Fort William hip-hop artist Preme (George Palosaari) is in the running for fan voting in six categories at the CUT Hip-Hop Awards 2017 in Toronto. Photo by Ascension.

By Rick Garrick

TORONTO—Fort William hip-hop artist Preme (George Palosaari) is in the running for fan voting in six categories at the CUT Hip-Hop Awards 2017 in Toronto.

“I just released an album called Most Wanted, which was nominated for Rap Album of the Year,” Preme says. “I felt I had good enough quality to submit to an award show this year, so I submitted to a few different award shows. I was nominated for this one, so I’m hoping in the next eight days [to] find out if I made the top seven in each of these [six] categories.”

Preme is looking for support from community members in the first stage of the award voting process, which ends on April 21 and is located online. His entries are up for voting in the following categories: Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Collaboration of the Year, Music Video of the Year, Rap Album of the Year, Rap Single of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year categories.

“If I do make the top seven, then I can go to the award show and then they will choose the winner on May 6,” Preme says. “I’ve got a lot of fan support so far, so I’m hoping it’s enough to get me to the top seven.”

Preme says he has a good chance to make the top seven in the Collaboration of the Year category, where his entry is: Most Wanted Feat Evil Ebenezer – Dystrakted – C-Lance.

“There’s not so many nominees,” Preme says. “I’m thinking I have a good shot at that one.”

Preme began dabbling in music in 2002, but took a break after about four years. After getting back into music in 2012, Preme did his own headline tour in 12 cities across Western Canada in 2015.

“We made some pretty big stops in Winnipeg and Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton,” Preme says. “It was a pretty lengthy tour — we were on the road for close to 25 days. It was good to get across Canada and spread my music across the western part of Canada and get some experience and network with a lot of people.”

Preme says it is important for independent artists to network and meet as many people as possible.

“Since then, I’ve been doing it full-time and just pushing at it hard every day,” Preme says. “It’s not easy without a huge budget behind you, but it is definitely something I love to do. It’s been good so far for me.”

Preme says his Most Wanted album is available on iTunes and Spotify.

“If anyone wants to check it out, that is one of the ways you can help to support me,” Preme says. “You can stream it or you can purchase it.”

Preme says his album is “an underground-based album,” noting he worked with a producer from Boston on it.

“It’s kind of an upbeat album,” Preme says. “There are a few songs that are made for radio play, so I made them with note samples and a beat, kind of like a guitar melody more or less in the beat.”

Preme plans to do a show in Wawa in June and is considering an eastern tour through Ontario in the future.

“You’ll probably see me doing a lot more hitting the road this year and kind of getting my name across Canada,” Preme says.