Posted On: Nov. 24, 2021
Final Round of BreakOut West 2022 Festival Artists Announced
The BreakOut West Showcase Festival features a multi-genre line-up of over 50 of western Canada’s best emerging and established artists showcasing at multiple venues throughout Winnipeg. See all of the below artists, plus so many more at BreakOut West 2022 in Winnipeg, February 2 - 6, all for only $15.
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Sebastian Gaskin (MB)
Sebastian Gaskin is a multi-instrumentalist R&B singer-songwriter based in Winnipeg, Canada, who grew up in Tataskweyak Cree Nation, or Split Lake as it’s better known. Sebastian writes and self produces music that is anything but formulaic, thanks to his eclectic musical tastes in R&B, Hip Hop, Metal,and Punk. The Winnipeg Free Press says: “...think Post Malone mixed with Frank Ocean, all swag and smooth vocals, hits of hip-hop and rap, rounded out with emotive thoughtful lyrics.”.
Following the release of his debut EP, “Contradictions”, on his own imprint, LieBoy Concepts, Sebastian made some impressive strides. He headlined a cross-Canada club tour, and made appearances at established festivals throughout the country, including Festival du voyageur, Canadian Music Week, Interstellar Rodeo, and Calgary Stampede. He has supported artists like Common, TPain, and has toured supporting the iconic songwriter and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie. Sebastian frequently collaborates with DJ and producer, Boogey the Beat. Sebastian Gaskin’s newest single “Snakehold” is the beginning of a new sound from this exciting young artist who is quickly finding his footing and his voice on the R&B stage.
From one of the most cold and isolated places on Earth, Iqaluit, Nunavut, is MisterLee Cloutier-Ellsworth (FxckMr). Bringing light to the epidemic of suicide in his hometown as well as giving way to release his own inner demons, Mister finds his niche vividly describing the hardest parts of living in his home on club and psychedelic punk trap beats. FxckMr’s debut LP “1997” is out now.
Kaeley Jade (AB)
Armed with a soulful, velvety voice, Edmonton-based singer/songwriter Kaeley Jade effortlessly blends lush poetry and hooky melodic lines to craft music that is both playful and poignant. Reminiscent of artists like Maggie Rogers, Vance Joy and Taylor Swift, the Métis artist explores the beauty and complexity of human relationships in her vibrant and polished indie pop. Jade’s music has been added to major editorial playlists across DSPs—such as Spotify’s New Music Friday and Fresh Finds—and featured in numerous publications including Tinnitist (500k+ Twitter followers), SAY Magazine and The GATE. Her music has been played on radio stations across North America; her single “Years Ago” was added to the regular rotation on 102.3 NOW! Radio (Jim Pattison Broadcast Group), and her song “Highway 16” broke the top 10 on the Indigenous Music Countdown. An alumnus of RBCxMusic’s First Up Program and Indigenous Music’s Market Builder Residency, Jade possesses an impressive ability to move from ballads to bops with ease, and she has performed at a multitude of venues including the Big Valley Jamboree and the Tim Horton’s Brier. Produced by the Juno-nominated team at Velveteen Music, her latest single “Painless” is available now.
Sierra Noble (MB)
Sierra Noble is a singer-songwriter and fiddler from Winnipeg. They released their first album - a traditional Metis fiddle album, as a teenager - followed by a well received "Possibilities," and later, "City of Ghosts" which debuted their gift as a songwriter. She's performed around the world including as an opening act for Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, and Johnny Reid, and as a featured performer in the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Her original music has been featured in TV shows such as One Tree Hill, Switched at Birth, and Parenthood, and in films such as CBC's Humboldt: The New Season, 40 Weeks, and Fostering Hope.
After years of performing and recording music as a young woman that wasn't reflective of their identity or lived experience, Sierra took a five-year hiatus to regroup, recharge, and re-write their story. She is back, now, as an artist with a purpose and a message of strength, resilience, and freedom from the box she was once kept in. Sierra was recently accepted into the prestigious Music Publishers of Canada Women in the Studio Program, and has received a grant to write and record their next album to be released in 2022.
Ila Barker (MB)
With soul and voice as smooth as warm honey, singer songwriter Ila Barker captures audiences with her sweet melodies and dynamic presence. Ila is of mixed Anishinaabe and settler heritage with roots running deep in the Manitoban prairies, seasoning her craft with rich history and powerful textures. Coming from a long line of storytellers, she fuses authentic and timeless notes creating moments of serenity and blissful escape. Ila has brought her craft to an array of national festivals and stages including the Regina Folk Festival, the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the sākihiwē festival. In the summer of 2019 Ila opened up a sold out show for Jeremy Dutcher at the Indian River Festival in PEI.
In February of 2020 Ila released the “Let Go” single, an atmospheric and stripped down collaboration with UK based artist Milan André that was recorded off the floor in one take in the northern Cree nation of Nemaska, Quebec. “Let Go” landed on the National Indigenous Music Countdown, and climbed up the charts for three months straight hitting the top 15. Currently Ila is in the planning stages of future releases including her next album.
Megan Nash & the Best of Intentions (SK)
Throughout their self-produced upcoming album Soft Focus Futures, Megan Nash mines the death of her marriage for clues that could decode its demise and set her on a path toward some sort of stability in self. In the process, they achieve a distillation of heartache and its attendant, all-consuming power that arrives like a 100-year flood in blossoming crescendos buoyed by precise poetry evoking unnatural disasters, the tyranny of silence, old dogs, and the isolation of life in the country. The blue hues, unsteady triumph, and emotional grandeur of Soft Focus Futures earns a spiritual kinship with author Elizabeth Smart’s masterpiece, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, about Smart’s affair with George Barker. “The water submerges and blends, but I am not dead,” Smart writes about grief and love. “O I am not dead. I am under the sea. The entire sea is on top of me.”
Nash, who is non-binary and an unabashed Scorpio—uses both she and they pronouns and lives on Treaty 4 Territory. They’ve won and been nominated for numerous awards, including a 2019 JUNO Award nomination for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year for Seeker and a 2021 Best of Moose Jaw Award for Best Musical Artist. The recognition back home is in no small part due to her long and winding history of hitting the road, where she’s done international showcases in the United States, the UK, Germany, and Estonia on top of countless gigs in Canada’s small towns and sprawling metropolises. With everyone’s health top of mind on the touring schedule to come, rest assured you’ll be able to see them—and hear Soft Focus Futures live—the minute she’s able to safely hit your town.
Virgo Rising (MB)
Virgo Rising like to describe themselves as “three sad girls making songs in Winnipeg,” but those familiar with the band know that this undersells the scope and depth of their vision. By attending a show or hearing their recordings, a listener can discern what the members themselves wouldn’t likely admit; their music is daring, their instincts are sharp, and they have a masterful grasp on exactly what it is they’re trying to create. Emily Sinclair and sisters Lauren and Jenna Wittmann carefully construct bedroom pop unconstrained by convention; while weaving together themes of growing up, femininity, self-love, self-contempt, and authenticity, they make sure that each song lives in its own sonic space, unafraid to end up in unexpected places doing so.
Speed Control (YK)
Hailing from Canada’s North in the Yukon, Speed Control is the rock band that can make you move even at -40 degrees. Described as “Super Tight, Riff Heavy, Harmony Rock” by Stuart Derdeyn (The Province, Vancouver Sun), Speed Control has a captivating sound with an energy that will leave you smiling, singing, dancing, and wanting more. Brothers Graeme and Jody Peters have been joined by new members Eric Holland (Drums, Vocals) and Greg McLaughlin (lead guitar, vocals). With the added depth and creativity, new material and new energy is on the way.
Drawing on influences from Jimmy Eat World, Foo Fighters, The Barenaked Ladies, and Motley Crue, Speed Control is 100% Rock and Roll. Speed Control is a band that plays hard, with passion and energy, be it to 40, 400, 4000, and the end goal of 40,000 people. This may seem like a lofty goal, but if you can live in the Yukon, load in and out of shows at minus 40, and still keep rocking then this doesn’t seem like too hard of a mountain to conquer.
Ghost Woman (AB)
G.W. lead Evan Uschenko grew up cashing guitar player cheques at the gas station after the banks had closed. That same shrewdness is palpable in the music, where lean punk rock melds with union man melodies into what taste like premium cocktails- A warm, low sodium hue bath.
Having grown up in the small town of Three Hills, Alberta, Uschenko cut his teeth as a multi-instrumentalist and part of fellow Canadian Michael Rault’s band – touring with the likes of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. Eventually, he spawned Ghost Woman in 2016. Retreating from the road and hiding out in prairies of southern Alberta, Uschenko booked two months in an abandoned farmhouse, converted into a studio, and in a fog of smoke and whiskey recorded songs as quickly as he could write them.
Ghost Woman’s Evan Uschenko forthcoming debut EP ‘Lost Echo’s’ transpired while based in Arizona, sitting out the pandemic, helping his mechanic brother at his Hot Rod shop and waiting to get back on the road to promote his debut EP. He decided to use the title to pay tribute to his current location and the rich history held within the land.
I am the Mountain (AB)
I Am The Mountain is everywhere, from bars and cafes, to caught-in-your-brain as you try and fall asleep. Beginning as a folk project of singer-songwriter Colton O'Reilly, the late-night campfire soul songs that once whispered between the pines in Kananaskis have echoed through almost every music-friendly space in Calgary. The horn-accented songs of I Am The Mountain are the most pleasant and reliable in a city with a maelstrom of eclectic indie. As the band grew into a full ensemble, the heart-on-sleeve earnestness of their early folk songs have morphed into luxurious still-life songs that bring bodies together with smart drumming and scintillating sparkly guitar work. The floating bass and fluttering horns circle around each other, sinking back like a warm hug from an old friend.
Black Thunder (SK)
Black Thunder are based out of Regina, Saskatchewan and have been actively touring their brand of heavy, progressive, rock n roll through Canada since 2009. They've enjoyed success touring, sharing the stage with The Sword, BISON and Big Business, among many others. Their fourth full length album, 'La Fine Creata', was released through Transistor 66 in April 2020. They recently finished recording their follow up album and they are currently in the middle of writing their next album.
Anthony OKS (MB)
Anthony Sannie @anthonyoks has made international waves as a member of celebrated group The Lytics along with Alex, his other brother Andrew, and their cousin Mungala. His spirited, adrenaline-injected flow and fiery stage presence have made him a highlight of The Lytics’ acclaimed live show and helped the group become one of the most exciting acts in Canadian hiphop. Since they dropped their debut full-length They Told Me dropped in 2012, The Lytics have played to sold-out crowds the world over, collaborated with the Beastie Boys’ Mike D, and shared the stage with legendary artists like Nas and The Roots. Earlier this year he celebrated the launch of his first solo debut project, ‘Take Time.’ You can find this project on all streaming platforms and his artist site, Anthonyoks.ca. Sannie is currently working on his 2nd EP release.
Post-Modern Connection (BC)
Post Modern Connection is an indie-band that defies norms. By constantly showcasing eclectic inspirations, the band keeps you anticipating what’s next.
Their soundscape varies, the music paired with thoughtful and carefully crafted songwriting. Soulful R&B infused vocals meet catchy indie-pop riffs - electronic synths pair with classical violin - Post Modern Connection’s ability to play with dynamics is apparent.
PMC draws on their unique backgrounds and experiences, personal histories, and upbringing to create their emotionally charged music, captivating listeners. Their live show is no different. High energy with an ebb and flow of powerful dynamics has showcased them selling out headlining performances around Western Canada, opening for top artists including Desiigner, Wintersleep, Hollerado, Moontrick, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and Hailey Blaise.
They’ve had their singles spun on CBC Radio and The Peak Vancouver, their videos showcased on Global News, their music featured in Tenho Mais Discos Que Amigos, Canadian Beats, The Wild Honey Pie, Happy Magazine and dozens of online blogs, and have won a Kootenay Music Award for “Best Music Video” and hit an impressive 10,000 streams in one short week online and were named by Vancouver's Permanent Rain Press Local Artist Of The Year 2019.
Michaela Slinger (BC)
Michaela Slinger is a "legendary songbird in the making" (Elevate Music Project) who utilizes her unique, emotive vocals and old soul lyricism to create sweeping indie-pop music. She independently released her debut single and music video “Flux” in July 2019 to streaming success (over 500k Spotify streams to date) and commercial radio play. Post-Flux, Slinger’s career began taking new shape: she was offered a demo deal with 604 Records before the year ended. After fully signing in February 2020, Michaela has spent the past year releasing singles and music videos in advance of her debut album, Panorama, out everywhere April 16th 2021. Her most recent single "Too Good to Be Great" has received CBC Music and Stingray Canada airplay. When she’s not making music, Slinger is involved in Vancouver’s non-profit scene with various organizations committed to youth engagement, environmental leadership, and social innovation.
Sam Tudor (BC)
Sam Tudor is an individual person, but also the title of a project involving a large group of friends across Canada. It is a solo project AND a D.I.Y. collective effort. The underpinnings of the songs are genre-less; jazz players join forces with Eno inspired beats while acoustic guitars meet distorted synths. What unifies the project is Tudor’s distinct voice: a sandy, melancholic narrator, leaning in close with writing that is often an act of self-exposure - a confessional and cathartic outpouring. The band’s live show is a communal affair, moving from hushed tones to bombastic walls of sound and back again. The Georgia Straight calls the band “a gem, with a penchant for everything left field” while Beatroute Magazine describes the project as “beautifully self aware, sonically interesting, and masterful”. Their new album, Two Half Words, was released in summer 2021.
Sala, also known as Ariane Jean, is poised, gentle. A pristine surface covering the ripples of an intuitive, emotional nature. The former member of Juno Award-winning Chic Gamine returns after a 4-year hiatus to take her first steps as a solo artist. Her intimate, sometimes melancholy jazz, ambient and pop-infused songs tell of anger and forgetting, of shedding one’s skin and finding refuge in imaginary worlds. She creates lush vocal layers on which her airy soprano can soar, highlighting all her agility, soul and refinement. The result is moody, atmospheric music that evokes the introspection of foggy mornings and rainy afternoons. Sala’s debut French music EP was released in October 2020.
Joey O'Neill (YK)
From Joey’s Klondike cabin wafts reflective folk-country Canadiana and woodsmoke. Though much of her time is spent cutting kindling and hauling water around her off-grid Yukon home, she recently released her sophomore LP, Ever Ahead. Produced by pedal-steel legend Aaron Goldstein and recorded at Toronto’s Baldwin Street Sound, it’s an undeniably classic road-trip album that Exclaim! deems is made up of “postcard-like, twanged-out folk tracks”, Canadian Beats dubs “an audiobook narrated behind bluesy, western melodies”, and CBC Arts declares "is rife with playful poetry and sees O'Neil casually bounce between tongue-in-cheek lyrics and a true sense of heartbreak.” Inspired by countless cross-country journeys with her trusty canine copilot named Oblio, she has shared stages with Julie Doiron, Basia Bulat, and Jennifer Castle.
Why would you name your band after Reykjavík's grey and depressing central bus terminal BSÍ, the most miserable location you can find in all of Iceland? Do people still wonder if BSÍ actually stands for Brussels Sprouts Intl.? And have you ever asked yourself how sea bears feel?
Having started BSÍ under the premise of trying instruments they didn't know how to play, Silla Thorarensen (drums & vocals) and Julius Pollux Rothlaender (bass guitar & toe-synths) understand their band as a playground for simply being who they are: Two best friends, rumbling and rolling through life, not taking themselves too seriously, struggling with self-doubts and imperfection while trying to see these as empowering virtues, unafraid to just do and be what- or however they feel.
A telling example, on may 21st BSÍ will release a somewhat unconventional debut album that might as well be a twin EP: five songs low key heartbreak melancholy, five songs riot grrrl lofi-cute-punk - 'Sometimes depressed ... but always antifascist'
Wolf Willow (SK)
From the Northern Great Plains of Saskatchewan, Wolf Willow presents original country and western in the format of an old time radio show. With a horn section and an ear for countrypolitan arrangements, Wolf Willow both stretches and upholds the retro-country tradition as they have played festivals (Ness Creek ,Gateway, Break Out West) and tour dates across western Canada. After receiving a Western Canadian Music nomination for Visual Media Composer of the year, Wolf Willow has spent 2020 preparing a new full length album for release in Fall 2021 on Grey Records.
During Fall 2019, Wolf Willow as they released their countrypolitan inspired EP, And The Leaves Have Turned to Amber, received a nominations for a Sask Music Award (Experimental/Contemporary category) and released three new episodes of the Wolf Willow Radio Hour web series.
In 2018, the band released Caribou Howl which evolved out of a deal to write and record the score for a documentary on caribou. The documentary has since been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for best documentary!
velours is an award-nominated singer/songwriter full of emotion, carried by a velvet voice, who is continuously writing and performing Alternative Pop music that connects with others on an empathetic level. Her desire to understand and explore feeling through music, while not taking things too seriously, resonates with her audience.
The Canadian artist, speaking English and French, has been singing and writing music since she could hum along to the music playing in the car. Jamming to CDs with her mom, ranging from anti-establishment punk to indie pop, this artist has fallen in love with––and obsessed over––all kinds of music. Growing up, velours listened to a variety of artists, and has been influenced by them all. She has released successful singles, accompanied by well-admired music videos. As well, her debut EP "Identity" encompasses who velours is as an artist and introduced herself to a broader audience.
velours continues to make music and perform live as much as possible. The up-and-coming artist has become a new music industry secret, where those who have heard of her can’t stop talking about her. She aims to connect with audiences on a visceral level. She is excited to continue her path toward success!
Ayla Brook & The Sound Men (AB)
Ayla Brook (pronounced Ey–Lah) makes music as raw and vast as the Canadian Prairies. From his beginnings in Lily Plain, Saskatchewan, to successful records recorded with AA Sound System, to now his solo work, Ayla has never wavered from his original vision of honest roots rock. That vision is brilliantly captured on Desolation Sounds, the 2020 album by Ayla Brook & The Sound Men, produced by Terra Lightfoot and mixed by Jon Auer of The Posies and Big Star fame. It’s a collection of songs and stories about friends and family, bursting with rock and soul and the western charm that has become the band’s trademark.
Released on Edmonton's Fallen Tree Records, Desolation Sounds was lauded by fans and critics alike, topping a number of year end charts.
Emily Triggs (AB)
Following Emily’s widely accepted release ‘When Guinevere Went Under’, Triggs is busting down walls that confine an artist to expectations and to the folk/roots genres with her album ‘Middletown’. Nominated for a Folk Music Canada Award 2021, the album is receiving radio play on CBC across the country and into the United States.
In true fashion, Middletown will not let listeners down as Emily continues to push boundaries while staying true to her influences spanning from Texas blues, strains from the Appalachian Mountains to her years in French Canada. Middletown captures the undeniably authentic style of songwriting and arrangement that reflects the world of music Emily grew up in. While sometimes likened to Patty Griffin and Michelle Shocked, Emily has her own brand of folk/roots filled with a lifetime of music and influences. Emily shares stories through songs with an endearing simplicity that belies their emotional depth.
Produced by Lorrie Matheson and featuring performances by Chris Byrne (The Road Hammers), Paul Rigby (Neko Case) and Chris Dadge (Alvvays), Middletown is the lamenting heart of roots with the raucous soul of rock that’s never too far from the earthy fields of country.