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Premiere: Sri Lankan-Canadian Hip-Hop Artist Shan Vincent De Paul’s Exuberant Song ‘Out Alive’

The Toronto-based artist celebrated Tamil Heritage Month in January with his previous single ‘Heaven’

Anurag Tagat Feb 01, 2019

Sri Lankan-Canadian artist Shan Vincent De Paul. Photo: Jelena Subotic

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Nearly a decade ago, Toronto-based artist Shan Vincent De Paul came across the music of Tamil-Brit artist M.I.A. via her music video “Sunshowers” and realized there was scope for acceptance of Tamils in mainstream music.

The rapper, who was born in Jaffna, Sri Lanka and moved to Canada as a refugee fleeing civil war, has since made his own mark. Shan put out two albums in the span of two years, Saviors in 2016 and Trigger Happy Heartbreak in 2017. He started the new year with a song called “Heaven,” which touches upon the struggles of Tamil identity, but changes the tone on his second single “Out Alive.”

Shan raps about staying focused and finding a strong friends circle over a bouncy, vibrant beat and offers hooks about “ride or die” on the song, which is produced by Toronto-based La+ch. He tells Rolling Stone India that it’s an “exciting time to be a brown artist in Canada right now, Toronto specifically.”

With this song and more in the works through 2019, Shan says he’s part of an ongoing “brown artist renaissance” that will make more South Asian voices heard through music. He adds, “My focus over the last couple of years has been to create our own platform and taking power into our own hands.  We can’t depend on traditional Canadian industries, institutions and outlets to represent the brown voice. I’ve given up on that, instead I’m looking forward to what we can achieve as a community ourselves.”

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