WORDSPJ Some

CREATIVE DIRECTORS Derrick Odafi & Jessica Rushforth
PHOTOGRAPHER Ray Napoles
STYLIST Sen Tian
STYLIST ASSISTANT Peter Phan
GROOMER Ashley Lee
PRODUCTION New Wave Studios
LA PRODUCER Christian Long
LA PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Tyler Pennington
BTS Santino Gomez

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Spencer went from local favourite to international sensation. Confirming what the GTA already knew: that the young artist was destined to become globally known, mastering his craft across multiple genres. The singer has a discernible voice and a flair for brooding melody. His style is equal parts Michael Jackson and D’Angelo with smooth vocal ranges, oozing confidence and effortlessly pulling in elements of his Guyanese heritage with tracks
like “Gwan Big up Urself” and “Little Bit of Lovin’”. As a matter of fact, in his younger years,
Spencer mentioned he would rewrite MJ lyrics in his spare time (a particular favourite being “Rock With You”).


This chameleonic ability almost acts as a way to divulge what can be hard to express, like setting down your armour and revealing your most vulnerable self. Sandwiched between the 90s culturally powerful influences, today’s contemporary warped trap beats and bass-driven production, with background harmonies derived from 00s R&B. Spencer’s voice is like the boombox serenade under your bedroom window. Sticky, honey-like melodies that ooze over the beat. So sticky in fact that our conversation was interrupted by a curious bee – the disruptive audience was not welcome however and Roy immediately jumps up, leaving his chill demeanour shaken “Arghhh a beeee! I don't do bees. And spiders. They're not my friends.”

Spencer spent most of his childhood navigating the repetitive suburban landscapes of Brampton, a town on the fringes of Toronto. After attending Catholic school, Spencer would spend weeks at a time going on road trips with friends. As we speak on this he relives his youth for a moment – “we were doing a whole bunch of nothing. All this crazy, crazy stuff”. This period of time is also where he discovered the joy of freestyling, at just 14-years-old he started out in the rap game under the name Pression spitting boom-bap bars which mirror the style of 90s legends like Mobb Deep or Phife Dawg. Influences that you can also see reappear in later tracks like “Russian Cream”.

In his college years, Spencer went on to gather notable accolades in football until eventually turning his attention towards the books and perhaps more importantly, music. His music started to earn recognition beyond Toronto’s limits following the release of his single “Murda” with Dej Loaf and “Drama” with Drake. After building a relationship with Oliver El-Khabib and of course, Drake, the then 21-year-old quickly became the youngest member to sign to OVO taking his career to immense new heights. Now, Roy compares the experience of performing live thinking back to his years as a promising football player, “When I go on stage, I feel like an athlete”.


In many ways, the small towns of Canada are much like those in the UK – with nothing much to keep yourself occupied, creativity tends to flourish. Not only is the pattern of rising
underground music a correlating trend across Canada and the UK but there is also the
dissonant relationship between politics and music. “When I was growing up, it was just a little city. So everybody kind of knew everybody. And if you didn't know everybody, you probably knew the person who knew everybody. But just growing up in this city which has such a small-town feel, it made everything more impactful. You felt it more, you dealt with more.” he admits, “I lived downtown. I lived all over the GTA and I always got the same vibe from Brampton. I don't know what it is... It's just this cool, laid back. Not really doing too much kind of vibe - it's almost kind of like LA to me, except without all the problems”.

Blazer: Private Policy
Turtleneck: Private Policy
Harness: 1017 ALYX 9SM
Trousers: Private Policy
Shoes: Dries Van Noten
Necklaces: Balenciaga, Martine Ali
Rings: Balenciaga, Hatton Labs, artist’s own

Roy Woods Searches For The Best Version Of Himself One Song At A Time

America, move over, the 6ix has something to get off its chest. Roy Woods – the promising OVO signee, born Denzel Spencer talks to New Wave some three-thousand miles away as the world eagerly awaits the arrival of his next big project. He fills us in about growing up in Canada’s suburbs, his evolution from hip hop to R&B, giving others the opportunities once given to him and we unpack how being independent has helped him map his journey in music.


It’s mid-morning, and somewhere in downtown GTA where the inner cities are basking in a blazing patch of sunlight sits the 24-year-old who has fast become a familiar face in the charts and across the globe. Like the title of his collaboration with UK musical goat Nines’ suggests, “Money Ain’t a Thing”, Spencer is a proclamation of independence. A break-up letter to the fickleness of fame and money. A love letter to the autonomous self and a juxtaposition of some of the greatest genres of our time. Independence is a simple concept; which, at its most basic level means having full autonomy over one's own life. So, who better to be placed amongst the stars fronting our latest i