Wes “Maestro” Williams is a Juno Award-winning Hip Hop artist, Tedx Presenter and a Gemini Award-nominated actor. In 2019 he became the first Hip Hop artist inducted into the Canadian Song Writer’s Hall Of Fame and his albums have reached gold and platinum status.
Released under the pseudonym of Maestro Fresh Wes, his debut album Symphony In Effect was the first Canadian Rap album to reach gold and platinum certification. His signature song ‘Let Your Backbone Slide’ was the first Canadian Hip Hop single to ever go gold.
As an actor, Wes has been in several film and television productions including 8 seasons on CBC’s award winning sitcom Mr.D where he played the role of teacher/ vice-principal Paul Dwyer.
His first book, STICK TO YOUR VISION: How to Get Past the Hurdles and Haters to Get Where You Want to Be, was the recipient of the 2011 White Pine Literary Award and was also implemented in the curriculum of the Adult Learning Program at Nova Scotia Community College and became mandatory reading for grade 10 students. Endorsed by the former Governor General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, as a “plan for action”, the book shows individuals how to define their vision, how to achieve it, and what to do once they are there. Stick To Your Vision was shortlisted for the Forest of Reading – White Pine Award. The White Pine Award is an annual literature award sponsored by the Ontario Library Association (OLA). He’s since released a 2nd book Stick to your Vision: Young Maestro Goes to School, accompanied by his song: “Backpack Check”.
He has been a guest speaker for the Governor-General of Canada’s Urban Arts Forum and has also participated in round table discussions on Parliament Hill regarding the subject of race relations.
Wes has always been community-oriented and has made a serious impact on the country in many different capacities. He’s supported several charitable organizations such as War Child, Save The Children, Covenant House, Special Olympics, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), and The African AIDS Society.
His 2015 single I Can’t Breathe speaks of how both external and internal forces are stifling the Black community. The song was inspired by the Eric Garner story in the US. Wes has also won two Juno Awards, four MuchMusic Video Awards (including People’s Choice) and has 12 Juno nominations.
He is the first Canadian rap artist to go gold (album & single), recorded the first Canadian Hip Hop single to go gold, has a platinum selling album (Symphony in Effect), and was the first hip hop artist to perform at the Juno Awards (1991). Wes’ inspirations include athletes, his community, other artists such as actors and musician and anyone who has a vision and the drive to make it manifest.
Wes hopes to be the inspiration for many by expressing himself through his music, acting and speaking. With his book and speaking on Stick to Your Vision, Wes hopes to empower his community because his community has empowered him in many different ways.