Artist: Clairmont The Second
Origin: Weston, Toronto, Ontario
I had seen him perform just once at York University’s BlackFest – he emitted great energy and is humble. But who knew that after seeing him at the Saba show, I would get this dope opportunity to interview Toronto’s young and rising, Clairmont The Second? After being a fan since Project II, I was more than pleased to hold this one down for A&R.
Read what transpired through email below.
A&R Report: Believe it or not, I first found out about your music back in 2014 through one of Marlon’s (aka @ThatDudeMCFLY) tweets. He mentioned Project II so I gave it a listen and it ended up being a project I heavily bumped that winter. With that being said, if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have discovered your music. So, what’s your take on the scene in Toronto right now? (I’m generally speaking here, so you can talk about music, talent, social life, etc.) And is there anything you would want to change about it?
CTS: The Toronto scene is very interesting. It seems as everyone around me is blowing up and I’m taking a bit longer to. Which I don’t mind, it’s just interesting how everything is happening right now. Toronto is definitely the hotspot right now.
Who from Toronto are you rocking with right now? Who (from the city) do you want to see in the spotlight? Who (from the city) do you want to collaborate with? Why?
I’m really like Daniel Caesar and Charlotte Day Wilson. One of my favorite rappers that moved back to the UK recently is Keita Juma and he should definitely a lot bigger than he is. I think Sean Leon and I could make something pretty crazy.
A&R Report: At what point in your life did you have that epiphany of, “I want to pursue rap/music”? What made you decide that this was it?
CTS: I have been playing instruments since about 4 or 5, drums mainly, and producing since about 5 so I knew I wanted to incorporate that into any job I got when I was older. I was in Grade 9 when everyone thought they were a rapper and I knew I was better than everyone else so then I started rapping. I was trash though and my friends and I made a song together and they waxed me on it. So I was really pressed on getting better than them; I just wanted to make music from that point on.
A&R Report: What is it from Weston/west side Toronto that you want to portray through your music? Is there anything in particular that you want to tell your listeners about where you’re from?
CTS: The west side feels like home. There’s a home-y feel that I’ve never gotten from any other part of the city. It’s also hard to describe but it’s almost like here you’re ALMOST forced to grow up with a bit of a spine. The way I grew up thanks to my family and the people I knew is I have to stand up for myself and don’t take crap from anyone, yet a the same time it feels like family on this side.
A&R Report: Describe your artistry in one sentence.
CTS: Saucy, bossy.
A&R Report: I feel like you’re well-articulated as an artist and as an individual; you’re mature for a young artist (I’m still kinda shook that you’re younger than me, ha) and you have matured in a short amount of time. This is something we can hear through your music. I’m curious to know what your growth process was from project to project, starting with Becoming A GentlmIIn. Project II? A Mixtape By Clairmont The Second? Quest For Milk And Honey?
CTS: Becoming A GentlemIIn started shortly after a break up and my brother was putting me on game. I just felt like I was becoming a Gentleman going through that little crappy experience and learning more about girls. Project II was like the follow up to that; I still had more stories about girls but also I was just getting older and learning new things. A Mixtape By Clairmont The Second was my woke phase, hahaha. That’s when I learned a lot more about black people, I’m also really obsessed with old school music and I wanted to do a tape like that for a while, and at the same time noticed that music was getting weak. So I went really hard on that record. QFMH (Black Edition) was definitely a combination of everything I’ve done in the past but done properly and more polished. I think this shows the most growth as an artist.
A&R Report: What does “Milk and Honey” mean to Clairmont The Second?
CTS: Milk and Honey means Utopia. Unfortunately we don’t live in a world that’s very utopic so it’s almost up to us as individuals to almost make that happen for ourselves to an extent. My utopia looks like financial stability, classic albums, being respected by my favorite artists, having a family of my own, and a lot of video games.
A&R Report: What is your least favourite Clairmont The Second song? Why? What is your favourite Clairmont The Second song? Why?
CTS: My least favorite Clairmont The Second song has to be Flame Princess; reason being is that’s the song that you can kind of say “blew up” and I have other records that should definitely be bigger in my opinion. It’s a good song though, I guess. My favorite Clairmont The Second is probably “44 Me”. From the way I mixed it, to what I did vocally were both risks and things I haven’t done to that extent. I was very pleased with the outcome. It’s also a really serious topic that I needed to touch on.
A&R Report: I want to applaud you for being a one man army. You write, you rap, you produce, and I read somewhere that you also shoot some of your videos yourself. Was this a deliberate decision for your artistry? What was it like to develop your skills?
CTS: I also mix and master my records as well, hahaha. I need to be hands on with all my art. With me being the one doing everything I don’t have to answer to anybody. I get to do everything exactly the way I want it and if there’s a problem that’s on me and not anyone else. Developing these skills came from trial and error, and ear and eye.
A&R Report: I know you have collaborated on a track (Do What The Bass Says) with Del Bel whose sound is completely different from your own. Do you see yourself experimenting [more] with sounds outside of the rap genre?
CTS: I already do. I rap on RnB beats with harder hitting drums if you think about it. I also got some stuff in the works that I’m not going to talk about right now.
A&R Report: What is the biggest lesson you learned in your career thus far?
CTS: My sanity comes first.
A&R Report: As listeners, what can we expect from you within the year? As an artist, what do you expect from yourself within the year? (Or, what do you want to work on within the year?)
CTS: Expect the sauciest music. The sauciest raps. The sauciest beats. The sauciest mixing. I am the Saucy Boss.
A&R Report: Where do you see yourself by the end of 2017?
CTS: I see myself with my friends in LA working and having fun; Formally meeting my favorite artists.