John Orpheus is a Trini Troubadour and Pan-African poet whose musical journey has taken him from the Trinidad bush, to blues and folk festivals across Canada, to some of the biggest rock and roll stages in the world. Born and raised in the town of New Grant, South-Central Trinidad, J.O. grew up singing in Pentecostal and Shango Baptist churches. After attending the famed Presentation College in the same year as legendary soca singer Machel Montano, he immigrated to Canada where he soon became fully immersed in the music life.
His current musical iteration with his musical soulmate, DJ/drummer Sarah Jane Riegler, combines hip-hop swagger, afrobeats energy and dancehall charisma to create a sound built on big catchy hooks, African rhythms and Caribbean twang. The duo are known for rabble-rousing live shows, filled with audience participation, chanting and impromptu dance offs that feel more like Caribana road parties than concerts. As J.O. likes to declare: “AH SO WE DO IT!”
In 2017, the crew dropped three mixtapes in seven months, each built on the themes of pan-Africanism, intersectional feminism and a fashion forward aesthetic: the downtempo manifesto Goldchain Hennessey, the Carnival fete-infused Bacchanal and the Canada/Nigeria/Ghana collaboration Black Star Rising. Each mixtape was launched with a successful video and single featuring collaborations with Toronto’s freshest dancers and videographers: “Leanin", “Jiggy AF” and “Wey Ya Call Dat Ting?” (respectively).
As 2018 dawns, the duo is prepping the release of their fourth mixtape, the epically titled GOATLIFE, and a range of tour appearances across North America, Europe and Africa. The pair aspires to conquer the world with their internationalist ideas of fun, freedom and positive energy.