George Watsky

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George Watsky
George Watsky by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Watsky in June 2012.
Background information
Birth nameGeorge Virden Watsky[1]
BornSeptember 15, 1986 (age 27)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
GenresAlternative hip hop, slam poetry, spoken word, comedy hip hop
OccupationsRapper, poet, producer, harmonicist
Years active2009 – present
LabelsSteel Wool Media
Associated actsDumbfoundead, Wax, Mody, Intuition, Kate Nash, Dylan Saunders, Rafael Casal, Danny McClain, Dahlak Brathwaite, Damon Elliot, Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist
WebsiteOfficial website
 
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George Watsky
George Watsky by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Watsky in June 2012.
Background information
Birth nameGeorge Virden Watsky[1]
BornSeptember 15, 1986 (age 27)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
GenresAlternative hip hop, slam poetry, spoken word, comedy hip hop
OccupationsRapper, poet, producer, harmonicist
Years active2009 – present
LabelsSteel Wool Media
Associated actsDumbfoundead, Wax, Mody, Intuition, Kate Nash, Dylan Saunders, Rafael Casal, Danny McClain, Dahlak Brathwaite, Damon Elliot, Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist
WebsiteOfficial website

George Virden Watsky (born September 15, 1986)[2][3] is an American rapper and poet from San Francisco, California. Watsky performs slam poetry, and was featured on Season 6 of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO.[4] Watsky’s talents began to receive national and international acclaim in 2006 when he was the Youth Speaks Grand Slam Poetry Champion, and was also named Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam Champion.[5]

Personal life and poetry[edit]

Watsky was born in San Francisco, California, to Clare (née Miller) and Paul Watsky.[6] George has a twin brother, Simon, who is a helicopter pilot. He has described himself as "half Jewish" (on his father's side).[6][7] Watsky attended San Francisco University High School.

In 2006, Watsky was described as the Bay Area's reigning teen champion as the winner of nearly a dozen slams and was on the team that took fourth place in the national contest in 2005.[8]

Watsky's poetry incorporates political and social themes. In 2006, in the midst of a lively performance to a sold-out crowd, Watsky likened politicians' behavior to a common bar pick-up line and won the night's top score.[9]

Watsky attended Emerson College in Boston.

Reviewing a 2008 performance at Brandeis University, Sarah Bayer wrote, "Skinny, quirky George Watsky was next, with the night's most innovative piece. Watsky, a sophomore at Emerson College and a member of the grand prize-winning team from San Francisco at the National Youth Poetry Slam in 2006, adjusted the microphone to different parts of his body, imitated the sound of rewinding tape and recited binary code (a trope that caught the eye of headliner Saul Williams) in an altogether amusing performance."[10]

Music career[edit]

2009 – 2010: Watsky and Guilty Pleasures[edit]

In 2009, Watsky produced a 15 track hip hop album titled Watsky. In 2010 he released the album Guilty Pleasures, which he made available as a free download on his website. Produced by Procrastination (San Francisco musician Tobias Butler), Guilty Pleasures contains mashups between popular songs and those from his first album.

2011: A New Kind Of Sexy and Watsky & Mody[edit]

In Summer, 2011 Watsky announced he would be releasing a new mixtape entitled A New Kind of Sexy on Monday, August 1, 2011, at 4:00 AM Pacific Time. In the weeks leading up to the release, a track would be released each Monday. One of the tracks on the album was called "4AM Monday". On August 3, 2011 Watsky released the music video for the title track "A New Kind of Sexy" ft. Intuition & Dumbfoundead.

On February 1, 2012 Watsky and long time collaborator Kush Mody released a free digital album entitled Watsky & Mody.

2012: Nothing Like The First Time and tour[edit]

In April 2012, Watsky announced he would be releasing a new mixtape entitled Nothing Like The First Time. It was released for free on June 10, 2012. The mixtape coincided with his first official tour of the same name beginning in July featuring Dumbfoundead. It included dates in Chicago, New York City, Boston, Northampton, Jacksonville, Atlanta, and London.

In August 2012, Watsky announced through his Facebook page that he was to release a fully mixed concert CD of his Los Angeles show. He announced the name of the album as 'Live! At The Troubadour' on a video through his YouTube channel.

In September 2012, he also announced a new tour titled 'Sloppy Seconds'.

On October 1, Watsky went to the studio to record his second full length studio album entitled Cardboard Castles, to be released on March 12, 2013.

2013 – present: Steel Wool Media, Cardboard Castles and tour[edit]

Steel Wool Media is a label founded by Watsky and Brad Simpson. Watsky released his first single from Cardboard Castles (Strong As An Oak) through Steel Wool Media.

In January 2013, Watsky announced he would be releasing a new album entitled Cardboard Castles on March 12, 2013. On the same date, he announced tour dates for the Cardboard Castles tour, which included dates in many major cities in the U.S. and Canada such as Austin, New Orleans, Gainesville, Orlando, D.C., Philadelphia, Northampton, Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver and New York City. Tour dates for Europe (including the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands) were released shortly after.[11] The first single from the album, Strong As An Oak on YouTube was released on January 22, 2013. The second single from the album, Moral of the Story on YouTube was released on February 5, 2013. The third single, Hey, Asshole on YouTube was released on February 19, 2013 and features English singer Kate Nash.

The album was released on March 12, 2013 through Welk Music Group, topping the iTunes Hip Hop Charts in the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom due in part to an astounding Twitter campaign.[12][13]

Watsky was profiled in The Boston Globe in 2009. The Arts section reviewed his one-man show "Where the Magic Happens" favorably and called him a "poetry-slam star."[14]

George Watsky was featured in Epic Rap Battles of History, playing the roles of William Shakespeare and the Fourth Doctor from Doctor Who.

Watsky graduated from Emerson College in 2010[15] and has achieved newfound fame with his viral YouTube video "Pale kid raps fast" (now called "Watsky raps fast"). He was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on January 24, 2011, performing a slightly modified version of that rap.[16]

Watsky made a web-series with YouTube channel LOUD titled Watsky's Making an Album. It consisted of 9 main episodes, and many behind the scenes and live videos from the Nothing Like The First Time tour. The web series was restarted on March 12, 2013, with the first episode of Season 2 (entitled Watsky's Releasing An Album), coinciding with the release of his sophomore album, Cardboard Castles.

Watsky's music can be heard in the background of Philip DeFranco's news series, as well as DeFranco's SourceFed channel.(citation needed)

In 2012 Watsky started a production company with Brad Simpson called Steel Wool Media.[17]

In November 2013 the Vans Warped Tour was briefly shut down after Watsky made a stage jump from the 35 ft high rigging during the bands performance in London.[18] During the stage jump the audience parted. Watsky and also two members of the audience were injured. Watsky apologized after the event via Facebook.[19] He wrote: 'I have no excuse for my actions, and the only way I can explain my mindset is that it was a huge overreach in the heat of the moment. No, I was not drunk or on drugs.'[20]

2014 - present: Third studio album[edit]

On January 2, 2014, Watsky tweeted that he was beginning work on his Third studio album, then tweeted a link to a picture of a microphone with the caption "The Booth #guardianangel" less than a minute later.[21][22] This is the first sign of new music from Watsky since March 2013, when he released his sophomore album, Cardboard Castles.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums
Mixtapes/EP's
Live albums
Singles

Acting career[edit]

In May 2013, George appeared in season 4 of Arrested Development, the "semi-original series" released on Netflix.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Press. George Watsky. Retrieved on August 25, 2012.
  2. ^ Ian Atkinson (March 21, 2006) Watsky perfection at teen poetry slam. Oakland Tribune, The (CA)
  3. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/39461
  4. ^ Sher, Allyson (January 28, 2011). "WU-SLam gears up for 3rd annual Grand Slam". Student Life (St. Louis: Washington University Student Media, Inc.). Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  5. ^ Smart, Gordon (January 20, 2011). "Is this the world's fastest rapper?". The Sun (London). Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b George Watsky: Jewish Side of the Family on YouTube (November 12, 2011). Retrieved on August 25, 2012.
  7. ^ He's not Michael Cera | SF Bay Guardian. Sfbg.com (December 31, 2008). Retrieved on August 25, 2012.
  8. ^ Johnson, Chip (April 21, 2006). "Local poets lift voices at nationals". San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco). Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ Atkinson, Ian (March 31, 2006). "Watsky perfection at teen poetry slam". Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California). Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ Bayer, Sarah (January 22, 2008). "Spoken word show a grand slam: VOCAL 2008, a benefit concert featuring nationally renowned slam poets, raised money for a local community center. The sold-out show electrified the audience, despite its over four-hour run time.". The Justice. Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  11. ^ Cardboard Castle Tour Dates | George Watsky's Official Website. Sfbg.com (December 31, 2008). Retrieved on August 25, 2012.
  12. ^ Twitter / gwatsky: #CardboardCastles is #1 in. Twitter.com. Retrieved on November 19, 2013.
  13. ^ Twitter / gwatsky: #1 on hip hop #10 overall on. Twitter.com. Retrieved on November 19, 2013.
  14. ^ Brown, Joel (December 4, 2009). "Plugging into poetry as a media platform". Boston Globe (Boston). Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  15. ^ "George Watsky | Emerson College Student Showcase". Emerson College Student Showcase. April 2, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  16. ^ "George Watsky: The Ellen DeGeneres Show". The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Warner Brothers. January 24, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Steel Wool Media". 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013. 
  18. ^ Baggs, Michael (November 17, 2013). "Vans Warped Tour halted after Watsky + Wax stage accident". Gigwise. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  19. ^ Watsky, George (November 18, 2013). "This is news to some, but many of you may have heard about the incident today at Warped Tour London". Facebook. Retrieved November 18, 2013. 
  20. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2509251/Rapper-George-Watsky-breaks-womans-arm-stage-dive.html
  21. ^ https://twitter.com/gwatsky/status/418935006979833856
  22. ^ http://instagram.com/p/isLw5NBgji/

External links[edit]