Anyone from Vancouver knows that the city has a very specific sound. But as the city grows and the music scene evolves, we start hearing new genres, voices, and styles. Safe & Sound music fest is not just a music festival, it’s a platform for up and coming talent in the city to share their sound and grow as an artist.
Our team went down to Westminster Pier Park for the festival and spoke with a few local artists to hear their thoughts on Vancity’s growing music scene.
A Filipino-Canadian hip-hop duo consisting of childhood friends Soliven and Neeko. They’ve been making music together since 2016, aiming to create songs that resonate with other kids who grew up in a similar situation.
“We want to show people how we grew up in the city,” says Neeko. “There’s so many stories that people want to tell that they just don’t get the chance to and I feel like now that we have the chance to, we’re really going to articulate that.”
As immigrants from the Philippines, the pair has hustled their way to gain a following in the west coast of Canada. “It’s just about Vancouver for us, man,” says Soliven. “Obviously back [in the Phillipines] also, but we do it for the city.”
When it comes to Safe and Sound, Neeko appreciates what it has done for the local crowd.
“I think these festival bring in Vancouver to the world stage. We’re bringing in bigger artists and I feel like it’s really inspiring people because anybody, any musician here in the city now has a place to perform and they have a goal now to be in one of these festivals. And that’s us. That used to be us and we’re so happy to be a part of it.”
And some advice:
“We’re just trying to show the youth that anything is possible. Set your mind to it. Have a good team around you. And you can do this stuff. And it’s dope that Vancouver is really doing this for the city.”
This hip-hop duo is made up of frontman Sam Lucia and producer Geoffrey Millar. Together, the guys are creating a sound that’s a bit darker and rougher than most hip-hop. Lucia and Millar agree that festivals like Safe & Sound Fest are a “step in the right direction.”
“Vancouver infrastructure for me is pretty bare, especially for up and coming artists,” says Miller. “Stuff like this helps.”
Vancouverites may have a preconceived notion of what local artists sounds like, but when these same artists are given a chance to play alongside massive international headliners, audience members unfamiliar with them may be surprised by what they hear.
“This is the sort of festival that shows you what people are really worth,” says Lucia. “And I think to be able to put a lot of these local people that actually don’t sound local with international artists is exactly what we’re all in it for.”
The Vancouver-based singer knows what it’s truly like to be a struggling artist in the city. Despite the difficulty, her drive to succeed has helped her land gigs at festivals like Safe & Sound and Rifflandia in Victoria.
“It’s a challenging city to thrive in because it is so expensive and people work really hard here to have the quality of life they want,” she says. “So sometimes it’s hard to get people out to shows and I think actually physically coming out to shows and being a part of a story I think we’re moving in that direction. It’s exciting to see that.”
Compared to Toronto, Danai thinks that Vancouver needs a “little catching up.” But one thing she wants to ingrain in artists is the ability to help others that are also striving to raise in their musical rank. “See how you can help and uplift other artists too,” she says. “If you’ve taken a step up, look back and see who’s on that step down, and see if you can take them up too.”