Ones to Watch: March 2013

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Former MuchMusic VJ Denise Benson has a new feature in the Grid: a monthly round-up of Toronto talents making big moves in the weeks ahead. Here’s a look at who’s currently creating buzz, and why.

Who: Tanika Charles a.k.a. Mz. Chawlz (pictured above)

What: R&B powerhouse in the Massey Hall spotlight, with debut album to follow

Why: Supremely talented singer-songwriter and vocalist Tanika Charles has made confident strides toward centre stage since the release of her impressive debut EP, What​!​What​?​What​!​?, in 2010. Charles’ bang-on blend of soul, blues, R&B, hip-hop, and pop turned heads. Songs from the EP, like “SillyHappyWild,” received loads of CBC Radio play, while others caught the ears of television audiences. (“Dancing With Your Ghost” was aired in February on HBO’s Less Than Kind, while “I Am Your Woman” recently played during the fourth episode of CityTV’s new comedy series, Seed.) As revealed in a 2012 One to Watch article about Charles, the vocalist has been at work on her debut full-length, collaborating with producers including Slakah the Beatchild. The album is expected by early summer, but CBC Radio program Here and Now offered listeners a preview when it aired new song “Waiting” as the show’s Song of the Week for March 4-8. Recently named one of 15 Black Canadian Artists to Watch in 2013 by Huffington Post Canada, Charles is set to follow her November 2012 performance at Massey Hall as part of the Women’s Blues Revue with a spotlight show for the Hall’s intimate Canadian Songbook series. (You may have noticed a photo of the songstress beaming out from the Roy Thomson Hall billboard.)

Where & When: Tanika Charles performs this Wednesday, March 13, at The Rivoli (334 Queen W.). More information and $19.50 tickets are available on the Massey Hall site.

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