“I do it for my city”, is the message that Hip-Hop artist Marvin Anokye (M.A.) broadcasts in his song suitably titled “My City” off his debut mixtape “Veuve Cliquot”. The lyrics express his devotion to the city he calls home, where his career as a lifestyle rapper has been maturing since the ripe age of 16. The song is just one indicator of his, and other artists’, allegiance to Ottawa and the Hip-Hop scene they’ve laboriously enriched recently. M.A. explains, “We’re getting attention from across the country and here at home many of us [artists] feel if we can keep this momentum going it will translate to more opportunities for a talent-rich city such as Ottawa”.
After the disbandment of his first music group, M.A. took several years to mature his craft. He struggled to find his sound with local engineers, forcing him to truly go solo and find the well-rounded artist – writing, recording and mixing – he always knew he had in him. “It took me a while to make the transition to a solo artist, but around the age of 19-20, I found my sound and have been on the right path ever since”, M.A. remarks. His debut release of “Veuve Cliquot”, a mixtape that has garnered him a lot of attention locally and beyond, is definitely an indication of the developing path he speaks of.
M.A.’s creativity and aptitude for sound stem from a young age, he says, growing up in a home where music played around-the-clock. His mother even says Michael Jackson was the only solution to end his tears as a baby, “it kind of just came natural for me to want to contribute” he says.
M.A. calls himself a lifestyle rapper, which he defines as “being 100% with your listeners”, in other words, tackling the raw emotions that listeners can really connect with on a day-to-day level. This, M.A. says, is his greatest inspiration for song writing, “to bring out feeling – any feeling – from within the heart and soul of the listeners”. The rapper, whose role models include his father and Jay-Z, says these qualities set him apart from the rest.
Certainly, organized events like Winterfest, which gives local artists the opportunity to showcase their palpable talent, will only enhance the Hip-Hop presence in Ottawa that has been amplifying in recent years. M.A. is one of many of these flourishing talents, and we are looking forward to see what’s next for this rising star. M.A. says that in 2012 he hopes to “release a few hit singles that do well on the college charts, gain exposure via social media, and ultimately get myself picked up by a major label.” We expect to hear much more from M.A. and know that ‘his city will be with him’ when he gets on stage at Winterfest 2012 – we’ll be watching!
For more information on Winterfest, visit http://winterfestottawa.ca/. Stay tuned for more artist profiles from in a nutshell!