Show & Prove: Tory Lanez
Words: Miranda Johnson
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

Canada is on the rise. First it was Drake, then The Weeknd, next Tory Lanez? If things stay heading the way they are for the young singer, the answer might be yes.

A native of Toronto, 23-year-old Tory, real name Daystar Peterson, moved around a lot as a child, due to his dad’s missionary work. The family left Toronto when Tory was 7 to relocate to Miami. Five years later after the passing of his mom, Tory began rapping after being inspired by his traumatic loss.

Later that year, his father remarried and the family moved to Atlanta. In 2006, Tory was sent to New York to live with his mom’s friend in a last ditch effort to change his troubled ways. Soon after, Tory was forced to return to Toronto.

His grandmother refused to care for him, and at 15, Tory was on his own. “I ended up moving downtown with these three dudes that I didn’t really know,” he says. ”I came into the house and I didn’t realize how things worked. From like 15-18, I was just fighting them. I fought like every day and these were like older dudes. It was every man for himself. That’s what made me a man, having to fend for myself and being in a situation where there is no dad, no grandma and no mom to help you. It changed the person that I am today.”

Despite his struggles, Tory never gave up on music and over the next few years, the aspiring crooner built a local fanbase via sporadically released material and shows before catching the attention of Justin Bieber. At the time, Justin was on tour with Sean Kingston, who eventually signed Lanez to Time Is Money Entertainment in 2010. Tory put out his first official mixtape, Mr. Peterson, in 2011 and remained signed to Kingston for the next three years, releasing five mixtapes before parting ways. By 2013, Tory had appeared on Meek Mill’s Dreamchasers 3 and YG’s My Krazy Life. Destined to prove he was more than a hook master, Tory dropped the Conflicts of My Soul mixtape.

By January of 2015, all Tory’s hard work led him to ink a deal with Interscope Records and an appearance on Meek Mill’s Dreams Worth More Than Money. Tory released the first single, “Say It,” off of his as-yet-titled debut album this past July earning critical praise. Now Tory is gearing up for the early 2016 release of his debut album. “In the next year, I’m going to be one of the biggest,” says Tory. “Nothing is going to stop that.”

Check out more from XXL’s Winter 2015 issue including Kendrick Lamar’s cover story, Rick Ross' forever hustle, Silento's takeover with "Watch Me (Whip/NaeNae)," Rhymesayers' legendary movement, Eye Candy India Love and Show & Prove with Bryson Tiller and CeeLo Green reminiscing on Goodie Mob's Soul Food album.

See New Music Releases for January 2016