Words by Jibril Osman

Photographs by Buruk Early

Toronto artist Julian Thomas has released his fourth single of 2018 called, “Doors” and is shaping up to have break through year this year. And before the release of the single, I had a conversation with Thomas about his upbringing, when he started to write, how his career progressed, where he is now and his new song.


So, I just wanted to start off by saying I know you grew up in Toronto, can you tell me about that?

Yeah, I grew up in the west end of Toronto for the most part and just kind of learned to stay solid in the melting pot you know.  


And I know you started writing music at the age of 9, what made you start?

So, I started writing music essentially, well I wasn’t really writing music at that point, I was just kind of writing to get little stuff that was bothering me off my chest and kind of communicate. Because I would see my parents writing their fights out, so maybe I can write about what’s going in my head too. And when I was like 15 I started really recording.


So, when you were writing and recording at that time, were you showing your writing to other people at the time or was it just still for you to get things off your chest?

It was just for me and really, I don’t even think people even knew what I was doing. So, I would just hold it down for myself and then I ended up kind of practicing cadences and stuff and it was like a natural way to write songs for me.  


And at the time, who were the artists you were listening to that you kind of looked up to at the time?

During that time, it was kind of like a ton of different artists, like I was listening to everything. It was like Eminem to Mos Def to Pink Floyd and Bob Marley, so around that time I was listening to all sorts of stuff. Even R&B stuff like Jodeci, just a lot of stuff.


Julian Thomas by Buruk Early


And at what age did you realize this was more than a hobby for you and music was really starting to become your passion and it was something you can really do full time?

Initially, I had like a glimpse of what the future would look like when I was freestyling on basketball courts because the things that I was saying made sense and it was rhyming. And then when I started to record music by himself that was enough of a due diligence to myself and I was producing for myself. Then I got on fruity loops and started producing for others, which was an eye-opening experience using fruity loops.  


And I know you just said you were producing for yourself, but I know that you linked up with the producer FrancisGotHeat on a lot of your songs, can you tell me about how that connection came about?

Yeah, so me and Francis met up in the Remix project about 6 or 7 years ago now and I had already formed my own thing with producing, so I think that’s how him and I really connected in the beginning because we were able to throw out ideas back and forth easily.


And now so far in 2018 you’ve released 3 singles, “Need U Hear Close To Me, “and “All Eyez” and “Too Perspective,” can you tell me about these 3 songs?

Yeah, so these 3 singles are just like more of a reflection of where my life has been at these last 6 months, so me becoming less apologetic about where’ve I’ve been and what I have done. It’s kind of just coming to terms, like I really have nothing to be sorry for, I can kind of flex my muscles finally because I’m in a position to now.   


And I know you have an upcoming single coming out soon, can you talk about that too?

Yeah, so the single is called “Doors.” Essentially, it’s a song that I wrote because I’ve been through so many doors and there was a time in my life where my key chain was full of 15 different keys and there was a lot of responsibilities on my hip, so I made that song for myself to keep going and to reiterate there is a undying hustle in my heart that needs to be tapped into.  


Finally, for all of these singles, can we expect a project sometime this year?

Yeah for sure, definitely a project coming out later this year.  


Julian Thomas by Buruk Early


Stream Julian Thomas’s new single “Doors” now: