With the Notable Awards fast approaching, it’s time that we introduce you to the All Star Team that will be performing during the big night on November 22!
From the killer tracks of one of Toronto’s top new DJ’s, a musician on the rise, and a band that will have you dancing all night long, we have some of the top performers in the GTA at this year’s Notable Awards!
LAUREN “LO” THOMPSON – DJ
What was your life like before becoming a DJ?
Life before DJing was me trying to figure out what would get me out of bed before the sun comes up and what would keep me up past 11pm. Happy to say I found it 🙂
How long have you been a DJ?
Nine months! Which is pretty crazy when I look back on everything to date. I learned how to DJ from EDM DJ/Producer, Hunter Seigel, which if you know Hunter… that right there puts a fire under your butt to show him that he’s not wasting his time. Come April I had done two gigs and from one of them caught the eye of my now managing agency, Bellosound, and this is where I went from “can I do this?” to “ohhhhhh we are doing this!”. Bellosound is the backbone to majority of the gigs and experiences I have been fortunate to have and be apart of and I know we are only getting started.
Do you have a “go to” track?
Ha! All depends on the environment I am playing in because I am an open format DJ. Depending on the atmosphere:
House – Club Culture (Feel The Bass Line) (Couple Shot of Tequila Mix) – Funk Butcher, Keedz (Any song that says “tequila” in it is a game changer)
Tech House – Shake Your Booty – Gianni Bini, The Rituals (Changes the crowd from eyeing the dance floor to on the dance floor)
Dance – Magnet – Toddla T (People actually stop and stare at me when I play this one because the rhythm is unexpected at first… Brings everyone on the dance floor a little closer 😉 )
Hip-Hop – Red, Red – Beenie Man & Robyn (Banger)
R&B – Get It On Tonite – Montell Jordan (How can it not be a go-to)
Pop – Just Fine – Mary J Blidge (Personal go-to if I am ever have a rough day, and just makes everyone happy!)
What do you believe it takes to be successful in any craft?
Passion and putting your head down and getting to work! Biggest takeaway from what I have been able to accomplish is the fact that it just took putting my head down, catching myself when I was over-thinking, and eliminating the distractions; which is easier said than done. The first three months looked like this… all notifications turned off on my phone (silly, but so necessary), lots of learning and overcoming self doubt, and embracing major FOMO. It was hard, especially at 26 with a good 9 to 5, like why do the extra work? But I had a serious itch and one I was willing to waste a lot of time on.
What’s the wildest event you have ever performed at?
I can remember the afternoon my booking manager Adam asked if I was available to open/close for a private Arkells concert HP was putting on at Muzik Nightclub for the launch of the Omen laptop and I was like, “that’s not even a question, let me clear my schedule!”
What made you want to learn how to DJ?
It’s been an ongoing joke for years. My iPod/Phone was always playing the music at parties and I was happy to do it. I love a social setting, but will be the first to say that I am not crazy about small talk and the initial getting to know. Being the one to bring the playlist and control the music aloud me to be in an energized environment but not have to talk my way through it.
Another part to this is I grew up in the performing arts as a dancer. It was my life for 15 years and to be honest school came second to me during that time. When I decided to let go of that part of my life and focus on getting a degree, I realize this now, I missed performing. It’s my bread and butter and with such a strong knowledge in music, the only thing between me and performing again was learning the equipment to DJ.
Who are you influenced by in the DJ scene?
Sam Divine – I’ve looked into a lot of the other female DJs that are in the scene right now, corporate to festival, and she’s the only one I think I can relate to and be influenced by. Her passion is all over her face, her demeanour is solid and she’s not over exposing herself… it’s just all about the music.
Why are you excited to perform at the Notable Awards?
I’m excited to perform a set at the Notable Awards because this is where all the hustlers get together. I have attended the awards as a guest in the past and you just think, “damnnnn I want to motivate people the way I am being motivated right now.” Being a part of the room, and knowing that Josh has all the faith in me to set the tone for the night is a huge compliment.
SAGE HARRIS – Performer
You wear a lot of different hats. According to your soundcloud you are a singer, songwriter, producer and engineer. Would you say you enjoy those all equally or do you prefer to do one over the other?
Yes I love my hats but there are times in which I love to let my curls blow in the wind. It’s not so much preference as in which part of the musical process I enjoy most but as an artist who hasn’t came from much you have to learn to adapt and accustom yourself to doing tasks in all areas of music. In other words I enjoy the full “process” of making a song which involves all of those aspects.
What is your songwriting process?
First off, a song has to come naturally, it needs to be a vibe. Anything more will sound forced and doesn’t connect with the listeners aka “Music Lovers”. What I tend to do is lay down a skeleton of a beat, go in the booth, hit record, close my eyes, and freestyle melodies and or words that come to my mind “naturally”. From there I usually just write to the melodies I like that I may find in the mumble jumble I lay down.
How much of an impact has the city of Toronto has had on your music?
The city of Toronto is my home. It’s always going to have a impact on my music and me as person forever, but there is still an entire world of music out there to explore. Toronto is just where my seed was planted.
What is the key to a successful performance?
A successful performance comes from one who performs for the people. Not to please themselves or for greed and wealth. Passion and hard work daily will allow you to become the best you. People will naturally connect and gravitate towards you once you realizes that.
Who would you say are your biggest musical influencers?
It’s hard to determine who my biggest musical influencers are because I’m naturally influenced by anyone great. You can never stop learning nor deny greatness, but a few artist I listened to growing up would be Michael Buble, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Rachel Farrell, Keyshia Cole and many more.
Where is the best place to perform in the GTA?
The best place to perform in the GTA would be Dundas Square. There is no other place in the city that you can be any more up close and personal with people and fans.
Why are you excited to perform at this year’s Notable Awards?
Because I love what the award show stands for and appreciate the passion and dedication that goes into putting it on. Also I’m back and I’m better, this won’t be just a “show”, it’s going to be an “experience”. See you there!
ANDREW ST. ROYAL – Band
Before starting St. Royal Entertainment in Toronto, you spent some time in Australia. Would you say your time there shaped how you are as a musician today?
Yes, absolutely. In Australia, I got exposed to performing in the private event industry and gained a lot of experience being the leader and manager of my band at the time there. I learned a lot about booking and managing bands, as well as leading a group of busy musicians to buy in to my vision. I had the beginnings of a formed idea and the concept for a scalable music agency from this experience and when I returned to Toronto, I hit the ground running.
What were the early days like for St. Royal Entertainment?
In the early days, I did everything. It was a lot. I designed and made the original website, I did all the sales, planning and client interactions, I’ll say the income interactions, I was the guitarist and bandleader in the original St. Royals band, and I was in charge of developing the brand, and defining our bands’ sound and style and to set the beginnings of the the culture for all the musicians who would be coming into the organization. I had to teach myself a lot of skills, like Photoshop, HTML and how to setup and operate a sound system.
St. Royal Entertainment is able to supply a 3 – 12 piece band to pretty much any event. Any challenges that come with that?
We actually do even more than that! We have grown into a music staffing agency so we can provide any kind of musician, DJ or live band to all kinds of events. We do soloists, small ensembles like Duos and Trios, Live bands, and the biggest show band we’ve ever designed had 26 people in it (there were 8 vocalists). The challenges are around managing a dynamic roster as events change day by day. Our musicians and DJs have so much talent and versatility that the could be performing in a jazz trio at a private lunch party and a member of an 8-piece cover band at a wedding in the evening. We’ve grown our management software to track all this as well all the unique requests and details that come with each event so we can deliver our brand promise, which is high-quality, professional bands, musicians, and DJs who nail it every time.
What are the top three songs to perform at any event?
This changes all the time, and depends completely on the type of event and the ambiance we are hired to create! But in all the years we’ve been at this I’ve found that vintage soul music (Aretha, Stevie Wonder, MJ, Prince, Motown, etc) seems to crush a dance floor no matter what the demographic is.
What is the key to a successful performance?
From a musician’s point of view, it’s simple. Our job as musicians is to move you. What I mean by that is music should create an emotional response in the listener. When people at our events experience joy, for example, during a celebration moment – that is success.
Any Notable events or clients you have worked for in the past?
We do so many Notable events. Recently I was asked to produce the annual fundraiser, the pARTy, for a charity I work with, Artbound. St. Royal Entertainment didn’t actually provide the music but it was a really big event and I had the pleasure of designing the entire experience with an amazing team at Artbound. For music, we brought in Skratch Bastid, Busty and the Bass, Matthew Romeo, and ColinResponse. We had an amazing turnout and the event was great.
And of course, we’re also invited to perform at a lot of weddings – what could be more notable than being asked to lead the celebration and create those lasting memories on such an important day?
Why are you excited to perform at this year’s Notable Awards?
We’re thrilled to be a part of this year’s Notable Awards to help Notable celebrate the success of entrepreneurs and young professionals. I have a lot of empathy and respect for entrepreneurs and we’re honoured to be included in the curation of the music and party!
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW! WE LOOK FORWARD TO CELEBRATING ALL NIGHT LONG WITH YOU!