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Feb. 25, 2022

Interview with WizTheMc

We had the pleasure of interviewing WizTheMC over Zoom video!

South African-born, Germany-raised, and Toronto-based singer, songwriter and producer WizTheMc recently released his sophomore EP Where Silence Feels Good.

Leading listeners through...

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We had the pleasure of interviewing WizTheMC over Zoom video!

South African-born, Germany-raised, and Toronto-based singer, songwriter and producer WizTheMc recently released his sophomore EP Where Silence Feels Good.

Leading listeners through a tale of love, including all its triumphs, trials and tribulations, the EP features previous singles “Stoned Nights,” “Do It Over,” “Break” and “Everything,” which have gone on to rack up millions of streams and have been hailed by the likes of PAPER Magazine, Notion and HotNewHipHop.

Where Silence Feels Good EP marks the follow up to his What About Now? EP. Released at the end of 2019, it features the breakout single “For A Minute,” which has since amassed over 86M global streams and has been featured on Greys Anatomy, Facebook Messenger and the Netflix-original movie He’s All That.


Fitting for an artist who spent formative years on three different continents, WizTheMc describes his sound as “borderless music.” It’s an apt description for the 22-year-old singer, rapper, and producer, whose DIY ethos to music-making combines an ear for sticky pop hooks with nimble rapping abilities, all bolstered by high-octane production and summery guitar loops.

His career hit warp speed during summer of 2020, when his peppy love song “For A Minute” became a major online hit, following his signing with Elliot Grainge’s 10K Projects and Homemade Projects. It’s since accrued over 86 million global streams. The Toronto-based, Cape Town-raised artist is now bringing his magnetic records to the masses.

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0 (57s): Hello. It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal story on how they achieved stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hear all about Wiz the emcee and his journey over zoom video. Whizzes is born in South Africa, but raised in Germany. He moved to Germany around two years old, but he would jump back and forth. His dad was still staying in South Africa. So he'd stay with his dad a little bit, jump back and forth between South Africa and Germany. He didn't get into music or start rapping. I should say until about 15 years old, he was big into shooting music, videos, and film and editing. He tells us the story of how he got into rapping, moving to Toronto for a little while after high school, as kind of like a way to find himself and experience a different country and culture by himself while he was in Toronto. 3 (1m 49s): That's where his music career really started to blossom. He talks about that a bit, going back to Germany after his stint there, and then actually moving back to Toronto for another year, just working on his music. By the time he gets back to Germany, the second time he ends up winning this contest, which scores him a slot on a festival. And from the festival, he landed his manager. He ends up flying back to Toronto and on that flight is when one of his songs gets playlisted and he gets there. And it's got hundreds of thousands of streams. We talk about getting signed to 10 K projects over quarantine, the huge success of his song for a minute and all about his brand new EAP that he just released called, where silence feels good. 3 (2m 34s): You can watch our interview with Wiz on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. It'd be awesome if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Tik TOK at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify or apple music, be amazing. If you follow us there and hook us up with a five star review, loved that. 4 (2m 56s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our 3 (2m 59s): Podcasts, wherever you listen to podcasts or bringing it backwards with Wiz the MC right on Wiz. Well, my name's Adam and this podcast is about you, your journey and music. And we'll talk about the new EAP just 5 (3m 12s): Releases as well. Nice to meet you, Adam. Thank you for having me. 3 (3m 15s): Of course, you moved around quite a bit from what I read or saw that born in South Africa, and then you moved to Germany now you're in Toronto. 5 (3m 29s): Yeah. Quite, quite all over the place. So right now I'm currently in Berlin actually having, 3 (3m 37s): Yeah. You're in Berlin now, right on. Okay. Well, let's, let's talk about your, how you got all, all over the place. So you're born in South Africa. Talk to me about that a little bit. 5 (3m 47s): Yes. Well, I was, I was born in Cape town 1999, and then quickly after I moved from my mom and my brother to Germany, Lunenburg, small town. And yeah. And since then I've been visiting Cape town, like every year instead of in CalVet visiting my dad over there. So yeah, that's my, that's my home. 3 (4m 10s): How long were you in, in Cape town before you moved to Germany? Two years. 5 (4m 14s): Oh yeah. Yeah. Super young, super young. But over the years I saw, you know, I grew up with a year distance, I guess every year. 3 (4m 23s): Yeah. Cause you'd go there. You'd travel back and forth between Germany and South Africa. Cape town. Okay. Well, what's that, I mean, how, that must be such a culture shock between the two countries I would imagine. 5 (4m 35s): Yes. And also, no, just because like Cape town always feels like home. Like every time I touched down there, I'd just get this like immense grounding feeling. Cause like, although I didn't grow up there, like I didn't like went to kindergarten school. There's just like, I just believe like the place, like where you're born, there's like, you know, some spiritual connection to you as a, as a human, you know? So it just, it just feels like home every time I touched down 3 (5m 2s): Right on, right on. When did you get into music? 5 (5m 5s): When I got into music when I was like 15 years old, I think, yeah. I started wrapping around that. Yeah. 3 (5m 12s): Prior to that, just a li just a fan avid fan of music listening, or 5 (5m 19s): The funny thing is how I got into music was through filmmaking actually like, oh, God background is in photography and filmmaking. And I, I made music videos, like from the age of like 12 or 13 to 15. And when I saw my first music video, I remember it was for this German rapper in my hometown and Luna book. I remember watching him like dance in his, like to his own song, you know? And I was like, that's the coolest thing ever, you know? And ever since then, I just like that seed got planted. Like I remember back then I was like, I can't rap. I can't, you know, but like, but that was like the seed that started at all. 5 (6m 0s): So it's, it's funny. And after that, I just did everything I could to be in front of the camera. Instead of behind the, you know, 3 (6m 7s): What, what drew you to photography and film in the beginning? Do you remember 5 (6m 10s): Boredom? That's honestly, I think boredom is the root of all curiosity. And for me, I came across like my creative expression. Like my mom had like, you know, one of those old DSLR cameras. And so I picked that up, took pictures and then I quickly became like the family's like vacation photographer. Like we would like sit around after it's like at the dinner table. And we would like do like these, these shows of the pictures and I would always carry a camera. So yeah, that's how I first started. 3 (6m 45s): And then what, you just started meeting people at your friends, like how did you get involved with shooting music videos? 5 (6m 50s): And that was like that, that wrapper that I'm at, it was funny because I was just doing videos for myself and I was doing like fake music videos or like when we would be in Cape town, like I would just give my brother the camera. And I was like a huge kidding fan around that time. And we would do like a remake music videos of the kidding song. And like, we would go locations. I pretend I'll be the rapper, you know? And so, and I would always edit the videos, you know? And so then there was a time and Luna book where I saw this rapper post, like a video on Facebook. And I was like, I could do that way better than him, you know, like it was his first music video. 5 (7m 32s): And so I reached out to a couple people that knew, like that knew him. And then I met him at a gym and, and then I was like, yo, I shoot music videos. I can do a better job than whoever did your first video. And then I shot a couple of videos for him until he got signed. So I also saw like the whole process from like doing street videos to him, then getting recognition from like some industry people here in Germany, he got signed, I got dropped and I could focus on my music. 3 (8m 2s): You got dropped from the project. Just, just like shooting. 5 (8m 6s): You could have like budget videos. And I wasn't good enough to like live up to a big budget video. It was, you know, it was a yeah, very mutual. So it was like a good fit. And I was here. 3 (8m 17s): You're fairly young at the time too. I mean, you said you were with 13 or 15? 5 (8m 21s): Yeah, I was, I was like 14, 15 at the time. I, so when he got, he got signed. Yeah. 3 (8m 29s): Was he older, much older than you or same age as you? 5 (8m 34s): I think three years. Three years. Two or three years old enemy. Yeah. 3 (8m 38s): I was just wondering, I'm just picturing, like you showing up to the gym where he's at to, to talk to him about the video and being like, yeah, man, you're you ever shot your videos? You're like way younger than this guy. And he's probably like what? Okay. And then just like having that, just being a fly on the wall, that conversation was, would be probably pretty entertaining. 5 (9m 0s): The funny thing about like that gym situation was that I had just started my membership and I was very ambitious when I went to the gym. I thought I was. And so I got like the, I think it was like a one year or six month membership. Cause it's cheaper 3 (9m 19s): Golf. 5 (9m 20s): I went three times. One of one of those times was like, you know, meeting that ran gig. 3 (9m 27s): Right? 5 (9m 28s): Yeah. So it was, it was worth, it 3 (9m 30s): Pay for itself. That's hilarious. That's so funny how that is. It's like they tie you into like the full year, like if you buy two years and then after that it's January 5th or whatever, you're like, all right, I'm going to get the whole life thing together. It's a new year. And then, you know, two, three weeks then you're I got better things to do. 5 (9m 52s): I think honestly, I think it's set up by them that way. Like I feel like they can sell those memberships so easily because like a sales on motivation and not like commitment to a better self, but they know that only maybe like 25% of the people follow through, which means they'll still have space for new people coming, you know? 3 (10m 9s): Yeah. They probably sell capacity like in the first month and they're like, well, nobody's going to be showing up within March. 5 (10m 17s): Yeah. I'll just double, double book the gym, just like their book, double book flights, you know, 3 (10m 23s): That's so funny. Okay. So once you decided to go in front of the camera, like how did you then get the courage to start writing, you know, rap songs and stuff? Was that something you had already, are you like big into creative writing prior to that or trying to write poetry or anything? 5 (10m 39s): Honestly, it was a very, I don't know. I would call it a simple transition on me getting into rapid was a very realistic approach. I was just talking about the other day and it's basically, it was me and my friend shack. We were in my room and we were like, just listening to some rap silence. And I asked him like, how did all these like rappers start out? Like they have to be trash at some point. Right. And so basically my, my thesis or idea was that like everyone had to be trashed, you know? So it let me be trashed right now. And we just like, you know, downloaded a beat from YouTube and then like freestyle on it. And we shot a video that same day, just because I had a camera on the whole setup. 5 (11m 23s): And I was, and then I fell in love with the whole, like playing a character and creating your own world. You could say whatever you want it to. You know, at that time I was very big into just lying, like outright lying about my life and how cool I was or the things in my life. Like I just thought that was like, Really dope like that. 5 (13m 46s): You could just wrap anything and because over Rappi, it can be true for you, you know, whoever listens, you know, 3 (13m 53s): Just kind of read, write stories, but 5 (13m 56s): Yeah, it wasn't, it was just cool. Just like basic cool stuff that you can imagine, like a 15 year old rapping about when he's very influenced by American rap, you know? Yeah. 3 (14m 6s): Okay. So you did that for a while and then like what kind of like, how'd you get then to Toronto? Is that the, 5 (14m 13s): I mean bunch of chapters in between, but okay. 3 (14m 16s): Well tell me about this. Yeah. Let's, let's keep going down the line here. I was the traveling. 5 (14m 21s): So I think like just, just how I transformed as an artist or how I got closer to what I wanted to do with the music was that I came across Kendrick Lamar and J Cole a year into rapping or so, and I was just like, I remember watching the swimming pools music video for the first time. And I was just so amazed by like the, the theme and the topic, what he like wrapped about that peer pressure, you know, like not wanting to give into that and just being like so conscious, like I never heard conscious rap before that. And that really gave me goosebumps for several reasons. I mean, for one, you know, because Kendrick is, is, is, is like the greatest app at writing and putting his feelings down and ever since that, and digging into J Cole's music, Michael has been and still is to like put down my feelings as accurately as possible into the music, which yeah. 5 (15m 14s): Was, it was like a, just a general goal when I approach writing music and which I still have. And that kind of got me closer to Ben, like who was DMC became, you know? And I realized, oh, like then, then I started writing songs and I discovered like all these like emotions that I wouldn't talk about. Cause like if you're 16 years old, you know, and you just have like, kind of like guys, you hang out with, you know, at least I didn't have those type of conversations about, you know, who I'm in love with what I'm thinking about when I'm alone feeling the peer pressure of wanting to, I don't know, live a more conscious life wanting to meditate, like stuff I was into at that time. And so I had like music became, you know, my tunnel of expressing everything that I couldn't with the people around me, you know? 5 (16m 1s): So it, it became like my best friend, you know, like writing those things down. 3 (16m 6s): Yeah. I mean, it's hard to be vulnerable. The group of guy friends, you're not going to be like, yeah, let's, I'll sit around and talk about our feelings. So 5 (16m 14s): At 16, you know, maybe nowadays, but yeah. 3 (16m 17s): At 16 were in high school, like, you know, way. Right. Was it hard to then, like once you're coming up with this stuff at home, and then when you had to translate it, like when did you start being like, okay, I'm gonna put this into to song or was that all kind of together within that same time period? 5 (16m 34s): It was, well, I started freestyling like for good year, a year and a half. I would like refuse to write, like my friends would be like, oh, you should like start writing. And I was like, no, like I was just freestyle, you know? Cause they also have examples of like, you know, little Wayne or other people just like, yo I just freestyle. So that was kind of like the, how I thought about myself in the early years when like I've really wrapped pretty trash, but my flow was good. Like I think that was something I, you know, I actually had talent from the beginning. And so like, my flow always felt better when I was freestyling, but then I saw the value in writing things down because I could think about the next rhyme I could like think about the story, you know? 5 (17m 13s): And, and then, you know, by like, I don't know, year two or so I started putting stuff on SoundCloud and you know, 3 (17m 22s): So like with we, I mean just freestyling off. Was that just something you would do with your friends? Like you just decided, Hey, like I can frack it freestyle. So you just started kind of doing it and then you just kind of grew this, what like persona is like the guy that can rap at school 5 (17m 37s): Kind of not in school, in school. I was, I was, I was just the class clown. Like I didn't introduce the wrap, the wrap me up until late into school. Cause I just, I don't know. Yeah. But it's, it's funny when you ask like that persona of being the kid who wraps a freestyles because, so I started rapping at the end of 2014 in the summer of 2015, I was robbed like we, me and my friends, like the no homes, we would always meet in my room and we would like smoke weed and freestyle and rap, you know, and we did that the whole summer of 2015. And then after that summer, everyone kind of went back to their lives. And I just found myself like later that year writing music and I just like looked up and I was like, oh, I guess I liked this. 5 (18m 22s): You know, I guess it's more than just me doing it with my friends. And that was also around the time when I'm like YouTube, how to rap better than your friends, like 3 (18m 34s): Videos for everything. 5 (18m 36s): I learned everything from YouTube, put that in. And then I followed the instructions. Like I would listen to this guy who would like teach you how to freestyle, how to get like infinite words and all this trippy stuff until I was the kid wrapped better than their friends, you know? And yeah. 3 (18m 53s): And then w how'd you find beats to put under the songs or were you writing those yourself? YouTube. 5 (18m 59s): All types. Like anything I was into tiger type B to young thug type B you know, J Cole type be like, yeah. And 3 (19m 7s): Then you started putting these songs up on SoundCloud, 5 (19m 10s): SoundCloud, YouTube in 2016. I put out like my first music music video opened my Facebook page. Like I was fully committed, you know, like I remember like making the plan and of 2015, I was like in 2016, I want to start it. I forced my brother to shoot the music videos for me. And yeah. And that's when I put the stuff out. And then even like on, on I found tune core where you can, you know, upload stuff to Spotify and the rest. And like, I kind of illegally uploaded songs because I didn't pay for the beats, which I only realized later when I, yeah. But you know, you gotta do what you gotta do. 3 (19m 48s): Yeah. When you're young and you didn't, and you're first starting out, you probably wouldn't know that you have to pay the people that wrote the beat and then yeah. Getting all cleared and all that stuff. Well, so at this point, are you still in Germany when all this is happening? All that. Okay. And so you're releasing songs and SoundCloud and you get some traction that way or like how do you and event end up in Toronto? 5 (20m 12s): No, no, no traction on the, on the SoundCloud stuff. I think the highest views I had back then was maybe 90 streams on SoundCloud. And when I, when I felt like my music was getting hurt, it's funny. It was in this one class, my crush at the time I was, she was a long-time school crush. She said that she like saw my music on SoundCloud. Like a friend must have told her that I rap, but I, I wouldn't, you know, I wasn't the rap persona, like, so I was like kind of geeking out, you know, I was like, you know, this is like, it's all that stuff. And it was like really trashed freestyle. So I thought like, that's dope. You know, like my crush that I rap, you know, like, so maybe that's, that's some, some points, you know, but no, it was like, I was like uploading to SoundCloud for like two years, then YouTube for two or three years. 5 (21m 1s): And then I went to Toronto after high school, which the story is so odd. Like I sometimes don't believe it when people ask me like, why Toronto, you know? Like, because it makes sense looking at it, you know, Toronto is big, big, see lots of music. But the reason why I went to Toronto is really like, I had money saved up for a trip after high school. And I found a cheap flight. I literally like one day I was just sitting in my room. Cause I knew I was going to plan a trip and I thought of Canada, so Google, Canada. And then I saw Toronto, the city looked like super hype. And so I just checked the flights, you know, how, how you do it, you kind of planning for something. 5 (21m 42s): And then I saw a round trip for like 450 bucks and I was like, okay, I'll I'll book it. And yeah. 3 (21m 50s): So you went to Toronto is just like a vacation type. Like 5 (21m 55s): It was kind of just like, it was a two month trip that I planned and I was inspired by two of my close friends who took trips after school. Like one went to Jamaica and one went to, I think, Brazil or so like alone. And they were like, they came back and were like, enlightened. Basically. They were like, you, if you can go, go somewhere outside of this country, ideally outside of this continent and travel alone, you know? Cause like they just really found themselves in a, in a different way. So I was like, I was, you know, I was in and so Toronto was that for me and yeah. And then after, 3 (22m 31s): And you move, you, you fly back to Germany at this point. Did you have that experience? 5 (22m 36s): I'm curious. So we'll get to that. Nah, I'm just remembering. Cause like I haven't told the full story in a, in a bit. Well, I'll tell you like the part where I arrived in Toronto. So I was, I was living in this hostel, you know, I had, I had a hostel booked for three days. I don't, I don't know what, like I had a two month chip and I had the hostile book for three days. I was like, I guess an under on the third day on you. Okay. On the second day I knew, okay. After tomorrow I don't have a place to stay. I couldn't extend the hostel. Cause it was like summer was booming. Every hostel was full, you know? And so I go outside with my camera at the time and I was like, let's see who I meet today. 5 (23m 22s): You know? And I walked down the street of the hostel and I see these, I see these like slightly older guys, like play basketball on the street. And then I have a background in basketball. So I was like, yo, you guys trying to play basketball or whatever. And they said like, no, we just like, they were just like dribbling and fearing around on the street. And then my, my entrepreneurial spirit came up and I had my camera and I took pictures of them. I was like, look, check the pictures. And I'm like, oh, that's dope. Like we're from the we're from the states. Like they were in college basketball. They were like, like you could like, then one guy was like, do you want to shoot? Like, or our games, you know, like shoot some content for games. I was like back, you know? And then, then he gave me his number and before I was like about to take off, he was like, do you smoke? 5 (24m 7s): Do you smoke weed? And I was like, yeah. And then, so I go with them and I smoked my very first blunt, like backward blunt with them. And I moved in the next day with them and, and, and I also just had, it had like started a good relationship with one of the guys JT from Chicago. And so he, yeah, we became friends. I had my, my whole mic set up. So yeah, it was, it was beautiful because I could live there for free because I shot the content. Like I kinda made a deal with the coach. So I would like hit their games and added stuff for them. So that could live there for free. And that was kind of like my first month in Toronto, you know, so already there were like signs that kept me in the city, you know? 5 (24m 51s): And I felt, yeah, some sort of support 3 (24m 54s): Like welcomed there. 0 (24m 56s): I didn't realize you liked me that way deal because it's one thing to receive McDonald's but an entirely other thing to know that they woke up early to face the world and bring you McDonald's breakfast, still hot in the back. Appreciate you. 2 (25m 12s): There's a deal for every morning. Now grab two loaded sausage burritos for only three bucks prices and participation may vary single item at regular price and not be combined with any other offer combo meal. 3 (25m 27s): So you were there for a couple months and doing this basketball thing, shooting something in your, you, you had your mic there, so your record. 5 (25m 36s): Yeah. And I was recording stuff and I'm shooting music videos, you know, to that guy JT out. And he would shoot music videos for me. We would have like, we would, we recorded a whole mixtape together. And then one of, you know, like I was doing everything I possibly could, you know, to just get, you know, my face and name out there. And, and then as the time passed, I, I, I got kicked out of that Airbnb after they left back to America and then I was alone and I only knew like three people and I called two, they didn't answer. And the third guy was someone I met in a couple of days earlier who ran this theater in Toronto and he had like an artist's house. 5 (26m 21s): And so I hit him up and I was like, can I like stay at your place for a bit? I just got kicked out of this place. And he was like, sure. And I moved in and I ended up getting like a super cheap room for like 300 Canadian books. And I made music from there and they were like a bunch of artists in that house. And I ended up staying like for four months and house it just because it was like so cheap that there was like no reason to leave and not like the, I had like a six month like visa for that time. And I knew by the end of the six months, like I have to come back. Like I learned like, like the, the guy who I lived with, like, he taught me how to like poster and promote my shows. 5 (27m 3s): And so I would post to the city in Toronto and that's, that's a whole nother aspect of the, of the whole thing. I'm going on a tangent. But like, 3 (27m 12s): So you were playing shows and everything there too. So what you started building a fan base for yourself in Toronto? 5 (27m 18s): Well, the, the, the part about that it's like, there were no fans. Well, I w I would mark it myself and I would sit on the porch, like off this little theater where it would have like my shows set up and they were like weeks and weeks, no one would show up sometimes like one person would show up with like a beer in their hand and they saw the poster on the corner. Like, let me check it out. You know? And, and, and the thing, like my mentor, the guy who, who ran the house, he gave me very good advice. He was like, never undervalue your art. Like my entry price was 20 bucks, you know? And no one knew me, like 20 bucks is like a regular concert. If you think about it, you know? Cause he was like, if you put five bucks, people think it's not worth it. 5 (28m 0s): Like if, if they would come, they, they like, they think like, oh, I don't know if I'm going to pay attention or whatever, or they don't come at all. You know? And so he said, don't, don't make it too cheap. Like make it a price where when they come in, they have expectations, meaning you have to deliver, you know? And I live by that motto that whole time. So I, I would have a 45 minute set prepared if one person showed up two people or five people. And that's what I did like for months on end, you know, like I really, yeah. I sat there when no one showed up. And that was like my, I felt like my start into becoming an artist, you know? 3 (28m 39s): I mean, that makes sense. It really does. When you think about it, if you saw a ticket or you're walking by a theater, you're like, oh, this guy is five bucks. You're like, ah, you're either like this guy, he's not, probably not worth my time to, to get in, watch this. It's like, yeah, it's $5. But you know, that's an hour of my time that I'm going to have to waste if I wanted to go check the personnel. But if it's like 20 bucks, then it's like, oh, well who's this right. They're playing here. And it's $20. He, they must be legit. Right. You're thinking like already, you're getting thoughts in your head. As far as that goes. I love that. I've heard that before. I love that idea. 5 (29m 12s): Yeah. And it, it makes sense. And it's just like also, I think if you think about yourself differently, like when it comes to respecting your art, you know, and I feel like, yeah, that, that really helped interesting. Another interesting thing that happened with these posters was like in the mornings, like around six, 7:00 AM, I would poster around the city, like the main streets in Toronto, like my face usually, and then like a quote or something. And I was switching it up like every week. And it was funny because like in the afternoon I was sometimes hang out at a thrift store. I'll just be downtown in Toronto. And people would recognize me from the posters as if I was in tube as if I was a touring musician. And like I had, I had like a promo company putting this stuff up. 5 (29m 56s): I would always play along, you know, people like Sunday, like it was, people would send those tweet. And I was like, yo, I saw was the MC at the thrift store, you know? And I had like 16 followers, you know, but like to them because they saw it like that. They still pop posters, you know, they were maybe from out of the country. And so that's like, that was like my first entry into like learning marketing and guerrilla marketing. 3 (30m 18s): That's awesome. Did you say you would take pictures of the people like sign autographs at the poster? That's amazing. Well, they got you early right now. You've got a huge fan base and you know, millions of streams and look what, yeah. So they obviously knew they, they felt something ahead of time or the first ones there with that though. So you were there for four months. So you did those shows and then what was the next kind of, what was like the next big milestone moment for you? Was that after you had gone back to Germany, 5 (30m 50s): The neck, the next milestone was like, I went back to Germany, super excited about what I experienced in these six months, you know? And now to your point of like, was my trip out of the country, like an enlightening one, I would say, yeah, completely. Because what I realized for me, it was a very specific thing where I had this, this artist, this rap persona kind of tucked inside of me, you know, like I was, I was never the type, oh, at that time, at least I wouldn't be around my family and I'll be like, I'm going to be rich, famous rapper. Like, I don't care what any of you say, you know, I kept that to myself and I express that in the studio and just in my own manifestations, you know? And, but when I came to Canada quickly, like after two or three times of seeing my real name, which is Sanjana, I realized that people had a tough time saying it. 5 (31m 39s): And then, so I was living with these basketball players from the states. Right. And they knew my artist's name. And so they started calling me whiz and I was like, that's way easier to like introduce myself as, and so that Toronto was where whiz was born, you know, then I just was like, what's her name? Whiz, whiz. Oh, whiz, you know, interesting name, you know? And I was like, yeah, I do music, you know, and say, what's the artists name, wisdom. See. So like me as a person, like I was directly connected to the music. And so I was the musician. I would like, it didn't matter how big or small I was. That's all I did. And that's how I came to tour up to Toronto, you know? And in that way, I, I just grew this, this immense self-confidence in my art and, and myself that like in Canada, I was with like, it was almost a weird coming back to Germany and everyone's just calling my real name, you know? 5 (32m 30s): And so it was like, you know, and so I knew I wanted to come back. I wanted to build out Wiz. I wanted to bring that even further, you know? And so I got a work visa for a year, a year work visa. I worked at a coffee shop and played open mics on the side. And that was my hustle for a year. And yeah, that, and then basically after a year or so of doing that, I like, I think a year or two, and then like my first song got, playlisted like, I'm obviously skipping a bunch of steps, but a year ago, a song up playlist on Spotify while I was still releasing music independently. 3 (33m 16s): And when you're in Toronto or after you, so you went back to Toronto. Correct. And then after that, where you kind of still jumping back and forth after that year had happened or at, during that year did, is this when you got playlisted? 5 (33m 29s): So, okay. Wait, just, just also to make the timeline clear for myself. I was a, it was like a half year in Toronto, went back to jerky for half a year, then went back to Toronto for an entire year. And that's when I worked as a barista and played open mics and stuff like that. And just, just build out my network and friends over in Toronto and nothing happened with Spotify. Then I just kind of grew a local fan base because I was, I was playing like little, little shows that I was invited to. Cause I met some people out of the arts and music community and they were very welcoming. 5 (34m 10s): And so I would just show up to any event I could and I would, I would play I'll play shows there. Honestly, when you, when I think of milestone moment, milestones moment, milestone moments, there was this one moment I was working as a barista and this guy, like I was, I was in a full apron and this guy comes running into the, in the coffee shop. It was like, yo, wait, wait, it's so crazy to see you here, man. I was just listening to your music, like on a big fan. And I was like, that's crazy. Like, you know, there wasn't any sign of that online. You know, I maybe had like, I don't know, a few thousand followers, you know, and you know, a couple hundred maybe thousand listeners a month on Spotify, you know? 5 (34m 58s): And that was really crazy to be like, whoa, you know, 3 (35m 3s): Oh, somebody recognized me from my music and actually came around to talk to me about it. Yeah. Big. That is big. 5 (35m 12s): Yeah. That was the same and 3 (35m 15s): Well, everything. Yeah. Obviously you have a huge record with four minutes that the one that got playlist is that you're talking about or is this even prior to that, 5 (35m 22s): That was, that was after that was, that was the craziest playlist playlist. It, so no, it was, it was do what I want do what I want at the end of 2019. That was, I have to jump back even. Cause I was, I was in Berlin. I was in Berlin in 2019. I was, I did, this was a rap contest. And in Germany where you could like hand in your rap versus then you got voted in or out like stuff like that. And I, and I basically like won the first round. 5 (36m 2s): And so I got invited to the festival and, and played, played on a stage there. And then also one, one like the, the rap not battle, but like performance, best Berlin. That was well, the festival was somehow I don't even know where it is. Just like someplace where festivals are outside the city, you know, in Germany, but in there in Germany. Yeah. That was also around the time when I met Jacob, my manager we've been working together since then, which has almost been 20, 20 to three years now. Wow. Yeah, it was, it was crazy. It was really crazy because he, like, we known each other, had known each other for like a few weeks before that festival went down. 5 (36m 48s): And then I still don't know the, like, I don't still know how he made it, but like basically he was working at a fry stand at that festival, you know? And so I knew he was going to be there. That was before we like officially worked together. I still haven't asked him honestly why he was at the fries and it wasn't like W after he found out I was going to play the festival or he had the gig before to just be around like the festival, you know? 5 (38m 15s): And so he was basically just there at like very pivotal moments, you know, and he was supporting and he was just watching what I was doing and yeah. And after, after that and a few other releases and he was like in, and then we started working together and then on my flight back to Toronto, like a little overnight success, like my, my first song, I playlisted like, I landed in Toronto and I had like a hundred thousand streams. It was like crazy. Yeah. And 3 (38m 45s): So, and this is still in 2019. So the pandemic hasn't 5 (38m 48s): Had at this point. No, no, we're coming 3 (38m 51s): Up on that though. What happened then? 5 (38m 54s): So 2019, do what I want got playlist that then after that, by the way, it's really, it's really cool to tell the whole story. Like it's taken, it's taken me like through the whole, through the whole stuff. I haven't done that in awhile. So then I had like two or three other singles that made a new music Friday, like my first new music Friday. And by the end of the year, there were just a lot of emails from labels. And then by January, 2020, I released a project with my homie who go from Berlin here called growing teeth, like 10 songs. 5 (39m 35s): And we got support from the DSPs for that too. And by that time, basically every label in the states had hit the emails, you know? And so then Jacob was like, I think we should start talking to them. You know? And yeah. Then by February and March, we started zoom calling, prepping to like go to the states, like in June, you know? And that was exactly when Corona hit it was so new. Like, you know, yeah. We had, like, I was supposed to go to LA in April, 2020, you know? Oh my gosh. 3 (40m 15s): Then it all 5 (40m 15s): Stopped. And then it all stopped. Yeah, that was crazy. And then I was of what I knew one of the first people who signed in Corona and that was so trippy. That was so trippy. 3 (40m 30s): It must've been like this, right. You're on a zoom call and you're like, yeah, that's crazy. 5 (40m 35s): It was, it was really wild. It was really well. And also like just the whole thing. Cause I got asked about it a couple times now in the past couple of weeks, about for a minute and how it felt when that happened and the odd, not the odd thing, but, but the sad thing was that when that song blew up, like I remember that had a million streams in the first month and that was when the protests happened, you know? And when everything went down in the states and it was so weird because it was my biggest moment, you know, but there was this huge moment of the entire world, you know, everyone was plugged into everything. Everyone knew what was happening. And so, you know, I was, I was very like aware and conscious of the situation of the world more than ever, you know? 5 (41m 21s): And, and it was, it was odd. Like on one side I was really happy, you know, that, that it was happening for me. But also it wasn't a time where I felt like I could just ignore everything else and like throw my hands up. You know what I mean? It'd be like, yeah. 3 (41m 36s): Awkward time to be like celebrating. Right. So a success like that, unfortunately, I mean, which sucks cause it's like how cool and how huge of a success is that? Especially after all the years you've been working at it and that falls in line with something where you're like, oh, well I don't really feel enough. 5 (41m 52s): Yeah. Yes, yes, absolutely. And also I think it was just a great time to reflect and just to become aware and like also include like gratitude in a different way, you know, like knowing, and especially how the, you know, it more than ever. I feel like Gus showcase, you know, how, how black people in America haven't been treated and just like their position, you know, I personally never experienced racism, so I can't speak for that. But I, you know, I know enough examples from friends or from people overseas, you know, but being like, oh, wow, like here I am, which is like, I see like in, in our way, like a silver lining, you know, that, you know, me as a south African, you know, as, as a black person, I'm I have success in this time, you know, which for me then ever since then just going forward, I want to, I want to use and use my platform and use me and my music as a sign for hope for anyone, but especially, and also like, you know, people of color who feel neglected or feel overlooked, you know? 5 (42m 59s): And so it was, it was a, it was a bit of sweet, beautiful moment, you know, where I was like, wow, this is happening. It's happening to me. You know, I'm playing a part, I get to have a voice in this whole thing, you know, through music, through expression, through shows, you know? And so I think, you know, history, strategic is something, you know, and I hope I learned something from it and yeah, it was it's trippy. It was really sure that 3 (43m 25s): Did those feelings kind of come, come, is that what kind of influences new IP that just came out? Nothing. 5 (43m 34s): Okay. No, no, no, no. So 3 (43m 36s): This is something totally different and you just kind of had that and then that moment passed. And then now you, what, you clear your head and you start working on the new record. 5 (43m 44s): Yeah. Well I was just living, I was just living that, like that time, 20, 20 very presently I felt like then I released IPI. What about now at the end of the year? My first with the label and, and yeah, that was end of 2020. And then last year I started rolling the pea out, starting with everything last summer and Hey, yeah. Now we're here and now 3 (44m 14s): It just put a video out or the videos. I mean, obviously that's a big part of you. We growing up is in shooting videos, you direct videos or is it all, how does that work? 5 (44m 24s): I haven't like I always come up with the concept and the idea, and then I kind of like, see where the director's at. They'd like to just expand on my idea. And sometimes they're like, let's do something completely different, which I like, you know, I like artists who are honest and who are like, you know, I actually see this, you know, and I want, wanna, I want to have pushback, you know, otherwise I don't really learn. I'll just, I'll get my creative ego boost it, which is not a bad thing. But yeah, on this one on the latest video of premature love, I worked with Adam Munnings again, who also shot the catch me video from last year and his, his dog. 5 (45m 5s): I really trust him. And I really love what he's up to. And I, I gave him the idea and the concept and he really like put like that, that style, that seventies style, that cinematography, that west Anderson style, which I mean, and yeah, we crushed it like in a day we shot it and I'm really happy about it. Then it really brings across that feeling of the song. 3 (45m 30s): Yeah, no, it's a, it's a rat video and the record's amazing. What do you, yeah. Do you have plans to tour on it? I know you've talked about doing a bunch of shows in open mic nights prior to that, but like now some people are kind of going out and doing stuff to like 5 (45m 47s): And emphasis emphasis on kinder. You know, I sadly had to cancel my shows for this, for this tour. Like I had a west silence feels good tour lined up, but I couldn't, I couldn't play that this time around, but you know, shows us, shows us like one of, if not my, like the most important thing for music, you know, cause that's how I fell out with it, like to open mikes, you know, show cause showcasing myself and, and festivals and on stage for me is like where the music lives. Everything else is the preparation for the show, you know, studio, press videos, like to get, give people an idea of give people a glimpse of what it could feel like to be around the music when it's live, you know? 3 (46m 35s): Yeah. Well, that's amazing. Well, hopefully you'll be able to reschedule that. I mean, that's unfortunate that that had to happen, but I appreciate your time. Whereas this has been so awesome. Thank you so much for telling me your story. 5 (46m 47s): Thank you for having me, Adam. 3 (46m 48s): Yeah, I have one more quick question for you. I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 5 (46m 55s): I think if anyone watched to this point and heard my story, I think it's trust your gut and trust your stupid decisions. And most importantly, allow yourself truly allow yourself to be, to look like a fool or if you, or if you can hide it in some way, be a fool for yourself in your arts for an extended period of time. Like give yourself at least two to three years to actually like, to be really bad at what you do. If it's painting black ballet or music, whatever it like allow yourself to be bad because your favorite artist was the worst artist ever and they embraced it, you know? 5 (47m 37s): And, and that's something, honestly, I still try now doing anything, going into anything, allowing myself to look foolish, to be curious and you know, always start from that student mindset because when I didn't do that, I wasn't happy. I wasn't learning, you know? And so I think that's, that's a source of, of a creative fulfillment. I feel like allowing yourself to be stupid and look stupid. That's the only way you can maybe look smart or good at it. At some point