Standard Sounds

Annie O Presents: SonReal

On May 30, Annie O presents SonReal at The Top of The Standard. The Award-winning Canadian hip hop artist is known for his free online albums and mixtapes The Stroll, One Long Day, and For the Town. He went on to be nominated for the Juno Awards' Rap Recording of the Year for his 2014 single Everywhere We Go. Annie caught up with the rapper to talk personal and professional growth, his new album The Aaron and what to expect from his show at The Standard, High Line on Thursday.

Which song on The Aaron LP do you find to be the most autobiographical and why?

All of them are in a way. But if I had to choose one I would say Voicemail. I’ve never explained or opened up about all the relationships I have in that way. It’s hard to be honest in public, I was nervous writing and trying to explain those personal relationships with no sugar coating.

Are there any childhood stories or memories that find their way into your music?

Tons. Sleeping in the basement of my dad’s house on a broken mattress with all my recording gear sprawled all over the place, skateboarding at the park, copying what the older kids wear, sneaking out with my friends to drink beer and getting caught by my older sister. These moments all show up in lines of my songs.

How is this album an evolution from your last one? How have you grown as an artist in the years since?

I’ve come into my own. This music is me. Every successful artist puts in their time and goes through their battles to find the moment where everything makes sense. This album is my first moment finding that. This is the most musical body of work I’ve done. Much more singing and better songwriting about real things that humans need to hear right now. This album is urgent. I put my life into these songs and the music looks like me and sounds like me because it is me.

How would you say you’ve grown as an individual artist in the years since you started making music?

I’ve gotten better every year: I’ve put everything I have into my songwriting, I’ve taught myself guitar, I’ve taken voice lessons. More than anything, I’ve gotten better at putting myself out there and believing in myself. I have a gift and I want to share it with the world... at times in my career I took that for granted or found that hard to see.

Can you name any specific moments in your life that set you down the road to music or made you want to create music?

Skateboarding. Basically, if you watch the movie mid 90’s that is my life.

What are you listening to these days?

Neil Young, Cautious Clay, Jason Isbell, Childish Gambino. 

What can we expect from your performance as part of The Annie Music Series/Standard Sounds at TOTS?

Acoustic.... honest.... energetic and meaningful. 


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