The Next Big Name Out of Mississauga John River Set to Hit the Road

Published February 29, 2016 at 10:02 pm


John River. 

That’s a name you will likely be seeing and hearing more of over the next couple of years.

The 20-year-old rapper and Mississauga native just happened to go to Clarkson Secondary School and stomp the grounds that many of us are so familiar with. But what sets him apart? Well, he’s ranked on CBC’s 25 Best Canadian Musicians under 25 List and is sure to make it big in the music industry, for one. 

Fortunately for fans, the up and coming singer is about to be more accessible than ever. If you’re looking to catch the local powerhouse in the flesh, you can do so this March.

With no booking agent, no manager and no label, John River and a group of friends have booked their own venues and set up their own shows. Now, they can do what they love to do — and do it how they choose. They’ll be selling tickets at the prices they set, selling the merchandise that they’ve created and, of course, bringing people together with music. 

River and his people will be touring university campuses. They’ll be hitting Carleton on March 2, Queens on March 3, Laurier and Waterloo on March 8 and UTM (you always have to save the best for last!) at the Blind Duck Pub on March 10 (you can get tickets here). 


Beyond being talented, River sets himself apart from the competition with bold lyrics and a willingness to take a stand on social issues. For instance, on last year’s MMVA red carpet, River opted for a #BlackLivesMatter tee rather than a dress shirt to make a statement and support the movement that kicked off in 2012 after the murder of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. 

Last year, River gave an inspiring Ted Talk at UTSC and his speech was well-received by the audience and the digital world. 

“My fantasy was really to be good enough,” River explained. 

And good enough he is. He explains in the talk that he wants to be a young black role model instead of a stereotype, and further details what exactly that means to him. 

“Life of crime, life of crime, what they expect from me

Rob a store by 25 that’s what they project for me

East-African genocide that’s what they accept from me

Resumes I tried to slide, that’s what they reject from me” 

River’s moving words and lyrics are sure to hit home with a wide audience, and his lively demeanor and energetic presence are not to be overlooked. 

Check out his music video for Hope City II below, you might see something in Sauga you recognize! 




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