Once A Tree
Sounds Like: Soulful R&B duets over soothing electronic soundscapes
For Fans of: Phantogram, Crystal Castles, Chvrches
Why You Should Pay Attention: This Canadian duo's career was given an extra push when they were discovered through Toronto non-profit the Remix Project. Jayli and Hayden Wolf grew up on opposite sides of British Columbia, but their lives were similar. Both were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses and didn't cross paths until they were leaving the religion, meeting through mutual friends and later connecting while trying to launch their individual music careers. "Our whole childhood past was so similar that we bonded instantly," Hayden recalls of their immediate connection. As they began collaborating, they realized that their romantic and musical spark was undeniable and decided to take their relationship and joint career seriously.
They Say: "We didn't know we were going to die," Jayli says of the research path that led to the name Once a Tree. Given the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, the Wolfs had to unlearn and re-learn different aspects of the way they saw life, energy and spirituality. "It was a really big shocker for us when we left the religion. We were looking into different avenues of religion, and [the phrase] Once a Tree came to represent freedom to us. It means the circle of life and how energy doesn't die but instead transforms."
Hear for Yourself: Summer single "Breakdown" captures the smooth, emotional electronica of the duo's debut album, Phoenix. Brittany Spanos