Watsky in June 2012.
|Birth name||George Virden Watsky|
|Born||September 15, 1986 (age 28)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Genres||Alternative hip hop, slam poetry, spoken word, comedy hip hop|
|Occupation(s)||Rapper, poet, producer, harmonicist|
|Years active||2009 – present|
|Labels||Steel Wool Media|
|Associated acts||Dumbfoundead, Wax, Mody, Zach Sherwin, Intuition, Kate Nash, Dylan Saunders, Rafael Casal, Danny McClain, Dahlak Brathwaite, Damon Elliot, Peter Shukoff, Lloyd Ahlquist, Karmin|
George Virden Watsky (born September 15, 1986) 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. 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.
Watsky was born in San Francisco, California, to Clare (née Miller) and Paul Watsky. George has a twin brother, Simon, who is a helicopter pilot. He has described himself as "half Jewish" (on his father's side). Watsky attended San Francisco University High School and then attended Emerson College in Boston.
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.
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.
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."
2009 – 2010: Watsky and Guilty Pleasures
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.
2012: Nothing Like The First Time and tour
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: Steel Wool Media, Cardboard Castles and tour
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. The first single from the album, Strong As An Oak was released on January 22, 2013. The second single from the album, Moral of the Story was released on February 5, 2013. The third single, Hey, Asshole was released on February 19, 2013 and features English singer Kate Nash.
Watsky graduated from Emerson College in 2010 and has achieved newfound fame with his viral YouTube video "Pale kid raps fast"; the video has since been renamed "Watsky raps fast" and been made unlisted. He was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on January 24, 2011, performing a slightly modified version of that rap.
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 second album, Cardboard Castles.
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 band's performance in London. During the stage jump the audience parted. Watsky and also two members of the audience were injured. Watsky apologized after the event via Facebook. 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.'
2014 - present: All You Can Do
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. This was the first sign of new music from Watsky since March 2013, when he released his second album, Cardboard Castles.
On May 21, 2014, during one of his Watsky Wednesday vlogs, he announced that the title of his new album would be All You Can Do, as well as explaining that he wanted to keep his family ties in the album (announcing that his father would be on the cover and that he would like his mother to be on an alternate cover) and that the album would be released in August. He had tweeted earlier in the month that the first single from All You Can Do would be released on June 10, 2014.
The album was made available for preorder on June 10, 2014, on iTunes (with a download of the first single," Whoa Whoa Whoa"); a physical copy and limited edition double-vinyl were made available for preorder on his website.
- Studio albums
- 2010: Guilty Pleasures (with Procrastination)
- 2011: A New Kind Of Sexy
- 2012: Watsky & Mody EP (with Kush Mody)
- 2012: Nothing Like The First Time
- Live albums
- 2012: Live! From The Troubadour
- 2015: All You Can Do: Live From The Regency Ballroom
- 2013: "Hey, Asshole"
- 2013: "Give A Hater A Hug"
- 2014: "Whoa Whoa Whoa"
- 2014: "Ink Don't Bleed" (with Anderson Paak)
- Press. George Watsky. Retrieved on August 25, 2012.
- Ian Atkinson (March 21, 2006) Watsky perfection at teen poetry slam. Oakland Tribune, The (CA)
- 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
- 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.
- Smart, Gordon (January 20, 2011). "Is this the world's fastest rapper?". The Sun (London). Retrieved February 3, 2011.
- George Watsky: Jewish Side of the Family on YouTube (November 12, 2011). Retrieved on August 25, 2012.
- He's not Michael Cera | SF Bay Guardian. Sfbg.com (December 31, 2008). Retrieved on August 25, 2012.
- Eifler, Emily (April 22, 2013). "Watsky, a Hopeful Rapper on a Shining Trajectory". KQED-FM. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Mogilevskaya, Regina (March 28, 2013). "Music Q&A: Hip-Hop Artist and Spoken-Word Poet George Watsky". Boston Magazine. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Johnson, Chip (April 21, 2006). "Local poets lift voices at nationals". San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco). Retrieved February 3, 2011.
- Atkinson, Ian (March 31, 2006). "Watsky perfection at teen poetry slam". Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California). Retrieved February 3, 2011.
- 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.
- "Steel Wool Media". 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- Cardboard Castle Tour Dates | George Watsky's Official Website. Sfbg.com (December 31, 2008). Retrieved on August 25, 2012.
- Twitter / gwatsky: #CardboardCastles is #1 in. Twitter.com. Retrieved on November 19, 2013.
- Twitter / gwatsky: #1 on hip hop #10 overall on. Twitter.com. Retrieved on November 19, 2013.
- Brown, Joel (December 4, 2009). "Plugging into poetry as a media platform". Boston Globe (Boston). Retrieved February 3, 2011.
- "George Watsky | Emerson College Student Showcase". Emerson College Student Showcase. April 2, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
- "George Watsky: The Ellen DeGeneres Show". The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Warner Brothers. January 24, 2011.
- Baggs, Michael (November 17, 2013). "Vans Warped Tour halted after Watsky + Wax stage accident". Gigwise. Retrieved November 18, 2013.
- 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.
- "'I made a bonehead decision that got people hurt': Watch the moment a rapper breaks a woman's arm after jumping 35ft from light rigging during concert". Daily Mail (London).
- "The NMR Top 100 YouTube Channels: 75-51!". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved 6 January 2015.