“Five Minutes With” Local Artist and Author John Orpheus

Born and raised in South-Central Trinidad, John Orpheus is a multi-cultural musical artist and soon-to-be published author. For the past year and a half, he has been writing his memoir called SAGA BOY which will be published by Penguin Random House Canada in January 2021. With the book due to be launched in the new year, John decided to return to music and release a companion album also entitled SAGA BOY. Both the book and the album are built on the same themes: searching for home, for family, for love and a fly coat to wear when you get there. His forthcoming single ELECTRIC is the beginning of this new phase and is the bridge between his previous album WEY YA CALL DAT TING and the new album SAGA BOY.

John Orpheus’ musical journey has taken him from the Caribbean bush to festivals across Canada and the US. He combines hip-hop swagger, Afrobeat energy and dancehall charisma to create a sound built on big catchy hooks. John is known for his rabble-rousing live shows filled with audience participation, chanting and impromptu dance-offs that feel more like Caribana road parties than concerts. In September 2019, he released his album WEY YA CALL DAT TING, the culmination of a three-year, four mixtape project that he used to develop and hone his unique sound. Produced and co-written by Mike Schlosser, the album fulfilled his early promise with a noticeably more pop and upbeat vibe. “Our attitude is that, if we don’t see it, we create it!”

John Orpheus_by Patrick Hodgson
Photo Credit: Patrick Hodgson

Name: John Orpheus

Founded: 2014

# of Albums: 2 albums, 4 mixtapes

Latest Release: Electric

Latest Single: Electric

Latest Video: Electric

Favourite local Restaurant:

Rhum Corner – I mean, whole fried fish, plates that look like the Caribbean sea and the coolest gender neutral bathroom in Toronto. Oh, and like, 400 different types of RUM (insert Trinidad and Tobago flag)

Favourite band as a teenager:

Prince – was he a boy? Was he a girl? No, he was just badass.

Favourite band now:

Koffee – like just one song but it’s a sparkler!

Guilty Pleasure Song:

Khalid – Young Dumb and Broke (please don’t tell nobody)

Live Show Ritual:

1. Take all the money and or change out of your pocket 2. Warm up on Ave Maria 3. Give the Goddesses (also known as bandmates a hug – which usually involves crystals and mandala chants).

Favourite local artist:

Dynesti – like ain’t nobody this powerful. Also 3.0.musik – Congolese pop bangers!

Sneaky Dees nachos, pasta from Terroni or a superfood salad from Fresh?

Man, none of these. Gimme Ali’s Roti any day!

Queen or College St?

Queens on College Street, please.

Trinity Bellwoods or High Park, Riverdale or Kew Gardens?

Ooohhhh…Allan Gardens. I’m sorry I’m not good at this game. I always want my own option. I’m what Trini parents call “harden.”

EP or LP?

These are archaic, I mean, who listens to records? I’d say I prefer an LP though. But who has time to make or listen to them? But I love the idea of Long Players.

Early bird or night owl?

Early. Like I am up and ready to sprint 5 kilometers at 6 am. It’s a problem.

Road or studio?

A perfectly balanced cocktail of both.

Swiss Chalet or Roti?

C’mon dawg (insert Trini flag here)

Where can we follow you?

IG: @johnorpheus
Twitter: @john_orpheus
Facebook: John Orpheus – the personal page (but if you’re wack I will ignore your friend request)

Any shows or albums coming up?

YAASSSSS. SAGA BOY, My Life of Blackness and Becoming, is my memoir coming out on Penguin Random House on January 19th, and SAGA BOY, the album coming out in Spring 2021.Blam, Blam.