By Jonathan Crane
Calgary rapper Sinzere has channeled a lifetime of music and the resiliency of her family into a career that’s landed her on the same stage as artists like Elephant Man, Obie Trice, and Mavado.
The young artist originally began as a dancer, then naturally drifted into DJing and MCing. It’s a process that started in childhood, where the love of music was passed down through the generations of her Jamaican family.
“My mom was hugely influenced by funk and early R&B and soul. And then my grandma, she’d have 45s and a lot of reggae cuts,” says Sinzere.
While Sinzere was born in Calgary, both her mother and grandmother were born in a tin shanty in Jamaica, both were single mothers. When they arrived in Canada in search of a better life they were met with a tumultuous beginning. At the age of seven an abusive relationship forced them to relocate to Toronto.
“The reason why we moved in the first place is because my sister’s dad was an addict and he was very abusive. He made an attempt on my mom’s life, and so it was more like we ran to Toronto,” she says.
Once there they lived in a one-bedroom apartment, in a state of perpetual fear of being tracked down by her sister’s father. In one instance he almost succeeded.
“He almost burned down the apartment that we were in and we almost died,” says Sinzere.
Witnessing her mother emerge as an author and business owner after overcoming this painful situation and subsequent hardships is what has given Sinzere the strength to forge ahead as an artist.
“All those trials and tribulations, her walking through that fire, for it to be able to burn her completely down to ashes and for her to rise again like a phoenix, it was one of the biggest inspirations,” says Sinzere.
Her mother’s resiliency and triumph are now the central themes of Sinzere’s forthcoming album, Ghetto Gabby, a narrative hip-hopera in which the beginning of the album is the ending, a decision she says will become apparent to listeners as they progress through each track.
“The general theme is just understanding that what you go through, your beginning, it’s not who you are, or what you’ll end up being,” says Sinzere. “There’s so much more to the story.”
Sinzere performs Friday, Sept. 13 at Container Bar (Calgary)Calgary, Sinzere