Building a musical community takes dedication and skill something that lakecity rapper/hip hop artist Bryan ‘Bioson’ Delaronde has in spades.
This self-made musical artist has been operating out of Williams Lake for years now, perfecting his speechcraft and music in a town better known for country or folk music. Despite this, Delaronde has stayed in Williams Lake and together with a few friends has built a strong core base of fellow hip hop artists and fans right here in the lakecity.
It all started a few years ago when Delaronde was looking for a place to hold a concert in Williams Lake. Due to the negative connotations surrounding the rap and hip hop scene, he was finding it difficult to obtain a suitable venue, until he got in contact with the owner of CJ’s Southwestern Grill, Cathie Rossignol.
Rossignol has owned and operated CJ’s for the last eight years and for almost seven of those years has hosted Delaronde’s rap and hip hop concerts. When first approached, Rossignol was apprehensive due to the lifestyle it often portrays but decided to host it and just see what happens. That first night, she said, there was no problems and has continued to have no problems with the artists or their fans with every show since.
“It’s almost like an outlet for these (guys) a chance to show people their talent. I’ve watched them grow. There’s a bunch of them that are really moving up and comers and I’m really proud of them,” Rossignol said.
These concerts happen roughly three to four times a year, Rossignol said, as both she and Delaronde have found that doing them too often reduces the pull the concerts have. Formats have included all generations, open mic nights, talent shows and straight concerts with big names attached, like Merkules and Illiano, which Rossignol said can have upwards of 120 people in attendance. On average, she said, the shows tend to draw 50 to 60 people up to about 100.
For her, however, hosting these concerts is not about the money and is instead about the energy these nights bring with them. Rossignol recalls a night early on when a seven-year-old girl came in with her family and proceeded to “dance harder than anybody else in the place.”
Giving these young people a positive place to perform is important to Rossignol, who said she’s received nothing but respect and courtesy from them in return.
“They really need a place to do this and no one else will let them do it because it’s got such a bad reputation,” Rossignol said. “Just come out and have some fun.”
At a performance the Tribune attended the respect and appreciation for Rossignol and her staff was clear, as more then half the artists took the time to personally offer a shoutout to her or CJ’s. It’s a sentiment Delaronde himself expressed as well during an interview, saying that she has never been the type of person asking “what am I going to get out of it?”
Born up in the Yukon in Whitehorse, Delaronde came to the Cariboo when he was three and has lived here most of his life. Up until recently, he’s been working in the mining industry at Mount Polley when not recording music.
Delaronde started the musical journey that would eventually become a central part of his life in his basement almost a decade ago, simply listening to and then freestyling to beats. At the time Delaronde never thought he’d actually write any music but over time he began to write the odd song before eventually writing and recording his first few tracks.
“I found it a lot easier to write my problems out than talk to people about them and I’ve always really been into music so you take the two and it kind of happened organically,” Delaronde said.
Now with music in hand, he wanted to get into the performing side of things yet could find no one in town willing to provide a venue for a show. Eventually, he put on a show together with Rossignol but admitted with a chuckle he didn’t know what he was doing and ended up losing $1,200 on it. The show, however, helped him form connections with artists outside of Williams Lake and as the years have gone they have helped him build up his own career.
As Bioson, Delaronde has opened for several large hip hop artists at shows around Canada including the likes of D12, Obie Trice, Redman and Swollen Members. He’s also collaborated with a variety of lakecity artists like Jamie Warnock, American artists like Lil Eazy E, the son of NWA’s legendary member Eazy E, and Canadian artists like Knucklehead, better known as Tyrone from Trailer Park Boys.
Read More: Hip hop concert to help food bank
Since the release of his most recent album, Thrown to the Wolves, Delaronde has been focusing on an EP and making music videos for future and current songs. With the purchase of new sound equipment, he plans to do more shows in and around Williams Lake in the future, as well as shows throughout B.C. and beyond.
“I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone and the style that I’m used to and start expanding into working with people like Jamie Warnock, (my music) is not confined to one style,” Delaronde said. “Basically (this summer) I’m going to just start booking shows and go 100 per cent into music. It’s just taking that leap of faith and going for it.”
Recently, Delaronde helped found Genuine Records with his friend Jared ‘Keyz Kaliko’ Gimbel, a new record label based out of Williams Lake geared towards promoting and supporting the local hip hop community. Involved artists include many of his local friends such as Sal the Sinner, Young Catalyst and others. All their music and biographies can now be found online at www.genuinerecords.com with Delaronde adding they’re looking to make merchandise available soon as well.
This move comes in part because, over time, he’s noticed that a lot of fans who have been attending his show have gone on to become artists themselves, something he has actively encouraged from the start. Some of these people have been addicted to drugs, involved with gangs, or simply have been super shy yet, with a little encouragement, have gone on to use their love of music to overcome these obstacles and get clean, leave their past behind or find their courage.
“It’s part of the reason why we do it. “It’s just to give people something to do in Williams Lake, something to focus their energy on, something positive. Putting on concerts is a small part of it, it’s helping them work on songs, beats, whatever that’s kind of what Genuine Records is about,” Delaronde said.
“We took a lot of the artists around Williams Lake that were serious and investing in themselves and put them on the label. So now we’re going to help develop these artists.”
In the future, Delaronde is also looking into doing some charity work through the label by putting on shows with the proceeds going to worthy local causes.
Most of all, with both the record label and future shows he hopes to continue to inspire other lakecity artists to pursue their own music. “I find, with my music, it’s added nothing put purpose and positivity into my life. There’s nothing negative about making music at all,” Delaronde said. He encourages anyone interested in making music, hip hop or otherwise, to reach out to him and Genuine Records and sit down with them in a studio and just follow their dream.
Delaronde also said he hopes the wider community comes to see what they really do and accept them for who they are, rather than reject them for what they think they are.