Catching up with Young Paris

We spoke to the Congolese-born, NYC/Montreal dweller and RocNation signee about the Afrobeat movement and more.


Young Paris. Photo by Jared Ruse

Since last we spoke, Congolese-born, New York City dwellin’ and sometimes Montreal resident Young Paris — whose African rhythm bent take on EDM and hip hop has compelled live audiences, video viewers and listeners with a sound and style all his own — has made some major headway in the international music and culture scenes.

The 27-year-old talent, signed this summer to Jay Z’s RocNation management imprint, has recently launched as a platform to share his larger cultural, political and artistic vision.

Between a jaunt to Atlanta and his Montreal return this Saturday, we caught up with Young Paris by email to see where the road out of Montreal has taken him.

Darcy MacDonald: Peace Paris! Please tell us where your travels have taken you since leaving Montreal.

Young Paris: I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a lot since our last interview in Montreal, I’ve been in Europe a lot, in Africa and performed in various cities in America. Just came back from L.A., actually.

DM: How did Montreal, in addition to all of your cultural roots, help you grow as an artist?

YP: Montreal is great.  I’m a New York resident who was born in Paris, so Montreal is the perfect mix of the two cities. I grew up speaking French so I feel pretty at home here.

DM: Where does your sense of fashion and making a statement intersect with your music?

YP: I’m an art director so visual aesthetic has always been a big part of my brand. And as a Congolese man, I come from a culture of “Sappeurs”, so I guess it’s part of my culture.

DM: Please bring us up to speed on your involvement in Afropunk?

YP: Afropunk reached out two years ago to perform in Brooklyn and I guess they liked my set because they kept on inviting me to perform at the Paris and Atlanta editions. I’m very grateful because Afropunk has been very supportive and their crowd has really embraced me.

DM: Huge congrats on your RocNation deal. What doors do you hope that helps open? Moreover, what good can you do in your social endeavours from that position, ideally?

YP: RocNation is awesome. My goal is simply to use that opportunity and push the Afrobeat movement to the mainstream and inspire my fellow Africans to keep up the hard work.

DM: What are you working on creatively, music and otherwise?

YP: Right now I’m working on some great collaborations and mainly focused on the Melanin brand — our site showcases the best of African culture.

DM: What can we expect at your Montreal homecoming show?

YP: I’ve invited my Congolese brother from Montreal, No Kliché, to turn shit up and show how we Congolese can tear the roof down! ■

Young Paris plays with guest No Kliché at Théâtre Fairmount (5240 Parc) on Saturday, Oct 22, 8 p.m., $12