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Arthur McArthur is the producer who brought you the songs “Uptown” from Drake, Lil Wayne & Bun B and “My House” by Big Sean. Now splitting his time between Los Angeles and Toronto, Arthur recently signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappel Music and burst onto the popular music landscape. A Toronto native, he’s part of a talented class of Canadian producers making their commercial mark. Despite fierce competition, Arthur is carving out his own sound that combines pop appeal with cinematic gravity. With an already impressive resume, the 22 year old continues to spread his sonic reach, capturing new sounds and inspiring creativity from every artist he’s worked with, a list that includes Drake, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Big Sean, Tyga and Dr. Dre.
Arthur has known music as long as he’s known anything. “My mom always tells the story of me and my friends playing with the garbage cans out front of my house,” says Arthur. “I had them set up drums and each kid had their own. I was two or three and I’m sitting there instructing much older kids how to hit it and when to hit it. I had them playing La Bamba!”
At only seven years old, he began 10 years of classical piano training. Later, he would teach himself how to play the guitar. Growing up on Toronto Island, Arthur had few distractions from making beats and would often retire to his backyard shed to find peace and inspiration. It was that small, rickety shed that gave him the space to develop those early attempts at production.
Arthur’s mother played and continues to play a supportive role in his musical career. Arthur is adamant about giving her credit for exposing him to new, often obscure forms of music. He cites a diverse list of influences such as Beethoven, Timbaland, Jimi Hendrix, Jay-Z, Just Blaze, Debussy, and Dr. Dre as fathers to his sound.
Despite his glaring ability, coming up in the Toronto music scene wasn’t easy for Arthur. Without much industry infrastructure, viable songwriters or actual money to fuel a career in production, Arthur entered the now legendary Battle of the Beatmakers and was able to showcase his talents to a wider, appreciative audience. In 2008, he defeated acclaimed producer Boi 1da to take a best of three series and catapult himself into the limelight. Arthur openly attributes part of his success to these competitions and a general collaborative atmosphere among producers in Toronto.
In early 2009, Drake’s mixtape So Far Gone hit the internet featuring a nearly seven minute song with Bun B. and Lil Wayne. “Uptown” was produced by Arthur McArthur and Boi 1da and became a celebrated song across North America. Over the next few years Arthur worked tirelessly to polish his sound. For eight months he slept on his studio’s couch and stacked under the radar placements until Big Sean’s Finally Famous featured “My House”. For the next few months after that Arthur went on to work with Fabolous, R. Kelly, Tyga, Alley Boy, and Sean Garret.
With such success it’s easy to imagine a young producer getting lost in the numbers and the hype, but Arthur is typically Canadian in his humble, calculated demeanor.
“It’s not the awards or the amount of downloads or views that’s mattered to me,” Arthur reveals, “What’s been rewarding is the personal connection of someone telling me they like the work I’ve done or that it inspires them. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of those moments and that is what drives me.”