‘Fame Holiday’: “I wish someone told me it could take over 10 years to perfect my craft and be ready for the music industry”

If I had the power, I’d create a new movement called “My True Passion”, similar to a careers class in high school, except it would have broader selections different from the norms of being a doctor, lawyer, etc. There would be classes that would allow students to really focus on what truly matters to them […]

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If I had the power, I’d create a new movement called “My True Passion”, similar to a careers class in high school, except it would have broader selections different from the norms of being a doctor, lawyer, etc. There would be classes that would allow students to really focus on what truly matters to them and to be provided with the resources necessary to pursue their craft. This would also help to support more young entrepreneurs and teach them the value of hard work and success.

As a part of our series about music stars who are making an important social impact, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewingFame Holiday. Recognized as a Rising Rap Star coming out of Canada, Holiday decided to use this platform to tell his story.

Thank you so much for joining us in this series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

I was born in Toronto, Ontario, but for the majority of my life I was raised in the city of Mississauga. I grew up with a single mother and 2 younger siblings. The neighbourhood I grew up in definitely molded me into the person I am today. Being around a lot of people who took a negative route and me being one of the only ones to do something more positive with my life. I feel like I’m a prime example of not having to be a product of your environment. Focusing on my music really helped me avoid getting caught up in the wrong things like selling drugs, getting into trouble with the law and going to jail. Besides my great-grandmother, my mom and a few of my closest friends, music definitely guided me in the right direction. In regards to my community, it has also influenced my music in a positive manner. A lot of the kids in my neighbourhood tell me that they look up to me because they see all the good I try my best to do for the community.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I first started rapping at the age of 9, it was mainly a way for me to express the way I feel about situations in my life because I have never really been the type to be open with others or talk about my feelings. Making music became my therapy. Once I started to release tracks on YouTube, hearing all the positive feedback motivated me to continue and take music more seriously. I started to become a lot more popular in my first year of high school and from there it was history! I knew exactly what I wanted to do as a career and so far, the universe has shown me I made the right decision.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or take away that you took out of that story?

One of the most interesting moments in my career so far was selling out my concert at the Phoenix Concert Theater in Toronto, independently, with no manager, no label, no grant funding; just myself and a few friends who saw the vision. It wasn’t easy to sell out the Phoenix. It took a lot of sacrifice, long days and nights and hard work. This included booking the venue, handing out flyers every day for two months around the GTA at malls, movie theaters, parties, schools and other public settings, and personally dropping off hard copy tickets to all my supporters. It was all worth it in the end though, because I had a successful sold out show and it was rewarding to see how much my hard work paid off and also to see how much people genuinely support me on my come up. A lot of people encouraged me to do a smaller venue because they didn’t think I’d be able to pull this off, but I learned that night was a huge eye-opener because my determination proved them otherwise. It taught me that I’m capable of anything if I work hard enough for it.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

If I had to give any advice to an upcoming young artist, I’d say if you really want to do music as a career, don’t expect it to happen overnight. It’s a long journey, some longer than others but you can’t give up. Keep perfecting your craft, put in the work and stay true to yourself.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The person who I feel like helped me a lot along the way would have to be my mom because she has always been my number one supporter. Most parents might be skeptical about their child becoming a rapper, but she has always supported my craft and has always instilled good morals in not only my character but in my music as well. I don’t know what I’d do without her as my backbone, because she is one of the only people to see my highs and lows. Seeing that she had me at such a young age (age 16) and seeing her struggles and accomplishments, always encouraged me not to make excuses because my situation could be a lot worse. This is one of the reasons why I work so hard, because I want to be able to give my mom the best life she deserves for being such an amazing woman.

Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, how are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting social impact causes you are working on right now?

Right now, I am currently promoting my new single “Take Me Away” using my platform to bring awareness to what’s going on in the world right now from “Black lives matter”, police brutality, social justice and racism. I am also using my platform to promote 28 different black-owned businesses for the month of February; one for each day of the month and I will be donating half of the money made from my “Take me away” merch to a non-profit organization in Toronto called Stolen From Africa. They primarily focus on creating opportunities for young black kids inside and outside of school, as well as to learn about their culture and the historical influence surrounding it. I might not be a political person but, I can still use my platform to help spread a positive message to the world. When people see the music video for “Take me away” I want them to get inspired and understand that their voices matter. We all want the same thing at the end of the day and coming together is the best way to make that happen. The reason I decided to release “Take me away” during Black History Month is because I feel with everything that has gone on this past year in terms of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, there would be more emphasis on the importance of my culture during this particular month. Even though black history should not be limited to just one month in the year, I feel like more people of various cultures would pay attention to the message behind my song during a time where black history and culture is being highlighted. It also adds value to what black culture means to me and how we have played a role in many milestones in history.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and take action for this cause? What was that final trigger?

“Take Me Away” is one of my most personal records. A lot of people don’t know this but one of the main reasons I started making music was to be able to express myself without talking to a bunch of people about the way I feel about things. I’ve always been a private person when it comes to showing my emotions; it’s something I’m slowly working on as time goes on, but to get back into “Take Me Away” this was a record that I recorded in July 2020 with zero intentions of releasing it. Reason being was because I made the song for myself, to just get my thoughts out on how I feel about “Black Lives Matter”. I think that final trigger was not seeing any justice, seeing so many stories about black people dying from police brutality, such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and racism still being such a strong issue. It made me genuinely frustrated and sick of the world that we live in today because I know that we can all do better and after reaching out to my cousin Romeyo Wilson and renowned Toronto producer T-Nyce, they convinced me that this was a record worth releasing and sharing to the world and at that point I agreed that my voice should be heard because I know a lot of people could relate to it. I also wanted to go the extra mile by promoting and helping out other black entrepreneurs as a way of giving back and uniting my community.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Back in the summer of 2020, I decided to start a YouTube channel to give my supporters more insight on my life and who I am as an artist. I made a video about 5 reasons I almost stopped making music and 5 reasons why I decided not to give up. In that video, I was very transparent and honest about the reasons for both sides. But I’ll never forget the day I was at this small networking event and a young rapper came up to me and said he was scrolling through his feed when he came across my video and he told me that it really inspired him to keep pursuing his dreams and to not give up. After he thanked me and shook my hand goodbye, it really hit me that even the little things I do, makes a great impact on others.

Are there three things that individuals, society or the government can do to support you in this effort?

1. I definitely feel like if I got some grants from the government, it would be a huge help to support my craft financially, especially during the pandemic. There’s not much resources to make money with music because I am unable to travel, do live performances, etc. due to COVID.

2. I think if more blogs, media outlets, etc. were to cover me, it would help spread more awareness about my music and my message to inspire other people to follow their dreams.

3. Collaborations with bigger artists would also create greater exposure to my brand because it allows for a bigger audience and fan base to tap into.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

1. I wish someone told me how expensive it would be because I feel like a lot of people, including myself in the beginning underestimate how expensive it is to become an artist, especially if you are independent. You got to pay for producers, engineers, studio time, directors, marketing and so much more. Based on my own personal experiences, the costs can be overwhelming sometimes.

2. I wish someone told me not everyone is going to believe in you or see the vision because I started making music so young and received so much love in the beginning, I assumed everyone I encountered on my journey would show the same love and support but that’s just not how it is in the real world.

3. I wish someone told me to be careful with who I associate myself with because in the past I have encountered some very toxic people who had bad intentions and only wanted to bring me down because they weren’t happy with their own situations.

4. I wish someone told me it could take over 10 years to perfect my craft and be ready for the music industry. When I first started I thought as long as you have talent that’s all you needed, but in today’s industry I’ve learned there’s a lot more you need to bring to table. The music is just 40% out of 100% to make it.

5. I wish someone told me consistency is key. in order to keep my fanbase interested it’s important to stay relevant by releasing new content and music on a regular basis, especially now that we have so much more social media resources and tools to use.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I had the power, I’d create a new movement called “My True Passion”, similar to a careers class in high school, except it would have broader selections different from the norms of being a doctor, lawyer, etc. There would be classes that would allow students to really focus on what truly matters to them and to be provided with the resources necessary to pursue their craft. This would also help to support more young entrepreneurs and teach them the value of hard work and success.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

My favourite quote would have to be “greatness doesn’t happen overnight” because this quote often reminds me that it’s very important to trust the process and to be patient along my journey to becoming one of the greatest artists in the world.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Politics, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

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