From local DJ to one of electronic music’s hottest acts, Kaytranada is a name that some of you may have heard before and for others, will be one to discover. He’s known as one of the greatest producers and remixers in the music scene right now and by far, one of my favorites (and a fellow Montrealer too!) Ever since his remix of Janet Jackson’s “If” went viral, people cannot get enough of his work (even Miss Janet liked his version!). His debut studio album, 99.9%, a mix of R&B, hip-hop and electronica, features a slew of guest collaborators, such as Anderson. Paak, Craig David and Vic Mensa among others.
Who is Kaytranada?
Louis Kevin Celestin (a.k.a Kaytranada), was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in the city of Montreal, Quebec. Growing up in the suburbs, life wasn’t easy for Kay; his parents got divorced when he was just a teenager, he dropped out of high school to tour and support his family financially, and for years, he had struggled with depression due to his sexuality. In a recent interview, he said that coming out to his family wasn’t easy, mainly because Haitians don’t appreciate gay people. However in the end, both his brother and mother were supportive about it.
“I’m not just a remix guy…”
In 2013, Kay flew to Halifax for a gig and soon enough, he started booking shows across Europe, going from producing music in his basement, to touring around the world. Although he was touring and making money, it was keeping him from working on the album that he had put on hold for awhile. In 2014, he signed a deal with XL Recordings, the London label which is home to Adele and M.I.A. However Kay wanted to be known as an artist, not just a remixer or a DJ; with the thought of getting his album out, maybe he’d be able to show the world what he’s really about.
When Madonna calls…
In 2015, Kay had the opportunity (and honor), to be the opening act for two nights of Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour, one in Canada and one in the U.S. What’s even crazier is that she’s the one who reached out to him and asked him to open up for her show (how can you say no to the Queen of Pop?). At first, he was hesitant, but eventually, she called him and convinced him over the phone; he couldn’t even believe it himself.
What’s next for Kay?
His goal ever since he started making beats, has been to produce for rappers; although he’s sent beats to Drake and Kanye, he hasn’t had much luck with that. But for now, the focus is on the release of his debut album, a chance for the world to see what Kaytranada will bring to the table as an EDM artist. His unique style of house, disco and hip-hop all in one definitely makes him stand out from others and perhaps one day, big-name rappers will be coming to him.
Listen to the tracks below: