A rapper, dancer, and talented performing artist from the city of Toronto, Ashiq Romeo has been fondly called the ‘Canadian Chris Brown’, and for very good reason. With a sultry, rap sound that builds effortlessly off his background in dance, unique rhythms, and talents for intricate wordplay, Ashiq’s music has as empowering as it is entertaining, creating a vibrant, intoxicating style filled with his unique ‘Attitude of a God’ approach.
With a string of impressive singles to his name, including the brilliant, yet fleeting ‘YOUNOTREADY’, that was released early this year, Ashiq has become one of the most promising talents this side of the equator, and we couldn’t wait to sit down and get to know him a little better.
Ashiq, it’s wonderful to have this chance to meet you. Where did music begin for you? How did it all come together?
“My music journey began in high school, that's when I started dancing. I would listen to the latest rap/hip-hop/dubstep/pop songs and try to copy moves from artists such as Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown. Eventually, I got really good at dancing and started posting videos to YouTube and performing at clubs in Toronto.”
“Through dance, I met local producers and artists in Toronto who invited me to attend their studio sessions. That's when I started songwriting and recording my own songs.”
You’ve been likened to some incredible artists in the past, but how would you describe your sound for those not yet acquainted?
“My sound as a rapper is based on how I listen to music as a dancer. So, I'm very focused on timing, cadence, and speed changes. In the studio, I'm looking for beats that are fun and upbeat, so I'll pick sounds from reggae, house, and many other genres. When I'm in the booth, in my songwriting, I always want to say something original that my fans have never heard before.”
Do you draw a lot of influences from other artists, or is there something more personal that helps bring out the music for you?
“My city, Toronto, influences me in a big way because I've experienced so many cultures here. I've met people from all over the world, and this shapes my music in the biggest way. Rap music has always been about storytelling, but my flavour of rap music is more than that - it's about being fearless.”
Most artists talk about authenticity in their music, but what is the most important thing for you when writing a song? Is it that sense of self, or maybe something more?
“Originality. Originality. Originality.”
“The priority is to give my fans something they can't get anywhere else.”
How do you ensure that? What sort of process do you go through to make a song really stand out and come together?
“For me, songwriting is about communication. What do I want to communicate in this song? Do I want to go on a rampage and start rapping? Do I want to tell a specific story about something in my life? Do I want to make a song that I can dance to, and enjoy as a dancer?”
“I'll set the general direction for where I'm going, and then put my unique touch on it.”
Your current single, ‘YOUNOTREADY’ has been something of a tearaway success already. Tell us a bit about that track.
“I wanted to make this song as "rhythmically" unique as possible. Every single person in the studio told me not to pick this beat because it sounds crazy. So, I went ahead and did it anyway #YOLO”
What’s next for you as an artist?
“I’m releasing a lot of new music. I’m hosting parties in Toronto to meet my fans in person. And also doing my first set of shows with a 3-city tour for Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa. I think the key to my success in this business is to focus on the fans and spend a lot of time in the studio.”
It’s been wonderful speaking with you, Ashiq, is there anything you would like to say to our audience and your fans?
“Rap and hip-hop can mean different things to different people - we live in a very diverse world. The magical power of music can close this gap and bring people together. We've all had these amazing experiences at concerts, clubs, parties, where you feel a part of something bigger, and it's a good feeling to have. As a rapper and a performer, I want to bring this experience to your friends and your city. Let's make moments together and let's start now.”
With ‘YOUNOTREADY’ available now on all major platforms and continuing to impress fans and critics, 2022 looks like it’ll be a massive year for Ashiq, and we can’t wait to see what he produces next. Check out the new single above and make sure you follow him on his social media pages, so you never miss a new release or live event.
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