Photo credit: Benoit Rousseau
Before the release of his hit Flowers Need Rain last year, Preston Pablo was barely unknown on the music scene. Since then, the 21-year-old Northern Ontario native has released several excellent singles and become one of Canada’s most promising young artists. While at Osheaga, the young pop artist spoke to PAN M 360 about his latest releases, his love of Montreal, his relationship with Montreal producers Banx & Ranx and his next projects!
Born in the small town of Timmins, Ontario, the Canadian fell in love with music at a young age, watching his brother create with friends. After many hours of watching him, Preston Pablo began writing and recording his own material. In 2021, Montreal producers, songwriters, and remixers Banx & Ranx spotted the young man and decided to sign him to their label, 31 East. Less than a year later, the three men joined forces for Flowers Need Rain, his most popular track to date.
In early August, the artist collaborated with Indian artist Karan Aujla and Canadian producer Ikky on the track Admirin’ You. Since its release, the track has performed extremely well in India, and has remained at the top of the country’s charts. Preston Pablo’s most recent solo release dates back to May 12, when he unveiled For Keeps, a song that straddles the border between pop and R&B and is getting a lot of radio plays in Quebec. The Canadian continues to rack up the hits and is proving more and more that he has what it takes to shine internationally.
PAN M 360: Hello Preston Pablo! How did your performance go?
PRESTON PABLO: It went very well, I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed it immensely, and it was the perfect way to get my first taste of the Osheaga experience!
PAN M 360: During your performance, you covered Justin Bieber’s famous song Sorry. Is this an artist who inspires you? Do you do this cover at every concert?
PRESTON PABLO: Certainly, he’s one of my favourite artists. I remember the first time I saw him on TV. I was young and I thought he was really good. I loved his style and the way he looked in front of the camera. He was fascinating to me. I’ve always been a fan of his music. This is the first time I’ve done this cover on stage. My team and I decided to do it for people who don’t necessarily know my music. So there was at least one song that everyone could feel comfortable singing and dancing to. It was a beautiful moment.
PAN M 360: Let’s talk about your latest release, the track For Keeps. How did this track come about?
PRESTON PABLO: It all started in Toronto when I was in the studio with producers and writers Sean Fisher & Nathan Ferraro. It was the first time we’d met and we created the basis for the song. For a while, we didn’t touch the song until we tweaked it and added several elements. The track really came to life when the producers Banx & Ranx heard it and decided to add their two cents. After that, we decided to unveil it, and we’re really happy with the result.
PAN M 360: By the way, you’re part of 31 East, the record label of Quebec’s Banx & Ranx. Tell me about your relationship with them and their importance in your career.
PRESTON PABLO: My relationship with them is superb, they’re like brothers to me. They were the first to give me the chance to succeed. Two or three years ago, they brought me to Montreal, and that’s when it all started. Right from the start, they believed in me and supported me. I feel very lucky to be able to collaborate with them and to be part of their musical family.
PAN M 360: In a previous interview with PAN M 360, Banx & Ranx told us that you come to Montreal very often. What’s your relationship with the city?
PRESTON PABLO: I think it would be easier to name the things I don’t like because I love absolutely everything about Montreal. The city is beautiful and I love the architecture. I love the vibe. The people here are very creative and there’s something very special about Montreal. It seems that people are always happier than elsewhere. It’s always positive here and I love being here to create.
PAN M 360: Are you planning to move here soon?
PRESTON PABLO: Certainly, I’d like to stay here for the rest of my life. Montreal is my second home. When Banx & Ranx brought me here, it was the first time I’d written music outside my bedroom. The city will always be very special to me. It’s very different from Timmins, my hometown in Ontario.
PAN M 360: Let’s go back to your childhood in Timmins, Ontario. How did your passion for music begin?
PRESTON PABLO: My parents love music and I grew up with it. Also, my older brother is an artist. So he taught me to play guitar and drums. He started writing and recording music with his friends, and I was immediately fascinated by creating music. I learned by watching them, and then decided to create my own music!
PAN M 360: Earlier this month, you collaborated with Indian artist Karan Aujla and Canadian producer Ikky on the track Admirin’ You. The track is currently number 5 on the Top 100 in India, and it’s doing very well. Tell me more about this song?
PRESTON PABLO: First of all, I’m really glad you asked me about it, because it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever been involved with in my career. Right now, my colleague Ikki, a Canadian & Punjabi producer, is creating an album with Karan Aujla. It’s thanks to him that this collaboration was born, it’s as simple as that. I’m very happy that it all came together. I’m proud to appear on a Punjabi track, because I love this culture. This track means a lot to me.
PAN M 360: Does this collaboration open up a whole new musical world for you?
PRESTON PABLO: Definitely. I’ve met a lot of very talented Punjabi artists and I’d like to collaborate with them in the future. No doubt there will be more songs like this.
PAN M 360: Over the past year, you’ve released a number of excellent titles, including For Keeps, Love You Bad and, of course, Flowers Need Rain. Do you have any plans for your first project in the next few months?
PRESTON PABLO: I’m currently working on a small project. Lately, I’ve been creating a lot of R&B music. It’s a bit of a homecoming for me because my musical roots are R&B. I’m still in the early stages of the process and can’t reveal much more than that. All I can say is that you can expect different music from me. In short, I’m going to start with an EP and a full project will come in time. As an artist, I’m not ready to create an album yet. I feel I need to perfect my art and become more comfortable with what I’m creating before I can embark on such a large-scale project. I’m sure that’ll happen when I’m ready.
PAN M 360: You’re obviously not ready to make an album, but if you were to do it now, do you have any idea what the main theme would be?
PRESTON PABLO: I’d like to make an album in which I tell my story. I’d like to explain my life in Timmins and how I got to where I am today. There are so many incredible things that have happened in a short space of time in my life, and I want to tell them. I think it would be really cool to do that, to tell the Preston Pablo story in my first feature-length project. That would be my goal.