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Global soul senstation: Cold Specks
The deep husky voice of Al Spx (a.k.a. Cold Specks) is so arresting that when Jools Holland heard it, he invited her to be on his U.K. TV show before she’d even cut her first album. The 26-year-old Etobicoke, Ont., native’s music, self-described as “doom soul,” has been at the top of critics’ lists ever since. She’s played Toronto’s famed Massey Hall four times and heads out on a European tour this month to promote her second album, Neuroplasticity, released August 26. “My first record was gloomy; it was written about a very real time in my life, but when I started touring, it was over and I felt like a bit of a fraud. With this album I decided to be more playful. Now I enjoy my live performances so much more.”
Why we love her: She’s the opposite of a manufactured pop star and has created a totally new, goosebumps-inducing sound.
Inspiration: “I started writing the record in an isolated cottage just outside Glastonbury, U.K. There’s this 12th-century church on top of a hill, and it attracts a lot of hippies. You can’t buy socks in the town, but you can find crystals and cauldrons. My new songs reflect that weird atmosphere.”
Dream collaboration: “I would love to duet with David Bowie.”