Ottawa’s Wokest Artist



Last week Down to the Beat sat down with the Ottawa’s up and coming “concierge of cool”, Kar33m. He talked to us about his new enterprise, live performances and his starring role in Skeleton Key Theatres upcoming production “Deluge”.

Kar33m has a vision for Ottawa’s arts scene that is incredibly different from many other 20 year old creatives. He describes his creation Woke Studios as a way for artists to make connections with established members of the community in a mission to forge successful paths in an otherwise slept on arts hub.

Similar to City Fidelia and his collaborator’s House of Ensemble that launched this summer, Woke Studios aims to build a network for Ottawa artists making their way. But while the downtown studio space provides a physical location for collaboration, Kar33m’s vision is to educate and provide resources for creators new to the scene.

“Essentially [what] I’m trying to get to is like a concierge, right? It’s like, you want to know this, this or this, go to Kar33m. You want to host a show, Kar33m’s got the promoters in his network. Something along those lines, [I want] to be able to connect artists.” he said.

Woke Studios will offer studio time and resources for projects as well as interdisciplinary connections, seminars and mentorship. Kar33m hopes that this will save young artists from feeling directionless or lost at the beginning of their careers — something he says he’s struggled with in the past.

“I know how difficult it is. I’m still struggling to get those contacts, right? So to be able to connect artists who are serious about the craft to people who can get them on the right path.” Kar33m said.

He says the studio’s programs will approach topics ranging from finance, marketing, videography, live performances and the craft itself. He hopes to work with others who are active in Ottawa and eager to make their expertise more accessible.

Kar33m knows the importance of every piece that makes up the music industry; particularly, he says, live performances.

When we asked him how he defined success, he painted a picture of a full stadium waving lighters and phone flashlights back at him as he sang. His love for performing dates back to his eleventh birthday party, where instead of a classic superhero or Spongebob themed party, he gave a performance with backup dancers and a DJ.

His passion for performing will soon extend even into the world of theatre.

Kar33m will test out his acting chops for the first time in Skeleton Key’s “Deluge” when he takes on a leading role as Lewis. The Ottawa based production company’s artistic director, Kate Smith, describes the show as more of a live concert experience.

“It’s blessed. The ability to create is something I don’t take for granted, you know?” Kar33m said when asked about how he’s feeling about his next venture.

The bottom line is we at Down to the Beat feel like the city of Ottawa is going through a cultural revolution and don’t be surprised when Kar33m is on the front lines and on the cover of your playlists.


John Balser & Colman Brown