Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Polaris Prize Winner Kaytranada Dreams of Hearing from Erykah Badu

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Polaris Prize Winner Kaytranada Dreams of Hearing from Erykah Badu

Article excerpt

Kaytranada wins Polaris Music Prize


TORONTO - This year's Polaris Music Prize winner Kaytranada has the stamp of approval from Madonna and the adoration of Janet Jackson fans -- but he's still holding out for the love of Erykah Badu.

The Haitian-Canadian producer, 24, wasted little time after winning the Polaris prize for his album "99.9%" before revealing his dream to collaborate with the soulful "On & On" singer.

"Erykah Badu, please holler at me," the soft-spoken musician said as he spoke to reporters late Monday.

"Answer my text messages."

Perhaps winning one of Canada's most prestigious music prizes -- one that has been given to Arcade Fire and Caribou in the past -- will help the producer get the attention of Badu, who is known for being incredibly selective of who she works with.

If that doesn't happen in the short term, Kaytranada still has the bragging rights of being the first Polaris winner in its 11-year history to have roots in the sounds of hip hop and soul.

"I know this is something that's been here for years," he said of the prize.

"Now my name is on the checklist for history."

Kaytranada, who was born Louis Kevin Celestin, has been slowly gaining popularity in underground music circles ever since he released his first tracks in 2010.

His reworking of Janet Jackson's 1993 hit "If" went viral four years ago, which helped him grab the attention of Madonna. She handpicked him to open two stops on her Rebel Heart Tour last year.

But it was "99.9%" that put him on the radar with mainstream critics and audiences, partly for the album's numerous collaborations with hip hop and R&B favourites like Anderson Paak, Little Dragon and U.K. singer Craig David.

Other songs with Chance the Rapper and Talib Kweli only contributed to the producer's credibility.

But part of Kaytranada's appeal is that he transcends genres with songs that fuse elements of hip hop, electronic, disco and soul music into a package that's hard to define.

If his approach serves as an example for younger musicians trying to find their sound then Kaytranada will be pleased.

"I hope the next generation are not afraid to do more," he said, dressed in overalls and a cap. …

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