Introducing Grande Wop

Introducing Grande Wop
wop featured compresed

Cammi Conte (aka Grande Wop) at the abandoned water tank on Cobb’s Hill [Photos provided by Che Holloway]

You first met Che in Rochester works for actor Che Holloway, an impromptu interview and amble through the Neighborhood of the Arts.

An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!

Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 50 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.

For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews (1-13)

Introducing Grande Wop

I recently had a chance to interview a talented musician by the name of Grande Wop (aka Cammi Conte). Here is what we discussed.

Q. Tell us a little about yourself, where your from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.  wop 5 compressed

I was born in Rochester. At a young age my family relocated to Norfolk, Virginia for my father’s Navy career. As a consequence of my parents relationship ending, we then moved back to Rochester when I was 3 years old. In a matter of a year, my mother was now a single parent of 3 kids. We were homeless and on our own. After some help from family friends, we found a home in a rural city area of Rochester. I attended high school at Monroe High School where I wasn’t into classwork as much as I was into being a class clown, fighting, and playing football. But somehow I graduated. Not knowing what I then wanted to do since I took everything for granted, I and a few  friends started to look at music for guidance.

Q.What inspired you to be an artist/entertainer? Early experiences worth sharing?

I was always into music as a kid, 50 cent, The Game , etc.  A lot of hardcore rap inspired my lifestyle but I feel what made me want to rap myself was listening to an up-and-coming artist at the time who goes by the name of J.Cole. His music was so relatable to my life at that point it made me want to tell my story.wop 4 compressed

Q. Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.

In all honesty, my whole life was pretty much surrounded by conflict and adversity. One particular situation — in which I was kidnapped by my father — taught me a lot of growth. Surviving and helping my brother and sister emotionally in that situation taught me a lot about myself.

Q. What do you believe sets you apart from other artists/entertainers? 

Hmm, I feel there lot of different/unique artists up and coming. I feel I’m different because a lot of artist don’t keep it real with themselves  I’m not rich.  I don’t have the flyest car; I drive a 2003 Chevy “hoopty” with rust on all on the side and a broken window. I’m comfortable telling people my reality to which a lot of people can relate. I think that is what sets me apart.wop 1 compressed

Q. Do you have other interests or hobbies?

I’m a huge fan of art in particular. I love drawings, murals, photography etc. I always find myself getting distracted in the story behind the picture itself. I actually do photography whenever I get free time.

 Q. Any projects you have out or currently working on? 

Last year i released my debut EP “Native.” It was a true success and built me a foundation/platform for my fan base. Currently I’m working on the second installment to titled “Native 2” which is in the wrapping up process, final mixes.

Q. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?

5 years is a bold prediction for the fact people change everyday. At the moment, I want to see myself working in the music industry if not an artist myself, working in that field would make me truly satisfied but that can change ….

wop 3 compressedQ. What advice can you give to aspiring artists/entertainers?

The only advice I can give is to stay true to yourself. Don’t try to do what you think is best for the others looking in. Do it for yourself.wop 2 compressed

Q. How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?

Following me is pretty easy .

You can go to my website

twitter/instagram @grande_wop



Che of The Town: Interviews (1-107)

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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