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Meet Shad's surprise alter ego, '80s-channeling singer Your Boy Tony Braxton

Del Cowie

We've come to know Shad as a Juno Award-winning rapper behind four critically acclaimed albums, as well as the host of q on CBC Radio One. But do you know him as Your Boy Tony Braxton?

That's right, Shad has unveiled a full-length alter ego music project under the name Your Boy Tony Braxton. The album is called Adult Contempt and it's out today, July 15, on Arts & Crafts.

The Your Boy Tony Braxton persona, as depicted on Shad's Instagram account, evokes the visual style of '80s R&B crooners like Luther Vandross and Freddie Jackson. Yet the music on the project seems to veer away from the musical style of those artists, hewing closer to an acoustic style. In many ways it harkens back to some of Shad's musical beginnings, as many of his early shows around the time of his debut album, When This Is Over, featured him playing guitar.

In a statement about the album, Shad describes Adult Contempt as a soft-rock album, inspired by pop and rock from the '80s and '90s with lyrical themes traversing "masculinity, love and maturation."

The album of pop songs Shad had written on guitar was recorded with lifelong friend Matthew Johnston, in London, Ont.  

Speaking with Stereogum, who premiered the album, Shad had the following to say about the new surprise album project:

"Musically, the inspirations for this album mainly come from the first things I ever heard on the radio. Vague memories of Michael Penn, Terence Trent D’arby, the Cure, Bryan Adams, Janet Jackson, and others that evoke a smile and a nostalgic sense in me. Lyrically, I have some fun here and there but a lot of the lyrics are just honest, simply-put musings–grappling with insecurity, love, and trying to become a better person.

The name — Your Boy Tony Braxton — obviously speaks to the era I’m evoking, but also to the lyrical content and overall tone: The idea of a dude named Tony Braxton who likes to sing (but obviously isnt as good as the famous Toni Braxton) is a surprisingly accurate embodiment of how this music feels to me: Vulnerable, funny, and ultimately, hopefully a worthwhile offering."

Listen to Your Boy Tony Braxton's Adult Contempt below.