I recently found out I had my first poem published in an anthology while I was at primary school, so I guess I can say, “As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a…poet.” This however is not entirely true. I fell in love with art at a young age, correct, but my passion was hip hop.
I was 11 years old, I had £10 pocket money and I had decided I wanted to buy my first ever album. I stood in Woolworth’s, in front of me a behemoth row of jewel cases, I did not know any music other than what my father played or what was in the current chart. I don’t know why I was drawn to it, but I picked up Tupac’s “Resurrection.” I ran home, put it in my CD player and fell in love, I loved the rhythm, I loved the vehement delivery and just like any young boy, I loved the rude words.
From that point on my life was about hip-hop. I loved the lyrics, admired the honesty and found a level of intellect in the rhymes that I had not known before.
The man behind the album lived such a different life from the one I knew, much like the many poets I was introduced to through education, but this I really connected with.
I spent the next couple of years writing and working on my own raps. I lived for the battles on the bus, the cyphers at lunch or just sitting with friends and freestyling. Admittedly my lyrical content was almost plagiarised and unwholly relatable to my actual existence, but that was when I decided to switch it up.
I grew so bored at school of Edexcel approved poetry, and would sit at the back of the class re-imagining the poem as though it had been written using the pen of a rapper. Epiphany. I went home and grabbed a fresh notebook, I began writing poems, softer in style than my raps. but with a certain intensity that still bleeds through in to my work today.
That was 10 years ago, and from that point I have not looked back.
I remember getting to Brighton aged 18, I had heard of open mics but never felt like sharing my poetry in a group setting. I was walking through town when I saw a poster at the Brighton Arts Club, their poetry night was just about to start, I walked in sat down and geared myself up for reading. I had a great confidence on the playground making my peers laugh but I felt extremely afraid of how I could be judged by other artists.
I have now performed at hundreds of open mics in a variety of venues as well as hosting two of my own poetry shows; Beaming Home & Write Minds, with a third upcoming at Brighton Fringe Festival 2017.
I have collected a large anthology of my work from the past decade and created a book, Thoughts of a Dying Youth, which is available here.