Come Thru: Winnie Churchill – the Toronto-born rapper who’s turning up the culture in Atlantic Canada
Come Thru is a weekly social media takeover series from HipHopCanada that puts a spotlight on the people and places moving the culture forward.
We first heard about Winnie Churchill after our Instagram inbox was flooded with his name as a result of a question we posted on our Stories – “Name the next Canadian rapper that’s next to blow up.” Answer after answer, “Winnie Churchill” popped up – it was clear he had a solid group of supporters and they’re the reason we took action to learn more.
After doing some digging on Winnie, I got in touch with him and hopped on a call – I was intrigued. I learned that he was born and raised in Toronto and then decided to make a move to Newfoundland with the intent of building the hip-hop community there — so far, looks like he’s doing a damn good job.
He recently released his album “i” (in collaboration with producer Cartermusic), and I’ve listened to it front to back several times since it’s dropped. Winnie’s raspy and melodic flow layered on simple beats with witty lyricism are what kept me going back. My favourites – “Liquor & Lust,” “Your Own Skin,” and “Four Courses.”
We caught up with Winnie to learn more about his project and the inspiration behind it – check out our interview with him below and peep Winnie’s Instagram Stories takeover live today @HipHopCanada to learn more him and get a sense of the inspiration and personality behind the music.
Q&A: Winnie Churchill
HipHopCanada: What is the meaning behind the album title “i”?
Winnie Churchill: It’s funny, it’s about people reading it. So when someone reads it, I want it to set a reminder to start with “i. Themselves. We live in a generation that is filled with suicide. Mental Illness is in the air. People finding everything wrong with themselves from an outside eye. For example, thinking that something is wrong if they’re not as popping as the person on T.V. or Instagram. It’s about letting people know they should start with themselves, and letting people know if you start there, you’ll find you have a little bit more control behind the wheel.
Being “i is about being bold, being confident in who you are, and knowing that there is no specific way you have to be and that whoever you happen to be right now, and who ever you’re working towards, [is the only] person is all you need.
HipHopCanada: Is there an overarching narrative for the album that you want fans to take from?
Winnie Churchill: No, well outside of “love”. Nah, I want people to find a narrative on their own. I want people to find words in the album that dictate how they feel, a song that makes them think. I remember listening to Lil Wayne and relating every word to myself and painting my own picture. It [creates] a better relationship between the artist and the listener.
HipHopCanada: Who were your creative inspirations for the tracks?
Winnie Churchill: Everyone.
HipHopCanada: Do any of the tracks stand out to you personally?
Winnie Churchill: Yeah, they all do. But ‘Four Courses’ and “Beat It” are probably the closest to my heart. One is about everything I’ve went through (the mental switch) to get to this point, and one is about the love of my life. The balance between reality and mind games,
HipHopCanada: Describe the sound of the album, the beats, the melodies, how would you describe the flow?
Winnie Churchill: Beat-wise, I am kind of simplistic. I am not looking for the biggest beat, or the biggest 808. Melodies, they just come to me, kind of hear them in my head before they come out. And flow, my friends call it broken english. (Laughs) You know if you listen to the full song, you’re like okay, maybe I don’t get it. But you listen word by word you’ll find something or a sentence along the way that hits home.
HipHopCanada: Who should listen to ‘i’?
Winnie Churchill: Hopefully everyone. It was made that way.
HipHopCanada: Any shout outs to anyone who helped bring the album to life?
Winnie Churchill: Where do I start? My main dude and executive producer on the album, Cartermusic. The master of the album Corey LeRue (Neon Dreams Producer). The genius behind some of the mixing process, Ben Hamel; The melody and drum god, Halftraxx (East Coast DJ). The vocal gods who featured, Heather Goosney, Kayo, Tomie White – who helped conclude the story, the album. The instrumental gods, Declan Seviour, Greg Bruce, Jason Howard, and Jim Nugent. And, of course, the mastermind of what you see and don’t see, Simon Henley. And, so much more. Love.
HipHopCanada: In a singles-driven market, why release a body of work?
Winnie Churchill: I have a lot of support in the East Coast of Canada and a lot of support in Toronto, where I was born and raised – a lot of people that have been waiting so patiently for years on me. I’ve been broadcasting me making music for two years now so, I had to give these people something to hold on to, something that they were proud to listen to over and over again. Also, I didn’t want to cater to one type, I wanted to make sure that if you didn’t like track one. you’d like track two.
Written by Maricel Joy Dicion for HipHopCanada