Friday, 2 April 2010
INTERVIEW: Poppy Seed | Poet & Singer
Short. Sharp. Facts!
Name: Poppy Seed
Birthplace: Islington, London
Poetry Debut: 1990's in Atlanta, USA
Awards: Black Women in the Arts (2005); Black Women in Jazz (2009)
ONiT! is excited to see that you're on the line up for Love…Sex…Sensuality…, the forthcoming celebration of all things sensual. We’d love to hear your answers on the following:
Can you tell us how you got involved in this exciting new show? I was doing a show with a wonderful group of women called WILDE (Women into Literature, Development and Enterprise), who are a Women’s writing and poetry group, WILDE do a lot of student support work and writing workshops that look at women’s issues. I was taking part in a show that looked at Black women’s sensuality, it was kind of a black women’s version of the Vagina Monologues, called ‘Sensually Yours’. The organiser of ‘Love...Sex...Sensuality’ saw me in the show and invited me to perform.
How long have you been performing Poetry/Spoken Word? I Debuted in Atlanta early 90’s so I’ve been performing over 15 years now. I’d spent a bit of time in the States and Atlanta had a great creative arts festival. I was invited to perform at Spellman College, which is a prestigious all black women’s College in Atlanta and it was the first place I performed. For me it was a really comfortable performance, really well received. I think as an outsider with an accent they were more than interested to hear me perform. It was easier to perform over there I think because nobody knew me. I’d always been involved in writing, especially music in England because London was a creative hub with people like Loose Ends and Total Contrast at that time, but I wasn’t really involved in performing. When I came back to England after performing in Atlanta I decided to start sharing my work, I gained a lot of confidence from the reception I’d had in the States.
Who would you cite as your influences? Obviously as a writer Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni and Zora Neale Hurston who wrote ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ are really influential to me. Musically I would say Stevie Wonder as a lyricist as well as Steely Dan and Michael Franks who are different in terms of genre but still really influential for me as a writer and composer. On a more ‘Roots’ level the Abyssinians and the whole Lovers Rock movement is definitely influential to my sound. Basically I take from all of who we are, the hybrid of musical and lyrical influences in the UK., including genres from the U.S. and Caribbean.
How would you describe your style as a Performance Artist? Often I’ve been described as the cusp of poetry and song which I think is a good description. My work is where the two meet, as there is always a melodic element to my poetry, but it is always poetry as it can stand alone on the page without music For me the music enhances the themes of my poetry. I compose the music, it is all tailor written for each piece so it means that I don’t ever feel restricted. I use fusions of rock, jazz and roots music when I’m composing so I’ve always been difficult to categorise in the music industry.
In order to fully love and appreciate the love of another, we know that you must first love yourself. How would you define self-love? Acceptance is the key I think. It’s a cliché, but you have to learn to accept the things you can’t change about yourself and learn to love them. Those things are the unique points about you and that in itself is a reason to love them, their uniqueness. This approach is then extended to loved ones whom you also accept ‘warts and all’
What can the audience expect from you on the night? Expect to be moved.
Is there a particular piece you are looking forward to performing at Love…Sex…Sensuality…? Yeah, it’s called ‘Inside Of Who You Are’ it looks at self love and how real love is about loving who you are inside.
What poem/film/song says 'Love...Sex...Sensuality…' to you? ‘Evergreen’ by Barbra Streisand. As a songwriter it’s a song that you wish you had written and when I think about love it says it all.
Complete these sentences:
Love is...Acceptance Sex is...A Physical exclusive Sensuality is...Succulent
What other performances/projects do you have coming up? I’m about to go to South Africa, I’ve been before so I’m looking forward to that and I’ve also recently got involved in writing a soundtracks. I’ve been involved in writing and composing the title track for a film called ‘Motherland’ the film company are based in South Africa. The film will be out soon so I’ll be promoting that. I’m also working on the new Poppy Seed album which will be called ‘Cool Lab Oration’ I’m working with lots of different people hence the name, I’ll be releasing it in 2011 as 11 is my number, I was born on the 11th day of the eleventh month so I think 2011 is the perfect time to release it.
You can see and hear Poppy Seed perform live, at Love…Sex…Sensuality… on Saturday 24th April.
Tickets: Limited early bird tickets available now at the following outlets, priced £8, £10 thereafter
Supertone Records (Brixton) 020 7737 7761 | Everbody’s Music (Tottenham) 020 8802 0146 | Maestro Records (Peckham) 020 7635 7299 | Dub Vendor (Clapham) 020 7233 3757 | Hawkeye Records (Harlesden) 020 8961 0866
Further info: 07984 628 070
Press/Media info: 07790 443 834 | 07958 327 811 | email@example.com