Raised in Toronto, Gordon Rowe always had a fondness for drawing. As he grew he was heavily influenced by music, sports, pop and hip-hop culture.
Vocalstar: Who is Gordon Rowe?
Gordon Rowe: I’m a 23 year old 90s kid looking to move and motivate people through hip hop inspired art.
VS: Where are you from? Do you think your upbringing has contributed to your style as an artist?
GR: I was raised in Scarborough Ontario with 3 brothers and four sisters. Being the youngest of eight I soaked in inspiration from the several sources. Music always played a prominent roll in my upbringing. My mom introduced me to soul and disco, my sister played me classical, jazz and international genres while my brothers put me on hip-hop. When I wasn’t listening to music I was watching movies. Some of my earliest memories are me watching films like Jurassic Park or Godzilla on VHS and breaking them down into little story books with crude drawings of my favorite scenes. A combination of these theatrical and musical influences along with growing up around strong black women really shaped me as an artist.
VS: What inspires you musically?
GR: My mom used to drag me to church every Thursday and Sunday for service. I never took to any religions, it just never made any sense to me but what I could vibe with were the choir and the church band. I’d put the lyrics aside and really listen to the piano melodies and the brass and string instruments. I still find those sounds very moving. Also soul music and storytelling rappers like Lee Fields or Mos Def inspire me to put pencil to paper.
VS: I’ve always enjoyed music that makes you feel that’s why I’ve always gravitated towards jazz and soul.
GR: These days my main musical influences are Sam Cooke, The Roots, Andre 3000, Beirut, J Cole, Bill Withers, and Childish Gambino.
VS: Which artist would you love to collaborate with and why?
GR: If I could work with anyone in the world it would be J. Cole. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be here without him and his music. There’s been several moments in my life where I’ve wanted to give up and give in to depression but there was always a J Cole song or album that would appear right on time as if it were just for me to pull me out of whatever I was going through. It made realize that I wasn’t alone and that maybe I’m still here for a reason.
VS: Where can we expect to see you in 5 years? What are your dreams & aspirations?
GR: My dream is to work with prominent hip hop artists and inspirational figures on album artwork, music videos and concert art direction.
Follow Gordon Rowe on IG @roweart
Painting portraits from Childish Gambinox Funkadelic, to J. Cole, Chance The Rapper, and Director X, just to name a few.