Kroonstad-born Vaughn Thiel was one of the standouts who auditioned for us in our first few weeks as CliffCentral.com began back in May 2014. His unique persona, shine in his eyes and flat-out swagger were what made us sit up in our seats and take notice of this 90s kid who had a slick way of stringing words together. Since then, he’s kept us thinking, laughing, inspired and basically every other imaginable emotion on The Spoken Hustle, his segment on Kellman On CliffCentral with Arye Kellman. Here’s how our conversation went as we shone the Getting To Know spotlight on Vaughn:
You’re a man of many words, Vaughn, but in keeping it simple, how would you describe yourself in three words?
On a Mission
As someone this headstrong today, what were your dreams for yourself as a child?
There was a time in my life when I was very dedicated to becoming a super hero, when the realisation kicked in that it is a very difficult career path to pursue and only those that fall from Krypton in a little baby shuttle get the opportunity to live such a life, I resorted to dreaming about becoming a professional soccer player.
You’ve been keeping us inspired through your segment, “The Spoken Hustle”. What does it mean to you?
The Spoken Hustle means the world to me – maybe it sounds a little cheesy, but there is a story behind it: All my life I have wanted to speak and be heard. I took every opportunity to do so, whether it was asked for or not. Needless to say this landed me in some trouble growing up, especially with the teachers. I was called Robin Hood at school by my principal because I would stick up for my peers against what I thought was unfair, I would say something and get into arguments. I didn’t do these things because it made me feel powerful, I did them because I used to see my peers being affected by these things, so I would load my bow and arrow and shoot at whoever I felt needed it.
This didn’t make me very popular amongst the authorities at school but the people loved me and elected me as one of their student leaders. It was around this time in my life that I started dreaming about becoming a radio personality, I used to resonate a lot with Gareth’s shows because of his opinionated nature and educated arguments; his influence really started to stir something in me and I decided to give this radio thing a go.
I joined Boston and took radio as a subject up to my second year and ended up majoring in Marketing. While studying I would draw pictures of my name and different radio stations on the back of my books, I would have my name, the names of different shows, the station and my content all scribbled on the back of my books – a lot of my peers would laugh at me (it was pretty funny though) but I would just shrug them off and kept dreaming. When I got the chance to audition at a station owned by the same dude that stirred my inspiration, I was so ready. I wanted it, I put myself out there and I got a chance to start this journey.
So when you ask me what The Spoken Hustle means to me, I can easily say “The Spoken Hustle” has changed my life forever.
Since words are so important to you, if you had to choose your own epitaph, what would it say?
“We can all live a ‘picture perfect’ life, we just need to learn how to paint”
We know you’re also into raps and rhymes, who’s the most important lyricist in your book? Which line of theirs stands out to you?
Oh! This is a cool question!
I love hip-hop. I love the artistry of hip-hop. Most of the music I listen to is not on the radio – I am more into independent artists as opposed to mainstream ones. At the moment I think the best lyricist is a guy called Mick Jenkins and the line I like the most from him is: “The city that raised me, the people that taught me, the difference is crazy; It’s all love though, know that Imma share my light when your vision gets hazy.”
And lastly, who would you list as a role model?
This is always a difficult question for me to answer simply because I draw inspiration from so many different people. To answer this question though, I would list my role model as Bob Marley. The man used his art to change the world and did so unapologetically with great passion and determination.
Catch up on previous podcasts of The Spoken Hustle HERE.