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Jo's Picks Of The Month: September 2023

By Jo Louks.

For the month of September my choices for you to explore are from Canada and the USA, both artists are garnering critical acclaim from around the world and have released some amazing music to date.

This article is a regular monthly contribution, published exclusively in the Sound Café magazine with the intention of providing you with information on artists that you might not have heard of, but I think are truly worth exploring further.


Forest Blakk is a Canadian pop singer and songwriter.

The music of Forest Blakk comes from an unshakable sense of purpose, a belief in building beauty from life's most painful moments. Growing up in Montreal, with time spent in Florida and Jamaica, the singer/songwriter first took up guitar as a refuge from his chaotic home life, then spent years learning to channel his most complex emotions into song.

In 2015 he released "Love Me", his first single. The song reached #34 on the Canadian hot adult contemporary charts in Billboard. His second single, "Where I First Found You", followed in 2017, and the EP Minutes was released in 2018.

His second EP, Sideways, followed in 2020. In 2021, a remix of his single "If You Love Her" as a duet with Meghan Trainor peaked #61 on the Canadian Hot 100, and scored him his first Billboard chart placements in the United States on the Emerging Artists and Adult Top 40 Airplay charts.

He was a nominee for the Juno Fan Choice Award at the Juno Awards of 2022.


Jaten Dimsdale, known by his stage name Teddy Swims, is an American singer-songwriter, known for blending genres including R&B, soul, country, and pop. Originally attracting fans through his cover performances on his YouTube channel, Swims released his debut major label single in January 2020. He has since released four EPs as well as a debut album I've Tried Everything But Therapy (Part 1) in 2023.

Swims grew up in Conyers, Georgia. His father introduced him to soul music at an early age by way of artists like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Al Green. Swims' family were football enthusiasts; he had been playing football for ten years when one of his teachers suggested he and a few of his teammates sign up for a musical theatre class. The teacher also said he should join the chorus. It was his second year at Salem High School.

At first his mother, Glenna Fox, was unconvinced he should be in the class. Swims noted his height and said he was more likely to get a theatre scholarship than to get one in football.

Swims discovered his passion for performance through his high school theatre experience, where he performed in musicals including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor as well as Shakespeare plays. He began playing instruments including piano and ukulele, and watched YouTube videos of singers to help develop his vocal technique.

He first appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 2023 with the release of his single "Lose Control." The single is from his 2023 debut album I've Tried Everything But Therapy (Part 1).

In 2023 Swims collaborated with Armin van Buuren & Matoma, X Ambassadors, Meghan Trainor, and Elley Duhé. In March Swims announced his "I've Tried Everything But Therapy" international headline tour, including shows in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, and New Zealand in July and August. He also performed at BottleRock, Bamboozle, Boston Calling, TRNSMT, and Latitude music festivals.

"My collection of K-TELS playing on my portable candle record player is where my relationship with and love for music of all genres began. It continued throughout my life, from going to concerts through to my more recent luck in being involved in an album production, from studio recording to mastering. WOW! What an experience, and from it I've gained an even greater respect and appreciation for what it takes to make great music!

Couple that with my air guitar acumen, and that of course makes me a consummate professional in bringing 'Jo's Picks Of The Month' to you.

All kidding aside my repertoire of songs is vast and what an honour it is to share my picks with the readers of Sound Cafe Magazine!" - Jo Louks.

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