Following a monumental year including a Polaris Music Prize win, numerous accolades, while rocking festival stages and concert halls around the world, Toronto trailblazer Haviah Mighty shares a new video for Smoke featuring fellow Toronto artist, Clairmont The Second. The video was directed by Jon Riera and produced by VR specialists, Combo Bravo – watch Smoke here. Complex Canada joined Haviah and Clairmont The Second on set to capture the magic – watch their behind the scenes feature here.
Smoke is from her 2019 album, 13th Floor, which was awarded the Polaris Music Prize last year, standing as her most fully realized album to date. On the song, Haviah says, “Smoke manifested from the underdog experience. As a female in Hip-Hop, and as a black female in Canada, it often feels like I’m fighting the stereotypes and history that precedes me – fighting the ignorance – fighting the negativity – to be recognized as regular, as equal, and be given a fair chance in all facets. None of these preconceived ideas match what I feel within me, but I still remind myself of not only societal stigmas, but other people’s stigmas, and how that shapes their perception of me. How the hardships that blacks sometimes face, shapes others’ perceptions of us. And how, despite all the noise and ignorance, there is no one who can truly identify the ‘shape’ of you, but you. This song is to empower those in their self-affirming thoughts, and in the moments of necessarily reminding ourselves of our greatness. In this day in age, where we talk about ‘drama’ as smoke, I approach it from the opposing angle – let’s avoid that. Let’s just live, and be.”
Received to critical acclaim, 13th Floor is an outspoken, raw testament to the underdog experience. Fans across North America can experience Haviah’s unparalleled live set this month, as she heads out on tour. Haviah will perform her first headline show in the US e at New York’s Mercury Lounge on February 20, followed by shows at Le Belmont in Montreal alongside Lou Phelps, and Noise Pop Festival in Oakland, California. In March, she heads to western Canada for a show in Victoria, BC, followed by an exclusive Boiler Room set in Vancouver on March 11, with festival debuts at SXSW, Skeleton Park Arts Festival and Osheaga Music and Art Festival this summer. See below for all details.
In advance of the album release, Haviah made waves across Canada, sharing insight on the album through conversations with etalk, ELLE Canada, FLARE, NOW Magazine, SOCAN, Canadian Musician, Kreative Kontrol and The Strombo Show, and DJ Booth. Audiences witnessed her deliver fierce bars on Sideways Studio, Breakfast Television, CBC q and an exclusive performance of the album on CBC’s First Play Live.
13th Floor is Haviah’s most fully realized body of work to date following her acclaimed 2017 album, Flower City. In addition to being a member of renowned trio, The Sorority, Haviah has been releasing music independently since 2009. 13th Floor highlights Haviah’s vast musical influences and incredible production style. She co-executively produced the record with Tim ‘2oolman’ Hill (of A Tribe Called Red) and collaborated with numerous artists including Sean Leon (Waves), Clairmont The Second (Smoke), and her sister, Omega Mighty (Wishy Washy). Production features include 2oolman, Obuxum, Robotaki, Young Dreadz, Taabu, Lambo and her younger brother, Mighty Prynce.
The project highlights Haviah’s relentless work ethic and vast sonic influences. The album ranges from classic rap/hip-hop elements to inflections of sounds from Haviah’s Caribbean roots, frenetic electro and diverse instrumentation. The 13 tracks on the record are conceptual and fluid as they reflect Haviah’s journey over the past couple of years. Lyrical themes highlight experiences of Haviah’s upbringing, unlearning, rejecting societies deemed “ailments” to transcend expectations and perceptions of others, breaking barriers and stereotypes, the change and progression that evolves from challenges, not compromising to accommodate, and passages to self-love.