Tory Lanez has become the artist many set out to be when they start a career in music. His breakthrough single “Luv” not only earned the No.1 spot on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop airplay chart, it recently received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song. His second single “Say It” was certified platinum, while his album “I Told You” debuted at No.4 on the Billboard 200, with the highest first-week sales of a new urban artist this year, quickly making him a household name in the world of hip-hop. But just a few years ago, he was living on a friend’s couch furiously writing and honing his skills, preparing for the day his career would take off.
Now, the Toronto native, born Daystar Peterson, is enjoying the fruits of his labor. But he’s hardly allowing himself to rest on his laurels. Taking his recent fame to new heights, he has embarked on an international tour to promote the release of his album, is directing a series of short films and continues to work on developing his New Toronto gear line.
We couldn’t resist putting his album on repeat and following his social media to see what he was up to next. When his team approached Swisher Sweets to collaborate, we knew we had to say yes. So, we teamed up with Tory to host several ticket giveaways for his I Told You Tour, with a total of 12 tickets winners, 6 of whom were given the opportunity to meet Tory. We also rewarded 20 contestants with exclusive New Toronto and Swisher Sweets gear. The responses were extremely positive, with each new winner raving about Tory’s performance.
The gifted 24-year-old’s break came when Justin Bieber discovered him on YouTube. Sean Kingston then approached Tory and signed him to his label Time is Money Entertainment. He eventually left the label to become an independent artist and was featured on YG’s album “My Krazy Life” and toured with artists such as G-Eazy and Rockie Fresh. In 2015, Tory released mixtapes Chixtape III and The New Toronto before signing to Benny Blanco’s Mad Love Records and Interscope Records. This year continues to be wildly successful for the performer, who stacked up a list of achievements to include touring with ASAP Ferg, collaborating with Meek Mill, performing on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and selling out shows throughout the world on his current tour.
Tory’s seemingly never-ending list of collaborations and accomplishments comes from him following his own piece of advice to up-and-comers in the industry, “Don’t ever let another artist work harder than you,” he says. And he does not.
But life wasn’t always so glamorous for the young rapper. At the age of fifteen, Tory was living on the streets forced to fend for himself, but even that didn’t hold him back from fulfilling his dreams.
“As long as I can remember, I just knew I was the one,” said Tory. “I didn’t know what my calling was for. I just knew I was special.”
Tory has proved just how special he is with a distinctive sound and high-energy stage performances. And his mastery is not limited to rap. He also has an impressive voice and showcases those skills on his latest album. Tory credits years of practice, listening to multiple types of music and being raised in different places to the development of his sound. He uses the term “swavey” to describe his music style, which he defines as “tapping into multiple genres without limits or borders.”
From crowd surfing to scaling the walls, Tory’s concerts are adrenaline-charged events where he regularly engages with the crowd. Tory is not afraid to give a piece of himself to his concert goers, allowing them to be a part of the moment.
Risking his life night after night is just one of the many ways Tory connects with his fans. On his website, Tory encourages fans to sign up for citizenship of “Swavenation.” The citizenship allows individuals to receive exclusive music, video premieres, merchandise, and even a chance to attend secret dinners with Tory while on tour.
“I live for this music,” says Tory. “There isn’t another person in this world that will put their life on the line every night for the music.”