Ghost
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Ghost

Vancouver, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Vancouver, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Hip Hop R&B

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Michael Zanidean, better known by his stage name Ghost is a Canadian streetballer turned rapper. Hailing from Vancouver, Ghost is one of many rising hip hop stars on Canada’s west coast. In his young career, Ghost has already opened for many notable artists, such as D12, Big Sean, Tech N9ne, YG, Joell Ortiz, Machine Gun Kelly, ONYX and the Dogg Pound.

What’s the story behind the name Ghost?
The name Ghost came from a basketball nickname. I grew up playing basketball; when I was probably like 13 or 14 we were on the courts with some older cats sitting on the sideline and I was hitting a bunch of threes and this one dude on the sideline was like “oh he’s a ghost, you can’t see him” and then he came on the court next and he was like “I’ll guard the ghost” and that’s how it came about, and all my boys kept on calling me Ghost from there on out.



You played streetball professionally on the AND1 tour?

Yes.



And what was that like?

It was pretty much a dream, you know. When I was younger, I played hockey and I was really good at hockey, but I had to come out of it. My mom couldn’t afford to keep me in it, so I picked up a sport that was free, and I got one of the AND1 mixtapes when I was like 11 years old, and I started watching it and it was something that motivated me a lot. I was like “Yo, I really wanna do this. I wanna be like these guys.” And when I got picked up on the tour, as corny as it sounds cause in the scale of things it’s not like the NBA or nothing, but it was a dream come true. I mean, I was touring with the dudes I used to watch their tapes over and over. It was awesome. It showed me how to be an entertainer. It showed me how to carry yourself as a professional. It was my first time getting paid for basketball, so it was awesome.

Do you think you learned a lot of stuff from basketball that you can apply to your life as a musician?

100 percent. 100 percent. Basketball is like, I think that’s where I got the knack for entertaining, because anytime we’d play, you know you got a home game there’s a couple hundred people in the stands. It kind of teaches you how to ride an emotional wave and feed off the energy of the fans. It really helped me with… It’s an energy reader. You know, you come down the court, you score a basket, the crowd goes crazy or you hop on stage and do like an a cappella and the crowd goes crazy. You can really feel like the way people want the emotions to go.



Who’s your biggest inspiration, both as a basketball player and as a rapper?

I was a really big Jason Williams fan. He was a point guard for the Sacramento KIngs. I just felt like I could relate to him, because obviously playing basketball, it’s an African-American dominated sport. You know like Mike and Magic, all the best players were African-American and in comes this little 6-foot white point guard, who’s doing these flashy tricks and passes on the court, so I was really into that, like the showtime aspect and the fact that I see him doing that; that really inspired me. And then musically, I guess 2Pac was probably my favorite, but it was more or less for his personality and I could relate to him, cause he was kind of like a little firecracker and I kind of related to him, I had little temper issues and I wrote a lot of poetry when I was younger and I was into acting and stuff like that, so 2Pac was musically the rapper, I guess that I could relate to the most.



What about modern rappers? Who do you feel you can relate to the most, in terms of your peers?

Umm, to be honest, I don’t really listen to much new stuff. The music we make and I make I just listen to, because I don’t like a lot of the new stuff. I don’t really like listening to new music, because I feel like it will influence the stuff that I’m making, and I don’t really wanna sound like anyone, you know what I mean. I don’t know if that answers that.



Right, like you wanna have your own original sound. You don’t wanna be sounding like everyone else that’s out right now.

Exactly, cause even in the streetball game, it was like if you start doing certain tricks that other people are doing, they automatically tie you into trying to be that person. So with the streetball thing, that’s what helped me become what I was in streetball, was I just created my own tricks, and created my own path and my own lane and that’s what helped me get signed on that professional level. You know, I think it’s a personality trait, where I’m stubborn, I don’t really want to be like anyone else. I kinda wanna do my own thing and break down my own walls, you know.



So, do you feel the same competitive nature in rap as you did in basketball?

100 percent, yeah I feel like there’s enough food for everyone to eat, but I wanna go out and prove that all the food on my plate is earned, you know.

You’ve opened for some big names, Big Sean, YG, Kid Ink. Who do you think was the best performer that you’ve opened for?

Machine Gun Kelly. Hands down. His live show just blew my mind. I knew a lot about him and stuff, but when I was on tour with them, I got to see them perform every night and the way that they perform is just really inspiring. So, I think MGK is probably the best performer I’ve ever seen in my life and I’ve been to a lot of different concerts, like everything from country to rap.



How does the AND1 tour compare to touring with a rapper?

When I was touring with all the AND1 guys, it was like you pull up to a show or a game and it was like right off the bat you had people running up and asking for autographs, asking you to do a trick, taking pictures with you, stuff like that. And then my road on the music stuff has been at first nobody knew who I was, like when I was touring with Madchild, that was my first tour, I was on a tour bus and even Mad was like “You’re so spoiled for your first tour to be on like a tour bus and stuff.” And they didn’t know who I was but after the show people would start to be like “I never heard of you. You’re good. Let me get your cd. Let me get this, let me get that.” So, I built my fans after the show rather than beforehand. With the streetball, I was already known around the world just because I built my internet fan base, so when I hit the shows with basketball people knew who I was. We apply that with the music, but it’s been a little more of a grind than it was with the basketball. So, it’s more building the fans by performing than having them anticipate you before you come. It’s been a little bit of a struggle going from you’re already popular and you’ve got a big fan base to where you gotta start from the bottom and kinda grind your fan base together one by one by one.



What’s the rap scene like in Vancouver? I feel like Toronto has gotten very big with artists like Drake and the Weeknd coming up, but you don’t really hear much rap from other parts of Canada, at least in the US.

Vancouver’s got a scene and it’s building. We definitely have artists here. We’ve got guys, like obviously Madchild and Swollen Members who have broken barriers for Vancouver hip hop, and then you’ve got guys like Snack the Ripper doing really good things right now. Snack’s having an amazing year. Mercules, Matt Brevner, you’ve got a lot of guys out here who are working and building up the scene. I got an artist who I work close with, his name’s Lazyville, me and him got an ep coming out together. I think he’s the best rapper in Canada. He’s really talented. I think we don’t really have the… I don’t know what the word is… like the innovativeness… the people who go out and take a chance to make things the way they are. We just got people, like a lot of people who think that things are supposed to be given to them, whereas like Drake went and kicked down big doors for people in Canada. I think Toronto is doing amazing, and everyone’s looking to Toronto as like the New York of hip hop. If you go back to like the golden era, shortly after that Cali followed. The west coast followed. So, I think that our time’s coming. It’s just gonna take a little more time for people to really see that the west coast of Canada has just as good, if not better artists than Toronto.



How do you think that Drake has changed the way that Canadian hip hop is thought of?

I mean, he changed hip hop in general, but he changed it in a way where he fused the melodies and the harmonies and the softer side of music. And he showed that rap doesn’t have different barriers that you have to follow. He’s pretty much running hip hop around the world right now, like he was just number one on the billboard for like four weeks and that pushed Michael Buble out of a record, so it shows you that anything is possible, you just have to make good music, build a strong team, no matter where you’re from you can make it work.



What’s next for you?

Right now I have June 16th, a project dropping with Lazyville, who’s the artist I was talking about. We got a project called “No Rules: Hard to Change.” He dropped an album called “Hard to Kill” and I dropped an album called “Change.” So, we kinda blended our project, called it “Hard to Change.” That’s dropping June 16th. And then I have a double disc dropping, which is called “His and Hers.” I get a lot of emails and messages from people saying “I really like your singing, but I need more rap songs,” and then I get a lot of girls who are like “Oh, I really like this rap song, but I need you to make more ballads and kind of like you know not love songs but like singy-songs.” So I got a project dropping called “His and Hers.” The “His” side is for the people that want the rap the “Hers” is for the people who want the singing and then I got an album that works in unison, so it’s like his, hers, and mine, so everyone’s happy. So, I got that and then me and Lazy got a part two dropping and we got a studio in downtown Vancouver that we’re pushing and we got some tours that we’re trying to lock in right now, another cross-canada tour and then I’m gonna go down to Atlanta, spend some time with the person who wants to manage me, we’re gonna try to network with some artists that he works with and shoot some visuals and videos and continue to put out some music videos that we can really reach out and get people to see who I am as an artist rather than just a basketball player who made music. - Monday Mourning


Discography

2012 Listen or die

2013 GTFOTW

2013 "Single" - digital / physical single

2013 "Ride or die" - digital / physical single

2014 Have Nots 

2014 Boarding Pass

2014 Be Right Back

2015 Change

2016 No Rules - Hard 2 Change - Group Album (June 16 2016 Release date)

2016 His & Hers (August 2016 Release date)

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Bio

Western Canadian Music Awards Nominee Ghost has been on an extensive momentum run since 2012 where he was part of the, record breaking, 45 city Canadian tour supporting Madchild's DOPESICK tour. In 2013 Ghost also supported Machine Gun Kelly's Canadian run. Performing in over 150 shows between 2012 and 2013 Ghost built a name for himself in the music scene rather quick landing him support slots with artists such as Tech N9ne, YG, Onyx, MGK, Madchild, Mayday, French Montana and more.

Drawing experience from his Streetball career where he toured the world with AND1 as a entertainer basketball player Ghost has a live show that is not only interactive but, energetic and never fails to leave the crowd entertained.