The stage was hazy, dimly lit with hues of purple and blue, as the crowed thickened and waited for the artist alternatively known as “Pen Griffey”. Bryson Tiller made his Ottawa debut at CityFolk Festival, entering the stage on a softer note with “Difference”, the very first track off his first-and-only album Trapsoul. The excitement was high for his Ottawa fans as he’s been in Canada a handful of times before but the capital city had yet to be a stop on the road (to which he apologized for later in the night, promising to come back to Canada just for his Ottawa fans). The smooth-singing ladies man brought out a solid crowd for his first time in the city and even some stragglers who were curious about who he was. He was pleasantly surprised and humbled by the energy he received, almost as if he wasn’t expecting as much love as he was getting.
Filmed and Written by Chizzle
Tiller has an attention-grabbing, relatable story which he shared in bits and pieces throughout the night with “day one fans”, new fans, and those who had no idea who the up-and-comer was. First sharing with the crowd that he’s a father to a three-year-old daughter and was working at Papa Johns when his claim to fame came knocking. “I found a beat on Soundclick and I said ‘okay, let me record to this'”; This was the beginning of the Trapsoul saga for Tiller as that song is now his breakout hit “Don’t”. The single alone brought accolades from his favourite producers, a cosign from Drake, and now over 41 million views on YouTube. Between every few songs the Louisville artist had an anecdote to share, mostly about his come up and ex girlfriends; It was like a conversation between friends.
The set played on through his Trapsoul track list including “Sorry Not Sorry”, “Overtime”, “The Sequence”, and countless other platinum-sold songs. While he’s been able to ride the wave of his debut album for an entire year, Tiller hinted at new music releases coming soon. The night did not end there as Tiller continued the party at PPL Nightclub in downtown Ottawa, bringing with him Joey Badass who performed at Cityfolk earlier in the night. The two popped Ace of Spades bottles at the club in a VIP booth and let loose some of the city’s finest party-goers. Before exiting the building, Tiller got on the mic and professed his love for the capital city and his desire to move here. We’ll put you up at Parliament with Trudeau.
Thumbnail Photo: Marc DesRosiers