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Preston Pablo

Out of the small town of Timmins, Ontario, Preston Pablo cultivated a big sound uplifted by soulful spirit and uncontainable charisma.  In this tiny rural community of 42,000, music provided a window to a much bigger world. Mom worked as a teacher, and dad served as a police officer. Preston listened to everyone from Michael Jackson, Tim McGraw, and Toby Keith to New Edition, Backstreet Boys, and Beastie Boys before discovering Justin Bieber on Family Channel. An avowed fan, he copied Bieber’s dance movies and Googled lyrics in order to sing along. He also played Rock Band with his siblings before transitioning to real drums and learning guitar in high school via YouTube. Architecting a style of his own, the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer looked inward for inspiration. After racking up nearly 20 million streams independently and receiving acclaim from Banger of the Day and more, he channels a fresh perspective on R&B and pop through live instrumentation and eloquent songwriting. 

“I grew up very differently from most artists in today’s age,” he observes. “I’m from a really small town. We didn’t have any resources to film videos or do concerts. My music is raw, because I was so isolated. It came from an organic place. There aren’t any gimmicks around it. I try to keep it as honest as possible, so you can connect.” 

He initially recognized the power of that connection through watching his older brother, pablø, who wrote and recorded music as well. Their relationship catalyzed creativity. 

 “My brother was very influential to me becoming an artist,” he notes. “He motivated and pushed me to make music in the early stages. He started this whole journey. Since our town is small, he was my mentor at first. He was making music in his room 20 feet away. When I would make music, he was the first one I showed it to. If it had his approval, I didn’t care what anyone else thought. I always looked up to him. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be doing this at all.” 

During senior year of high school, Preston unveiled his debut solo single “OMO.” Right out of the gate, it eclipsed 648K Spotify streams. He continued to gain traction with a series of releases. Tapped for the compilation Bangers Only, Vol. 1, he linked up with fawlin and Chill Only for “Circles” [3.3 million Spotify streams] and SauceOnly and Zeegs for “When We Were Kids,” which racked up over 6 million Spotify streams. His 2020 single “One Sided” amassed 1.4 million Spotify streams as he joined forces with pablø, Preston’s brother, for “She Tried It,” “Control,” and “Ideas.” On the heels of “Chargie,” Banger of the Day predicted, “we are expecting Preston to have another big year.  

Along the way, Preston signed to Universal Music Canada as he honed what he describes as a “modern vintage” style. 

“It’s a blend of pop and R&B with a different twist, but I’m keeping all of the doors open,” he states. “My favourite way to write songs is with piano or guitar. It starts from the classic side with instruments and evolves from there.” 

This evolution comes through loud and clear on the 2021 single “Don’t Break (My Soul).” Produced by Banx & Ranx [Dua Lipa, BLACKPINK, Nicky Jam], cinematic piano underscores vulnerable verses as his voice cracks with palpable emotion. It gives way to a swooning refrain over lush synths. 

“It’s heavily inspired by a past relationship,” he admits. “It was the first time I ever had a girlfriend. When it ended, this was what I wrote. It’s a mixture of me talking to the girl and a letter to myself. I’m getting into the ‘moving on’ phase. I’m reminding myself, ‘No matter who the next person is, you have to stay true to what you believe in’. Now, I know what I want from the next situation. Musically, it’s my new sound. It’s a stepping stone from being an independent artist to getting signed and working with actual producers. It fits in the middle of the journey.” 

Ultimately, Preston creates from the realest place possible. 

“My music comes from a real place,” he leaves off. “I’m not trying to be someone I’m not. I’m trying to be the truest version of me. The emotion you hear is what I felt at the time. Through my music, you’ll get to know me.”