Meet Haviah Mighty and Stephanie Poetri.

Welcome to Ones to Watch, a quarterly series where we highlight brilliant individuals making their way in the music industry. From artists to producers, A&Rs, DJs, managers, etc., they’re all talents you should keep your eye on. Pretty soon you’ll be seeing their names *everywhere.*

Toronto native Haviah Mighty caught our attention with the release of her latest album, 13th Floor, and pulled us in when we watched a slew of her energetic and catchy music videos. Deemed one of “Canada’s most exciting new hip-hop talents,” Mighty has been practicing music and learning the ins and outs of the industry since she was young, as a classically trained pianist. She dropped her first project in 2010, but her latest work had that extra special *thing* that grabbed the attention of the press and fans alike. It’s punchy and a bop, and the project features the likes of Sean Leon and Mighty’s sister, Omega Mighty.

When we spoke to Mighty (who, sings, raps, and produces), she was doing her first press tour in New York City, and even over the phone, you could feel her excitement for the year ahead. “Twenty-twenty is going to be the year that paints the picture of what my career will look and feel like,” she exclaims. “I feel ready for it. Twenty-nineteen was an introductory year for me, and now, I want to move that conversation into a dialogue, create a fan base, and create that ongoing connection.”

Her first memories with music:

“Music lessons with my sisters; practicing, rehearsing, and every year we would do auditions. My big sisters [were] my mentors, they were examples of what I could do and what I could be—I was the youngest of four. My earliest memories are being inputted into the music world, really enjoying it, and learning a lot from the people I was surrounded by. I was fine-tuning and harnessing my skills at a pretty young age.”

The music she grew up listening to:

“We were listening to a lot of Disney, a lot of broadways—songs designed to be performed. In the house, my mom was listening to Celine Dion, and my dad was listening to a lot of reggae. [We were] really into Lauryn Hill. It was [a mix of] soul music, R&B music, some classical—all three of my sisters are classically trained pianists. It was a variety of sounds.”

On her creative process:

“My creative process varies. Sometimes I have a beat, or sometimes I write a song and produce a beat around it. There’s a beauty in digging yourself into different facets of music, listening to a bunch of different genres, inserting yourself in many different ways so that you’re rapping, producing, DJ-ing, or engineering. I try to get my feet wet in a lot of those worlds, [and] it makes it [so you don’t] have a set regime or a specific way to get things done. With my last album, 13th Floor, I challenged myself to think outside of the box and to take risks that I hadn’t taken before. I took those risks, and I felt a lot of reward from [that].”

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If she knew that 13th Floor would be the album to project her career forward:

“I don’t think that I realized it. We have grant agencies that fund creative efforts, and I got much more funding than I had ever received for this project, and so from that perspective, I knew we were going to be able to do something with this project that I had never done before. I also acquired a booking agent, management—essentially a team going [for the] creation of 13th Floor, but I couldn’t wrap my head around that it would do well. [The album] has been recognized more than my previous bodies of work, and of course, resources have a lot to do with that, but I also think my authenticity and refining my sound over the years is a big part of why 13th Floor did so well.”

Her dream collaborator:

“There are a lot of amazing artists that I would love to work with. I’d love to work with Tory Lanez, who is from Brampton. I’m from Toronto, but I live in Brampton. Working with him would be cool—I think our sounds are complementary. It would be really great to be in the studio with someone who is that creative.”

Jakarta native Stephanie Poetri’s trajectory to success sped up to lightning speed following the release of her Avengers-inspired single “I Love You 3000” in June of 2019. The single was pop singer Poetri’s third and quickly went viral, climbing the charts and garnering 50 million views on YouTube. It even earned the 19-year-old singer her first award for Best New Asian ArtistIndonesia. But while Poetri grew up in a musical household—her mother a singer, her father a music teacher, and her brother a producer—she hadn’t always wanted to work in the industry. “I always wanted to live a traditional life [and] have a traditional job and a normal family,” she explains to us. “Maybe because I never really had that, but then one day I was like, ‘You know what? I have one life, let’s go all out.’”

Fast-forward to the end of 2019, and Poetri found herself moving across the world to L.A., where she soon signed to record label 88rising (after tracking them down herself—but we’ll get to that in a minute). All signs point to the singer having a big year ahead, so trust us when we say that you’re going to want to keep an eye on her.

She grew up surrounded by music:

“At one point, my family [went through] a rock phase. My first concert was Linkin Park, and we were really into My Chemical Romance and Good Charlotte. Then I started getting into indie—I really liked Matt Corby. I got into rap in the seventh grade; Kendrick Lamar to this day is still my favorite rapper. I was in love with One Direction. After a while I started understanding that pop is cool. Pop is your interpretation of what is popular. I had a really weird phase where I was really into tropical house, and that made me want to learn how to produce. I kind of ended up mixing my definition of organic-meets-electronic into what I think pop is now.”

How she describes her sound:

“My sound is a mix of organic-meets-electronic. I really like making feel-good music, I want it to invoke a certain feeling in people, and honestly, I just love being background music to random things people do. A lot of people tag me in their weddings or prom proposals—it’s nice to have your art be a part of someone’s life.”

On getting signed to 88rising:

“I [had] always loved 88rising, I really support what they do. There’s something special about the label. I was always trying to find ways to get in touch with them—I found connections, and we had this conversation that really showed how compatible we were, and that’s how it started.”

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Her plan for the remainder of 2020:

“My ideal situation would be putting [out] singles and introducing myself as a musician, to my audience and more people. I don’t have that many songs out yet, so a lot of people are still wondering who I am.”

Her list of dream collaborators:

“I love Lauv [and] how he produces his own songs. Finneas, that man is a genius, and his songs make me so emotional. Harry Styles’ new album is amazing. Also, she has always been my favorite singer, but Anne-Marie.”


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