Maestro Fresh Wes is a multi-award-winning recording artist, actor, author, and the first Canadian Hip Hop artist to have a single hit Gold status on the charts. His iconic 1989 album Symphony In Effect was the first to receive a JUNO Award for Best Rap Recording of the Year, as well as the first Canadian Hip Hop album to go Platinum. A true pioneer, he was also the first Canadian hip hop artist to have a song rank on Billboard’s Top 20 Rap Singles chart, and in 2019 “Let Your Backbone Slide” became the first rap song inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Hip Hop Icon & Actor Maestro Fresh Wes: “Stick To Your Vision”
Hello and welcome to episode 69 of Sing! Dance! Act! Thrive!
I’m going to start the show with a little-known fact… For most of my life, I tiptoed around in order to go unnoticed. I was passionate about the performing arts, however, I was way too shy to become a performer. As a photographer, makeup artist, journalist, artist manager, and publicist I could remain behind the scenes, but becoming a coach changed that for me.
As a creativity coach, we dig deep into core values, limiting beliefs, and personal motivation for achieving goals. Encouraging my clients to show up authentically, to share vulnerabilities, and to push through their comfort zones motivates me to lead by example and do the same.
Now when I notice I am procrastinating on something I examine the why behind it, what fear or limiting belief am I holding on to? Then I work to push through. And I’m grateful for the change!
Listeners have heard me say before that the reason I got into coaching was out of frustration that too many artists were coming to me for publicity before they were really ready. In order to get media attention these days, you need a professional brand, interesting stories, and an active social media following. Through coaching I can guide you through developing those step by step, however, lately, I’m realizing that in my attempts to give the people what they want which is for me to teach them about social media and DIY publicity that I’ve started to allow clients to again skip over the foundational work.
The foundation is personal branding which is all about expressing your authentic self in all its glory. It is exploring and celebrating your personality, interests, life experiences, core values, beliefs, skills, strengths, and even your weaknesses. It is deeply personal work that I believe strongly that you can’t have long-lasting success if you skip it.
I’m sharing this because it is good to take a step back and remember the why behind your vision and notice if you are going off track. So you may notice on the podcast or things I share on social media that I’m going to return to focus on the foundations more so than giving you social media and publicity tips.
My guest today knows all about sticking to your vision so much so that Stick to your vision has grown from a song that he wrote and recorded to a book to Ted talks to being a major part of his personal and professional brand.
Maestro Fresh Wes is a multi-award-winning recording artist, and the first Canadian Hip Hop artist to have a single hit Gold status on the charts. His iconic 1989 album Symphony In Effect was the first to receive a JUNO Award for Best Rap Recording of the Year, as well as the first Canadian Hip Hop album to go Platinum. A true pioneer, he was also the first Canadian hip hop artist to have a song rank on Billboard’s Top 20 Rap Singles chart, and in 2019 “Let Your Backbone Slide” became the first rap song inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Maestro’s songs “Reach For The Sky (feat. Classified and Blue Rodeo)” and “The Distance (feat. Saukrates)” were featured throughout the Olympics, 2014 Winter, and 2016 Summer, respectively.
As an actor, Williams has appeared on numerous film and television projects, including The Line — for which he was nominated for a Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series — and as the character of Paul Dwyer in the CBC hit sitcom, Mr. D.
He has been inducted into the Scarborough Walk of Fame, received the 2003 Reel World Film Festival Trailblazer Award, and was a guest speaker for the Governor-General of Canada’s Summit on Urban Arts.
Williams’ paths as both an author and motivational speaker merged with the release of his motivational book, Stick To Your Vision with its foreword written by Public Enemy’s Chuck D, and content long-credited for inspiring fellow Canadian hip hop star Drake.
Canada’s indisputable Godfather of hip hop has just unveiled his newest release — an inspirational children’s book, Stick To Your Vision: Young Maestro Goes to School.
How is that for an introduction…the man is a legend and a super sweet guy too. I hope you enjoy our conversation.
*full transcript coming soon