There's a new force on the block, and he's taking the world by storm with his fiery lyrics and his take on important topics. Meet George "G" Yamazawa, born and raised in Durham, NC, USA, who is now a touring spoken word artist with an innate desire to create, explore, and push boundaries. Check out his latest video above and learn more about this incredible artist below.
OUTRE APPAREL: When did you start your line of work?
G YAMAZAWA: I began writing seriously at 17, and began touring at age 20.
OA: How did you get into emceeing?
G: Freestylin’ with homies on speaker phone in the 5th grade, feeling like I was the one, haha. I began writing raps when I was around 12 or 13. When my best friend died in 8th grade, it became an actual tool for translating my pain and confusion. That’s when it transcended fun, and became a necessity for my health.
OA: What is your relationship like with your parents?
G: Amazing, now. We’ve had our share of turbulence, but they’ve always been supportive of my unique ambitions and I’m always grateful for that.
OA: What jobs did you work before this?
G: Subway, TCBY, delivering for a local joint called Randy’s Pizza, aftercare teacher for elementary schoolers, and a youth poetry mentor.
OA: Are there any fields of work that you still want to explore?
G: All art forms, and education reform.
"We’re able to shift cultural climates, and document the time we live in. We’re able to create awareness and educate the next generation. We ain’t got numbers, but we got heart."
OA: What role do you believe that artists serve in today’s society?
G: The artist is able to expound on the human condition, and help the process of transforming the hearts of people. We can make people feel powerful, we can make people feel loved, like they aren’t alone. We’re able to shift cultural climates, and document the time we live in. We’re able to create awareness and educate the next generation. We ain’t got numbers, but we got heart.
OA: What do you believe is the most misunderstood part of poetry?
G: I believe most folks feel like there’s no poetry out there that represents them, or can speak to their personal experience. Most poetry that’s taught in school represents a hierarchal approach to language, and separates itself from common people. Once people begin to explore the broad range of voices out there I’m certain they’ll be able find something that resonates.
OA: What has been your favorite project so far?
G: “23.” It’s a tape I released late 2014, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had creating. (Listen to 23 here.)
OA: Have you ever had an “aha!” moment in your career, and if so, describe what happened and what it was like for you.
G: On my first independent tour, I was able to leave my hometown bubble and realize that my work is able to transcend many racial, ethnic, geographical, and socio-economical boundaries. I shared my life with Latino audiences in Laredo, elderly white crowds in Seattle, pan-Pacific Asian crowds in Hawaii. It was an expansive journey, and I realized that my unique story is powerful no matter who is listening.
OA: What has been your scariest experience as an artist & professional?
G: Everyday! Feeling like I’m not doing enough, or that I’ll never become better. Feeling like I’ve sacrificed personal relationships for a shallow idea of success. Feeling unstable, comparing myself to others. But mostly, that insecurity becomes adrenaline for whatever step I take next, so it’s all good.
"I was able to leave my hometown bubble and realize that my work is able to transcend many racial, ethnic, geographical, and socio-economical boundaries."
OA: How do you stay inspired?
G: By listening to people, enjoying art, and constantly trying to become a better person.
OA: Who has inspired you the most?
G: My family, and Daisaku Ikeda.
OA: What was the most “testing” moment in your career when you almost gave up?
G: Last year, faced with the deafening silence and loneliness that came from the most intensive travel schedule I had ever experienced. But as with most artists, every day is a difficult battle to overcome my crippling self-doubt.
OA: Describe what it’s like for you to be in “flow” (or “in the zone”) while you’re working.
G: Man! I don’t know if I can put that into words. It’s like a hum, a vibration that you somehow catch. But it’s always leaving, so you have to go full speed while it’s there. I’m not sure how it comes, I imagine it’s from a combination of internal and external circumstances that align within the moment. It feels like you’re embodying the capacity of your potential; which I believe, is infinite.
OA: What was the best advice you’ve ever received?
G: Never give up, never be defeated.
OA: What advice would you give for someone who wants to do what you do for work?
G: Don’t stop. Lose rationality. Create the world you want to live in, step by step. Oh yeah don’t stop.
"I don’t really do much outside of “work,” because my career has manifested through the fun I find within my passion."
OA: What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
G: I don’t really do much outside of “work,” because my career has manifested through the fun I find within my passion. I try to read, watch movies, spend time with loved ones. But all of that really fuels my work anyways, so it’s hard to draw the line, ha. Oh! I fuckin’ love roller coasters.
OA: If you could hang out with someone who’s passed away, who would it be and what would you want to do?
G: Shakyamuni! Would drink hella tea and ask questions.
OA: If you could tell everyone in the world the same message at the same time what would it be?
G: Believe in your infinite potential to change your given reality.
OA: What is your ultimate dream lifestyle?
G: Create, create, create.
Discover more about G Yamazawa: