© Claudia Hector

Bryson Tiller


Serving as his final show of a three day residency at KOKO – each of which sold out in a matter of seconds – there is no denying that the Bryson Tiller bug has begun to spread.

Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, Tiller’s trajectory stepped up a gear in the second half of 2015. After high profile cosigns from the likes of Timbaland, Tiller swiftly inked a deal with RCA and dropped his debut album Trapsoul. Tiller is every A&R’s fantasy. He sings like Frank Ocean, he raps like Drake and he sounds like the Weeknd. It’s a perfect storm. The only thing this finale was missing, was a little more soul.

With just a single spotlight flickering behind him, Tiller enters the stage shrouded in shadows with his signature cap sitting low on his brow – never giving the audience enough to break the enigma that keeps them hanging on. He wastes no time in running through the hits – he’s already racked up a surprisingly impressive catalogue. Exchange and Right my Wrongs have the crowd singing back every lyric, to the point that Tiller’s own vocals are near drowned out. Its clear the night belonged to the crowd with Tiller himself almost playing a supporting role in his own tale. The real takeaway experience from this gig was the unceasing, word-for-word sing alongs from his disciples.

Tiller kept the audience engaged throughout, keeping it short and sweet. Darting from Let Em Know to the sultry Don’t, he showcased his ability to move between singing and rapping, a balancing act which Drake’s all conquering commercial clout hinges on. It is clear that Tiller has siphoned off a corner of Drake’s audience, peddling the same kind of evasive vulnerability and lovelorn tough talk. Only time will tell if Tiller can build an empire as unconquerable as his Toronto contemporary but – even with his subdued personality – this show demonstrated that he’s on the right path.