By Leyland Bradley
“I just got back from Coachella”, says Aaron Hoffman, aka BC-rapper SonReal, in a voice filled with the sort of excitement you’d expect from someone fresh from a few days in a desert musical oasis. “Honestly, for me, Coachella is more of a grind. It’s go-go-go, and by the end of it you’re just annihilated.”
Was it worth it? “Yes.”
His favourite performance? “Weezer. Hands down.”
SonReal is one of the most creative and hardest working rappers in Canada. Fresh from another JUNO nomination, this time for Video of the Year—his fourth JUNO nom since 2013—SonReal recently announced his first world tour to accompany his upcoming introspective full-length, The Aaron LP, out May 10.
Seven countries in three months is a lot for any artist, but for SonReal, touring is all about connecting with his fans around the world.
“When an artist is really cult and they’re bubbling and boiling, and the fans are loving it, things can happen really quickly. It’s out of everyone’s hands at that point,” he says.
“When I played Europe last time, I could see people singing my songs, watching me and just singing along. I mean, I’m not the biggest artist in the world, so seeing that made me want to make more music, better music.”
After the release 2017’s One Long Dream, SonReal commemorated the passing of his father with the song and video “My Friend.” The need to tell his story and rethink what sharing his private life versus public life meant to him paved the way for a new approach.
“The Aaron LP is what my mom, my sister or my dad would think sounds the most like me. After my dad passed, I was like, ‘I’ve got to say whatever the hell I’ve got to say,’ so this is really the first time I’ve been this vulnerable and this open on an album. It also sounds really cohesive. I literally recorded the entire thing in one room, by myself. It was just me.”
Passionate would be an understatement for SonReal. Now 33 years old, SonReal still puts in the work, and he’s confident in what the future holds.
“Honestly, I’ve been doing this for so long. There’s no telling how big this is going to get,” he says. “I’m so hyped. I’m excited. I’m just beaming.”
SonReal performs May 22 at Commonwealth (Calgary), May 23 at the Starlite Room (Edmonton) and May 26 at the Capital Ballroom (Victoria)Capital Ballroom, Commonwealth Bar, SonReal, Starlight Room