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Virtue @ Odeon

Saskatoon, Alberta, Canada

Saskatoon, Alberta, Canada

Virtue @ Point on 17th

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


Socrates, Aristotle, Plato. When thinking of the most influential philosophers, these are the names that generally come to mind, but what about Virtue? Some might say he is a philosopher of our time, while others might see him as a high-school student. But listen to his first official CD, and your perspective on life just might take a turn.

Up-and-coming Calgary MC Virtue (a.k.a. Will Kowall), 15, has teamed up with beat master Aptitude (a.k.a. Greg McClary, 19, of Jonny Sootentai) to master their debut album, Prosthetik Senses – a truly Canadian collection of indie hip hop.

"We want people to use our music and just let go of reality, and just sit down and think," says Virtue.

"Embrace our paradigm – our view of the world. That’s what we are trying to create with the music – a way of sharing our perspectives," adds Aptitude. "We are you’re exposure to the world now."

Part of this album comes from a modern-day teenager and problems he has come across, while another part of it plumbs a deeper level of profound understanding or conscious awareness.

"I am a big believer in karma," says Virtue. "I am a spiritual being, but I don’t sit and meditate. I have, but I believe in the soul of the universe. I believe in Mother Nature. I believe in a collective spirit – everyone is one."

Presently in Grade 10 at Rundle College High School, Virtue admits that he hasn’t had the chance to study the great philosophers to develop his worldview. He keeps his own mind busy and, like many young thinkers, Virtue has encountered people that have misinterpreted him. According to Aptitude, Virtue had an English teacher who just didn’t like him.

"Yeah," says Virtue. "She phoned my mom and thought I was depressed… just because she didn’t understand what I was saying.

"Because I do think the way I do, in school, I feel very restricted," he adds. "I feel very brainwashed by school, even though they teach. You don’t question the teachers. They tell you the answers."

Given that it is more his style to question the answers, Virtue seems to be more mentally mature than most kids his age. That maturity applies not only to his writing, but his business sense as well. Aptitude says when Prosthetik Senses was ready to be released, Virtue organized the release party and handled the promotion and marketing end of the project on his own. "He is always pushing forward, and I find his desire to get better really motivates me too," says Aptitude.

As active as he is in the hip-hop community, all of Virtue’s ambition comes from what is going on upstairs, in that finely-tuned 15-year-old brain of his. If he is going to follow in the footsteps of influential philosophers, then he is headed in the right direction. "I just like thinking," he says.

Virtue is performing as part of the first annual Rap Fest. Other performers include Urban Farmers, Top Shelf Records, Audible Intelligence, Dragon Fli Empire and Epic.

- Nichole Stewart

Will Kowall’s main goal? Promote his new album: Virtue and Aptitude: Prosthetik Senses.
The rest of his immediate to-do list includes opening a store dedicated to local hip-hop music, recording a new album, breaking into the international hip-hop scene…
Oh yes, and passing grade 10 math.
Kowall is only 14-years-old, but already has big plans for the future.
“I just want to get my name out locally,” he said. “I’m already working on my next CD.”
The young rapper began writing music in grade 4 and he hasn’t been able to stop since.
“My brother and sister got me into rap and hip-hop,” he said. “And I can’t stop writing, I love it so much.”
Kowall, who also calls himself Virtue, releases his first album earlier this month with friend, DJ Aptitude, With help from his friends and his mother, he’s also opening a new store, Fameless, devoted to local hip-hop artists.
“We’re going to sell urban hip-hop clothing and CDs with positive messages,” said mom Janis Kowall. She said T-shirts with messages such as “speak out” further promoter the hip-hop culture. She added they also plan to set up a stage with an open mike in the back of the shop and use local graffiti artists to decorate the store.
The Kowalls expect to open their doors at #14, 517 10th Ave. S.W. by the end of October.
“My mom, of course, put the money and time into it while I’m at school, but I order all the stuff. I guess you could call me the ‘buyer,’” Will said proudly.
Kowall credits his parents with much of his success so far.
“I have the coolest parents. Everyone in the hip-hop scene knows my mom and dad and they’re so supportive,” he explained.
“My dad really gets noticed at (shows), because he’s so much older.”
Being a teen rapper has its disadvantages, though.
“It kind of sucks because every time a rapper I really like comes into Calgary, I can’t get in because they’re always in bars,” he said.
Kowall’s been known to play in a bor or two himself, but he obtains one-night performers permits to enter legally.
Despite his young age, his lyrics sound fairly intense.
“the angel on my shoulder remains wingless. I taught him to sit, practice flight. He still can’t fly but he learned patience.” Reads one of the lyrics.
“Will’s an incredible writer, well beyond his years” said Janis.
I’ve had a really good response so far,” said Kowall of the community’s reaction to his music. “It’s mostly positive, but because of my agem there are some people that won’t give me the time of day.”
Janis Kowall said she sees the culture her son thrives in as a close-knit, positive group.
“The kids in the city are so talented, they’re just amazing,” she said.
“People are really respecting who (Will) is and what he does.”
- Calgary Herald (Sarah Chapman)


Virtue & Aptitude (are) Prosthetik Senses [full album mc] (2004)
DJ Moves - Loaded Again [1 track mc] (2005)
Lyr-x-Ist - Riders of the North Chapter 1 [1 track mc] (2005)
Decline & Concept - Shakespeare Falling [1 track mc] (2005)
Virtue - Growing Pains [full album mc] (2005)
RDS - Open Mic [1 track mc] (2005)
Lyr-x-Ist - Riders of the North Chapter 2 [2 track mc] (2005)
Radio Play: Collage Radio Stations Across Canada


Feeling a bit camera shy


What is Virtue? “Virtue is the biggest little thing to happen to Calgary” Whatevski of Olive Hour Records once said, and that truly is the only way to sum it up. Who is Virtue? Will Kowall, is the persona behind the name, which he chose for good reason. A Virtue song is a journey though the intrinsic worth and the vices we face in life’s lessons. This is a suitable name for Will considering this MC is still growing up, though hard to believe when you listen to his work, he is a ripe young age of 15. With these points being laid out before you let’s take the in depth journey into Virtue’s true self, past his teen stash and peach fuzz.

With wisdom beyond his young years, Virtue writes in a poetic ability of story telling, word weaving, and the daily struggle we all are faced with, from the simple tasks of life to the problems that need to be attacked head on without trepidation. Virtues one goal is to inspire anyone who is willing to listen and stoke up the fire with wood we rarely burn but all keep stashed away.

Born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Will Kowall AKA Virtue found that there was a magnetic force attracting him to put pen to paper. Ever since he learned the art of placing letters together to form words, the urge to jot down anything and everything that came to mind, short stories, comics, and random scribbles was essential. At the Bright malleable age of 9, Will started testing the waters of the river of rhyme. One fateful day he decided to try and write raps like he heard so many of his favorite hip-hop artists doing. It started out as fun and games but by the age of 12 he knew that these rhymes were meant to be something more. The yearning to pursue the path of these raps was a must because in the future a briefcase in his eyes would be like an anchor that would keep him stagnant and the tie that would be worn around his neck would be more like a leash holding back his inspiration.

With his mind-state and a pocket full of hopes, Virtue started working with Ra prophet. The connection between the two was there before they even realized, Ra Prophet is Virtues older brother’s best friend since childhood, Because of this Ra Prophet and Virtue’s relationship dated back to earlier and younger years. Ra Prophet starting giving Virtue turn table lessons and writing songs with him, taking the youngling under his wing and forever impacting Virtues history and engraving the course for sovereign soul productions to flourish. Their natural crossing of paths was marked by destiny, they were meant to be connected in a deeper fashion.

Old 8 track recordings, and lots of Vietnamese food, Virtue was working daily on his musical path, while juggling school, music, and various other things a kid around the age of 13 usually does. By 14 Virtue’s first album was released, alongside was Aptitude; they released “Virtue and Aptitude (are) Prosthetik Senses”. Once Virtue broke through the local scene, he saw that there had to be a way to make it easier for all the local hip hop talent to be heard, seen, and united. With a vision of supporting the Calgary hip hop movement; Virtue’s dream started Fameless, an all-encompassing store, a hip-hop emporium.

With a future promising to be larger then the vast endless sky, Virtue will continue growing into the artist and persona he set out to be. He will evolve his writing and linguistics with every new day.
“This album ends, a new one starts, some of the dopest drop pens, and some lose heart, some get better, some forgot what makes the flame, but not me I will always grow and maintain, and if you picked this up and believed from the first minute. Thank you, it owe it all to you, sincerely, Virtue. My fire will never be extinguished.” – Virtue, excerpt from The Don.