Teens in the Scene is a get-to-know-you feature series directed by our contributor, Zoë Argiropulos-Hunter. Through her bite-sized interviews and experimental film portraiture, Zoë will put a different member of our community in the spot light every month to get the inside scoop on what is happening in the scene from a teen’s perspective. This month, Zoë hung out with up and coming hip-hop artist Gen Bourget AKA HOODIE about her latest EP and the Ottawa hip-hop scene.

How long have you been making music under the name HOODIE and how would you describe your sound?

GEN BOURGET: I’ve been making music under the name HOODIE for about a year and a half now, since releasing my first track “Let me know” on Soundcloud in the spring of last year. I would describe my sound as a mix of hip-hop and RnB, but I am still discovering my sound, production, and vocal range. I don’t want to limit myself so I am always trying new things and seeking inspiration from different artists and genres.

What was the recording of your latest EP like?

GB: My six track EP “Hoodie” took about a year to make. All songs are produced by my brother Gabriel in our home studio here in Ottawa. The two of us worked together on the writing and production. It was great having someone to bounce ideas of off and collaborate with. Gabriel has been producing for just over a year now, so it was journey learning how to mix and master for the first time for the both of us.

I know you lived in Toronto for a little while, and I’m curious to know: In what ways does the Toronto hip-hop/trap scene differ from Ottawa’s?

GB: I think the Toronto music scene is much more established and known internationally. From my experience, hip-hop artists all know each other and have a hunger and drive for success. I feel like here in Ottawa it’s on us to be confident and make our city known by working just as hard and creating those opportunities for ourselves by connecting and teaming up. There are so many amazing independent hip-hop artists here! Dedicated individuals such as Jelani Lewis, the owner of Smallworld Live, is one person I can think of who is working so hard to put together hip hop shows in our city.

Do you feel that the hip-hop community is inclusive for women? How do you hope to challenge that and work with it?

GB: I do feel the hip hop community is inclusive for women. Just like male artists we need to show why our music is unique and needs to be heard. I feel at times it is difficult to be taken seriously as a women in the hip-hop community, and that you have to prove yourself as an artist and peer. I’ve learnt that I need to be clear about what people’s expectations and true intentions are when they want to collaborate or talk music.

How do you find time to foster your art and creativity while being a student and working? What advice do you have for young people in the same position?

GB: I’m definitely still trying to figure it out. I’ve worked so incredibly hard on this EP I feel like finishing my last year of university is my side hustle at the moment! If I were to give any advice it would be to prioritize what’s important to you, surround yourself with people who truly support you and your goals, and dive into what you’re passionate about. It’s so easy to doubt and compare yourself to other artists’ come-ups and success, but just stay focused and passionate and opportunities will come!