SonReal, or Aaron Hoffman, didn’t think he would get nominated for one Juno Award, let alone two.
The former Vancouverite (he now lives in Los Angeles) planned to lay low for 2015 to focus on his forthcoming full-length album—with the exception of releasing an EP, For The Town, last April and a video for the title track—but that nominal effort put him in the running for two Juno Awards, including Rap Recording of the Year and Video of the Year.
“I’ve been working on this [upcoming] album for about a year and three months,” Hoffman says. “I moved out to LA to work on it, because I’m working with a lot of talented producers out there who are really elevating my music.”
For The Town is the only EP to be nominated in the rap category, pitted against the full-length albums of Drake (If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late), K-Os (Can’t Fly Without Gravity), Kardinal Offishall (Kardi Gras Vol 1: The Clash) and BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah (Sour Soul). Meanwhile, the video for “For The Town” is in the running with Adele’s “Hello,” Death From Above 1979’s “Virgins,” Pup’s “Dark Days” and Kalle Mattson’s “Avalanche.”
To make “For The Town,” Hoffman linked up with video director Peter Huang, whom he credits as being his “main director for music videos.”
“He really understands me,” Hoffman says. “And Peter really loves working with me, because he can say a really crazy, outlandish, abstract idea and he’ll know I’ll be down to do it. He’s really been a big part of my vision.”
Originally, three of the tracks on For The Town were meant for Hoffman’s upcoming untitled album—the title has not yet been decided on—including “Preach,” “Whoa Nilly” and “Shit’s Epic, Pt II” but he decided to put these tracks on the EP as they fit better together musically and didn’t feel cohesive with the new songs for the album.
“The music just got better so much faster, and some of the new stuff was just on another level and it didn’t fit sonically with those songs, while [those three songs] fit well sonically,” he explains. “Those tracks on the EP were in the works for a long time, and what happened is that we were making better music and bumping songs out, so we figured, hey, the world needs to hear these songs. So we put out the EP. ”
It’s a decision Hoffman’s glad he made, since these tracks have become huge hits with fans (videos for “Whoa Nilly,” Preach” and “For The Town” have accumulated over two-million views on YouTube together), a Juno nomination and a spot on rapper Classified’s “Greatful Tour” that runs for 25 dates across Canada.
That success continues to push Hoffman to create the best music for his fans, boasting that the upcoming album, which will be released later this year, will be his best yet. Hoffman won’t divulge too much about it, but he notes that the record sees an elevation from that of his previous works.
“We didn’t follow nobody. We went our own route. We did our own thing.”
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