Murda Beatz returns to Fort Erie high school a star, after producing Drake, Ariana Grande and more


The Nov. 17 spirit assembly at Greater Fort Erie Secondary School, was “without a doubt, the most electric I’ve ever felt this building,” principal Fred Luows said.

It was a full house as students and teachers gathered to celebrate student achievement, and special guest, “hometown boy,” Murda Beatz.

Shane “Murda Beatz” Lindstrom is a music producer who grew up in Fort Erie. He nets over 2 million listeners each month on Spotify, and is known for his collaborations with Drake, Ariana Grande, Cardi B, Travis Scott and more.

A spirit assembly years in the making

The quest to get Lindstrom back to Greater Fort Erie Secondary School (GFESS) started before the pandemic, Luows said. The school’s head secretary is friends with the musician’s mom, and helped make the connection. 

Murda Beatz visits his hometown high school

Featured VideoFort-Erie-born music producer Murda Beatz visited a high school in his hometown to speak with students and donate to a charity drive.

Bringing in someone with his celebrity status, who lots of young people know and relate to “reaches all types of learners” and “instills confidence in each of my students so that then they could move forward,” doing what they love, Luows said.

The school held two assemblies so all students could attend, and the program included English teacher Thomas Todd interviewing Lindstrom.

GFESS is a relatively new school that amalgamates several older schools, including the one Lindstrom went to, where Todd taught him English.

Two people sit at a raided table in a gymnasium. "Murda Beatz" is projected on a screen behind them.
Murda Beatz (left) sits for an interview with his former high school teacher Thomas Todd. (Murda Beatz/Instagram)

Todd recalled seeing a teenage Lindstrom with production software open on his computer and asking about it. Lindstrom shared how he’d just recently sold his first beat online for $30. 

“It’s great seeing one of your former students succeed,” Todd said, and it was also “a bit surreal,” to have a memory of someone just starting out in their career, and then seeing them again, grown up, successful and famous, Todd said. 

“He shows up, he’s got an entourage, he’s got a manager, he’s got a bodyguard, he’s got a photographer,” Todd said. “But it’s odd because I still see him as Shane … and I think he probably sees me as Mr. Todd from grade 10. It didn’t seem like there were any barriers.”

Todd asked Lindstrom about achieving the level of success he has, what he does when he’s back in Fort Erie, and about some quotations he’s shared on social media regarding success and learning from failure. 

A person stands on a stage singing into a mic. They're coloured in reddish-pink light.
Producer Murda Beatz performs on stage in Toronto at Rebel Nightclub in 2017. (2017 Getty Images)

“He had some really good answers: Never forget where you came from. Fort Erie keeps him grounded. He comes to see his mom and his friends and the places where it all started,” Todd said. “You can tell that he’s got a really good head on his shoulders.”

A ‘surreal’ return to high school

Lindstrom told CBC Hamilton it was also surreal for him to see all the teachers, and to be back in a school setting. It was also “super funny” to hear teachers call him “Murda Beatz” instead of Shane. 

“It’s definitely grounding,” being back in Fort Erie, he said. 

Before the assembly, Lindstrom said he was nervous, which Todd said was surprising, but the musician says public speaking is “the worst thing for me,” and that he always gets nervous before he performs. 

A teen takes a selfie with a man. Both hold up a finger.
Landon Daley (right) showed Lindstorm some music he’s working on. (Landon Daley)

Despite that, the school visit “felt really good,” Lindstrom said. He said he always wanted to do something like it, because he remembers never really connecting with guest speakers he saw when he was in school. 

“If they would have had a music producer or a music artist when I was in school, that would have been super cool,” he said. Speaking to youth in Fort Erie was important for him, he said, because “Maybe, hearing someone like me talk might spark their dreams to come true.”

After the assemblies, Lindstrom took selfies with excited students. One high schooler, Landon Daley, approached him and told him he also makes beats.

Lindstrom said anytime someone tells him that, he asks to hear them, and he did in this case too. Daley played his beats on his phone and Lindstrom told him they were good, then offered some tips on mixing.

A group of people pose in a school gymnasium holding a prop cheque for $10,000.
Lindstrom donated $10,000 to the school’s toy drive. (Bryan Chong)

“He was really nice about it,” Daley said. He added that his dream is to be a music producer, and that to make his first sale in high school like Lindstrom would “make my world.” 

Daley said he was “really hyped” that Lindstrom was coming to the school. “He was one of my biggest inspirations for [making music] because I knew he used to live in Fort Erie.”

When he was there, Lindstom also donated $10,000 to the school’s toy drive. “I’m just very grateful to have a career where I can give back to my community,” he said. “For now, it’s just a small gesture. But I definitely plan on doing more things in the community.”

Lindstrom had a busy year with new projects he’s proud of, including an album with Shordie Shordie, and a song on an album by Rick Ross and Meek Mill. “That was like one of my favorites that I’ve done so far,” he said. “I feel like I’m in a great headspace.”



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