Meet the 5 Artists Traveling to Toronto for Music Export Memphis’ NXNE Showcase

On June 12, Music Export Memphis will be heading to the Great White North (Toronto, to be exact) for this year’s NXNE Music Festival, one of the best ways for up-and-coming artists to gain more widespread exposure. MEM will be bringing 5 Memphis artists–Mak Ro, Raneem Imam, Lukah, Jai Musiq and Deonna Sirod–for a showcase of some of the Bluff City’s brightest talent. 

If you’re hesitant about taking the cross-continental trip to see what will undoubtedly be a stellar showcase, we’ve got good news! On March 30th at the Central Atrium of Crosstown Concourse, all of the artists on the lineup will perform for the community and give a taste of what they are bringing to Canadian audiences! You can reserve your free tickets here

Before all of the festivities kick off, however, we thought we’d take a brief moment to introduce you to all 5 artists who will soon be representing the M-Town.

Mak Ro

The duo of cousins Eric Makapugay and Kris Ruaro have been winning over fans since 2019 with their deeply soulful blend of R&B, pop, and rock. With a familiarity that only family can provide, the two continue to push the boundaries of their music into new and exciting directions and seem well-poised to be some of the city’s next break-out stars. To learn more about Mak Ro, check out this conversation we had with the group last year. 

Raneem Imam

Even before graduating from Rhodes College with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, singer-songwriter Raneem Imam was already winning over fans and garnering headlines for her nostalgic pop stylings. Now a full-time musician, Imam is living up to the early hype as one of Memphis’ brightest young talents. Earlier this year, we sat down with Imam to discuss her career, inspirations, and much more. You can find that conversation here


While his stature continues to grow, South Memphis rapper Lukah is already a well-known talent amongst hip-hop heads, receiving national attention from publications such as NPR and Pitchfork. With a mature and gritty throwback sound that harkens back to the genre’s 1990s golden age, Lukah has been on a blistering run, releasing several full-length albums in just a few years. In March, we spoke with him about his newest album “Temple Needs Water. Village Needs Peace,” which you can find here

Jai Musiq

Much like his idols Drake and Kid Cudi, Jai Musiq creates a lush and smooth blend of R&B and hip-hop that stands in contrast with the city’s hardcore rap history. Since first breaking out in 2015, Jai Musiq has released a steady flow of excellent music, most recently dropping the singles “J.U.U.G.!” and “Ain’t Shit.” With an inspirational message and a versatile sound, Jai Musiq is an artist that commands attention.

Deonna Sirod

I must admit, I was a late comer to the music of Deonna Sirod, but after witnessing her performances at the Tambourine Bash and DreamFest, I was quickly won over. Like many of the artists in this list, Sirod’s music is not easily categorized, blending several different genres into a unified whole. Last year, the singer released her latest album “Abstract,” a deeply personal and gorgeous collection of songs that was one of the highlights of 2023.


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