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KAYTRANADA: A GROOVE OF HIS OWN

By Nicole Ghapgharan

Haitian-born, Montreal-bred producer/DJ KAYTRANADA has earned three Grammy nominations: Best New Artist, Best Dance/Electronic Album for 2019’s BUBBA (RCA) and Best Dance Recording for “10%” f/Kali Uchis, which has generated more than 30m streams on Spotify.

BUBBA was also nominated for the 2020 Polaris Music Prize (KAYTRANADA won that award for his debut album, 99.9%, which also nabbed a Juno). The LP has earned widespread critical acclaim; Pitchfork, for one, called it “terrific,” noting the artist’s “ability to create albums that function as albums.”

KAYTRANADA (given name: Louis Kevin Celestin) is also half of the hip-hop duo The Celestics, alongside his brother, rapper Lou Phelps (originally Louis-Philippe Celestin). Other collaborators have included Pharrell, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Mary J. Blige, Robert Glasper, Anderson .Paak, Estelle, Tinashe, Mick Jenkins, GoldLink, Masego and AlunaGeorge. The musical chameleon has also earned co-signs from the likes of Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin, with whom he inked a publishing deal via Rubin’s JV with Pulse Music Group.

After teaching himself to DJ at 14 and to produce a year later, KAYTRANADA steadily built a buzz with a series of eclectic mixtape, remix and original projects on which he introduced his signature fusion of dance music, hip-hop and R&B.

He dropped his first release in 2010 under the moniker Kaytradamus, adopting his current nom de plume in 2012 as his unofficial remix of Janet Jackson’s “If” went viral on SoundCloud. He received a major vote of confidence in 2015 when he was invited to open for Madonna on two dates of her Rebel Heart Tour. He’s played more than 100 cities across the globe, including festivals like Coachella and Osheaga.

KAYTRANADA’s soulful, retro-leaning 99.9% was issued in 2016 on XL Recordings. The continuing refinement of his sound caught the ears of RCA A&R, which led to his signing in 2018. He then released the EP NOTHIN LIKE U / CHANCES, featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Shay Lia.

Though he introduced BUBBA only last December and put out an instrumental version just this year, KAYTRANADA revealed to Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1 that he’s already completed a follow-up album. His most recent release is the track “NIKE SHOE BOX.”

KAYTRANADA will compete in the Best New Artist category with Ingrid Andress, Phoebe Bridgers, Chika, NoahCyrus, D Smoke, Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion.

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