Some recognizable faces are in Toronto today at Scotiabank Arena for WE DAY. The We Movement is a coalition of organizations which band together to enable change and progression with a focus on youth. Various speakers and performers have been engaged to appear at the Toronto edition of the day, which tours other cities including New York, Vancouver and Los Angeles.
Appearing this year in Toronto are the likes of James Arthur, Emilio Estevez, David Suzuki, Johnny Orlando, Jenna Ortega, Connor Franta, Penny Oleksiak and more.
One of 2016’s biggest emerging stars hails right here from Toronto. Francesco Yates already has infiltrated our airwaves with a soulful, ambient sound mature beyond his youth. Chances are you’re already a fan and don’t even realize it. Writing since the age of 11 when he first learned to play instruments, and signed at age 16 by Atlantic Records (Warner Music), Yates has released two singles, Call and Better to be Loved. Each has gained popularity successively and with his debut album in the works, we wait with great anticipation for the rest of the world to discover one of our own.
We chat with Yates today at Yonge-Dundas Square, setting a quick block of time prior to a surprise acoustic set which was delayed as an intoxicated man was being disruptive in the area early on an early Sunday afternoon. His performance, sponsored by Telus and MTV Canada, was to raise awareness for the #CallForChange initiative in support of the forthcoming We Day – coming October 1, 2015. He’s dressed in black, even more youthful than I’d imagined and calm despite the bustle and a late-night trek to Toronto from Montreal where he opened for UK chart-topper Jess Glynne.
A request for collaboration was made to fans to come to one-day-only kiosks at the venue, to record submissions towards a Remix for Yates’ track Call. “You can make a video jamming to Call. For each video made, $10 goes to Feed the Children“, he says about the initiative. “We’re inspiring change with technology. I mean, we’re always on our phones.”.
On his greatest current influences, Yates reveals, “I love OVOXO and PartyNextDoor colour palettes.”. “As well I like the classical pop of Bruno Mars. I like mixing new and old.”.
I ask the free-haired Singer/Songwriter to tell me his strangest quirk and it actually is mundanely surprising. “I’ve never eaten a hamburger. Something hasn’t drawn me to it”, he tells me. “I’ll be the only human not to eat a burger in the entire world.”.
Yates’ debut disc is due early 2016 and he’s been working with the likes of Pharrell, among others to craft a sound that the public will respond to in solidarity. For now, you can purchase his eclectic EP here.
Learn more about the #CALLFORCHANGE initiative right here.
I honestly don’t believe my luck! Anyone who knows me well will know about my v. public J-Hud Obsession phase, which had me seeing Dreamgirls at the theatre seven times, not to mention the giant Poster on my wall, Fridge Magnets, Postcards, Deluxe Edition Soundtrack, Three-Disc Limited Edition DVD. The Mania went even further as I went on a mission to snatch-up every Magazine Cover featuring her during her Oscar Campaign. You name it, I had it. Things got so bad for a while that I stopped supporting Beyoncé (we’re okay again), her on-screen Nemesis. Jennifer Hudson for a good 18 months was my Female Alter-ego.
And you can just imagine how devastated I was last year when she couldn’t make her Premiere at TIFF 2011 for WINNIE, which has her portraying Winnie Mandela! It still was v. cool however, meeting her Co-Star Terrence Howard!
Today was my lucky day as I took Billy on a stroll through Yorkville at Lunchtime to notice an Escalade parked uncharacteristically right in-front of Nervosa Trattoria. Noticing the window was rolled a third-down, right before my eyes I saw the Oscar and GRAMMY Winner. Within moments, she came out of the Car with her Handler, amazingly nice to come over to stop for a Photo. Even in casual mode, she looked stunning – proudly sporting that amazing improved physique!
Hudson is in-town for two reasons: she appears tomorrow at Air Canada Centre, performing at We Day – celebrating inspiration and global change among Youth – and on Saturday, she makes her way to historic Fort York to perform at Bliss Ball, in support of SickKids‘ Patient Amenities Fund. A big Heart to match that big Voice.
Make no mistake though, the Chicago Native actually knows Toronto real well. She Tweeted yesterday, “On my way to Canada !! Toronto is my old stomping ground. It’s like home. I’m excited.”.
And while we’re on the topic, WINNIE also happens to open in theatres on Friday, October 5, 2012. I am hosting a Giveaway for Tickets along with D Films and District PR for Passes across Canada. Enter here.
Although she was unable to make it out to TIFF 2011 for Winnie for which she is said to deliver a strong performance, Oscar and GRAMMY Winner Jennifer Hudson is Toronto-bound at month’s end to spread a bit of goodwill. In addition to a recently-announced appearance at WE Day to help inspire change among Youth on Friday, September 28, 2012 at Air Canada Centre, she also is now slated to appear at the Bliss Ball on Saturday, September 29, 2012 in Fort York, for the SickKids Hospital Patient Amenities Fund.
Suffice it to say, she’s more than making-up for last year’s Toronto snub?
D Films will be releasing Winnie v. soon. Passes possibly to come? Stay tuned.