SPIN Magazine Presents: All Access with the Rap Superstar – Drake had a triumphant 2010, debuting at No. 1 with his first album Thank Me Later, and nabbing four Grammy noms, including Best New Artist and Best Rap Album nods.
At a sold-out holiday show in San Jose last week, put on by local radio station Wild 94.9 FM, the Toronto native took some time to thank those who made it all possible: his fans.
SPIN photographer Misha Valdimirskiy tailed Drake at the show, shooting photos as the rapper signed autographs for children from the Make-A-Wish foundation and performed a hits-laden set to 19,000 screaming concertgoers.
The crowd went wild when the 24-year-old former star of the Canadian teen soap opera Degrassi: The Next Generation took the stage, says photog Vladimirskiy: “It was like Beatle-mania. All these screaming girls held signs that read, ‘Marry me, Drake!’” He put on a memorable show, performing hits from Thank Me Later like “Over” and “Find Your Love,” with a six-person band.
The Wild Jam concert also featured sets from Chris Brown, Bruno Mars, and Far East Movement, but it was all about Drake, says Vladimirskiy. “He owned the stage. His performance was totally electrifying.”
On the Mic
Before the show, Drake sat down for an interview and meet-and-greet with children from the Make-A-Wish foundation. “He was really supportive and super friendly,” says Vladimirskiy. “Most artists that do these things are in and out, with zero conversation. But Drake signed autographs and posed for photos. His manager was eventually like, ‘Drake, we have to go. You have a show to do!’”
Drake poses backstage with Nessa, a host on Wild 94.9 FM.
Drake uses a bystander’s back to sign an autograph. Earlier, during his performance, he stopped the show to give a girl in the audience the gift of his bling-laden wristwatch.
Drake poses backstage after his set. “He was watching [co-performer] Chris Brown from side-stage for a few minutes, then stopped for a few photos,” says Vladimirskiy. “He’s very humble and friendly. He’s super famous, but he certainly doesn’t act like it.”