpart to the dreamy, heartfelt nature of the song, encompassing both the euphoria of falling in love, as well as the wistful emotions that come with falling out of it. The second half of the track features his rendition of Michael Jackson’s,”You Are Not Alone,” reminding us that isolation is merely an illusion. Check out the music video for “Home Tonite” below:
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