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The first time PARTYNEXTDOOR went to a show was when he performed onstage with Drake. First time. It wasn’t because he hadn’t had the opportunity. He just thought of music as a private thing, an experience that depends on a sense of vulnerability that big gatherings just can’t get across. Describing his 2017 EP Seven Days to Apple Music, he said he often makes records right after the event that inspired them so as to keep the feeling as fresh as possible. “Like, maybe she walked out of the house,” he said. “And how I deal with things is, OK, walk right upstairs to the studio and take it in one cut, and call my homeboys. And they’re like, ‘Really? But she just left.’” It’s a raw approach. But the commitment to intimacy that makes PND protective of his music has also made him one of the more influential R&B artists of the 2010s and beyond, both as a solo performer (“LOYAL,” “BELIEVE IT”) and a writer/producer for Drake (“Preach”), Rihanna (“Work,” “Sex with Me”), DJ Khaled (“Wild Thoughts,” “Shining”), and others. Born Jahron Anthony Brathwaite in Mississauga, Ontario, in 1993, he joined up with Drake’s OVO crew in the early 2010s, helping shape the downcast, emotive sound that has more or less defined modern R&B. Raised by a Jamaican mother and Trinidadian father, PND also reflects R&B’s changing demographics, both in his Canadian-ness and his Caribbean descent—the latter a lineage that comes out distinctly in his work. Of course, he’s played plenty of shows since that first appearance. And while it’s impossible to bring his home studio to the stage, he does a pretty good job at collapsing the distance.

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
July 3, 1993

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