Sick beats from the 6.

There’s a lot to consider when preparing for an online semester.

Where can you study without distractions? How can you stay motivated and productive? How can you take care of yourself while taking on exams and assignments?

When I find myself feeling overwhelmed by uncertainty, the first thing I turn to is music. Luckily, listening to my favourite albums is also a great study tool—it’s been proven to improve memory and concentration.

You can jump-start your study playlist, practice self-care, and uplift local artists this semester by streaming these four Toronto-based musicians:

1. A l l i e | @alliemoves

Music is in A l l i e’s blood. She grew up on jazz, reggae and soul, and her own work pulls influences from all three. A l l i e’s sound is characterized by smooth, ethereal concepts and breathy vocals showcasing her masterful technique.

Her latest single, Bet, is the perfect track to throw on while you’re hard at work—its captivating tone creates a study environment that can’t be beat.

2. The Beaches | @thebeachesband

Retro, yet modern. Indie, yet hardcore. Trendy, yet relatable. That’s how The Beaches’ music sounds.

The rock band was founded in 2013 by sisters Kylie and Jordan Miller along with their friends Eliza Enman McDaniel and Leandra Earl. Since then, The Beaches have made a real mark on the Toronto music scene—they’ve played favourite festivals like Osheaga and Wayhome and earned the adoration of the iconic Sir Elton John.

If you need some hard rock to get you through those hard exams, I suggest taking a trip to The Beaches.

3. Urvah Khan | @scrappylilbrowngal

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When at @cbc HQ and asked to take a seat.. make sure you take a seat on the table.. you deserve it! My interview with @errol.nazareth @cbcradio will air tomorrow Saturday FEB8/2020 on Big City Small World. Big City starts at 5:05 p.m. on 99.1 FM in Toronto #cbcradio1 The show can also be streamed live at catch me talk about my upcoming album #muhajir and @scrapfestlive curated event Carnaval taking place on feb 14th at @thehideouttoronto 🤘🏼💚 . . . . . . . #urvahkhan #femalerapper #femalerocker #instagood #photooftheday📷 #cbc #cbcradio #queer #lgbtq🌈 #pride #browngirlmagic #metal #punk #alternative #progressive #canadian #pakistani #toronto #musician #indie #style #rapper #rocker #rocknroll #scrapfestlive

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No one’s doing it like Urvah Khan. She fuses classic punk rock with contemporary hip hop and a traditional Pakistani sound to create what she named “Scrap“—a style of music you won’t find anywhere else.

In 2018, Khan produced Scrapfest: the first female-led, LGBTQ2+-focused rock festival in Pakistan with a goal of bringing together people who “love rock and reject hate.” Khan maintains this objective in all her music, including her most recent album Muhajir (The Immigrant Songs), which almost exclusively features songs in Urdu.

She’s stylish, sincere and scrappy. She’s Urvah Khan, and she’s about to become your go-to study buddy.

4. Daniel Caesar | @danielcaesar

Born and raised in Oshawa, Daniel Caesar is one of the biggest names in R&B.

His rise to fame took off in 2017 with the release of his debut album Freudian, which won him a Grammy last year. Blessed, one of the most popular tracks on Freudian, also landed the singer-songwriter a spot among Barack Obama’s favourite songs. The acclaim he’s received is no mystery—his unique sound marries elements of both gospel and contemporary R&B, and his lyricism is both accessible and profound.

Basically, when you need to study, Daniel Caesar’s the best part.

A man mimes drumming while the words, "Ba dum tss" appear on screen.

With these artists by your side, your next study session is bound to be your best yet. However, the benefits of music extend far beyond helping you learn. It’s also been shown to improve your mood and decrease stress—something that will be incredibly important in the coming months.

If you ever need a space to talk, reach out to Humber’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC). It offers free, confidential, remote counselling to Humber and UofGH students—because a successful semester includes a healthy mind.

Whether you study with sound or in silence, make sure you find ways to self-care. And, if you ever need support, IGNITE’s got your back.

Continue to support local artists by checking out comedian and Humber grad Debra DiGiovanni.

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