I met JD, or Joey as my good friend Kevin endearingly calls him, about 4 years ago at Caribana. I normally attended the parade with Kevin – my friend from university, but this year he told me that one of his boys wanted to hang with us. I didn’t mind – the more the merrier.
Although that particular Caribana wasn’t as lively as years past, Kevin, JD and I spent the majority of the day joking around, laughing and talking. But they had NO problem stopping the conversation mid-sentence to ogle scantily clad females (note to self: never go to Caribana with dudes!). But all in all, it still turned out to be an incredibly fun day.
Some time after Caribana, I was at home and I flipped on the TV and K-os’ I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman video was playing. Guess who I spotted in the video? Yep, JD was right there running around on my TV screen! I texted Kevin to verify that it was really him and Kevin texted back, “Joey was into acting.”
I hadn’t seen JD since that Caribana 4 years ago and I was dying to sit with him and find out more about him. Besides that video, I’ve seen him in a few television commercials and I needed to know more. Asking him to be interviewed for WordsWithMichelle was a good excuse to satisfy my curiosity nosiness.
I met him at 1:30pm at Yonge and Bloor and he politely suggested we hit 7West restaurant for lunch, which was completely cool with me because I hadn’t eaten all day and I was insatiably hungry!
As we dove into our hearty meals, JD clued me in on what he was up to since we last met up. He wasn’t only an actor, spoken word artist and musician; he was a doting father to two incredibly cute kids.
…wanna know more about my lunch date with JD? Keep reading to find out what else he had to say.
Real Name: Joseph Daly
Hometown: Scarborough, ON
Astrological Sign: Gemini
Fun Fact: Created a radio documentary – Would You Like Some Shepherd’s Pie With That Roti? which played on CBC radio. It was about his life growing up in the 70s and how he dealt with the racial slurs thrown at him.
Acting was an extension of my artistic style. It was recommended to me because it would help me to emote better on stage and would help me with my stage presence. I took acting lessons for 5-6 years and when I thought I was good enough, I got an agent [around 2001].
What was your first acting gig?
I played a poet in a Jimi Hendrix made-for-TV movie circa 1998. It was lots of fun! C’mon, I played a poet!
How did you get that part in the I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman video?
I auditioned. I knew director Little X, but I didn’t know that he was directing the video until the day of.
It was one long-ass day of shooting, but it was lots of fun. I played a bad guy…it’s nice playing the bad guy sometimes!
You started off your career as a Spoken Word artist. When did you know you had the skills for it?
When I was in grade 2 or 3 I used to write poems. I used to love putting words together and rhyming. I loved making music too. When hip hop came out, that was it!
How did you make your leap into music?
When I was a teenager I formed a crew called SC Roc – Scarborough City Roc. We didn’t go anywhere, but we made songs in the basement. After that, I just branched out as a solo artist with my DJ – Marvel Jay. Did a few shows here and there. I was on Electric Circus back in the day and we performed at Ron Nelson’s Monster Jam.
How would you classify your music?
I label my music as hip hop/Spoken Word. But it has serious funk and soul undertones.
Pursuing urban music in Canada is known to be frustrating. Have you experienced any obstacles?
My first album- Alleycat Sensibilities came out in 2005….I had no marketing and little promotion for it. I sold it independently through my website and on the website of the studio that mastered my album – Silverbirch Productions.
There isn’t a lot of infrastructure here in Toronto for urban music. I call it, “ infra-suck- ture” because it sucks! I affiliate myself outside of the city…..in the States.
We have an inferiority complex. We don’t trust that good things can come from here….unless it’s hockey.
When is your next album coming out?
In the next couple of months. It’s done. I want it to come out when the time is right. I’m not too concerned with labels – I rather have distribution.
After we devoured our lunch, which included dessert (we shared a slice of a super rich, creamy red velvet cake- #heaven), our soft-spoken, slender waiter approached our table with the bill. He overheard the interview and asked JD if he was a performer. JD said yes. I detected a gigantic smile creep over our waiter’s face and then he nonchalantly told us that he was a soul/r&b singer and that he was interested in having a jam session.
After prodding JD to freestyle (by the waiter and myself), a few moments later our waiter dropped a beat and JD started to freestyle. Yes, that really happened in the middle of the restaurant! Seriously, that was awesome! I love watching creative people in their element. Thanks, guys! #highlightoftheday
Want to know more about JD Vishus? Check the deets below.