Chris LaRocca "Roses"

How do artists come to find their voice? That question has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. As a guy who sings, I’ve never had anything like an a-ha moment where it all clicked, where I knew just what I was capable of. I just listened to music, heard what others were doing and did my best to keep up. Would I find my voice if I were playing folk music? R&B? Could I try to rap? (That last suggestion is insulting to the art form by the way) I may never answer these questions for myself, but based on his latest single, “Roses”, singer Chris LaRocca has arrived at the answer for himself.

La Rocca has been fronting bands for many years now (his band Elos Arma crashed at my house once while I was living in Kingston) and has always been a very good singer. Elos Arma and Breakfast, formed from the latter’s ashes, both included electronic elements and some groove but their technical emo never did LaRocca’s voice justice compared to what he’s started to deliver as a solo performer.

“Roses” is firmly planted in Toronto. It plays like a cross between the Weeknd’s cold R&B and the Darcys’ recent attempt at pop crossover but lands better than either of those examples. Maybe it’s because I can’t relate to the Weeknd’s obsession with sex and drugs or to the bizarre California-cool-guyness of the Darcys, but the self-deprivation and heart ache on “Roses” speaks directly to my sad little heart. LaRocca has incredible control of his falsetto, a great mid range and an almost Dallas Greenian fullness that he utilizes very briefly and tastefully in the bridge. And damn can he write a hook. All this without mentioning the song’s OVO-worthy production.

It doesn’t take too many listens to know the Toronto sound is perfect for LaRocca and he has clearly found his voice within it. Based on“Roses” we are going to be hearing a lot more of that new found voice in the not so distant future.

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