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First Play Live

First Play Live: Aphrose, Element

Watch the Toronto-based artist perform songs from her soulful debut LP.

Watch the Toronto-based artist perform songs from her soulful debut LP

Aphrose performs in Studio 211. (CBC Music)

You may not yet know her by name, but if you have watched Daniel Caesar, Nikki Yanofsky, Lee Fields & the Expressions or Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk perform live, then you've heard her voice.

Joanna Mohammed, a.k.a. Aphrose, has been singing with or opening for those acts (among others) with her soulful vocals for some time now, and has been releasing her own music since 2017. At the end of 2019, she released her debut album, Element

Aphrose chose her stage name because it's her mother's birth name, and she wanted to honour not only a strong, wonderful woman in her life, but also her Trinidadian ancestry. The Toronto-born and Scarborough-raised singer counts herself lucky to have been exposed to so many cultures and musical genres growing up — at home it was reggae, calypso and soca, and more generally Aphrose heard R&B, soul, folk, blues and jazz. Vocally, Aphrose lists Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson and Amy Winehouse as obvious influences.

Watch below — or listen in full — as Aphrose weaves those influences through her live performances of songs from Element.

Aphrose performs 'Move On' for CBC Music. 4:26
Aphrose performs 'Weak' for CBC Music. 3:41
Aphrose performs 'Gloss' for CBC Music. 3:40
Aphrose performs 'Make Your Mark' for CBC Music. 5:16
Aphrose performs 'Fire' for CBC Music. 5:19
Aphrose performs "Invincible" for CBC Music. 2:49