CALGARY -- Shosho Dania wants the world to know his name and has set his sights on a November release date for his solo debut album.

Shosho Dania, known by his stage name Polo Sho, has just starting working on his first album, thanks to support from a successful crowdfunding campaign, which raised $5,000 to help cover the costs of new studio equipment and a future tour. 

"I feel there hasn’t been a Calgary hip-hop artist to go on a noteworthy national tour, where they’re talking about this artist in Toronto, in Montreal, in Vancouver,” said Dania.

The 25-year-old started rapping at the age of nine, inspired by an Eminem album he received as a birthday gift from his dad. Dania and his family moved from Nigeria to Canada when he was 14. 

He took a break from rapping after high school.

“I guess because I thought it’s time to be realistic, you don’t really think you can rap as a career,” he said. 

But that changed in 2017. At the age of 22, Dania had open-heart surgery, because he was born with a congenital heart condition. Once recovered, Dania said he decided to drop out of university to pursue his passion.

He’s chosen Determination as the title for his first record. 

"I want this body of work to be to fans what my surgery was to me; a wake up call to go after and achieve my dreams, at all costs,” said Dania. 

“I dabble in all different sub-genres of hip hop but my music is meant to be motivational. I definitely like to tell my story, why I’m making music up until this point, where I want to take my music is definitely about my aspirations, my ambitions."

Dania, who is also an audio engineer, launched LiftedOne Records, an independent hip-hop record label, which started off as a SoundCloud page, to promote hip hop in the city. 

"I started the label because there are no outlets, not just in Calgary or Alberta, in Western Canada to promote hip hop," said Dania.

Dania’s team has grown to include other audio engineers, producers and artists.

Rapper Sawyer Harkness admits making it in Calgary as an artist has its challenges.

"I just find that people kind of gravitate toward trends. So if you’re kind of just an up-and-coming artist, people don’t necessarily take you seriously. I think that’s part of the process,” said Harkness. 

Producer and audio engineer Matthew Hann said a goal is to help younger acts shine.

"That’s the goal of the record label, to actually make it so that artists will stay in Calgary and will help bring up the scene here," he said.

LiftedOne is launching a series of monthly hip hop shows starting Feb. 21, to showcase the label’s talent. The last show will be for Dania’s album’s release in November. 

"Your debut album is really to tell your story up until that point, it’s what made you an artist, why are you here,” said Dania. 

Shows will be held on Fridays at Vern’s on Eighth Avenue S.W.

More information can be found online.