Black Canadians




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Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list )

interview Page Main Template GENERAL Specyal T 


Trish Hylton popularly known as Specyal T is an urban recording artist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter, producer, mentor, writer & poet. She started off her music career as a classical pianist at two years of age with training that continued from six to nineteen through the Royal Conservatory Of Music. Over the years she has developed skills through different mediums and genres (i.e. Contemporary accompanist, Jazz, Samba & Caribbean ensemblist). This has led to her getting the opportunity to perform with a number of musicians in a variety of venues.

From 2009 till present she has commercially been able to release her music internationally to the masses through major distribution under the Universal Music Group banner.

Her business / indie label SPECYAL T PRODUCTIONS which currently represents herself, as well as an up and coming pop singer, Catherine Marie, also specializes in personalized custom-made theme songs which they can do for any age and occasion.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself?

My background is Dominican (Dominica) & Jamaican. I'm happily married and I'm also very soon to be a mom. I've always had an interest in the arts in general. In elementary school I won an award for music, visual arts and acting. I used to draw a lot and even have taken classes for it. I have done some acting over the years and love to get the opportunity to play different roles in my music videos.

Tell us something not many people know about you?

Aside from music I was a very avid athlete back in the day. Track and Field was definitely my focal point for many years and I had dreams of representing Canada at the Olympics as a sprinter. Circumstances made it so that I had to make a choice and music won.

What's your inspiration or how do you get motivated?

When it comes to music I've always been naturally driven to create. My biological mom has said that I was making music in the womb. My upbringing was a bit diverse so I've always used my surroundings as inspiration and my uniquely active imagination.

How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?

I've been very fortunate to have always known what I wanted to do for my career. In school when I was younger, with the help of many of my teachers and professors, they helped in making sure I stayed on the right path. I have always been naturally driven and with a developed discipline and the right contacts I've been able to accomplish a number of things to date. You should expect me to continue to push the envelope with my brand of sound and always look for me to evolve with my creativity in my music and videos.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Someone who was creatively innovative and inspired others positively.

How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?

It can become difficult to balance everything especially now with our family expanding, however a large part of the success I'd have to say comes from having a very supportive husband. He has developed an understanding of my industry and I'm fortunate enough to even have him assist me from time to time.

What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?

Anyone that knows me knows I have a sweet tooth so for my fave food that I would eat anytime if I could get away with it would have to be vanilla cake. In terms of music I can't narrow it down to just one song but genre wise I love soul r&b,hip hop and alternative. One of my favorite books is Wuthering Heights a true classic, and The Sound Of Music is my all time favorite movie.

What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?

I spent the first three years of life in a foster home in Scarborough as my biological mom couldn't take care of me due to some health issues. It housed kids from different backgrounds; My foster parents were Caucasian. Then I was adopted and grew up in a predominantly Caucasian community, My adoptive mom was Jamaican and my dad is Caucasian. I found it was hard growing up, as I really didn't have anybody to relate to because the majority of my friends came from other backgrounds and my mom passed away when I was only seven. So I normally turned to the media to get that relativity. I did however use the opportunity to help keep everyone informed and clear up general misconceptions people might have about our culture as I got older. Now that I'm older and living back in the GTA, I still find that there can be some ignorance and isolation (i.e. my husband and I have been refused service at a couple of different restaurants before) but overall the experience has been a generally positive one.

What is the Black community doing right or wrong in Canada?

Although I can see positive changes slowly developing in support of our community, I still feel like we should be further along and have way more support for each other in different areas. With entertainment and the urban genre in Toronto for example, although we're the fourth largest market for music It still doesn't feel or act that way at all. We're just not supporting our own artists like we will American ones. That to me really needs to change. It's an on going uphill battle.

Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada compared to the US (e.g: when can we have our Obama, Beyonce, Oprah, Tyler Perry, BET, etc)

I believe currently in Canada we are behind in terms of opportunities for blacks as compared to the US. Hence in most industries if one is looking to advance their career forward they go across the border to do so. This has been going on for years and may go on for many more. I do hope to see a change though..


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