We sat down with hip hop artist, spoken word poet and Founder of Causeartist Grant Wish to talk about everything from the albums that influenced his career the most to why music education matters. Check out his full interview below:
At what age did you first pick up an instrument and which was it?
My instrument is a pen (well now an iPhone keyboard) and I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I have always been fascinated by how words can impact people on an emotional level. In my mind the pen or pencil is one of the greatest instruments ever created, because it is the foundation of creativity.
What is your fondest memory associated with music?
It was actually very recently. A family member of mine had just lost his son and he left me an emotional voicemail thanking me for making music and how it reminded him of his son and the good memories they had. That was a very powerful moment for me. To me that made all the late nights writing and recording worth it, just to hear someone say that about something you created can have a powerful effect on people. I will never forget that voicemail.
What can music do and what did it do for you?
I think music can connect with people on an emotional level like nothing else. Especially in this day in age with all the media out there it is important for us as musicians, to be appreciative to people who take the time to listen to your music. So especially now I think when people listen they are wanting to hear something special, something meaningful, something that will better their day. Music can relax us, it can motivate us, it can make us dance, and it can make us laugh and cry.
For me it has had a profound impact. It has helped me through depression and incredibly dark times. It has brought me closer to friends and family like nothing else. It has made me respect great writers and musicians who make this craft their life, which is an incredibly tough thing to do. Through everything music is there for us, whenever we want it, music never lets us down.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of trying to make my music have an impact, by donating all album/song sales to an organization called buildOn, to help build a school in Haiti. We actually just got back from there to see where the school will be built and the kids and adults it will inspire. That experience made a huge impact on my life and hopefully to those who will use the school for decades to come. And that was all possible through music. It inspired me to make my music impact others and to create opportunities for others to find their passion in life.
What do you regret the most?
You know regret is a tough thing to quantify because regrets are decisions and those decisions make us who we are. So of course there are decisions I have made that I would have done differently, but that’s life, that’s the journey we take. I think everyone has regrets, because most regrets occur when you are young and naive to certain things. When people say they have no regrets, to me that’s just strange, because that means you have not lost anything in life or failed at anything and if you don’t experience those things then I don’t think you ever reach your potential as a person.
Who are your heroes?
I don’t necessarily have a hero. I think it depends on how you define it. I think people who truly care about what they do are heroes. Teachers who do it with a passion are my heroes. Nurses who take care of people like they are family are my heroes, cops who police the right way are my heroes. The single mothers who work two jobs and still find a way to get educated are my heroes. I don’t think heroes are one person; heroes to me are everyday passionate people who truly care about what they do and how they treat people. I speak to heroes every day, my family and friends are all my heroes, because I see what they do everyday, they work hard and never take days off and are there for me.
What lessons would you pass on to your younger self?
Never base a decision on money. Do what you are passionate about. Money will come if you commit yourself to what you are passionate about. Take education seriously. Use education to survive, because this world will swallow you up if you are uneducated and gullible. If school isn’t for you that's ok, the internet allows you to educate yourself on the topics you are passionate and care about. Traditional
education and learning are a great tool, but they are not the only tool. A classroom setting isn’t for everyone, don’t be ashamed of that, just educate yourself, with the internet now there is no excuse to be uneducated.
What was an important learning experience for you?
The most important lesson I learned about being in the studio is to be prepared. Not only is this a lesson I learned in life, but certainly in music as well. If you have studio time scheduled, be prepared, don’t waste your engineer's time or your producer's time. Studio time is costly, so go in prepared to work. Just as in life, you have to be prepared for opportunity that comes your way. You have to be, because if not someone else is and that opportunity is gone.
How has music/music education positively impacted your life?
Music has given me the opportunity to meet amazing and creative people. I think emotionally we all turn to music as a way to reflect to laugh, to dance, and to gain motivation. As I alluded to before, music is always there for us. No matter if it's a new artist or an artist we grew up with, music is always there when we need it. And as a person who happens to write and record it, it is there for me in a different way, because it is a stress reliever and an expression tool that I can use to get through my own life.
Talk about a song that changed your life forever?
I wouldn’t say one song can change your life, but I would say albums can have a profound effect on you and have certainly changed my thought process and introduced me to new things. I would say some of the albums that had the most impact on me where Bob Marley – Legend, Kanye West – 808’s – Eminem – Marshal Mathers LP, Jay-Z – Blueprint, John Lennon – Imagine, NAS – Illmatic, Eminem – Infinite
What’s your favorite song to sing in the shower?
I don’t have a favorite it’s all just very random
Why is music education important?
I think education in general is the most important thing on this earth. Music education and the overall arts are the foundation of education, because it teaches you creativity. And creativity is used to impact the world in a great way. In the business world, in the scientific world, you have to have creators innovators to change the world. Music education teaches us about creativity, innovation, and the power of sound and words. I think we as artist don’t want to change the world we want to impact it.