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VIDEO: Cape Breton rapper works on music career while tattooing

Travis Lawless is a man of many talents and can be found at the Tat Tomb Gallery where he does award-winning tattoos or on stage where he performs as Import, a hip hop artist.
Travis Lawless is a man of many talents and can be found at the Tat Tomb Gallery where he does award-winning tattoos or on stage where he performs as Import, a hip hop artist. - Elizabeth Patterson
NEW WATERFORD, N.S. —

A lack of work in his chosen field, a good friend’s mentorship and a love of music has led to a varied career path for Travis Lawless.

He’s now an award-winning tattoo artist based in Sydney and this week, he will open for singer Aaron Carter in Halifax.

“You can go through a lot of stuff in life that can change who you are and make you want to be a better person so I wanted to make music that would positively influence other people to follow their dreams,” said Lawless, 28, who operates out of the Tat Tomb Gallery in Sydney and performs on stage under the name, Import.

“People will tell you not do it, it’s a waste of time but if you love doing something you should definitely follow that path and do it anyway.”


ALL ABOUT IMPORT

  • STAGE NAME: Import
  • AKA: Travis Lawless
  • AGE: 28
  • FROM: Stephenville, N.L.
  • CURRENTLY RESIDING: New Waterford
  • WORKING: In Sydney as a tattoo artist, also tours across Canada as a hip-hop musician.

Originally from Stephenville, N.L., and now residing in New Waterford, Lawless acknowledges he’s had some rough times but he’s managed to learn some positive lessons out of the experiences.

“Growing up I was down and out myself, the struggle is definitely real,” he admits. “I couldn’t get a job as an apprentice so a friend of mine, Luke Cormier, he was my mentor, he taught me tattooing out in Corner Brook after I had graduated from college. He asked me if I still wanted to learn it so I went out and learned it from him.”

The love of music has been with him since he was a child and had the chance to meet Halifax-based rapper Classified.

“He taught me that hip hop was grassroots — just go out and do it yourself — no one would do it for ya. Music is very expensive to get into but I’m turning it into a career now which is amazing for me because I love doing it — it’s my favourite thing in the world. There’s no better thing than being on a stage and seeing people go crazy.”

His tattooing work has helped pay for his recording work and as a result, he released an album “Mad World” in March 2019, and is currently working on another release. He tries to maintain a positive message in his music and hopes to release a new album in two months time.

“It doesn’t matter what anybody says to you. My music now is based on that in a different way but it's pushing people to follow their dreams and not to worry about what anyone else says — go and do what makes you happy. The money will come eventually.”

In addition to tattooing and working on a new album, he’ll be opening for Aaron Carter at Sniggily Wiggily’s in Halifax on Friday and then coming back to Cape Breton to shoot two music videos. After that, it’s on the road with Snak The Ripper for events in Montreal, Toronto, London, Ottawa and other cities. It promises to be a busy fall but Lawless wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s going to be a great lineup of shows. The shows are always packed and everyone loves it. It’s crazy.”


HipHop artist Import, otherwise known as Travis Lawless, works on a rap that he is creating.

WARNING: MATURE LANGUAGE

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