When it comes to keeping busy, there are few people as busy as former South Okanagan resident Rob Sawan, or K.A.S.P., as he is known on the stage as an award-winning aboriginal hip hop artist.
But in recent years, Sawan has branched out drawing on his own experience to develop another career as a motivational speaker; besides working on a retrospective album featuring the best of 16 years of music, he’s currently setting out on his Addictions Awareness Motivational Tour.
|Hip hop artist K.A.S.P is heading out on a motivational speaking tour.|
For Sawan, every voice is important. He’s hoping to inspire people who are too shy or don’t know how to make their voice heard to stand up and speak out.
“The addictions awareness motivational tour is to let people know they are not alone. Everybody has their story,” said Sawan. “Treat everything as a learning experience; find the value in all situations and learn from that.”
For Sawan, a Cree who eventually moved to the Penticton Indian Band, that experience includes early years in East Vancouver that helped inspire his career path.
“For me, it was my dad and seeing him battle addiction,” said Sawan, adding they he tries to focus not on the negative aspects, but the positive of what he learnt from the experience, like trying to be a better father and a better person.
“Every day is almost like going to ceremony for me, being thankful for every day. I could have just as easily ended up on East Hastings,” said Sawan. “I could have used all the excuses in the world, but instead of focusing on the negative, I focus on the positive and my traditions.”
Where you come from, where you have been and knowing that your story is important and can help people is key to Sawan’s message, which he says is universal.
“I work with everybody, not just aboriginal people,” said Sawan. “We all need help in our own way.”
Sawan’s own battle with substance abuse also inspires his work.
“Thanks to the creator, on April 14, I will be nine years sober,” said Sawan. “I’ve had my battles with addiction. Growing up with an addict, you learn to lie, cheat steal and manipulate, all those things.
“The past is the past. You only use the past for two things. That’s positive learning experiences and positive memories.”
The Addictions Awareness Motivational Tour is to let people know they are not alone, he explained, and that everyone has their own story.
“Treat everything as a learning experience; find the value in all situations and learn from that,” he said. “Don’t beat yourself up if you slip.
“Find the value in being clean even for two days, five days or 20 days, to celebrate the small accomplishments.”
Sawan’s tour is taking him from B.C. to Ontario, with stops in Victoria and Kingston. Sawan can be reached on Facebook at RobKaspSawan or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.