PToronto producer TopFlr only has a couple years under his belt, but he’s already solidified himself as one of the best in the game. Since landing his 2017 placement “Since Way Back” on Drake’s mixtape More Life, the Canadian producer has acquired other major production credits, including “Freak In You” and “Low Battery” for PARTYNEXTDOOR.
Born and raised in Toronto, TopFlr’s eclectic musical background began in church. “I was probably six or seven years old when I started banging around on the piano,” he explains. “I grew up playing gospel – those old hymns, really soulful stuff.”
The skilled instrumentalist (and certified-platinum producer) also credits his hometown for his appreciation of different genres. “I think Toronto has its’ own sound,” he adds, “Even if it’s not hip hop, even if it’s not R&B. There’s a couple jazz musicians that no one really knows about, and it’s different from what you hear in the states or anywhere else in the world. Because we have such a diverse population, everyone can grab from everywhere.”
Still in the early years of his career, the 26-year old isn’t one to limit himself to one sound. “I’ll go from real hip-hop to soft stuff. I don’t think I’ll find my creative identity anytime soon, which I’m cool with. It’s no rush,” he affirms. He also appreciates that real mentorship is hard to come by in the industry – describing how friend, and respected Toronto producer, Ahkilo helped him get discovered by PARTYNEXTDOOR’s team:
“We were just cooking up. At this point in our careers we were just shooting in the dark. I was making music for free – just trying to see where it goes. He tweeted out for people to follow me on Twitter. The first person that hits me up is G. Ry. I let a day go by. Ahkilo’s on my phone and he’s like, ‘Man, you better hit him up right now.’ Since then I’ve sent him a bunch of stuff. Then I met Neenyo and the placements started dropping.”
PARTYNEXTDOOR remains one creative who TopFlr praises and admires. “He really sings man, he really can do these riffs and runs like no joke. He might toss some effects on his voice, but he can sing for real. Stop the games.” TopFlr also admits that it was his goal to reach PARTY’s ears, adding, “It’s kind of pre-meditated. He had the fire. His R&B was so different at the time he came out. I still think that PND2 is the craziest thing ever. I’ve always wanted to be a part of that sound, and now I’m able to do that. He receives it well.”
When asked what’s been his most fulfilling placement, he confirms, “I’m thankful and appreciative for every single placement. Every single one has its’ own story and its’ own feeling to it. But Colours 2 was my most proud moment because that’s when I was fortunate enough to be a part of that sound – to create that sound that people kind of wanted and expected from PARTY. It’s surreal, it still is.”
Drake also played a major role in TopFlr’s come-up. “Since Way Back” remains one of the producer’s biggest accolades – a track which also features PARTYNEXTDOOR. On the process of placing a song with the chart-topping Canadian rapper, he remembers:
“I was actually on my way back from the Philippines. I remember messaging G. Ry and I was up in the mountains with no signal. I’m literally holding my phone up to the sky and he’s like, ‘Man, I need you to sign this!’ And I’m like, ‘Man, I didn’t even get the email.’ As soon as I landed in Toronto the album dropped. I landed. I heard it. I was in the airport still. It was unreal.”
Regardless of the success he’s acquired, the Toronto-based creative feels as though his end goal hasn’t changed. “I still want to be able to do what I love and support my family, and my family’s family. In terms of accomplishing things, I want to get more records. I want to start doing live sessions and eventually mesh genres together and come up with something different. Just something that people will gravitate to.”
Photography by D’Mitri Christie
Stream Colours 2 below, and follow TopFlr on Twitter.