Before the studios, tattoos, sound-mixing and dropping singles on Spotify, then-14-year-old Myer Clarity took the stage at Concordia University’s music hall, to perform a song he wrote about his music instructor who had recently died – jazz great Ernie Nelson.
Clarity, who grew up in Montreal, felt he had to memorialize his mentor, whose lessons guide him to this day.
“Ernie taught me to keep my lyrics simple, not be too clever or wordy,” says Clarity, 27, from his downtown Toronto home. “And he told me not to cram too many words into one sentence.”
That advice has proved timeless, thanks to Clarity’s passion as a rapper, singer and producer. His most recent album, Not All Heroes Wear Capes Pt. 2 came out in 2019. It was a follow-up to 2018’s Not All Heroes Wear Capes Pt. 1. Late last year, he released a fiery single, Love Me When I’m High, that’s reminiscent of a heady mix of Kanye West, the Weeknd and early Drake.
What Clarity appreciates about making music is two-fold: “I love being able to tune out the outside world and hone in on something constructive and therapeutic,” he says. “A lot of people agree that writing raps is cathartic for them, and you sort of introduce yourself through what you write. It’s an opportunity to be fully heard, as you.”
He adds that, “Creating music with others is one of the most fun things you can do in life. Even though writing is so personal and introspective, I feel like performing music is meant to be a group activity.”
Clarity has collaborated on tracks with Toronto rapper iLLvibe and singers Andrew Cameron and Farog4l.
Clarity began his music career when, as a teen, he started creating beats for other rappers to use in their tracks. “Since I was buying beats for tracks, I thought I should make them myself. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all.”
Clarity has lots of praise for his family, especially his mother, who he says has been very supportive of his love of music. “I was a pretty troubled kid with a lot of emotional issues and I’m sure she was stoked to see I was getting into anything that wasn’t a fight,” Clarity recalls. He also remembers his parents sending him “Hanukkah raps because they wanted me to rap about the holidays,” he says, laughing.
When Clarity got into rapping, his early influences were Eminem and Halifax rapper Classified, which prompted him to take music lessons with Nelson. “I then realized I could get studio time, but that cost money, so at school, I would trade my potato chips for money, anything to get into the studio,” Clarity says.
Clarity has found his groove in Toronto, where he not only makes music, but also runs a studio. He has also earned extra income working as a roadie for touring shows for the likes of Beyonce, Taylor Swift and U2. “One of the guitar techs at the U2 show gave me a guitar pic after the show and I sold it online, making more money, $250, than I did for the actual gig,” Clarity says.
As for what he’d like to see happen in the future, Clarity says, “I have this dream of music becoming a sustainable source of income, and in a perfect world, I’d make a fat stack from music and use it to level the playing field for the people I care about.”