Grammy Award Winner Michael Wansley (Wanz) Talks Northern Power Summit And Career Highlights

Kat Harlton

Toronto based management and consulting company, Northstarr Entertainment, is bringing the 4th annual Northern Power Summit to the Artscape Sandbox and Supermarket in Toronto from August 16th–17th, 2019. This two-day urban music conference strives to provide education, tools and networking opportunities to the music community through interactive conference discussions with music industry professionals and music showcases.

This year sees an incredible roster of conference speakers who will be sharing their music industry expertise with delegates of the two-day event. One of the inspiring keynote sessions features GRAMMY Award winning rapper Michael “Mike” Wansley (better known as Wanz) an American singer, songwriter and rapper who was featured on the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ hit single “Thrift Shop”, receiving two GRAMMY Awards for “Best Rap Performance” and “Best Rap Song”. Wanz also hosted a Ted Talk conference event talking about his career in the music industry.

We had the opportunity to speak with the GRAMMY Award winner to discuss the Northern Power Summit, career highlights and what’s next.

Kat: Can you tell us what it means to you to be asked to be a keynote speaker at Northern Power Summit?

Michael: I am extremely honored to address NPS! This is a totally unexpected request that is my pleasure to fulfill. Music is a community, a very large community! I am humbled to think me sharing my experiences would be useful to this community.

Kat: You were featured on the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ hit single “Thrift Shop”, receiving two GRAMMY Awards for “Best Rap Performance” and “Best Rap Song”. What did that single mean to you and your career?

Michael: At first, it was just another session for me. After the video dropped on August 29, 2012, my life began to change. First, my direct friends and acquaintances threw in their support, then the country, then the world! Before I knew it, every single dream I had ever had as a performer had come true; including sitting behind Macklemore & Ryan Lewis in the 3rd row of The GRAMMYS!!

Kat: You hosted a Ted Talk conference event talking about your career in the music industry. What was that experience like? What did you take away from it?

Michael: Doing a Ted Talk was a cool experience! To have the opportunity to tell the story of my musical journey, culminating in a hit song, worldwide tv and live performances along with awards and accolades, I felt I needed to remind people that their uniqueness is their gift, their strength. Having faith in one’s self is powerful, especially in those times when it feels like the world is against you. It will try to convince you that you should be like everyone else. So the talk was intended to remind everyone that they too can be as rare and magical as a unicorn, if the ‘want’ it bad enough.

Kat: Do you have any advice for emerging artists, or were you given advice along the way that made a lasting impact on you?

Michael: I asked someone, “what should I do to keep this ‘popularity’ from “Thrift Shop” going? It was suggested that I write about things I cared about and believed in, then put them out for the people – not to see who likes it, but to find others who felt as I did. So, my advice is, if it makes you happy and especially makes someone else happy, never, ever stop doing it!

Kat: What’s next? New music? Tour?

Michael: I’ve been working on ‘life after fame’. Many will tell you about the ‘come-up’, but no one can prepare you for the ‘come-down’. It’s been a long and sometimes tortuous journey since I left the tour in 2015. Only now have I found the courage to put out new music “Sexy Luvin” and recommitted myself to my love of music and tolerance of the business. Hopefully, I will gain some followers and create my little community…who knows, maybe I’ll write a song about going through the drive-thru and people will relate to it like they did thrift shopping, LOL!

For more on the Northern Power Summit, visit:

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