A local artist and at-risk youth worker turned his rough childhood into motivation and a music career, thanking his past through his latest music video, which is a collaboration with Kamloops film company Mastermind Studios.
Growing up in East Vancouver wasn’t easy for Rob K.A.S.P. Sawan as his father was a heroin addict, but it’s a part of his life from which he learned.
“I focus on what I learned from him because he cleaned up and became 14 years sober. That’s why I do the work I do, whether it be helping people [or] doing music — showing people there’s a hope,” said Sawan, whose moniker, K.A.S.P.,stands for Keeping Alive Stories for the People.
In addition to an award-winning 20-year music career in hip hop, Sawan tours Indigenous communities throughout Canada, speaking and working with youth through motivational camps and programs.
“We promote tradition over addiction,” said Sawan, who has been in the music industry since 2000.
His latest music video, Thank You, officially launched on Monday with a screening at Mastermind Studios and is now available on Telus Optik. It was funded in part from a $10,000 Telus Storyhive grant last July — one of only 20 selected for the program each year in B.C.
Another $10,000 was supplied pro bono from the local film studio.
Thank You features DJing, drumming, break dancing, powwow dancing, graffiti and First Nations art
The video is also available on the Stingray music video channel and on Facebook.
Mastermind owner Peter Cameron-Inglis said bringing cultures together to collaborate on a project that is constructive and meaningful is why Mastermind helped fund the music video.
“When it’s a project that we really want to get behind because it’s got more than just entertainment value … then that’s usually something we’ll lend our support to,” Cameron-Inglis told KTW.
Sawan said the end product is “exactly the way I thought it would be,” showcasing similarities between hip hop and Indigenous culture.
As the cost of producing a music video can be prohibitive for many artists, Cameron-Inglis said they sought out Storyhive last summer in a last-minute effort to put in an application.
As for Mastermind Studios getting into the music video business, Cameron-Inglis said he is always open to supporting local artists.
“Nothing on tap directly yet, but there are a couple of artists who have talked to us and are considering going down the road and making a music video as well,” he said.