NXNE 2017: Zahraa’s Top 5

15 June 2017 / by Zahraa Hmood
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North by Northeast (NXNE) is starting up this Friday, June 16 with a diverse collection of acts from all over the globe and local talents in music, entertainment and the arts.

Turning 22 this year, NXNE has been a staple in Toronto’s summer music festival scene. In the past, NXNE saw musical acts from all over the world playing at different venues in the city, including Iggy & the Stooges, Bad Religion, De La Soul, to name a few.

Last year saw the introduction of the NXNE Port Lands Music Festival, a multi-day live event at the Port Lands in Toronto. Festival headliners included Father John Misty, Ghostface Killah, Mother Mother, Daniel Caesar, The Zolas and more.

NXNE Port Lands will span three days this year, from June 23 to 25. This year’s lineup will feature headliners Post Malone, Kaytranada (a new addition to the lineup, following the removal of Tyler, The Creator from the original) and Passion Pit.

Other heavy-weight artists include Tinie Tempah, Sleigh Bells, Bleachers, The Soul Rebels with Talib Kweli and Lizzo. Thirty-four acts total are slotted to play during the Port Lands Festival, including a good handful of Canadian bands and musicians, such as Ferraro, The Franklin Electric, Beach Season, Lost Cousins, among others.

NXNE kicks off this year with the Game Land e-Sports event and tournament, from June 16 to 18 at Yonge-Dundas Square. From then comes the classic Club Land event, with gigs curated at local venues by up-and-coming and veteran Canadian talents like Tasha the Amazon, Ian D’Sa of Billy Talent, The Dirty Nil and more.

For more information about North by Northeast, visit nxne.com

Check out Zahraa Hmood’s top 5 artists to look out for at NXNE Port Lands, in on-the-rise Toronto talent:

River Tiber

A multi-instrumentalist with a soulful voice, and a talent for capturing the darkness of this strange city we live in, River Tiber is one you cannot miss. Real name Tommy Paxton-Beesley, his out-of-this-world debut album Indigo features breakout hit “No Talk,” an ode to lost love, psychedelic rock track “Acid Test,” and the dreamy “West,” a collaboration with fellow Toronto singer and musician Daniel Caesar. River Tiber is sure to play these indie tracks during his set. He hits the stage on Sunday, June 25.


At only 16 years of age, singer-songwriter Ebhoni is making big waves in the music scene. Marrying classic R&B vocals with infectious pop, electronic beats, Ebhoni (full name Ebhoni O’Garro) gained traction online via YouTube with her euphoric hit “How Does It Feel?” With the release of her single “Killing Roses” in 2016, stacking up 200,000 plays on Soundcloud. Her debut EP Mood Ring has the fresh sounds you’ll be vibing to all summer long. She performs Saturday, June 24.


Lush, glittering, and topped off with gorgeous vocals, “Wet Dreams” by Saya was one of my songs of the summer last year. She dominates with vintage femme fatale aesthetics and attitude, and is creating buzz in the local scene with only three singles to her name. Her debut EP is set to come out at the end of this summer, leaving us in anticipation for what’s to come. She’s set to perform on Sunday, June 25.


Surviving your high school years gives you a brand new perspective on life and being young that can bring out awesome energy in your work. Slightly sardonic, but mostly having a lot of fun, K.i.D. is a band from Mississauga, Bobby Lo and Kara Lane, fighting the monotony of suburbia with loud garage pop. Their latest EP, Poster Child, looks at crushes, mental illness, and selfish love, infectious lyrics sung with outstanding range and power. The duo’s set to play on Saturday, June 24.


Shrouded in mystery as of late, EMP is looking to be the face of the new Toronto. The trio is made up of Eestbound (who’s done production work with Toronto powerhouse producer Wondagurl on Travis Scott’s “Antidote”), Milly and Pree. They put out a sound emblematic of the new Toronto: the three tracks they have out so far give late-night in the city trap vibes, braggadocious lyricism and stellar production. They’re set to perform on Friday, June 23. 

Take a listen to Zahraa’s interview with Michael Hollett, president of North by Northeast Festival below: