Soul Flows

July 20, 2009, 11:30 pm
Filed under: Interviews, Poetry, Spoken Word | Tags: , , ,

Sabrina Gilbert

SoulFlows is proud to premiere with spoken word poet Sabrina Gilbert. Sabrina helped start Lyric Ave., Richmond’s own poetry and performance based variety show. Her lyrics are inventive, different, original, and full of variety. With a newly released spoken word CD out, “Sticky”, Sabrina continues to bring verbal stimulation to the ears of the intellectuals. Coming first to the stage, SoulFlows brings you Sabrina Gilbert…

If you had to describe yourself with one song or lyric, not by you, what would it be?

Bad by Michael Jackson – ‘You know I’m Bad/I’m Bad/You know it’

In your own words, introduce to the stage:
Coming next to the stage is a multi talented young lady. She is the CEO of BurrowsInk and is one of the hardest working poets I know, please put your hands together for Ms. Sabrina Gilbert!!!

How would you describe your style?

My style is extremely versatile; I straddle the literary side of poetry and the spoken word side of poetry very well. I have some pieces that are full of alliterations, rhymes, and similes and other poems that are full of imagery & Metaphors and are more on the intellectual/educational side of things.  I also perform well with live bands and dancers.

How/When did you get into poetry and spoken word?

I’ve been writing my whole life. I attended an elementary school that encouraged creative writing and would have us enter work in short story contests and essay contests and when I would win I was very shy so I’d get one of my classmates to read the winning piece for me. LOL. In High School I was the editor for the School’s Literary Magazine in my Junior and Senior year but I didn’t get the courage to perform my own work until my freshman year of college in 2001. After that day I just couldn’t stay away from the stage.

What do you think is the best/worst about the slam/spoken word poetry community?

The best thing about slam is that it teaches you to be able to connect to any and communicate effectively to any audience no matter what age, race, or gender they might be.  The worst thing about slam is that it can give new artist a false illusion about their writing skills (since the judges are not always poets and writers) so you have to be careful not to use slam to validate yourself as a writer. The best thing about the poetry community is that it’s growing exponentially but on the flip side of that the bad thing is that there’s not enough poets who are willing to invest in themselves to become the best poets they can be in all areas of the culture such as performance, writing and recording. We have to constantly remind ourselves that we are always growing and we always have room for improvement (including myself  : ) ) If your work could have any impact on someone, what would you want it to be and why? A lot of my writing is an examination of myself and things that I want to do better for myself, for my community and for the world. I hope that my work inspires people to challenge themselves to be the best person they could possibly be in both their personal life and their careers.

Who/What inspires you?

As far as people that inspire me I’d have to say Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson (I play ‘Bad’ for myself every time I’m getting ready for a feature. It’s my theme song) and Quentin Tarantino because they are people who weren’t /aren’t afraid to take all the knowledge they have about their craft and push the craft in a new direction and that’s something I aspire to do with my work as a poet. As far as what inspires me to write my poems it’s my personal life experiences and life experiences of my close friends and loved ones.

Who were some of the influences for what you do and why?

One of the first people I ever saw making a career from poetry were Talaam Acey, Lamar Hill and Komplex (Kom). So when I started to make the transition from performing poetry as a hobby to choosing poetry as a career I looked to Talaam and Kom  for guidance. Talaam gave me performance tips, Kom gave me a lot of business insight and asked me the questions that would lead me in the right direction and then he took it a step further and even helped me connect with other artist from around the country who were and had been doing this for a living for years. My current mentor (who has been my mentor for the last 2 years) is Mr. Ainsley Burrows who I met in Baltimore.  Ainsley by far is one of the best, if not the best, who’s ever done it and he’s taught me more than I could have ever imagined about writing, about running a spoken word company (I’m the CEO of the company he founded, BurrowsInk) and about performance and slam.  Each of the above people have contributed to the way I choose to market myself, my tour schedule, have aided in my finding what things set me apart from others in the industry and helped me understand how to maintain longevity in this industry as well. They are also why I continue to push to uphold and surpass the legacy they’ve created so that those after me can hopefully be inspired to do the same for the betterment of the culture as a whole.

Any upcoming projects?

I just released my sophomore album, ‘Sticky’ , in April which is an all love/erotic poetry CD. It’s doing very well right now and getting some great reviews. I’m in the process of shooting a video for one of the tracks from the album, I’m in rehearsal for a play that goes up in the Long Island Theater Festival this fall and I’m working on my first book to be released this winter.

Any additional comments?

I was the first Female Grand Slam Champion for Slam Richmond’s 2008 team. I helped to start Lyric Ave which is the biggest poetry show in the South East seating over 800 people per show.  I’ve performed in a spoken word commercial for BET that is scheduled to air next month.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is a really nice article, I’m new to poetry and it’s good to get a look inside the mind of a professional poet. I like that she says we all have room to grow

Comment by Anonymous

I heard Miss Gilbert’s work when she came to San Diego & later in Miami. All I have is one word, “PHENOMENAL”. She’s definitely a force to be reckoned with in the poetry community & she’s a very down-to-earth person to chat with as well.

Comment by Kevin

Wow…this article was very insightful and educational. Always interesting to see what inspiring tidbits I can be left w/ from a artist’s brain being picked in an interview. I’ve been kinda a on the low fan her mind and lyrically gifted stage presence since I first time I experienced her live. I feel blessed an honored to know and embrace what she has to offer to this world culture. Jaw dropping is least I can say. When Sabrina opens her mouth on the stage. A true treasure in the poetry scene that will shine for years to come.

Comment by Abe

Everything she and the article said and more – writing, performance, personality, intensity, intellect, sensuality and passion – along with openness, sweetness and vulnerability – all await you if you get a chance to see Sabrina in person.

Which luckily happened for me a few months ago, and now, every chance I get, since she’s always enlarging her repertoire. If she’s ever in a venue near you, run, don’t walk……

Comment by Jim Keller - Ice Cowboy

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