Spotlight: Apollo Rae
Recording music at 13, Apollo Rae has been dedicated to perfecting his craft ever since. We talked about his recent work, the Ottawa music scene, and his best advice for aspiring artists.
Tell us about your latest single.
My latest single ‘No Silence’ was released September 20th as a single from my next project ‘A Party In The Afterlife’ (a collaboration with local artist NowNotHere)! The song circles around the obvious party vibe, living in the moment and not worrying about the next day or week. I’m currently 22 and attending Carleton University, and although I aim to in the future put out more conscious and deep-thinking music, sometimes the culture just needs that ‘let-loose’ party vibe song to make memories to, and that’s exactly what I achieved with ‘No Silence’!
I’ve got over two decades of experience being me. Why would I ever want to throw away all that work?
How did you get into music, when did you know that you wanted to make it a career?
As early as the sixth grade when I was age 10 or 11, I started writing remixes and worked on my craft for about two years before I started recording around 13. Music carried me through high school, giving me an outlet to vent out my stress, emotions or sometimes just to have fun. I worked on remixes for years, doing my best to show my different styles on my favourite tracks until about 19 when I realized I loved making music as much as I loved to eat and breathe. I took the time to research and study the music industry, re-brand and started thinking of the business aspect of everything and I put my foot down on the gas pedal and gave it my 150%. Fast forward to the summer of 2018 — I shut myself off from the world, wrote 90-100+ songs in a few months and then put out my first single as Apollo Rae ‘Alone’ — an R&B song about feeling lonely. Till this day it’s my most streamed song, and has gotten me fans all over Canada, US and over 30 other countries!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Most people are not aware but I’ve been dancing for longer than I’ve been writing and most of the time it goes hand-in-hand with the music I’m creating if it fits the vibe. I draw my main inspirations from music from Michael Jackson and Chris Brown — as in my eyes, they were and still are the best dancers to ever touch this earth and it’s not up for debate! I lean towards Chris Brown a little more as an all-around artist since he’s the only artist in the industry singing, dancing and rapping commercially at a top-tier level with all three, really. Artists like Chris Brown and newer artist Russ inspire me to work harder than I did the day before, and out-do nobody but myself, and that’s the mindset that got me where I am today! Other than them, I look up and also get inspired from artists like Ludacris, Jay Z, Ed Sheehan, Tyla Yaweh, Reo Cragun and Post Malone.
Comment on the hip hop/music scene in Ottawa.
Being completely honest, I feel like the Ottawa hip hop music scene needs to come together more. Personally I’ve witnessed people change up their energy in a matter of months from not even giving me the time of day, to acting like we’ve been tight for a minute, you know? Toronto for example, came together and got 10 – 15 artists on a project that made top 10 on Apple Music charts. Ottawa’s a whole half-decade away from showing each other that kind of love it seems. I mean there are most definitely artists who put the love of the art first before anything, and those are the artists I gravitate towards—their energy always remains the same, regardless of how I’m being perceived on social media at the time being. All in all, as a collective/city I feel like Ottawa artists should just show more love to each other. It might seem all nice and friendly at face level, but behind the scenes it’s a very different story. I’ve just had to keep a circle of the right minded people to keep me sane from all this.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
When it comes to my career, the biggest issues I face are almost always rooted from the same problems. During the last few years, my biggest difficulty has been finding the right set of people to keep up with the drive & work ethic I have — that and anything that stops me from being able to put a record or a project out. Whether it be me not being able to sing two/three years ago but having over 30 R&B/Pop/Alternative songs written, or me not having the right connections for the kind of equipment I needed. How I problem solve is just putting myself in that ‘future’/already resolved mental state and working backwards from the resolution until the result I needed is reached; almost like I’m giving myself the right answers to my own questions without ever second guessing it.
Tell us what it’s like when you’re performing.
Stage performing is one of the most adrenaline-fuelled, exciting sports I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve played non-American football, rugby, basketball, squash, track and field, and more — and I can personally say there’s almost no other thing I do more naturally and enjoy more than the performance of my music. Not only is it something that requires and uses a lot of my energy and breath control, but after a certain point of every performance, there’s this feeling similar to a runner’s high and as soon as it’s hit — I’ve got that confidence that I’m leaving that room with everybody a fan, and honestly there’s no better feeling.
What advice do you have for anyone trying to get into the music industry?
Internalize everything. Don’t do it to impress anybody. If you want to have fun, have fun, but if you’re serious about your craft and you want to become the best of the best — there’s nobody you compare yourself to and try to out-do but yourself. There’s nobody you’re better at being than yourself, and that’s just the reality of it! As simple as it seems it’s not something that’s done so much in this industry. I’ve got over two decades of experience being me. Why would I ever want to throw away all that work?
What’s next for you? Any works-in-progress that you’re focusing on at the moment?
For me right now, I’m focusing on finishing my 2019 year off with my final three EPs of the year, one of them being a collaboration project with local artist NowNotHere, and the other two being solo R&B projects. There are a number of elements being worked and planned behind the scenes, from my early 2020 projects, big name features to the few ways I intend on increasing my stage presence — so to my fans and supporters, just know Apollo Rae is nowhere near final form!
What’s your favourite song to perform live?
Murcielago is most definitely my favourite track of mine to perform. With the runner up being Familiar With My Roots, Murcielago I feel just takes the listener to a whole different planet with the song’s vibe from the vocals on the hook to the hard-knocking bass, to the child-like ‘I don’t care if you like this or not’ style I took on the song!