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Creative Marketing Lessons From Rapper & Poet George Watsky

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There is a lot we can all learn from today’s guest, George Watsky. Regardless if you are looking to make it as a performer or a creative entrepreneur, George is a whiz when it comes to the art of performing, building an audience, and earning a living from his craft.

A few tidbits:

  • George is a writer and performer who believes in the equal power of the tear and the belly laugh. Born and raised in San Francisco and now based in Los Angeles, he aims to cross-pollinate the stage, screen and stereo with work that speaks to both the humor and frustrations of modern life.
  • His YouTube video, Pale Kid Raps Fast, has (now) over 11,000,000 views.
  • George was featured on Season 6 of “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry” on HBO.
  • Touring while finishing his college education on a condensed schedule, George has performed at conferences and universities in more than half the states in the US and two in Australia.

His new mixed tape, A New Kind Of Sexy, comes out August 1st. One super cool thing is you can get a new track from it free every Monday on his YouTube.

About Today’s Guest, George Watsky:

George WatskyIn addition to what’s mentioned above, George was the 2006 Youth Speaks Grand Slam Poetry Champion, 2006 Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam Champion, and performed in a record six consecutive Youth Speaks Grand Slam Finals. The last three of those audiences, all topping out at over 3,000, were the largest ever for poetry slams anywhere in the world. In 2009 Watsky was one of three poets who performed live on FOX at the NAACP Image Awards in honor of Russell Simmons’ lifetime achievement award, and in 2011 he performed live as a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show on two separate occasions.

George has made strides to bring his poetic sensibilities to the theater world. His one-man show So Many Levels has been presented in Boston, San Francisco, Vermont, and at the Hip Hop Theater Festival Critical Breaks series in New York City. He has also been featured at the San Francisco and Washington, DC arms of the Hip Hop Theater Festival. He played the title character and co-wrote a 2004 adaptation of Dante’s Divine Comedy for the Living Word Festival and his stage play Harold’s Fall or King Will is the recipient of the 2009 Rod Parker Playwriting Fellowship.

Taking it to the page and stereo, George’s debut poetry collection and CD, Undisputed Backtalk Champion, was published by First Word Press in 2006. Edited by novelist Adam Mansbach, the book is currently in its fourth printing. As an emcee, Watsky has performed on both coasts with his band Invisible Inc. The trio’s self titled album, a blend of jazz and hip hop, features R&B sensation Passion. George’s self-released debut, Watsky, reached as high as #7 on the iTunes Hip Hop albums chart.

To read more about George, check out his bio on his website.

Connect With George (and tell him you saw him on RISE!):

On His Website
On YouTube
On Facebook
On Twitter

This Episode Of The Rise To The Top Is Exclusively Sponsored By HubSpot:

HubSpotToday’s The Rise To The Top episode is sponsored by HubSpot, which has just published an amazing collection of 101 quotes from some of the most influential thought leaders in marketing. This ebook, titled “101 Awesome Marketing Quotes” is meant for you to read, embrace and share with your co-workers and friends who can use some marketing inspiration. Download your free copy today at

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m psyched to see Watsky on your show!  I’ve followed him since I saw him at Greenbuild several years back and loved his group Invisible Inc. Glad to see he’s finally finding success.

    1. David Siteman Garland says:

      Leah – He is a great guy and super genuine. Awesome to learn from.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great interview David! Thank so much George for your words of wisdom it was invaluable. Wishing George continued success and David more slamming interviews. Keep the faith!

    1. David Siteman Garland says:


  3. Robert Smith says:

    I love complex performers who are able to integrate their passions into their business. The name Jamie Lewis comes to mind when I think of extreme performance artists who are successful because of their ability to combine a love of music (rap in this case) with an acute business sensibility. Here is an example of his latest work in a niche industry that he has dominated over the past ten years or so. Watch him (for entertainment purposes) at .

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8 Steps to Turning What You Already Know into a Successful Online Course

The 8 step process to the successful with online courses + free gifts for attending!

Unlock the Offer!