The Hamilton rapper is committed to shining light on local talent with his Instagram live interview show.
Aspiring hip hop musician Wes Gray has found recent success with his Instagram interview show, The Wes Gray Show. Hailing from Hamilton, Ontario, the artist interviews local creatives to shine a spotlight on talent within the city. Creating music since he was a kid, the rapper started taking his art seriously back in 2017, and has been building his brand since.
"Around June I was contacted by Fat Joe to throw my song "This Game" on one of his mixtapes, which lead to him hosting the song "SINS" and my record Red Skies," said Gray. "Joe also released a short clip of him listening to "This Game" and shouting me out- which was huge! That lead to rapper Jadakiss contacting me the next day, which then lead to him releasing a short clip listening to "This Game". Once those things happened I started shifting gears and created my own show on Instagram called The Wes Gray Show, which was inspired by Fat Joe's Instagram show called The Fat Joe Show."
Gray found a missing angle within the Hamilton arts community, and decided to fill that hole.
"The Wes Gray Show started in June," said Gray. "I thought it would be a cool idea, since no one else has done it yet in Hamilton. I interview other artists, activists, people etc. and showcase their stories and talent. We all have something to say, not just me. I'm a lover and I believe in everyone I know, so I started promoting other artists while promoting my stuff as well."
So far, the rapper has hosted a few stand-out guests.
"Buddah Abusah is a good friend of mine, and an artist in Hamilton," said Gray. "He spoke on building a community in the city to grow together, and how being true to your craft is important. Also Borse, who is also in Hamilton. He spoke on dealing with Tourette's, which is his fuel for his music because he uses something like that, which could make you feel less than others, and uses it to his advantage. He says your weaknesses are your strengths."
Gray has noticed a significant uptick in attention and praise since creating The Wes Gray Show.
"People have noticed that I'm personable and able to conduct a great interview, so I've had a couple artists ask me to do special interviews with them in the future- sort of like Zane Lowe or Elliot Wilson, which is a huge compliment itself," said Gray. "I just love to connect with other artists because I'm an artist myself, so I can relate to them and say things that resonate with them."
After four months of interviews, Gray burnt himself out.
"I took a break from the show because I was doing it everyday from Monday to Friday, and it was just becoming too much on my plate with everything else I had going on personally and musically," said Gray. "I was also unemployed at the time, which made it a lot easier to do it everyday, but it just became too much. I also didn't think it was fair enough promotion because I would interview someone one day, and jump right to the next without any shine on both ends. Everybody deserves to shine just as much as I do. We are all one."
After taking a much needed break, Gray returned to Instagram to continue The Wes Gray Show.
"I've returned because I really do enjoy doing the show," said Gray. "I don't think there is any other artist doing what I'm doing, which doesn't make me better than anybody, but I feel like it's needed in the Hamilton community to have an artist bring other talent and movements to the forefront. I'm now doing it every Saturday at about 3pm so I can focus on working my job, my music, and my personal life- and still focus on the interview with the right amount of shine for each guest. My audience can expect that raw Wes Gray flavor, freestyles from guests, hopefully some in-person ones soon, and just more well thought-out interviews and Wes Gray fun!"
Besides the show, the artist has been working on releasing merchandise and working on his new label.
"I started making Wes Gray coasters to kick off my merch, and I'll be investing in more for 2021," said Gray. "I recently released my label with partner Gary Walsh titled Day Won Records, with our first single and video for "Claim Victory". Next year is the take over!"
You can tune into The Wes Gray Show every Saturday.
"The Wes Gray Show is live every Saturday on my Instagram (@wesgrayy) at 3pm," said Gray. "Enjoy the new music and more goodies on the way- let's keep rising. Day won."
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)