British Columbia

Hip hop artist Joey Stylez aims to mentor Indigenous talent with new recording studio in Haida Gwaii

The pandemic forced this Juno-nominated rapper off the stage and now, after opening a fully-equipped audio and video studio in Skidegate, B.C., he wants to help mentor new Indigenous talent.

Juno-nominated rapper says 'world class musicians' have already been working with some artists at studio

Cree-Métis singer-songwriter, producer, and rapper Joey Stylez wants to use his industry knowledge and new recording studio to bring up-and-coming talent into the spotlight. (Submitted by Joey Stylez)

Award-winning Canadian hip-hop artist Joseph LaPlante, also known as Joey Stylez, has collaborated with well-known performers like the Weeknd and Ty Dolla $ign. Now, after opening a new recording studio in Haida Gwaii, he wants to focus on helping lesser-known artists get their moment on the microphone.

The Cree-Métis singer-songwriter, producer, and rapper, who was born and raised in Saskatchewan, was doing about 100 shows a year before COVID-19 shuttered venues. Married to Haida singer-songwriter Carsen Grey, the pair decided during the pandemic to relocate to Haida Gwaii to raise their family and find peace.

After living the nomadic lifestyle of a touring hip-hop star, Stylez said he felt blessed to be home with the people he loved. He opened a recording studio that not only keeps him close to his family, but enables him to focus on his latest goal as an artist — mentoring.

"I want to focus on helping artists," said Stylez, speaking to host Sarah Penton on CBC's Radio West. "If I would have had someone like myself earlier on in my career helping me, I would be a lot further along."

'I never really called myself a mentor but that's actually what I was doing,' Stylez says. (Submitted by Joey Stylez)

Stylez said life in Saskatchewan as a young Indigenous man was hard. Poverty, violence, crime and trauma took its toll on many of his loved ones. 

"That's exactly why I want to give back because I know what we have all been through," he said.

Blessed Street Studios, located in Skidegate, is equipped with an audio and video recording studio. Stylez says artists also have access to in-house graphics and branding help.

"We are totally active right now," said Stylez, not revealing who exactly he is working with, but noting he has had "world class musicians" work on productions with some of the artists he has already had in the studio. 

Stylez said just being in Haida Gwaii, a remote archipelago in northwest B.C., has him feeling blessed and grounded.

Now, the Juno-nominated musician is ready to help others soar.

Hip-hop artist Joey Stylez opens an indigenous recording studio on Haida Gwaii called Blessed Street Studio 13:48

With files from Radio West