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Breaking Boundaries: Lozen Records a Genre-Bending Album at Hallowed Sound

By Contributor
April 22nd, 2024

Lozen isn’t much for boxes, because “magic happens outside of your comfort zone”.

The bilingual Quebecer and now BC-based eclectic singer-songwriter-rapper-bandleader goes way beyond classification with a mixed bag of offerings from trippy future R&B, and soulful jazz-infused ballads, to groovy electronic bass and progressive hip hop soundscapes. Her raw and powerful vocals combined with introspective, emotionally charged lyrics have earned her critical acclaim and a devoted fanbase.

Think Jessie Reyez and Lauryn Hill, with a dose of M.I.A.

The seasoned impresario opted to stray from her usual creative process with this forthcoming record, “Before I even got down with rap, I’d write songs on my guitar.” That approach to composing laid the groundwork while teaming up with JUNO, SOCAN, ASCAP and MUCH MUSIC award-winning beatmaker and WCMA Hip Hop Hall of Fame inductee DJ Kemo allowed her to bring the demos life.

Their collaboration led to the concept of her next album with renowned platinum and gold audio engineer Roger Swan, who produced, engineered, and mixed key projects for artists such as K-OS, Rascalz, Swollen Members, Kardinal Offishall and many more, winning the first Juno Award ever given for Best Rap Recording.

Redefining soundscapes and setting the stage for musical sovereignty, the songstress has been on retreat in South Slocan since the end of March co-writing with Swan at Hallowed Sound, a modern studio in a renovated former Anglican church, originally built in 1914. At the heart of the studio lies a vintage SSL4000E console, paired with the latest Pro Tools software, top tier outboard gear, impressive list of plug-ins, as well as an extensive instrument and amp collection.

Together, the duo has embarked on a journey that reflects the multi-dimensionality of their artistry. The intention for this initiative is to approach the creative process in a more organic, free-spirited, untethered way, while still honouring the foundational musical cultures that shaped them.

While sample-based instrumental backing tracks are the cornerstones of their careers, experimenting with new models serves to break free from this monotonous structure. Liberation from traditional crafting methods has allowed a fuller spectrum of possibilities to emerge. A hybridization of both traditional beat-making methods and live instrumentation is synthesizing the convergence of these worlds.

From enlisting local guitarist Nikko Forsberg as a session musician, to hiring youth from the area as choir vocalists, the dynamics of this endeavor knows no bounds. For Lozen, “the seed rationale behind these artistic choices is a desire for expansion”. In her community, she has been somewhat pigeonholed as “Lozen, the rapper”. And, although that is an aspect of her skillset as a vocalist, it’s not a full-spectrum representation. It’s a version. There’s also a more vulnerable side. A part that was suppressed for years as a woman in the rap world who was fighting so hard just to have a seat at the table.

Although her debut in the rap arena was through the battle and cypher scene, this became a catalyst for a variety of diverse live performance bookings — mostly through word of mouth — in a cross-pollination of genres such as Drum and Bass, House, Ghetto Funk, Moombahton, and Glitch.

 Listeners of Kootenay Co-op Radio 93.5 FM in nearby Nelson have already had a couple of tastes of her latest electronic single “Something Bout Chu (Villem Remix)” on Beat Diet with Marco Pringle, leading up to a long-format pre-recorded interview that will air this Thursday April 25th between 1 and 3pm.

 Capping off the trip on Friday, April 26th at Bloom Nightclub, music promoter Peter Payne has curated a jam-packed show that is a testament to the magic that can happen through musical diversity.

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