Watch AR Paisley get introspective on The Intro
The Mississauga rapper passionately performed "Hollywood" and "Still Grateful" for CBC Music
"I wanna dedicate this one to the dreamers. I always say don't let anybody tell you that one dream is too big," rapper AR Paisley says on the latest episode of The Intro, which you can watch above. It's an uplifting statement he makes before launching into his glittering song, "Hollywood," a bold track about finding success and counting one's blessings.
The desire to chase a dream is at the heart of "Hollywood," which Paisley explores in the lyrics, detailing his perseverance in the music world. "I fell a couple times, but I still landed on my feet," he raps on the colourful track. He tells The Intro's host, Damhnait Doyle, that the lyric is reflective of life's highs and lows: "I feel like as an artist, as somebody in this industry, a lot of us forget to stop [and] enjoy the moment and have that gratitude of 'Oh, I'm here'," he says.
"You always set a goal and then as a musician you get to stop and realize, this is where I wanted to be."
The Mississauga artist has been on the come-up for the past several years, going from battle rapping and freestyling in high school to racking up over a million monthly listeners on Spotify. Over the course of four albums, he's found his voice, collaborated with artists such as Anders and played festivals including Rolling Loud in Toronto.
But his journey has not been without hardship — in 2022 he grieved the death of his friend, mentor and collaborator, Sidhu Moose Wala. "Collaboration with the right person is a beautiful thing," he says.
Despite this adversity, Paisley actively practices gratitude and expresses appreciation for how all experiences, good and bad, have shaped him and his music. It's a sentiment that he captures in his energetic yet introspective track "Still Grateful," the final song in his set. The lyrics are candid and straight to the point: "Would I make my life perfect? Only if I could/ But don't compare your life to my life, I only post the good," he raps.
It's a message that he keeps at the forefront of his mind as he looks to the future of his career. "I made that song to just remind myself [to] show gratitude, be grateful for everything that's come, and then focus on what's next," he says.
CBC Music's The Intro spotlights emerging musicians across the country through interviews and live performances, and airs on CBC Gem, YouTube and CBCMusic.ca/TheIntro. Keep an eye out for new episodes every second Tuesday.