Montreal rapper breathes new life into his career with help from non-profit
Lenworth Wynter is a Montreal artist, DJ, and producer who goes by the rap moniker Onasis. He has been performing live shows since 2011 and has seen success on various streaming platforms.
After posting his album In a Cloud of Smoke to Reverb Nation on Sept. 12, 2018, Onasis’s album reached #1 on the Hip Hop charts in the Montreal area on Dec. 5, 2018 and currently sits at #4. His music is regularly aired on the radio show, “La Sauce,” hosted by Bobby Payne on 101.5 FM. The two have a partnership and will be performing together on Friday, March 29 at L’hémisphère Gauche.
Onasis is in the process of making a collaborative album, which includes John Molson School of Business (JMSB) student and aspiring rap artist Jahrome Brooks. Onasis had talent in navigating the complex world of entertainment. In an interview with The Concordian, Onasis shared that a lot of the skills he learned came from a non-profit organization called YES.
YES once stood for Youth Employment Services, but has since reinvented their slogan to “Successful futures start with YES,” to better represent their current objectives. Sponsorships from local and governmental agencies, as well as donations through fundraisers, provide YES with the necessary means to support their operation. They are a non-profit Montreal-based organization that helps people achieve their goals through three specialized programs for entrepreneurs, job seekers, and artists. In early 2010, they began expanding their services outside Montreal. Today, YES’s services can be found across the province.
When YES was founded in 1995, the organization’s objective was to reverse the outflow of young English speaking Quebecers. The following year, they began an entrepreneurship program and five years later, the artist program began. YES realized that supporting locals within the province would benefit the lives of not just anglophones, but all Montrealers, improving the economy in the process and the lives of those involved. YES provides individual career counseling, business coaching, day and evening workshops, mentoring, conferences and networking opportunities. With partnerships ranging from Emploi Quebec to CTV, they create a unique service catered around helping Montrealers succeed in various industries, including music. YES is hosting a conference on March 25 at St. Jax called “Business Skills for Creative Souls.”
When asked about YES, Onasis recounted his first experience with a business coach named Gerald Silverberg. “I registered a company [Build-A-Berg Inc.] with my brother but none of us went to school for that. When I went to YES and I met with Gerald Silverberg, it made me see the whole business part of it.”
Silverberg was known for his honest and direct communication with his clients, something Onasis experienced. “I was really on this high horse, very arrogant, and he said to me ‘you’re doing music business, you have the music part down, now you have to handle the business and that’s where the money’s at,’” Onasis said. “I had to really humble myself and listen to what this man had to say, and it’s working. He’s one of the reasons why my music is out right now, why I have a studio right now.”
Concordia professor Dr. Jordan Lebel spent five years as vice president of YES. Although he is no longer on the board of directors he continues to volunteer his time at the organization whenever he can. “Everybody wants to be part of a success story,” said Dr. Lebel. “Whether it’s your story or someone else’s.” Dr. Lebel remains in contact with countless individuals he mentored through YES and values those connections. The relationships forged between employees and clients alike enrich the experience for both parties.
Director of Marketing and Events Catherine Brisindi said, “My tag line for the job search program is your job search doesn’t have to be lonely. Sometimes the best thing is just being in a room of people who get what you’re going through.” Brisindi is a JMSB graduate and has been involved with YES for nearly a decade.
Uncertainty about the future isn’t unique to young teens and adults. The fear of not realizing our true potential can be overwhelming. Onasis benefited greatly from a single encounter with a YES consultant. Sadly, Silverberg passed away in April of last year, leaving a lasting impact on his co-workers and clients. When notified of Silverberg’s passing, Wynter said, “We’re going to make millions for Gerald, he was an angel.”
To learn more about YES, follow them @yesmontreal, or visit their website yesmontreal.ca.