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My sisters friend invited me to cover the Azizi Gibson NXNE show at Revival Bar. I didn’t have to pay for the show, I was considered Media, so I was put on a guest list. So, I thought, yeah I’ll come out and I’ll write about it for my blog.
When the day came, I kind of felt like blowing it off, but I told myself, I would be important for me to cover a NXNE show, as it would look good on a resume, as I’m studying Journalism and I want to be a music writer, so I went to the show. Thank god that I did because I was about to find a brand new artist to like.
Now when I got there, there was a crowd of people near the stage, I didn’t really take them all in, but there was one person in particular that stood out. This person was wearing a hat and he seemed like any other person, but for some reason he stood out to me. After he left my vision, I thought nothing of him and looked at my phone to check the score in the game.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were playing the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 and I wanted to know who was winning and before I knew it, the show was finally starting.
The first artist to perform was Arys Déjan and he was pretty good. He had really good energy, but It wasn’t so good that I felt compelled to go and search about him after the show. I didn’t feel like jotting his name down, in case I forgot, he just wasn’t my style, but the next artist caught my attention.
The same person who I had spotted in the crowd earlier, suddenly came on stage and was a performer. I remember feeling confused, like that guy? He was going to perform? I just spotted him earlier. It was this funny feeling like what’s going on here? And when he was announced by my sisters friend, who was acting as the host for the show, his name was announced as Bilal Mirza, but his stage name was just Bilal and he started to perform.
And I was kind of shocked. I’ve never listened to any of these artists before, the artists that were set to perform this night, so I had pretty low exceptions of what I was going to see, but Bilal really caught my attention. At first he seemed a little shy on stage, as if he wasn’t really yet comfortable with performing and his mic was kind of close to his mouth, but after the first song, he started to really control the stage and get more hype.
And once he started to feel more comfortable, I realized he was going to be the best thing I’d be seeing all night, so I was taking it all in. I didn’t even record his set, that’s how much I was taking in the moment instead of capturing it. And each song he performed was amazing.
His performance of his song “For A Minute” was lit. The whole time I’m thinking, who is this kid? This is amazing. And with the group of people in the front getting hyped, who I feel like were probably his friends, but still, It felt like a star was being born and this show was his coming out party. Before he performed, I thought that he was just this average person, a person who had just came to watch the show and then he came on stage and blew my mind.
Now, the venue that Bilal was performing at was across the street from the Mod Club. In 2011, a fellow Toronto artist named The Weeknd let it be known to the world that he was next up in his debut performance. 5 years later, Toronto is truly becoming a hub for new artists to shine. It feels like everyday a new Toronto artists is born, ready to blow up.
There’s truly this belief in the city right now that making it big is possible. With The Weeknd getting as big as he’s gotten and inspiring artists to follow his blueprint and with the addition of Drake’s OVO Sound Radio on Beats 1, Toronto artists are now being played on a major platform. If Bilal continues to drop music and perform, I can easily see him on OVO Sound Radio.
I really never expected to see an artist at the show that I would genuinely like, but Bilal really came to the stage at NXNE, performed and made it known that I should be paying attention to him and that Toronto should be paying attention to him.
Now Jay Z has this song on his Blueprint 3 album called, “A Star Is Born.” And on the hook of the song, Tony Williams sings, “Everyday a star is born.” And At NXNE, A star was born and this stars name is Blial and I gotta clap for him.
MY MOTTO IS: IF YOU WANNA WIN THE LOTTERY, YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE MONEY TO BUY A TICKET!
From The 6ix,With Love
Thank You For Reading
Sincerely, Kid From The 6ix
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