Exclusive: Raff Pylon on working with Tito Jackson and his eye-opening experience on La Voix

"King’s Lane was the best way for me to express my state of mind during this complicated period."

Words: Eline Joling

It’s not often you get to write a song featuring a member of The Jackson 5, but on the back of his appearance on 'La Voix' 2020 (the Canadian version of ‘The Voice’), Raff Pylon did just that.

With ‘King’s Lane (Million Roses)’, the Montreal songwriter collaborated with none other than Tito Jackson on the uplifting single written to spread unity and acceptance during an unsettling period with the coronavirus pandemic, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Lizzie’s Lowdown caught up with Pylon to talk all things ‘King’s Lane’ , his experience on 'La Voix', the importance of music in times like these and collaborating with a Jackson.

Congratulations on making La Voix 2020 knockouts. What has your experience on the show been like so far?

It’s been a very interesting time on the show. Obviously, it was a lot of fun to get to work with the coaches, they’re all great artists that I respect very much.

 I also got to learn a lot about the behind the scenes of a big production like this one and it’s been truly eye-opening in many ways.

How has the pandemic affected you outside of La Voix, we noticed you’ve been keeping busy with your ‘Piano Sessions’ covers on social media?  

Yeah, that’s definitely one way I kept busy during these weird times, there’s not a lot else to do than work.

I’ve been lucky with the fact that I have a studio in the house, so I could keep going without any problem. The summer is the season of festivals in Canada, and with most of those being cancelled we unfortunately lost a lot of concert opportunities. We had to find other different ways to appeal to our audience, that’s what the ‘Piano Sessions’ were about.

Before embarking on your solo adventure, you were in Bridgeway, with whom you supported fellow Canadians Hedley. How has it been building up your solo career after being in a band for so long? How easy was it to adapt? 

It changed the vibe a lot for sure because I didn’t have the boys around. But it did give me some more freedom with the songs and I developed a better connection with my new producers and sound engineers along the way - which made a huge difference in the process and the ambiance in the studio. 

You recently released your single ‘King’s Lane (Million Roses)’ in response to recent events and the Black Lives Matter movement. Can you tell us a bit more about the message behind the song?

I wrote this song after a dream I had about two years ago, and the whole idea for it came in one morning. We recorded it then, but the timing was never right to release it, until the events of this summer happened and the message of the song ended up being just massively amplified by the situation.

As an artist, I always considered part of my job to be sharing positivity and messages to help people in any way I can. So, in the end I think King’s Lane was the best way for me to express my state of mind during this complicated period. 

How important do you think music is as a means of unity and bringing people together in times like these?

It’s very important! Most people, myself included, rely highly on music to get through their days, whether they’re good or bad. I think sometimes as artists we overlook the value of our lyrics and forget how important it is to be spreading positive messages that bring people together, so whenever I get the chance, I try to do it. 

How did you come to get Tito Jackson on King’s Lane? Was he your first choice?

He definitely was! We met through my producer Earl Powell, who used to work on projects for both the Jacksons and Tito separately, and we actually recorded King’s Lane in Tito’s home studio in LA.  We met later that week when Tito came back from London and he really liked the song, so when the time came it was very natural for me to ask him if he would like to be a part of the project.

Tito’s spoken word outro brings a powerful extra dimension to the song. Why did you decide to keep his message spoken, rather than have him sing on it?

Making the speech felt like the right thing to do from the moment we started collaborating, so we didn’t think about it much and went straight to work. But I agree, it really summarises the message of the song and adds a lot of depth in the end. 

With the exposure of La Voix and a single with a member of The Jackson 5 under your belt, 2020 is looking to break your solo work out to a bigger audience. Can we expect any more releases from you soon?

Absolutely! I’m working on a few more songs right now and we’re looking to release them over the next year, so the rest of 2020 and 2021 should be very interesting! I’m looking forward to it, stay tuned! 

Stream 'King's Lane (Million Roses)' here.