The hip-hop artist hopes to use his time in quarantine to further his self development.
Hamilton hip-hop artist Wesley Gray took to music at a very early age. As a spiritually-minded person, he credits art as the motivator that helped him embark on his journey of self-reflection. Inspired by musicians such as Eminem, Chris Brown, JADAKISS, The Game, and Justin Timberlake- Gray is working on crafting his own unique sound.
Gray became interested in rap after watching 50 Cent perform on TV.
"I originally got introduced to hip-hop music when I was in day care," said Gray. "One day I was dancing in front of the TV, as children do, and suddenly 50 Cent's "In Da Club" appears. Next thing you know, my entire being is in a trance and it felt like I was re-born. After discovering 50 Cent, I constantly listened to his music which expanded my attention to other artists in the industry, and before you know it- I was a hip hop head. I'd say by grade four or five is when I started to experiment with writing my own rhymes and trying out stuff, but not really serious. It wasn't 'til I got into high school where the passion for my own creation grew. As most of us do, we all go through adolescence and struggles during those times, which caused me to limit my potential in the process. It wasn't 'til finally after high school, I began to record and take this dream seriously."
Gray didn't look at music as anything other than a hobby until his friends encouraged him to create further.
"Music began as a hobby at first I'd say, but it wasn't until I started getting feedback from my peers that they showed me I could turn it into a career," said Gray. "It wasn't until after high school that I noticed this. Creating music to me is like an escape where you can just express how you feel, with no limitations and be free."
"Music is a medicine, a safe haven, where you can become who or whatever you want with whatever experience you have, and that's my goal that I want to have with my music," said Gray.
Gray's first release was a feature.
"My first release was actually a feature in 2015 with rapper Red Dot, titled "9ine 0h 5ive"," said Gray. "That was big for me because I got a chance to finally be out on the mic and represent where I'm from. Recording for the first was like a dream come true, I felt like the man."
The artist's favourite gig was his first performance at Brantford venue Club NV.
"The best gig I've played so far would have to be my very first gig, because it was the ice breaker," said Gray. "I played at Club NV in Brantford with my other rapper and friend Kidd Dreadd for our joint "Pronto". I'm forever grateful for that performance because he put me on for the first time, and I never forget when someone helps me up where I need to be."
His most recent release, "Open Your Eyes", is a personal message for Gray.
""Open Your Eyes" is my most important song to date because I feel it's the first song that shows who I am as an artist and what I'm about," said Gray. "I'm bringing you in my life and showing you a different point of view to look from. I've studied the rap game my whole life and one aspect that always stood out to me is being authentic and I know that's what I'm capturing now. So far the feedback and reactions are fantastic. People are resonating and listening to what I'm saying which is surprising in this day and age, when a lot of music is microwave music."
Gray recorded with a friend of his, producer Gary Walsh.
"The recording process was very organic," said Gray. "My producer and partner Gary Walsh and I began using the guitar that you hear in the beginning, and kept building from there with real instruments. As he kept doing the rest of the beat I began to write my cadence and rhymes which is why the flow slides right through the music."
Gray is about to drop some new music.
"I just want to be careful with how it's released due to everything going on right now, it's a little crazy," said Gray. "But I also just don't want to release anything for no reason. I have a brand new single called "Claim Victory" dropping next. I don't want to say when, but it could be dropping any minute!"
The rapper is trying to increase his listener base.
"My short term goals right now are to gain a following and a solid fan base," said Gray. "Keep growing my name and getting myself out there. Be outside in the community more. Engage with more artists and start doing bigger, better, and greater things for the world."
Looking into the future, Gray hopes to gain enough success to give back to his family.
"I see myself breaking the family pattern and making sure my family is good for the rest of eternity," said Gray. "I see myself giving back to Hamilton and really putting people on like they should be- helping out, and doing what I'm supposed to. All you got to do is never listen to what people got to say that's not in line with your vision, and you don't have to worry about how you're going get where you need to be, because you are the creator of your life."
Gray is trying to use his extra down time due to the COVID-19 quarantine to better himself.
"COVID-19 was a big surprise to me, as it was to all of us, but I truly sincerely feel like this was meant for our greatest, highest good," said Gray. "If you really dive deep inside during this time, you'll know that healing has turned on and things you didn't think would happen for you began to move for you. I believe that everything happens for a reason so I used this time to heal myself and do some shadow work. I did a lot of studying on my spirituality, my craft, life, and last but not least, myself. I feel like I've met parts of me I never saw before. and I know it's going to reflect in the music. I feel brighter and happier, stronger and more motivated. This pandemic for me was a wake up call, a gift to really pick myself up and stand in alignment with my purpose."
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)