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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

INTERVIEW & EVENT: Ross TAKER | Poet



Short.
Sharp.
Facts!

Name: Ross TAKER (Talented Artist Killing Every Rhyme) Concept: Always taking something negative, but making it something positive.
Birthplace: Walthamstow, East London
Lives: East London
Type of Artist: New Age Poet
Accomplishments: Rum Punch 'Punch' Champion - April 2010


Q&A

ONiT! caught up with Ross TAKER, previous Rum Punch 'Punch' Champion - April 2010 in the run up to the next Rum Punch event, this Thursday...


How long have you been writing and performing for?
Writing for 2 years, performing for six months.


Is Poetry your full time occupation, or do you do other stuff simultaneously?
I do my poetry part-time, in addition to studying at university. I’m at uni in Brighton, but am currently working on placement in London.


How often do youmanage to do shows?
Around 3 times a month; places like The Sunday Show, who have asked me to come back a few times. The audience can be quite difficult there, but it’s rewarding when you get them on your side and they appreciate what I have to say, the material, which is nice. I always seem to get other bookings from performing, which is great.


Can you tell us how you got involved in performing Poetry?
My Dad brought me Tupacs Book ‘The Rose that grew from Concrete’ and it inspired me to write.

When I was 18, I went to a talent show and I performed unexpectedly, which really surprised everyone. From that first experience, I decided to pursue the writing and performing journey. I’ve done a lot of writing since and have been working hard on my stage presence, as I’m quite a shy guy, I think it’s important to hone that part of my performance.

I performed at some Morgan Stanley culture events and will be performing at some forthcoming ACS Kings & Queens showcase events with various universities.


Can you tell us what inspires you to write and perform?
The fact that people can learn from and relate to what I have to say. Also, bringing awareness to people, really. When you read about knife crime, it often sounds like the people affected are involved in gangs and crime, but it’s not always like that, so I want to bring that awareness. I feel like I’m representing the youth of today with my poetry.


Who would you cite as your influences?
Tupac, Nas, Common, Talib Kweli and Pats Justice from Def Jam Poetry. I think you learn from everything really. I learn from various places – everyone brings something different and there’s always a chance to take from that.


How would you describe your style as a Performance Artist?
I feel that I draw the crowd with my material, it’s diverse; I may have a piece that makes you think, one that makes you smile, or do something differently, it’s that kind of work that makes me, me.


Complete this sentence:
Poetry is...A way to describe your personal feelings and experiences to others.


What can an audience expect when they hear you perform?
To be amazed! I will have them hooked on my every word, and once I’ve finished, hopefully, they should leave thinking about the way they are living and possibly have the courage to change the way they are living for the better.


What would you say are your greatest challenges as a writer and performer?
The fact that, not as much attention is given to poetry as other performance art forms, i.e. singers, rappers, dancers, etc. The only way to rise above that, is to keep pushing yourself higher. That’s what I like about Rum Punch, the variety of artists – they’re all there supporting one another.


Can you tell us how you got involved with competing in the Rum Punch ‘Punch Competition’?
A poet called Mr T, who is kind of like my Mentor, he told me about it and Poet, Tana Forté (previous Rum Punch ‘Punch Champion’) encouraged me too. She really pushed me to enter - they both gave me the confidence to go for it.


What was the experience like – in terms of actually competing for the first time?
Being a part of Rum Punch, seeing and hearing the other styles of performers, was amazing. Plus the crowd presence - the audience were really supportive.

Other places that I’ve performed, if the crowd don’t like you, what you’re about, they don’t support you. Being a part of Rum Punch made me realise that there is so much talent out there that needs tapping into. Hopefully, shows like Rum Punch will help push the art out there.


How did it feel to win?
I couldn’t stop smiling! I wanted to act like it was nothing, but it was a very proud moment. Especially as I felt that the competition was strong, so to actually win meant a lot.


What advice would you give to another artist thinking about taking part in the Rum Punch ‘Punch Competition’?
Just believe in yourself, in what you’re saying and you’ll do well. All of my work is based on personal experiences, stuff that you go through and hear other people going trough.


Ultimately, what would you like to achieve with your Poetry?
I want to raise the profile of poetry amongst young people. In my current circles, the main known names in Poetry are James Massiah and Suli Breaks, which is great, but there is even more talent out there. I don’t get why poetry seems to be so hidden, there is so much talent to explore.


What other performances/projects do you have coming up?
I'm looking to put some video’s out. I’d like to do serious videos – bringing some of my pieces to life, making them visiable. The ultimate goal is to publish a book, but for now, I’d like to do the video’s to raise the profile of my work and of poetry in general.

When I started telling my friends that I was doing poetry, they looked at me like I was mad, but now they’re supportive and they understand why I’m trying to do what I’m doing. People wanted me to sway more towards Rap, but that’s not me, I’m not trying to be like everyone else. I needed to find my own way through Poetry.


The next Rum Punch show, featuring the 'Punch' Competition, takes place tomorrow, Thursday 6 May 2010, at Rudys Revenge, 168 High Holborn, London WC1V 7AA (Holborn/Covent Garden/Tottenham Court Road Tube) Entrance: £5 or £4 for students with valid I.D


Win a pair of tickets for Rum Punch - May 2010 by answering this question:

Name the two artists who encouraged Ross TAKER to enter the Rum Punch 'Punch' Competition.


Send your answer, by 3pm on Thursday 6 May, via email to: onitpr@yahoo.co.uk the first correct answer will receive complimentary entry for 2 (via the guestlist).


Further info:

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