We talked to Toronto songstress Khadijah Lopez about her stunning new EP, Paradigm
Toronto, ON – The appreciation for female vocalists across the music industry has never been greater with the current rise of neo-soul artists like SZA, H.E.R. and Kehlani finally gaining the attention and the credit they deserve next to their male counterparts. Toronto’s Khadijah Lopez is undoubtedly one of the most stunning voices that Canadian R&B has to offer, and she’s an artist who is championing her own sound with a similar confidence and success. She recently released her debut EP, Paradigm and the project is a compilation of moving and honest personal reflections that are sparked by deeply intertwined R&B and soul influences.
With production from Jay Glavany, Juan Bennett, and Jordon Manswell (who has credits like Canadian rap talent Sean Leon) – the value of this project is high in every aspect. And with a feature from Toronto emcee Devontée, Paradigm seamlessly puts forth collaborations with some of Canada’s most creative minds and artists. We recently had the opportunity to speak to Khadijah about her new EP. With the same authenticity that she brings to her music, her reflections and humbleness make her an artist who we think will quickly become a favourite of yours, as well. Stream the new album below where you can also catch our candid conversation.
Khadijah Lopez: Q&A
HipHopCanada: Congratulations on the release of this EP and thanks for speaking with us about Paradigm. How long was this project in the works for you?
Khadijah: Thank you and HipHopCanada for your support! I was working on Paradigm from Mid December 2016 until late April just before the release – so roughly 5 months.
HipHopCanada: Did the songs on this EP come to you sporadically, or did you know the direction you wanted to take it from the beginning?
Khadijah: Literally 50/50. Some of these songs are actually ancient lol, but they held onto their energy so I kept them. Others I wrote on the fly closer to the release date, like “Alluvit.” With that being said, the direction of the EP was most definitely decided once I accumulated what I felt was enough material to put together a project. From that point on, is when the whole theme of Paradigm was birthed.
HipHopCanada: What was your creative process like, and what did you want to say or communicate with this project?
Khadijah: I’ve been below the radar for a bit-doing a lot of song-writing and session work. So with this EP, besides the messages within the music itself, I wanted who I am as Khadijah Lopez, the artist, to transfer. I wanted people to get to know me, and so with this project my creative process was very open and honest.
HipHopCanada: There’s been such a warm reaction to this project and all of the great Toronto artists who contributed features, also. How did those collaborations come about?
Khadijah: Jay Glavany is the primary producer as well as a feature on the EP. I met him in 2014 during college, he quickly grew to become a very good friend of mine whom I’ve been making music with ever since- so that collaboration was inevitable and we’ll continue to collaborate. Devontée the other feature, happens to be close knit with Jay. I met Devontée for the first time while I was actually in a session with Jelleestone at OVO studios. I played him the track (Just For You), and he really liked it. The next time I was in the studio with him he laid his verse down.
HipHopCanada: It’s my understanding that Jordon Manswell also played a role in this EP (on “Every Door”). How did he help shape the project and what we hear on the production side of things?
Khadijah: I’ve known Jordon for a while now. “Every Door” absolutely spoke to me the first time I heard it – which was sometime in 2016. It took a while for me to write something on it, but when I finally did, the whole song came together so nicely. I can easily say Jordon helped me achieve a timeless and emotional track for this EP.
HipHopCanada: Which was the most fulfilling track for you to create?
Khadijah: That’s honestly such a difficult question because each song is 100% fulfilling in its’ own way…but since I have to choose, I’d go with the intro, “Weak” produced by Juan Bennett. I say this mainly because of how the entire thing came about. In the final stretch of my EP coming together, I was looking for an intro because I wasn’t fully satisfied with the one I had at the time. After expressing this and describing what I wanted to Juan, he decided to send me a beat he was planning on scrapping. As soon as I heard it, the melody jumped out of me – it was so instantaneous. I literally stopped what I was doing in that moment to record a rough demo. Most of the vocals in the track are actually takes from that original demo. Other than that I just love the intro so much because it has such a warm, nurturing energy and strong R&B vibe. Listening to it for me, is pure soul food.
HipHopCanada: It feels as though many listeners are still coming to grasp with how great this project is, but what else is in the cards for the near future?
Khadijah: I have so much love and respect for everyone listening, and I’m too grateful if my music resonates with you! Everyone tuning in can look forward to some releases, and more collaborations along the way before my second EP!