Having performed as a supporting act for Madonna’s tour, Kaytranada made a partnership with Rick Rubin while producing music with Anderson Paak and Kendrick Lamar. Kaytranada‘s biography is full of the names of star musicians. He still has his base in his hometown, Montreal. Neither forgetting his own roots, nor changing his approach. No matter how famous he has become, he continues to develop his sound from his local background. Silver takes a closer look at the style of his work, as he continues to produce music that resonates across the world.
Born in Haiti. He moved to Montreal, Canada, starting to DJ at the age of 14. Sampling various classic songs, he produced his own remixes and posted them to SoundCloud. He became known through the Internet. Janet Jackson’s If Remix was one of the biggest hits out of the tracks he produced. The song made his name known around the world and led him to sign a contract with the prestigious XL Recordings. Signing a record deal is a musician’s dream. A typical scenario after this would be moving to Los Angeles and producing music in a luxurious studio, but that scenario wasn’t Kaytranada’s cup of tea. After signing with XL Recordings he moved to a new apartment from the home where he had lived for a long time, but he stayed in Montreal. “It’s where I grew up and where I can be 100% myself. The honest part which people listen to in my music can only be done in Montreal. If I’m working with other artists in a studio I don’t think this will be possible”. The scenery of the streets he has walked countless times, a corner shop, the local architecture… this is the Montreal where he has lived since childhood. This is his heart and the core of his life. Montreal is indispensable for his music production.
He continues to work in Montreal and his stance won’t change even when he collaborates with other artists. When composing with other artists he will often create beats in his own room and email them. “I understand that it’s great to work together in the same space when collaborating with other artists. Pharrell and Timberland value working in the studio together with other artists and I respect that. But when I work alone, no-one judges me and I can show my true self. At first, I found it difficult playing in public, so I started playing on my own and I just got used to that style. I’m most comfortable when producing at home alone and I can create something really good”. By working alone, in his own space, he is free to create his unique sounds. That is the foundation of Kaytranada’s magical music.
Another reason why he remains in his hometown is his family. When his family moved to Montreal they were not so well off, but they were closely knit and weathered some tough times together. “We still get together every Sunday. Whatever happens, we love each other. They are the best supporters I can ever ask for”.
It was his brother, Lou Phelps, who initially told Kaytranada about the music production software FRUITY LOOPS. Without his family, he wouldn’t have had his musical career. He can devote himself to music production in peace, because he is supported by his trusted family and has an environment in which he can reveal his true self.