Talent on Tap – Wesley MacInnes – Making Movies and Music While Living Your Best Life

We all get 1 shot at life, so let me buy you some advice. Maybe lyrics from a song or advice from someone that has seen life’s ups and downs. You only get 1 swing at it, do you really want to bunt the ball?  Shouldn’t life be more of a query, rather than an mission. There’s no blueprint for a good life, you have to create your own manual through falling down and getting back up. You’re making chapters, regardless of good or bad and we can all have a best-seller.

Don’t be afraid to run too fast or leap too high… because you can achieve great things, and then poof – I woke up! All kidding aside, when we see an actor on a successful TV series or music artist accepting an award, it looks like a dream come true. When we hear about their humbling beginnings and all the sacrifices they made to get there, we’re inspired. If you could contain it in a bottle, you’d be wealthier than Jeff Bezos.  We all need it, we all get goosebumps when we feel it and Wesley MacInnes keeps putting it out through his music and film/tv projects. He’s incredibly humble, incredibly talented and incredibly Canadian.

Wesley MacInnes plays Pierre in the upcoming TV series Guilty Party premiering on October 14, 2021, on Paramount+. He also plays  Calvin Maxine, record producer, in Sony Pictures’ Honey Girls available exclusively on DVD and digitally today, October 19, 2021. In addition to acting, Wesley is a prolific multifaceted performer who is also set to release his new single, Ain’t Got You under his stage name – Wes Mack. Wesley is a multi-talented actor/musician/writer/director and is over the moon, according to Deadline.com, about joining the cast of the new television series Guilty Party, which aired on Paramount+ October 14, 2021. Written by Rebecca Addelman (Dead to Me) and directed by Trent O’Donnell (No Activity), Guilty Party stars Kate Beckinsale as Beth Baker, a discredited journalist desperate to salvage her career by latching on to the story of a young mother sentenced to life in prison for maiming and murdering her husband — crimes she claims she didn’t commit. In trying to uncover the truth, Beth finds herself in over her head as she contends with Colorado gun smugglers, clickbait culture, the doldrums of marriage, and her own tarnished past. The series is produced by CBS Studios in association with Funny Or Die and Mosaic.


In addition to acting, MacInnes is an international singer/songwriter under the stage name Wes Mack. His releases have yielded five Billboard top 10 hits, 13 CCMA nominations, over 12 million streams, Album of the Year and an international tour with Shania Twain. Despite his music success, he was thrilled to be cast as world-renowned music writer/producer Calvin Maxine in the upcoming film from Sony Pictures, Honey Girls. The movie stars Ashanti as the international superstar triple-threat, Fancy G, hosting a talent competition to discover the next big pop star. This movie is all about friendship, girl-power and being true to yourself. Last seen on the big screen, MacInnes found himself caught in the middle of a gang war in the revenge-driven feature film Cold Pursuit, starring Liam Neeson, Laura Dern, and Emmy Rossum. Cold Pursuit reached #1 on Netflix over the summer of 2021 and is now available on Amazon Prime Video. 


Wesley has portrayed a variety of eclectic roles which include DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, iZombie, Motive, The 100, Supernatural, Continuum, Smallville, Heartland, Project Blue Book, and The Vampire Diaries. He has also taken on roles in feature films, including Power Rangers, Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story, A Dog Named Christmas, Girl House, and The Phantoms and there’s plenty of gas in the tank. In addition to an extraordinary film career, Wesley has shared the stage and toured with the likes of Guns ’N Roses, Erich Church, Luke Combs, and Shania Twain, where he joined her onstage each night to sing her mega-hit “Party For Two”. His debut album Edge of the Storm, and his sophomore follow-up SOUL amassed over 12 million streams and earned him 13 CCMA Nominations including Album of the Year. His latest release, Don’t Change was recorded in isolation at his remote cabin in the BC interior, during COVID lockdown. The song was released in 2021, amassing ¾ million streams and holding the #2 spot on SiriusXM Country for over a month. Never one to stay idle, Mack also used the lockdown time to write the hit song Fighting, which was released by award-winning artist Tyler Joe Miller in 2021, reaching #9 on the Billboard chart. Later in 2021, Mack will be releasing a brand new single titled Ain’t Got You.


I had the golden opportunity to talk to this mega-star and incredible home-grown talent. He’s a huge inspiration and with a gift to gab and we never wasted a minute. Roll the tape!  


Picture Credit: Phil Crozier



HNMAG “How are you managing through this pandemic? I’ve heard, everyone has adopted the self-tapes for auditions.”

WESLEY “I haven’t auditioned in person since 2020 and have taped a lot of auditions in this room (living room). You do miss out on some of the incidentals though. I personally love them and feel like I do better work. It’s less nerve racking and you have a certain degree of relaxation. When I was auditioning for Pierre on Guilty Party, I used a bunch of props. I ‘m supposed to be in a workspace, so I gave myself a lot of items to play with. To me, I like acting and doing auditions, because it’s what you’re going to be doing on set. When we went to go shoot the stuff, I had all the same props in front of me as I had in my audition. You’ve got the mug of coffee, something you’re eating, something to write on, your computers there… as opposed to being just a disembodied head. It’s not realistic to think that you’re sitting in an office, having a conversation and there’s nothing there. I like to mess around with that stuff and when I go to set, I’ll walk up to the prop-master and tell him I brought a few things and ask if I can mess around with them. That’s what you do in life – you’re fidgeting with your hands; you’re holding a bag or doing something that grounds you.”


HNMAG “Another actor I had spoken to has told me a similar story about the uniform that her character wore. When she put it on, she became her. Has that happened for you as well?” 

WESLEY “I’ve heard that from so many people, that you find a lot of the character when you do the wardrobe fitting. I found that with a lot of characters. It’s a collaborative thing. I show up, and the person in wardrobe (Joseph), already has a vision of the character, which is an extension of the writers, producers and directors. I feel like a lot of people that work in props are under-utilized by the actors. They’re some of my favourite people on set and I love going up to them to ask what we’re doing, what’s going on in the scene, what do you have in mind? It’s a collaborative art form. A lot of successful shows allow you to embrace that stuff, Guilty Party is wonderful for that. They really allowed us to play in the space and a lot of improvisation.” 


HNMAG “You’re also in a new Sony film coming out on Oct. 19, Honey Girls, where you play a record producer. Was this a dream role, working in music, in a film?”

WESLEY “Yeah, it kind of puffs one’s ego, to walk into the room and they tell you that you’re playing Calvin Maxine – the greatest writer and music producer in the world. I laugh with my friends, when I tell them I’m the greatest music producer in the world, in this movie (laughing). They’re like, alright – that’s good for your ego (laughing). You can’t take yourself too seriously though, you just go in there and have fun with it. I get to play this exaggerated version of what a music producer could entail. We shot a lot of it at the Armoury, which is a studio in Vancouver, where I’ve actually recorded an album. Walking in there, it felt comfortable – like I was on familiar turf.”


HNMAG “Do you play a good guy or a villain?”

WESLEY “I’m there on a mentoring capacity with this group of girls that are working with Ashanti, who’s playing the character Fancy G. It’s a pretty uplifting piece on believing in yourself and I feel like I get to play a positive role in that path.”


HNMAG “Is it difficult to juggle a film career with your music career?”

WESLEY “It is, I used to say it wasn’t and I used to pretend… but some of it comes down to the hours in the day. I think we all have this tendency to always do more – the challenge becomes, when to take a break and rest. Throughout these last couple years of navigating through Covid, I still have this tendency to keep working, without the option of going to see friends or taking a trip, I also do a lot of screenwriting… you always feel that you can do more. Certainly, there are scheduling conflicts that come up – but I feel like it’s more the mental health toll of… we can always do more, but should we do more? I struggle with that.”       


HNMAG “Do you still get nervous when you step onto a set?”

WESLEY “One hundred percent. I had this conversation with a couple actors I was shooting with from Guilty Party. This individual hadn’t been on many set’s and had told me about their insecurities. I told them that I’d never once stepped on a set or on stage without feeling a massive heart fluttering instance. The funny thing that they said, was that they never knew it because I seemed so confident about it. I find that to be the grand illusion that we all fall into. You really fake it till you make it and it’s good to remember that most other people are doing the same thing. If I didn’t feel any of that, it would indicate to me that I no longer cared about what I’m doing. I take it as a positive thing; when the nerves are fired up, we’re gonna work with it. Sometimes it can feel crippling, but overall – on shows like this (Guilty Party), once they call action – it all disappears and it just becomes fun, you immerse yourself into it. I feel that with everything… whatever I do, I feel that little flutter.”       


HNMAG “Speaking of nerves, you toured with Shania Twain; that in itself is pretty amazing! What can you tell us about that?”

WESLEY “That was probably one of my most nerve-racking moments in my entire life. I believe the first night of the tour was in Seattle and we’d only rehearsed the song once, but I knew it well. I remember hearing the pyrotechnics going off, which meant it was 1 minute to go time. I had my heart fluttering and everything… but it all melts away once you get up there. I’m standing there in front of 20,000 people and she introduces me on the mic. I think I looked pretty stiff when the band started playing. She’s standing beside me and she says into the microphone… ‘WES, Get next to me!’ Then she puts her arm around me and pulls me really close. I almost died, I thought… what is happening in my life right now? It was a magical experience and one that I was acutely aware of. You don’t get to do this every day. No matter what my career holds, it’s one of those memories I’ll keep for a long time.”

Wesley adds, “The real feather in our cap was doing a month of dates with her, then a month later, hearing that she wanted us back for some of the Fall dates. I suppose we felt validated in some ways, because I think very highly of her as an artist. Although, she’s this huge famous person – she was really kind, easy to work with and really good – every night. She was very good to her band; they were all lovely, the crew was lovely. I find, when you’re in an environment like that, the person at the top, meaning her – cultivates that environment. If you step into that ring and things seem a little dodgy, it’s probably because it’s flowing down from the top. Shania was primo, she was great!  


HNMAG “You’ve shared the stage and toured with Shania Twain, as well as sharing the stage with Guns and Roses. I get the country music connection, but can you explain the G n R experience?”

WESLEY “Yeah, that was a strange credit. My best friend is Namen Mannis and I grew up with him on the same street, since I was 3 yrs. old. We have played in bands together since I was 13 up until now. We had a band together that had split up, but hired each other and did solo projects. He’d play bass in my band and I’d play bass in his band, he came on tour with my band as the bass player and I got to hang around with my best friend. When he was playing in his rock band, Head of the Heard, he was the lead singer and I was the hired gun bass player, doing a couple of dates – opening for Guns n Roses. It was very cool and low pressure – because I’m not the front man of that band. I show up with a bass case and a patch cable – plug in and say…  alright, we’re here to have some fun (laughing).”       


HNMAG “With all your success, how important is it to keep good people around you that you can trust?”

WESLEY “I think that is one of the most important things in this business. It never gets stressed enough for artists in their early careers. I’ve ridden the rollercoaster a bit and have worked with some people a long time and some, not so long. You find yourself making choices between the person with the power… or do you go to the person that actually cares about you? Always pick the one that cares about you, because in the end that will serve you a lot better. There’s no way to go through your entire career without having bumps in the road. When you do hit those road bumps, who’s there, standing beside you to help you… and who’s not? If you surround yourself with people that are going to be there for you, I think you can have a fruitful fun career. Who’s going to ride that roller coaster with you? Life’s too short to be working with people that you don’t like very much and don’t support you. It’s a joy when I get to go into the studio with people I love, because you’re not working, you’re having a good time. It is a balance, and sometimes there’s deals with the devil I’ve had to sign along the line and I’ve benefited from a few of them in the past, but they come with a cost. At some point, someone will come into your life that will help your career and make things better, but it might come with some strings. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad thing, but you always have to take those steps with your eyes wide open.” 


HNMAG “You’ve been on many top successful shows; DC Legends of Tomorrow, iZombie, Motive, The 100, Supernatural, Continuum, Smallville, Heartland, Project Blue Book, The Vampire Diaries and so many others. With all those experiences of stepping onto so many sets, what has it taught you the most?”

WESLEY “I think, it’s always keeping it fun. When I talk about my experience on Guilty Party, it was a great atmosphere and they were so encouraging when it came to having fun and exploring. If you can bring that energy to every production, it’s great but there are long hours on shoots and they’re regimented a certain way. As an actor, if we’ve already got the shot, I like to do a favour to the editor or director and try other variances of the take, keep exploring and trying different things. As someone that’s directed, I love it when an actor brings different choices, because they’re doing some of the work for me and pushing on all the walls to see what moves. That’s exciting to me and exciting to watch, when you see an actor and you have no idea what they’re going to do next. When you’re acting, you can sort of predetermine how that’s going to go down but the challenge becomes – taking those words that you know you have to say and making them new each time. I think it’s all wrapped up in the fun.” 


HNMAG “You have a new single coming out, I Ain’t Got You. Can you talk about it?”

WESLEY “I don’t have a release date yet but it should be coming out shortly.”


HNMAG “What came first, the melody or the lyrics?”

WESLEY “I wrote this song very spitefully (laughing). I put out songs as an artist but I also write songs for other artists. I felt I had written this really great song and had sent it off to Indiecut. The next morning, I realized I gave away one of my good ones, thinking I should’ve saved it for myself. As I sat having my breakfast, I decided to write a better song. It’s not a spiteful song per say, but the motivation was definitely to write a better song. This was about 20 minutes of lyrics and music all at once, it felt like it came together very quickly and easily, which is nice. It might be an exaggeration, to say that it feels like an out of body experience, when a song comes to you, but every song you’ve ever heard is stored in your brain like a stew in our memories, churning things over… and at some point, some of those sparkles rise to the top and you hang onto them. I will say that they’re somewhere in the air and they’ll come to you. I’ve had this conversation with many songwriters and they all share that same feeling. It already feels like it’s there and your job is to get out your pencil or computer and write it down, before it floats off and you lose it.”


HNMAG “In saying that, have you ever written a song about an event or someone that’s passed away you may have been close to?”

WESLEY “Yeah, I have written a few songs like that. Whether they were about true events or a profound loss in life. It’s tough, there’s a song I’ve got coming out on my next record, about someone that I knew and had passed away. It’s quite precious when you talk about it, you want to put the right words in there and you really want to honour them. Those songs can be tricky but they can also help you to work through some stuff.”


HNMAG “Is there a music performer that is at the top of your bucket list, in terms of collaborating on a song or album together?”

WESLEY “John Mayer is a musician that I really love and take inspiration from. In my life, I’ve actually ‘actively avoided’ meeting some of my heroes. I’ve been on some tours, where I’ve played with people I‘ve regarded as a music hero… and we’ve walked past each other without saying a hello. It’s not out of my intention to be cold but I don’t want to sour the milk. The more time you spend in this industry, there’s less and less people that exist like that. You meet them and they suddenly become a real human and sometimes you like them and sometimes you don’t, sometimes they’re kind and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes it freaks me out meeting them, so now I think, maybe it’s best to leave them as my heroes. When I say that about John Mayer, part of me wants to leave him as my hero, but I really think he’d be a chill guy. What I like about him is that in the latter part of his career, he seems to be pursuing his art. He just put out an album that sounds like an ‘80’s concept rock album, in the vein of a Don Henley’s 70/80’s album, and it’s totally worth listening to. It’s called Sob Rock and I quite love it. He’s a guy that can still sell out an arena in every city, without having a quote/unquote ‘radio hit’ for some time. I find him so inspiring.” 


I found Wesley MacInnes very inspiring and I’m so happy – knowing he’s a Canadian talent that loves his work, loves to entertain while making the world a better place through his performances.       


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *