5 Amazing Spoken Word Artists Talk About Their Craft

Rhyming words, snapping of fingers, more rhyming words. This is usually the case when a spoken word artist/poet is performing to an engaged audience. Spoken word poetry is a beautiful art that at times comes off as rap but not quite like rapping. I’m very keen during poetry slams and I’m always rewarded by a punchy one-liner that the poet delivers when you least expect.

I decided to hear it from the horses’ mouths; how easy or hard is it to be a spoken word artist and what gives them satisfaction in their work. I spoke to five spoken word artists who are so good, that they’ve had the opportunity to perform to large audiences again and again. I know some personally, while others were recommended by fans. Yes, they are that good.

Willie Oeba 

He is a talented spoken word artist based in Nakuru but with a national presence. He has been featured on shows such as KTN’s Life and Style, is a Blaze BYOB winner and has collaborated with other creatives to produce songs.

How do you choose the subject to speak about? 

I choose a subject based on real-life experiences. Either what has happened to me or other people,
I am a realist.

How do you memorize your lines before a performance? 

As I write, these lines stick periodically. I memorize throughout the writing process. Before I’m done writing, I am always done with memorizing the entire piece.

What is the most satisfying thing about being a spoken word artist? 

Making people get to know who they are. Because people who have made a difference in life started by knowing who they are. It ceased to be about the applause, now I speak to one soul out there. At the end of the day hopefully, I would have spoken to everyone.

Spontaneous the Poet

Happy, witty and gifted. Those are the words that I can best describe Spontaneousray with given her amazing work. She has had several live performances and one of them included performing at Juliani‘s album launch last year.

How do you choose the subject to speak about? 

The themes I write about are usually triggered by either my own or other person’s life experiences. I’m especially passionate about societal issues and hence find myself writing more on social vices that need to be resolved.

How do you memorize your lines before a performance? 

I read the piece over and over to internalize, then memorize the lines verse by verse.

What is the most satisfying thing about being a spoken word artist? 

Spoken word allows me to be myself and express self without fear. It gives me a chance to be a voice.

Mayuu Sanaa 

He is part of the fast-rising boy band Bendi Huru. He is a poet and live performer and his talent has seen him share the stage with some of the best industry players. He has been featured on countless platforms, from KenyaBuzz to Capital FM. His passion lies in sharing topics about the motherland, Africa.

How do you choose the subject to speak about?  

The topics I choose to write on are inspired by either a personal encounter or an Issue within my society. I am more inclined to write poetry on Africa and the liberation of its people since my heart leans more towards the Afrocentric issues.

How do you memorize your lines before a performance?  

Memorizing your own word is easier if you write words which you actually mean to say. It also involves a whole lot of practice and continuous reciting.

What is the most satisfying thing about being a spoken word artist?  

It has to be the fact that you can use words to switch a perspective and ultimately write a new narrative based off of your words… Words are powerful when spoken word poetry gives life to words.

Qui Qarre 

She really put Kenya on the global poetry map when she made it international a while back. You can check out the interview I had with her here. Apart from being a poet, she’s also a writer, having released her book Tears of the Pen which got a lot of praise from her fans.

How do you choose the subject to speak about? 

I never get to choose because most of my writing comes from deep within. What hits my mind is what I write about.

How do you memorize your lines before a performance? 

I rehearse with a written piece of art.

What is the most satisfying thing about being a spoken word artist? 

Satisfaction comes with being able to choose the story to tell.

K(ix) 

The name is pronounced as K9 before you get a little confused. He is an intimate performer who relies on delivering emotional and thought-provoking messages to his audiences. He was at one time the third runner up at Poetry Slam Africa, a prestigious event for spoken word poets.

How do you choose the subject to speak about?  

I choose the subject to write about mostly from my experiences or other people’s experiences.

How do you memorize your lines before a performance?  

I don’t memorize a piece… I write it, understand it then internalize it…this helps me to give it life.
Memorizing will only make me recite the piece…not perform the piece.

What is the most satisfying thing about being a spoken word artist? 

Spoken word is simply expressing oneself freely…no rules of choruses, bridge or bars (used in rap)
You get to say what you wanna say…when you wanna say it and how you wanna say it.

 

If you’re an aspiring poet, I hope you’ve been inspired to go out there and make it happen. If you’re a spoken word fan like me, I hope one of those videos has sparked a fire of change in you. Meet me in the comments section 🙂

 

 

About Anthony Mbugua

Blogger, writer and a millennial trying to figure it all out. I also like sharing the success of other millennials. Welcome to my world.

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