Community FeatureEntertainment

Nathan Gravelle

Nathan Gravelle, also known as Thrilla, is a music entrepreneur, manager, and curator from Ottawa, Canada, with Jamaican roots. He began his career as a music promoter in the mid-2000s and later expanded his expertise to include public relations and online media through his platform CapCityHipHop, an influential online platform focused on supporting Ottawa’s hip-hop scene. It quickly became a go-to source for discovering local talents and international artists touring the city. Through CapCityHipHop, Thrilla engaged with industry executives and musicians, gaining valuable insights into nurturing emerging talents.

Thrilla’s investments included booking performances for up-and-coming artists in the National Capital Region, attracting nearly 10 artists from outside the city within a few years. Additionally, he partnered with CapCityHipHop to sponsor major events in Ottawa, such as the inaugural CRANIUM Festival. 

Throughout his decade-long involvement with Ottawa’s local artists, Thrilla developed a close relationship with rising star Pressa, a Toronto rapper who toured with Drake and gained recognition from the industry. Inspired by their collaboration, Thrilla expanded his role to become Pressa’s publicist in 2017. He also took on the responsibilities of managing Pressa’s independent record label, Blue Feathers Records. 

In 2020, Thrilla discovered and signed Ottawa artist TwoTiime to his management company, TWLV 6XTN. Their journey together will soon culminate in the announcement of a major record deal. We caught up with Gravelle to discuss what’s next in 2024.

What are your goals for CapCityHipHop in 2024?

CapCityHipHop has a lot in the works for 2024. We recently launched the record label side of the company and teamed up with Foundation Media to amplify distribution avenues for BIPOC artists in Ottawa and across Canada. We are also going to launch our new website and are looking to add some new creatives to the team. We aim to build more of a presence in the community at the universities and colleges, connecting hip-hop more with our community and the younger generation. Our motto is AMF = Always Moving Forward, and that’s what CapCityHipHop is going to continue doing. 

You’ve worked to bring artists to Ottawa while also cultivating emerging talent from the city. Who are some notable artists on both sides?

The list keeps growing with successful concerts being brought to Ottawa, including Toronto’s Casper TNG, K Money, Top5, Jigsaw, Burna Bandz, Houdini, and JNeat. Other standout performances include 3MFrench, BVLLY, Roadrunner, and Aaron Cohen from New York City. These concerts have become notable additions to my portfolio of successful events in Ottawa.

My dedication to working with emerging talent expands not just in Ottawa but also across Canada and, more recently, in the United States. After leaving Ottawa in 2016 and joining Toronto rapper Pressa’s management team, known for touring with Drake and Tory Lanez, I achieved significant milestones by securing gold and platinum plaques for my contributions to two records—a goal I’d aspired to since childhood.

In 2019, I discovered local Ottawa rapper TwoTiime from the West End of Ottawa, who attended the same high school, Woodroffe High School, as I did. Our connection started when he posted on social media that he was looking for a manager. I signed him to my management company and brought on my childhood friend Ziad “Big Zee” Ashkar as co-manager, with Sean “Frost” McRae joining as part of the management team, serving as TwoTiime’s advisor.

After releasing several singles, our efforts resulted in a two-single deal with WorldStarHipHop in America. Continuously dedicated to developing TwoTiime, Polo G reached out, leading to a major record deal with his label ODA Records in partnership with Columbia Records. Recently, we released TwoTiime’s first single, “Priceless,” under the label, setting the stage for an exciting lineup of new music in 2024.

Who are some Ottawa-based artists to watch for in 2024?

 I would say, keep an eye out for new music from TwoTiime, Ottawa artist Shubz, Nino Coreleone, JAIoftheRise and AK-SLIM from Calgary. While I work with many other artists, I believe these artists mentioned are really going to make some noise in 2024.

What is some of your best advice for aspiring artists or promoters? 

To the younger artists, keep striving for what you want out of life. It won’t happen overnight, but if you give up, it won’t happen at all. Make sure to eat healthy, educate yourself or connect with mentors like myself who can help educate and guide you. As for the promoters, we need to keep the resources and networks in our city. There are a lot of artists and companies like CapCityHipHop that can handle the work right here in Ottawa instead of outsourcing it to others. I would like to see our community come together more, support each other, and show love.

What’s next for you in 2024?

In 2024, I will be focusing most of my time on CapCityHipHop, artist management, and digital marketing. CapCityHipHop has a lot in store for the new year, and we update news and entertainment daily. Make sure to follow to stay updated. I also recently launched a digital marketing company, TWLV 6XTN, that will focus on offering services to independent artists, labels, and businesses. As a business owner and entrepreneur, you wear many hats and come across different paths, so I look forward to all the collaborations and connections in the upcoming year.

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