“When I was going through cancer, I promised myself that if I made it — if I survived — I would use my newfound passion for music, to communicate what I’ve learned and positively impact the world… so here I am.”- JÉ Jonathan Emile is a Jamaican-Canadian rapper, poet, composer, and cancer-survivor. In 2011 he garnered attention with the release of his debut EP “The Lover/Fighter Document,” which was placed on the first ballot of the 2011 Grammy Nominations for “Rap Album of The Year”.
Emile has been featured in major online publications such as Pitchfork, Hip Hop Dx, Huffington Post, Fader, and Complex. He has collaborated with international hip-hop artists Kendrick Lamar, Buckshot and Murs for his debut LP which was released on October 9th, 2015. Additionally, he has shared the stage with rappers “Coolio” in San Francisco, “Nelly” in Las Vegas and “Naughty By Nature” and “Slick Rick” in New York. He has also collaborated closely with world-renowned cellist Denis Brott, and shared venues with Oliver Jones and Miri Ben-Ari.
At the age of 18, Emile was diagnosed with cancer, and for the following two years he underwent intense chemotherapy and radiation to fight the disease. During this period, the artist used music as his personal therapy as he fought the disease and devoted his life to music and poetry.
Emile’s music is defined by truth as he shares his experiences of battling cancer, addresses current affairs and explores humanity. Through hip-hop, R&B/neo-soul and reggae, Emile offers an honest and unique perspective of reality without sacrificing the ‘hype noise’ that the new generation craves. His music is danceable but reflective, fresh but in tune with the legacy of soul music.
Emile trained at “The Black Theatre Workshop” youth initiative in Montréal. During and after his treatment he independently developed his music knowledge including but not limited to: studio production, vocal training, guitar, keyboard and musical composition. Since developing his craft, Emile delivered a critically acclaimed performance in a Broadway production of the musical “Ain’t Misbehavin” in Montréal. His experiences include touring England & Germany performing the Songs of Freedom Tour to over ten thousand students.
The depth and relevance of his lyrics are only paralleled by his presence and understanding of today’s music trends. His devotion to hip-hop and creativity spawns from his ideology and quest for knowledge. He does not see himself as strictly a hip-hop artist, but as a thinker with a knack for rhythm and rhyme. “My art, my life is not a style, it’s a philosophy that reflects truth, promotes humanism, and social justice.”