The Happy Unfortunate
Want the secret recipe to The Happy Unfortunate’s signature sound? Start with Motown greats like Marvin Gaye, add layers of A Tribe Called Quest and Slum Village, and jazz it up with a pinch of Miles Davis. With some smooth beats and a bit of funk, the result is a refreshing taste of feel good music making hip-hop heads nod with approval.
Soulful, laid back, and downright genius are just some of the ways to describe Malcolm-Jamal Wilson (Malcolm-Jay) and Daniel Caneda (DJ Envoy), the fresh young faces behind the classic yet original sound gaining ground in Winnipeg, MB. While a hip-hop vibe remains prominent in their music, the duo pride themselves in drawing from generations older than their ages combined. With artists like The Temptations, Bobby Caldwell, Bill Withers, and Stevie Wonder, these musical inspirations create a perfect balance between the old school flavour and modern day appeal that continues to win over both hip-hop and jazz enthusiasts alike.
Growing up as childhood friends, making music was nothing more than a mere past time; Malcolm-Jay began writing songs when he was 14, while Envoy began producing beats at the tender age of 12. They recall experimenting different ways of approaching the hip-hop genre, changing the tone of their lyrics and style on more than one occasion. Little did they know, however, that the direction they were looking for would be found in the wake of unexpected and unfortunate tragedies.
In 2007, occurring only days apart, both of their fathers passed away in separate and unrelated accidents. Needing an outlet for their emotions, they turned to their music for comfort, and decided to operate as an official group shortly after. It was at that moment that “The Happy Unfortunate” name was born. “The thinking was that the situations were unfortunate; but, you have to stay positive to see that there’s a better tomorrow after the darkness,” said Malcolm-Jay, “It just worked for us.” With a new lease on life, the humbled duo eventually found their niche, and have worked hard to hone their skills ever since.
Thanks to the support from their growing fan base, the buzz from their new full-length have them riding on a big wave of momentum. With a 2011 Western Canadian Music Award nomination and huge success on college radio charts, it will only be a matter of time before that momentum carries them to success.