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Star Gazing With Toronto's bizZarh

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By Evelyn Kwong

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Toronto’s R&B lift off has recently surpassed the bounds of the stratosphere with artists like Drake and The Weeknd lifting off internationally and singers like Rochelle Jordan and PartyNextDoor bubbling on the outer edges of stardom. But in addition to those established Toronto R&B talents, there also exist pockets of raw and untapped potential, waiting for their chance to one day become stars themselves. It’s within these pockets that you’re likely to find the experimental type of talent that’s possessed by bizZarh.

Made up of Charli Champ and Dollar Paris, the two have molded their image in the 90s essence of their own Soulquarian reverie with homage to their idol Erykah Badu. They possess a mysterious spiritual nature that’s infused with bohemian character. This image of astral-chic is reflected both in their personal style and music, as evident in their track "Pangaea." In syncopation with the stars, the fluidity of their voices eased in with a gentle beat transport the listener into the surrealism of your Wiccan dream world, where your “pterodactyl flies miles high, above an island with a daffodil coloured sky.”

The breeding ground for bizZarh’s rise was in Toronto’s north-western neighbourhood of Jane and Lawrence, where they witnessed the action that came from living amongst like-minded creatives. With the kids on the block throwing cyphers, laughing, dancing and sharing their individual musicality any way they could, the area quickly became the catalyst for bizZarh's eclectic style.

Their curiosity in creating serious music happened at 14, right before high school. It was the assertiveness of Charli Champ’s writing and ability to rap that encouraged Dollar Paris to begin revealing her own voice. With no formal training, they taught each other how to be artists, with the growth of their music guided by the stars and by their dedication to the Wiccan ideology of their thoughts paving the way for their future.

During high school Charli Champ moved to Ajax — approximately 60 km away— but the duo continued to write rhymes and verses individually. At times, they even found themselves rivaling each other in spite of the distance that separated them, something they attribute to the fact that the universe has chosen them to be partners. In response to the universe’s test of their compatibility, they thrived off the geographical split and took advantage of their time apart to profoundly understand each other’s sound through the endless world of internet meetings via Skype, YouTube and MSN.

“Pangaea,” as soulfully whispered in the intro, is a dedication to the Wiccan Goddess Brigid, born of both water and fire. Like Brigid, biZzarh is made up of Charli’s punchy personality claiming fire and Paris embodying the bliss of water elements, together combining to create the balance. To the duo, being Wiccan essentially means “to live believing that everything around you is the source of your own thought.” Casting their musical spell is what creates the inspiration for the good vibrations and unearthed waves that resonate in their music, and it’s clear from the way they speak about the Wiccan religion that it’s more than just something they’re into because they discovered it through a Tumblr reblog.

Questing in intimate spiritual alignment to the universe, they are also in progress of mastering their craft to give birth to the greatest revival yet, the Neo-Soulquarian. The future looks bright for the vanguards in the rebirth of soul that continues to give us sensual tremors and ethereal highs. They aren’t signed yet, but are hopeful for the future to lay out their intentions. With the freedom to evolve their music, bizZarh is currently self-recording and practicing their craft in the hopes of one day mastering it.

Toronto's resurgence in the genre of R&B is promising for new artists, but it has yet to be seen if a rising tide will raise bizZarh's ship in the same way it's helped traditional soul singers. It's intriguing to imagine just what these two would sound like over Ilangelo production or on a PartyNextDoor collaboration, but at the same time, part of bizZarh's appeal lies in their uniqueness. Perhaps the greatest way for this new act to pave a road to stardom is by blazing a trail to it, right through the traditional gatekeepers. 

Catch bizZarh opening for The Internets on March 22nd in Toronto

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