Tresor Gray, Toronto’s black sheep among YouTube Comedians
While Instagram and Youtube have become platforms for actors and comedians to showcase their talent, Youtube Creators, like Tresor Gray from Toronto, bring a new dynamic. He is a jack-of-all-trades and can credit his busy school schedule for managing these skills. From the comfort of his basement, he switches outfits, acts as multiple characters by himself and records songs
Since 2012, Gray has established a name for himself while making comedy for the internet. His series of parody videos fuses classic Jamaican dancehall riddims with the lyrics of some of the billboards chart-topping rap songs. While his brand of parody videos breaks the traditional mould set by innovators like Nileseyy Niles or Reggie Cous, Gray’s creativity is a product of his West Indian upbringing. Meanwhile, Toronto’s diverse environment helped embrace it. “Toronto is so multicultural so it allows me to make videos that a lot of people would understand because a lot of Torontonians have been exposed to West Indian culture in some way.”
Gray’s videos are comedic gold but the music he makes ends up being critically acclaimed hits. In an interview with Emerge Music, Gray described how he is able to combine both of these passions, the process he follows and how Toronto is his main influence.
Emerge Music: What exactly inspired you to make parody videos?
Gray: I feel like it was life. Life is just comedy so you can find comedy in literally anything you do. I feel like music is just one of those things that everyone could relate to, so it’s the easiest to make comedy out of.
EM: You think Toronto kind of gives you a bit of a source of creativity?
Gray: Yeah. There are so many different types of people. I didn’t notice how multicultural it was once I went to the States with my cousins [who] live in Chicago. I would play Vybz Kartel around them and they would have no clue who he is or what he was saying. That was mind-blowing to me because down here this type of music is the norm.
EM: Is there a bit of a routine in relation to how you make videos?
Gray: Yes and no. Once you find the formula that what works for you, you have to have it down packed. In terms of the ideas, it’s kind of random. It just comes to you unless you’re doing a specific type of series, like the Jamaican videos I do as an example, then it’s something that pretty much becomes routine.
EM: How would you compare your creative process to actual musicians?
Gray: I think it’s literally the same thing. For music, it’s either it’s completely freestyled or its completely written down. I do it almost the same way. There would be some videos where ill press record on Logic and press record on my camera at the same time and freestyle the whole thing or there are ones where I’ll do the whole track first, mix it, edit it and then edit the video afterward. It’s pretty much the same way.
EM: I guess there’s never a guideline it’s kinda like whatever you feel comfortable with?
Gray: That’s the thing that I think people need to start realizing as well. There are no rules, you could do whatever you want, however you want it to do it. You don’t have to go by how people say you should do things if that doesn’t work for you. Just do it. People kind of get stuck in that box of what label they are, comedian, rapper, podcaster etc., when you really can do anything you want. No one can tell you as an actor that you can’t make music. No one can tell you as a musician that you can’t direct or produce.
EM: You play like four different characters. How do you manage this many characters in one video?
Gray: Honestly, it’s kind of easy for me now. I can get into different characters really easily and I just started it because I really didn’t have a choice. A lot of the Youtube videos I do are by myself. If I had access to more people, I probably wouldn’t be doing that but I like the way it turned out regardless.
EM: Any thoughts on possible new characters?
Gray: Yeah, I’m always thinking of new characters that I could put in different settings. That’s why I would act as my hood cousin, the African dad or the Jamaican uncle. I’m always looking for something.
EM: How do you try to set yourself apart from other Youtube creators that are making parody videos?
Gray: It’s really about finding your own original idea. For a while, I was trying to figure out what I could do that hasn’t really been done, so that’s why I started creating videos that had a lot of the Jamaican stuff since it was something I grew up on. There are people like Retro Spectro who will act as an artist and producer and then he would do the disappearing trick which became his signature. There’s Reggie Couz who will have the church choir in his videos, which then became his thing too. I started doing the idea of having three characters all the time and the guy walking through the door became a signature thing that became my trademark. You start to know it’s your thing when you don’t do it once and almost all your viewers notice it.