Five Questions With IAMTHELIVING and Teon Gibbs

Rian Peters, otherwise known as IAMTHELIVING is a soul singer from South East London, who now calls Vancouver home. He has teamed up with Teon Gibbs, a rapper/ producer from Botswana, Africa, who has also set roots in Vancouver, where he now resides. The two have teamed up to create the brand new single, “Distance” from the upcoming EP, JNGL.

The two share on the release,

“We wanted to create a project that embodies who we are, where we’re from, and shows what we can do. The word “JNGL” just seemed to capture it all. Being from Botswana, the word jungle has followed me around my entire life, and IAMTHELIVING is originally from South London, which is the concrete jungle – this project is those worlds meeting…” Gibbs explains, “The sounds on this project are big and diverse but at the same time we really took a grassroots approach to making it, I think that’s why even though the sound fills the room it can still resonate with the listener’s core. ” 

Check out “Distance” below, and find out more about IAMTHELIVING and Teon via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

IATL – Bless up!! My name is Rian Peters but I am better known by my stage name of iamtheliving. I’m originally from a town called Peckham which is in South London England, but I now reside in East Vancouver, BC. I am a singer, songwriter, visionary, and all-around performer. I discovered my love for music and dance from a very young age. I’ve been inspired by many iconic and legendary artists who have come before me and who have paved the way: Artists such as Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Freddy Mercury, Prince, and Anita Baker, to name but a few. They’ve all influenced me to become the artist I am today.

Teon – Hey my name is Teon Gibbs, I’m a Vancouver-based songwriter and hip-hop artist. I’m really a product of my upbringing, see we grew up in really unique circumstances, from a very young age I saw my parents work to the bone and really come up from nothing and create a life for me and my siblings. We moved around a lot because of my dad’s job, and you know, being in four different countries throughout middle school and high school and always seeing my parents sacrifice so much it taught me perspective, how people connect, how to build something, and how culture changes. I feel like Vancouver is entering into a renaissance era creatively, where culture is about to shift, and I want to be one of the loudest voices in this renaissance.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

IATL – First and foremost, my music is a reflection of who I am. If it moves me and makes me feel good then I know that it will do the same for other people. I feel that my music carries substance and soul. There are elements in my music of classic R&B, Soul, with a little bit of Funk, mixed with a new and modern iamtheliving personal touch to it. I love to collaborate with people. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to work with Teon. I believe that the greatest creative ideas and dreams are born from collaboration –  so when it comes to writing, I really embrace and enjoy the co-writing experience. I always strive to write songs with strong melodies and find words that can form a type of personal connection with the listener.

Teon – My goal when I write is to communicate. I’m not big on convoluted lyrics, I really want the listener to connect with who I am and really feel what I’m saying. I always start with rhythm and melody, just to, you know, use the vocal for what fits the song the most. Once that has been done, I want to be as compelling, honest and direct as possible on the song. Writing this way has made it really easy to co-write with IAMTHELIVING and I think it’s why all of our songs feel so natural.

Do you have any upcoming shows? For someone who has yet to see you live, how would you explain your live performance?

IATL – During these uncertain times that we are still living in, it’s hard to say, but I’m really hoping that shows start making their way back sooner than later, Teon and would really love to take this project on the road.

For live performances though, I would say that individually our shows are electrifying and engaging so combined we like to take it up a whole other level of energy. We like to feel a connection with the audience and create a space where we feed off one anothers’ (good) vibes and positivity. Our goal is to transport you to a place where you can leave your worries of life behind, for that hour or so, and just enjoy a musical experience. When I go on stage, I want you to feel happy, amazed and inspired

Teon – We have a few virtual shows coming up here and there, follow us on socials for announcements on that. We really want to hit the road though, hopefully in 2021 but maybe 2022 – we’ll see.

Our shows are high energy, soulful and engaging. I care a lot about the live show. I want to always get better, I want the audience to leave feeling like they witnessed something truly special.

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

Teon – I think our dopest joint is “Distance”, I feel like IAMTHELIVING’s vocals were just sitting in such a dope pocket, and the UK garage beat takes me back to my days living in London – and my verse was pretty cold haha. I felt like I had a lot of charisma on that one. We make really genre bendy music and I think this is a good snapshot of what that can be, plus I feel like it’s a story and a mood that I think people can really connect with.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

IATL – For me right now I would have to say Ashleigh Ball, Mazacote, Chill Winston, Adria Kain, Kaytranada

Teon – Yo I’m from Vancouver so I’m gonna big up Vancouver artists. Here are some ones to watch: Dacey,  Jaspa, Trs, Temia, Madison Olds, Bozzy, IMUR – man there’s so many!

Connect with IAMTHELIVING:

Connect with Teon Gibbs:

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