Back in February of this year, I was introduced to Canadian artist BAD CHILD and said in my highlight piece that he was going to be someone I would keep an eye out for. And since that time, he's kept the momentum strong - from releasing his debut self-titled single 'BAD CHILD', two more singles ('Payback' and 'Breathing Fire'), and prepping the release of his debut album, Free Trial. Before his recent show at Toronto’s Drake Underground on March 14, I had the chance to sit down with him for a chat about his early life, starting his career, his upcoming debut album and so much more.

So, I know you grew up in Kitchener, and when I interview artists, I always ask them, when they didn’t grow up in a major music market or city, like growing up, were you surrounded by music? Did you think that you would have to move to pursue music?

I mean, growing up I was always surrounded by music. You know, my mother would play Latin American music in the kitchen and my grandmother would play French music when she was cooking. I was always compelled to make music, but it wasn’t until I was older that I think I saw the full potential of it. And I mean I don’t really think it matters where you’re from. I think music is completely cerebral, It doesn’t just exist in a moment or a place, you know what I mean. I think there is a space inside your head when you make music and the place doesn’t matter.

I think for a lot of artists they say the exact same thing, because it’s a feeling when people try to ask you what music is to you, it’s a feeling and you don’t need to be from a certain place to express it. But it’s interesting that before you really jumped into music, you had your hand at photo-journalism. When did you realize you were going to pivot?

Well I mean, I remember I was working at a Tim Hortons and I had asked my manager for time off to shoot a photo-journal in Detroit and I was meeting up with a teacher who was basically running a bunch of charter schools and my boss fired me.

He didn’t want you to go?

Yeah and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell this story so badly. I sort of reflected a lot in what it means to tell a story. Like all the time I spent when I was younger wanting to be a photo-journalist, researching photo-journalism, led me to realize everything is a story. And I always made music, but after I lost my mother, I needed to put my emotions in very personal, different contained environment. And music was that. It was a way that I can catalogue my emotions, you know, scream and let things out.

And at what age was that?

Well, I got much more serious at around 16 and I started singing a bit and I wrote 'Bad Child' when I was 17 turning 18. And it was the first song I ever sang and the first song I wrote lyrics to. And been like, this is what I need to say. And it came out and really inspired me to continue on and It’s funny I got emails from labels saying send more and it was like this is the only song I have.

At the time, were you afraid at all to put out your emotions and your honesty out there in the song, ('Bad Child')? Because it’s one thing to record and make music, but another thing to release it and I know you mentioned losing your mother, or was it just cathartic?

I think it ended up being therapy. Of course, it’s scary at first, you know what I mean, something very real, but it’s like why am I going to hide how I feel about anything. Life is so fleeting and about passion and you need to be unrestrained in your thoughts and emotions because if you’re ignoring your feelings it’s going to build up inside you and come out in ways you don’t want to, so music was a good way to explore music.

So now you release your first song, and you have label interest. How does one feel when all of these things are happening?

It’s funny the moment I realized it for myself was the day I signed my record deal. I just remember going into the office, putting pen to paper and calling my father and telling him I signed a record deal and that definitely was the most solid stone feeling.

And what did he say back to you?

I’m proud of you. And that meant a lot because he’s always supported me throughout this journey because when your kid says he’s going to make music, you know you’re a parent, you’re going to be worried, but he always trusted I’d make the right decision. And he always supported me and I don’t know if I could have done it without the support.

Yeah and for a lot of artists, the support usually comes after a long time or not at all, so it’s really good when you hear someone talking about having support and having that foundation because it makes a massive difference. So, talk about the second single that came out. You have definitely recorded a lot of music... what was the decision behind releasing this song?

Well, I think there are a lot of things that the fans will discover as the songs keep releasing, the two singles, well the first song is the first song on the record and the second one is the last on the record and along the way, the blanks will be filled in.

And when you realized you wanted the first song you released as the first song on the record and the second song you released on the record as the last, when did you realise you were going to do that and why?

I just wanted to show a little bit of diversity, you know where the project is going to expand too. Because as a whole, the project is very emotionally vulnerable and it walks through so many different laneways and as stuff keeps coming out, you’re going to be seeing a lot of different emotions. I think part of it, is showing that you’re a human being and you can be happy and sad and there are some very happy songs on the record, and some tortured stuff as well.

I read that you don’t like the idea of a genre because the idea makes you feel like you have to be boxed into a certain sound... touch upon that?

Well I mean, like man when I was a kid I used to listen techno, world music, rap, rock, there was things I would admire in each of those genres, I mean I always relate it to the whole high school cliché of there being jocks and cliques, and I was thought that was ridiculous and you should like people for who they are and genres are like stereotypes. Like this is what rock should sound like and in my opinion, for me, that doesn’t exist, we were just taught to believe it. Like looking at contemporary artists, Kanye West made one of the best rock albums this century with Yeezus and you know what I mean, it’s what you said, people are artists and genres should be decided by the critic or whoever is listening, you decided what you think it is, I don’t care, I’m going to make what I need to.

And now going away from the record and on to your actual performances - how has it been performing songs live and getting used to being on stage in general?

You know funny enough I don’t really get nervous about a lot of stuff, especially shows. I think it’s so fun to feed off the energy that these people are giving you. I think initially I was translating everything to the live show, with my three-piece band and it’s a lot of fun. It’s almost theatrical, like how can I bring this forward and have an exciting presentation for my music. And that’s something I’m passionate about, like how can we take what we did on the record and breathe a new life into it.

How are you feeling about the release of your debut album?

Electric. Really, electric. I put the last 4 years of my life into this and I’ve never been more proud of anything in my life. And If I went back 4 years, I wouldn’t change a thing. This debut is really a summation of my life so far and to be able to tell a story that's true to myself, that’s timeless for my sake. And ultimately, I made this record to redeem myself and to be a better person and that’s why I go by the name Bad Child. I wanted to be a paradox, reclaim things for people that don’t think their good enough, who didn’t live up to expectations.

Finally, how do you see the rest of 2019 looking for you?

Very excited, it’s going to be a big year! Lots of shows and festivals!