For the latest edition of The 405 Meets, I got to connect with an up-and-coming Toronto-based Indie R&B artist by the name of Khabbazi. Growing up in Vancouver, Khabbazi would spend a lot of her early life diving into many different art forms, until she realized music was the thing that was right for her. She would release her debut EP, Trust Me, to great acclaim, garnering thousands of plays on Soundcloud. Before her show at Vancouver’s Fortune Sound Club, I got to talk to the artist about growing up in the Vancouver, the music industry in the city, where her love of music came from, her music and her new EP HUMAN PRESCRIPTION.

Talk about growing up in Vancouver and talk about the industry over there...

Growing up in Vancouver, I always felt a lot of freedom. The air in the city is so refreshing and the water is so good to drink. The city is also really diverse, so I never felt judged. And the music scene, I started clubbing at a real young age, when I was 16 and that’s when I got introduced to dubstep because I grew up listening to a lot of hip-hop and R&B and that’s when I realized there is a little music scene in the city, but mostly for DJs. And as I got a little older, more artists started coming out and there’s a lot of interesting things going on now.

Now, backtracking a little bit - when did you realize music was something you wanted to pursue?

I started writing short stories when I was 10, I think when I had gym, especially dodgeball, every time my team got eliminated, I would quickly grab out my journal and start writing. And then that took me to screenwriting and creating short films, and then when I got introduced to Shakespeare, I started writing poetry. Well actually, I did a musical when I was 12 and I didn’t even tell my parents. So, I did this and the next day I went to school with my mom and this man came up to my mom and said your daughter has an amazing singing voice and then my mom put me in singing classes.

So, your mom puts you into singing classes, looking back, that’s kind of amazing that you had support early on, right?

Yeah, my mom has always been the type to be like do whatever makes you happy, but whatever it is that’s going to make you happy, put all your energy into it and excel at it, no matter what it is.

And so, do you have a moment when you realized music was going to be for you?

Yeah, so when I really realized it, I was at my friend’s house and we were just chilling and I was like, 'do you want to hear my covers of songs?' and she’s like 'yeah', kind of confused because I keep things mostly to myself. And so, I showed it to her my covers and she was like, 'if you don’t do something with these covers, I’m never talking to you again.' She’s like release it online. So, I made a SoundCloud account and put all my covers on there and I text her I put it online and she said 'thank you'. Days later, I saw people sharing it and I couldn’t believe it.

So, how were you feeling when you released your first EP, TRUST ME?

When I released it, I didn’t care because I didn’t really have an expectation, or an expectation of myself, but now I do. Because when I released my first EP people didn’t really know me, but now people now about me, so I’m more concentrated.

When I speak to artists about their earlier work, I always ask them how it felt when they released their first body of work. For you, given what you’ve said, would you then consider this new EP you’re releasing your first real debut?

This new one is that feeling. Because I have a show that’s being held around this EP. And people are actually coming to it. This is just the biggest thing I’ve done so far, like I’ve released singles here and there and the first thing I did was dropping an EP, like I just wanted to start off big and It got a lot of plays, but this is the real moment for me.

And just touching on the show, is this your first show that you’ve ever done?

It’s the second show that I’ve done in Vancouver. It’s happening at Fortune Sound Club and like Drake has performed there, PARTYNEXTDOOR... it’s a big deal to me. I grew up going to this club, so the fact that I’m performing somewhere that I have so many memories, seen such good artists there, so to be present on the stage and have people come to my show, it’s unreal.

Talk us through the new EP.

Just starting with the title of the EP, it’s the title of a poem I wrote about two years ago and my friend actually named it and I thought it was perfect. And it’s about how you're prescribed to society and you're born with so much freedom, but we get it taken away from us, depending on circumstances. And I feel like the last two years of my life I’ve been drowning and trying to control my thoughts and that’s where the cover comes from. But the entire EP is just me exposing myself, just a lot of in-depth thoughts I’ve had.

Finally, how do you see the rest of 2019 playing out?

I’ve actually already started on my next project. I like working on singles, but I like working on projects more. I would love to be in some kind of festival and work with different producers. I know what my sound is, but I haven’t found someone who really fits and understands my sound. But overall, just continuing to grow.