Tkaronto Music Festival 2021 Reach for the Stars

International Artist Contest

Tkaronto Music Festival and the Darren Ross Agency are teaming up to find the best up-and-coming Indigenous talent from around the world! We will be showcasing 5 emerging artists during this years Tkaronto Music Festival.

Reach for the Stars Spotlight Artists


As a Portland-born, Indigenous MC, singer, songwriter, model, and activist, ASCXNSION (ascension) carries multitudes in every move she makes. However, nothing about her music feels weighed down by everything she contains. After all, her namesake isn’t just to impress. ASCXNSION speaks directly to the euphoric and ethereal heights her effortless takes on soul, pop, and hip hop achieve. She weaves her lofty tales into lucid dreams for her personas to live in, whether it’s as the phantasmagoric femme fatale on the eerie “What You Need” or the therapeutic romantic on the subtle “Bad Connection”. Whether she’s going to war on a menacing verse or crooning on cloudy choruses, every experience of hers refuses to stay grounded.

ASCXNSION made her NYC Debut opening up for Snotty Nose Rez Kids alongside Dioganhdih and Chhoti Maa in October of 2018, and has been featured in All Things Go’s “25 Indigenous Artists You Need to Know.” She is currently curating an EP to be released summer of 2021 encapsulating the witchy energy of the Tarot journey in tandem with her own spiritual practices and lessons.


Born as a Group in 2017 bahtawi representa the musical tradicion of rastafarI culture, original indigenous tradición in the caribean. Bahtawi trough reggae roots music and nyahbinghi music carrie a message of love and redemption.


Originally from Tijuana now based in Mexico City, two of the most exciting places for emerging music and art in Mexico, Mint Field is one of these bands that make it shine. Mint Field is guided by Estrella del Sol in vocal and guitar duties, and Sebastian Neyra in the bass. Mint Field explores the nostalgia and the melancholy of the daily life with loud guitars and vocals that are like sighs that give life to a unique and supernatural shoegaze. Mint Field is not limited, the instrumentation and atmospheres are accompanied by delicate, harmonious and ethereal vocals that are a fundamental part of the sound. They are inspired by their surroundings, coming from a quiet place full of lovely skies like Tijuana and actually residing in Mexico City, one of the most chaotic and inhabited places in the world.

The band started to make noise since its first DIY recorded EP, playing in California and Tijuana, getting attention from the people around them in its first stages. This was how after playing Viva Pomona they played Coachella 2016 within a year of having giving birth to the band; they shared stage with Beach House, Wolf Alice, Autolux, Deafheaven, and more. Mint Field exploded and started playing all over Mexico and some small independent tours in the United States.

In 2017 after having composed their first LP, Los Angeles label Innovative Leisure had the pleasure of signing the band with the LP “Pasar de las Luces” and later releasing it in 2018. The album has an atmospheric and ethereal sound, with angelical voices and a combination of sounds from the 90’s, shoegaze, krautrock and noise pop from bands like Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, NEU!. This album is obscure, brilliant and organic.

“Pasar De Las Luces is the angelic muse from which the creative senses blossom, a record that can awaken the sleeping writer inside of each and every single one of us the one who only comes out in the wee hours of the night.”

– The Line Of Best Fit

In 2018 the band did over 100 shows in the United States, Mexico and their first two headline tours in Europe, highlight shows being having played in Sonic City curated by Courtney Barnett, Desert Daze, SXSW, Pitchfork Paris, opening a sold-out show for Franz Ferdinand and touring the US with London based band Ulrika Spacek. They were also invited to do a KEXP session in Seattle.

At the end of such year, they recorded in Long Beach, California their EP “Mientras Esperas”. This was released in spring 2019. A 5-track EP that defines the live sound of the band. “This was a combination of everything we have learned throughout the year and the sounds with which we wanted to experiment in our following LP”. – Estrella del Sol

“Of all of the styles that Mint Field draw from, one most often in the background, yet ever-present, is folk. This becomes apparent on “Vamos Rápido” where the instrumentation, effects, and atmosphere are scaled back, allowing the fingerpicked guitar and vocals to occupy the spotlight. This dark and ambient track is one of my favorite on Mientras Esperas.”

-Everything is noise

In 2019 the band released the EP playing NRMAL Festival in Mexico City accompanied by Mazzy Star, Spiritualized, Death Grips, and Beak> as well as opening for Courtney Barnett. At the end of spring, they toured the US and Canada with the US band Film School. Summer 2019 saw the band touring Mexico and closing said tour with two sold-out shows in Mexico City.

This past 2019 autumn the band stopped working with Innovative Leisure and went on to record their follow-up LP to London at Wilton Way Studios. The recording took place with help of producer Syd Kemp and drummer Callum Brown, both members of Ulrika Spacek. The follow-up LP has cleaner, more distinct guitar sounds that praise Helvetia and Thurston Moore. Hypnotic basslines that create a smooth yet complex bed for the song; and drums that gallop and ride to create and add a unique groove to the songs. And as always breezy and romantic vocals from Estrella that make you remember Linda Perhacs. The LP “Sentimiento Mundial” is the first to have featuring guests from London, including musicians from Vanishing Twin and Ha Ha Sounds Collective.

Always praised by the press, Mint Field is called as one of the most uncompromising bands in Mexico, a truly unique sound, passion and energy that takes us to unimaginable places.


Culture Bearer, fluid femme Xicanx, of Oaxacan/ Mixtec – Zapotec descent raising vibrations, and transmuting frequently. Born and raised on Tongva territory, now known as Los Angeles, sounds curated are heavily influenced by indigenous culture, resilience and community.

Deanne Rose Moore

Deanne Rose Moore is Cree from James Bay and is the winner of Canada’s Next Top Indigenous Superstar. Her Debut single “Not Waiting Anymore” was released October 9, 2020 by the Darren Ross Agency. The song took off peaking at #24 on Canada’s iTunes All Genres Charts and hit #1 on Canada’s iTunes R&B Charts. The song is co-written and produced by USA Billboard Top 40 Producer, Jace Martin.

Deanne Rose Moore’s journey with music began as a young child. The voices of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill and Etta James inspired her style. Music became a beacon of hope during her childhood as she endured the life of foster care. These experiences propelled her to advocate for children, youth and families as a Social Worker and pursue her graduate degree, to develop trauma-informed therapy through music.

The steadiness of music continues to provide hope for her and can be experienced through her soulful sound and songs. Her music speaks of raw and challenging experiences that offer messages of empowerment and resilience – two sentiments that supported her through life. It is her wish that her music will carry those with hurts and immolate resilience and hope.


DRMNGNOW aka Neil Morris is a proud First Nations, artist (Yorta Yorta) known for thought provoking decolonial content exploring Indigenous rights and Culture via the mediumsDr of hip hop and experimental electronic elements.

An electrifying artist with a grass roots ethic and big picture vision, that is driven by aspirations of First Nations liberation and Sovereignty. DRMNGNOW is one of the most paradigm affecting artists to come out of this land in recent memory with a catalogue of striking and thought provoking decolonial anthems such as Australia Does Not Exist, Indigenous Land and ‘Survive”. An unrelenting force of strength soul and the spiritual. DRMNGNOW is 60,000 plus years of cultural connection to this land in sound. Has shared stages with Mulatu Astatke , Dead Prez , Akala , Hubert Francis and also toured Canada in 2019 as well as playing slots at marquee festivals such as Golden Plains , Dark Mofo, Sharing the Spirit , and featuring as a standing act at Big Sound 2019