Vodka and candy caught Rollie Pemberton’s attention when he was invited to the inaugural Polaris Music Prize gala in 2006 after being shortlisted for the award.
Fifteen years later, a lot has changed for the rapper, also known as Cadence Weapon. For starters, he won the award, his third shortlist, for his album Parallel world.
This year’s event was virtual due to the pandemic, so it was takeout sushi rather than booze and candy that kept it going all night.
One of the biggest changes came when he recently changed representation for Kelp Management of Ottawa, led by Jon Bartlett.
âJon is a really great guy and I knew him even before he was running artists like when he was with the label,â Pemberton told CBC Radio host Alan Neal. All in one day Monday before receiving the award.
“I can really feel his passion for music. He’s a real music lover.”
Find a fit
Bartlett said he had been a Cadence Weapon fan and they spoke in the spring before he spent the summer “digging”, trying to determine where he might fit into the rapper’s career. , writer, producer and poet.
The main thing, Bartlett said, is whether or not he thinks he can take an artist to new heights and create lasting career growth.
I love everything he has done with his other artists that he works with.– Rollie Pemberton
He was also drawn to the breadth of work Pemberton is engaged in: features, co-writing, and book writing.
âI mean, there’s no question how amazing Rollie is and everything that’s going on. And that’s part of what really sold me this time around, too,â Bartlett said.
Bartlett said he also believes Kelp’s goal of expanding beyond Canada’s borders has helped bring the couple closer together.
“It’s really about developing the team internationally, in Europe and the United States, and trying to grow elsewhere and make it sustainable.”
Pemberton said he liked the temper of his new rep, calling him “super cool”.
âI love everything he’s done with his other artists he works with,â said Pemberton, who also asked other artists about Barlett and found only positive reviews.
“They were like, ‘Oh man, I love Jon.'”
Pemberton said he needed direction that could help keep him on track.
âI have a lot of ideas and I’m like a very creative person, but getting these projects executed and helping me with, you know, the infrastructure for this stuff and helping me stay organized, because I’m more and more busy, it’s incredibly useful, âhe said.
“And I believe Jon can do it.”
Listen to the Cadence Weapon Polaris Music Award winning album below: