J3M (pronounced “gem”) is the solo project of Toronto-based disco-pop party-starter Jemuel Roberts. The award-winning singer-songwriter and pianist has backed powerhouse artists such as Tanika Charles, Zaki Ibrahim, Amaal, The OBGMs, James Baley and more, both locally and internationally. His debut solo EP AFRONAUT, released in August 2022, made its debut on CBC Q last year and was even a top contender for the coveted CBC Searchlight Music prize. It’s a six-song cycle of love and loss, told via the tumultuous story between the titular Afronaut and his Alien lover.

Born in Ottawa to a Guyanese family, J3M has been performing for as long as he can remember. His influences range from gospel and disco-pop, to R&B and classical, and he’s been drawing on them to paint pictures, tell stories and share melodies that will live in your head rent-free.

He’s shared stages with Weezer, Brandy, July Talk, K’Naan, and the Arkells — just to name a few — played POP Montreal, too many Prides to count (Ottawa, Toronto, Saskatoon and Regina), Afropunk Paris, Osheaga and SXSW.

Whether it’s lighting up rooms with his sharp writing, production skills, or bringing down houses all over the world with his vivacious live performances, this unabashedly Black and queer artist is ready to get you dancing all night long.


2023 Winners