There’s an ease to Wiz’s latest material—he’s in the midst of recording an album right now—that elides the years of grinding and uncertainty that led him here, to a new deal with Elliot Grainge’s 10K Projects and Homemade Projects. Just days after completing high school in Germany, Wiz flew to Toronto, where he knew no one, to immerse himself in the city’s music scene. Though he initially wrote music in German, he realized he wanted to write in English, both because he wanted to reach more listeners and because he loves the possibilities of the language. Toronto seemed like a good bet—not unlike Germans, Canadians are known to be kind, not as imposing as, say, New Yorkers to a stranger. What was meant to be a short stay turned into a six-month-long trip. It made him realize how much opportunity is waiting for you, if you leave your comfort zone. “Being open can be the most important trait,” he says.
In Toronto, he sharpened his production skills and met close collaborators, like the producer and songwriter Jeff Hazin. Hazin is a crucial part of the team in this new chapter of Wiz’s career. His goal now is to showcase his abilities in full. “I want to change how people think about what a rapper can be. I started rapping on Tyga-type beats and now I’m making pop songs and still staying authentic. I want to have a catalogue where any person in the world could find at least one song to connect to on emotional and musical level.”
A perfect figure for a post-genre world of unbridled expression, Wiz is a globe-trotting singer-songwriter-rapper who learned how to make music with YouTube and who sees borders as arbitrary lines that are easily crossed. “I want people to think and live free,” he says, “and music helps us do that.”