If Tory Lanez seems to have just burst onto the scene in 2016, having released his debut album I Told You in August, the 24-year-old Toronto native has been single-mindedly working to build a career since his teens.
He’s written, produced and recorded more than a dozen mixtapes before signing a record deal and performs about 80 shows a year, from festival looks like Lollapalooza to door deals in tertiary markets, according to manager Sascha Stone Guttfreund. He won’t be doing the latter any more.
“The guy works so hard and cares so much,” Guttfreund told Pollstar. “He’s very clear in what he wants to do. He’ll say, ‘Let’s play New York and Chicago,’ but also Fargo and Des Moines. He really wants to touch people.”
The road warrior ethic has paid off from days when he played for 41 people in Billings, Mont., in 2015. With the backing of a team that includes WME agents Kevin Shivers and James Rubin, he’s now headlining major clubs and just wrapped a co-headline tour with A$AP Ferg, in addition to festivals like Lollapalooza and Pemberton, with more on the way.
“I met Tory as a concert promoter and was really into his music,” which mixes rap, R&B and dancehall, Guttfreund said. “He really had a desire, a goal and a vision that he articulated clearly. His development has gone from doing door deals last year to headlining and doing those festivals. But we took our time.
“We sold out a show in Seattle three months in advance and could have gone to a larger room but didn’t. We didn’t force anything; we believe in doing it slow and steady, putting our time and energy into development,” Guttfreund said.
Lanez’s work is paying off. He is embarking on a headline tour that will take him to venues like the Warfield in San Francisco, Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver and two nights at Irving Plaza in New York before launching a European outing in spring.