Connecting through music with singer Michelle Hopkins
The UTM singer-songwriter shares her passion for her craft and community.

Michelle Hopkins’s relationship with music began when her sister started singing in elementary school. “I’m a second child, so I was honestly just a copycat. My sister got into music when she was 10, and I just fell into it.” A few years later Hopkins started writing her own music, and though she now recognizes the significant improvements since her debut as a songwriter at the age of nine, from the beginning it was all about how it made her feel.

Hopkins is an emerging singer and songwriter from the Greater Toronto Area whose music blends elements of pop, soul, and R&B. She was raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania before moving to Canada in 2015. Currently, Hopkins is enrolled at UTM for a double major in Psychology and Professional Writing and Communication, the latter of which has had a distinct influence on her songwriting.

“Songwriting was my perspective,” Hopkins said. Despite her interest in music and songwriting, she was never encouraged to make it her career. Music remained a hobby until her second year at UTM when her writing professor told her that “there’s power in everyone’s perspective.”

“There are a lot of people who can sing, and many can sing very well, but not everyone can write about their experiences like it’s a shared experience,” said Hopkins. “In 2019, I decided to pursue music as a career. I don’t care if it’s a career of celebrity status. I just want to always use this outlet to connect to people who my experiences relate to. I just want to share something that I’m passionate about.”

Hopkins jokes, “I told my parents I was going into writing but didn’t tell them I was going into songwriting.”

Shortly after pursuing music seriously, Hopkins entered a competition at the RBC Bluesfest, an annual music festival held in Ottawa every July. The competition, called She’s The One, is for female musicians ages 13 to 21. The contestants perform a cover or an original song, and the winner is awarded a year of professional development sponsored by RBC. Hopkins won the competition in 2019, but during her developmental year—a process that would introduce her to the industry and give her the tools to work independently as an artist—the Covid-19 pandemic began. The world paused.

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Despite the interruption, Hopkins was still able to connect with several producers in Toronto as well as develop demo tapes that she could independently promote. In 2020, she released her debut single “Honest,” a soul-infused R&B record with powerful vocals and delicate lyrics. In 2021, she released her second single “Careless Over Coward,” which extended the thematic elements she established with “Honest” while continuing to refine her style as a musician. Within that same year, she also joined Honey Jam—an all-female, multicultural artist development showcase that has been running for 27 years. The program introduced her to artists and producers around Toronto.

“I want to keep myself open because collaboration is what strengthens this community,” she said.

Recently, Hopkins was awarded funding through FACTOR, a non-profit organization intent on promoting and developing Canada’s music industry. The FACTOR artist development program offers subsidiaries for emerging artists to assist with sound recording, marketing, and more. Hopkins is using this funding to produce a new single titled “One Hour on Earth.” The single will hopefully be part of an emerging EP that she plans to start working on after graduating from UTM. Additionally, she is in the process of applying to The Remix Project, which helps marginalized and underprivileged artists emerge into the creative fields.

On February 26, she also performed three new original songs at a virtual music festival hosted by Waveland Canada, an arts platform for independent artists in Toronto. The festival was a celebration of Black artists as well as Black History Month.

Hopkins’s career within the music industry is beginning to unfold before her, and despite her success, she is happy to enjoy the stage she is at: “Right now I’m just emerging, and my community very gladly accepts everything I put out. Right now, I’m at a stage where I literally control everything.” Her aspirations are grounded in her community, and though she welcomes success, her definition is not of glamour, fame, or tabloids; to Hopkins, success lies in her relationship to her community.

Her two singles “Honest” and “Careless Over Coward” are available on Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud. You can find more of her content at

Copy Editor (Volume 49) | —Aidan is completing a major in Professional Writing and Communications at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He previously worked as the Associate Editor for the Arts and Entertainment section of The Medium, and currently works as the Copy Editor for The Medium. When he’s not catching up on course work or thumbing through style guides, Aidan spends his free time exercising (begrudgingly), singing (unmelodically), and trying (helplessly) to read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The latter of which has taken 3 years to reach the 16th page. You can connect with Aidan at


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