We recently interviewed the extremely poetic and talented spoken word artist, Theresa Lola. She has been making waves within UK’s spoken word community. Check out the interview below to find out more about her journey and plans for the future!
What impact has your involvement with the spoken word community had on you?
There are many amazing spoken word artists in the UK, so meeting other poets and watching them perform is inspiring. It pushes you to want to be the best you can creatively be. My involvement within the community has made me realize that there are various doors that can be open to a poet and involving yourself in the community is the first [step].
How long have you been writing and when did you decide to start performing?
I started off writing stories and scripts when I was 13 then slowly moved on to poetry as I felt it was a more intimate way of telling a story. I started performing February this year when I turned 20 after watching a poet perform on stage.
Do you write for the stage or for the page? Was it always that way?
Now I write for the stage because I subconsciously think of the audience as I write. However it started off writing for the page which I still do occasionally. Some poems are more powerful when performed and some are better off on paper. It’s clear [which is which] as you begin to write.
Which of your compositions is your favorite and why?
My poem ‘Ranting Society’ is my favorite because it’s the only poem I have ever written effortlessly and unaware of the weight of its message. The reaction each time I perform it is overwhelming because it’s a very relatable poem about us a society being a contradiction.
Have any of your personal beliefs or opinions shifted over time?
Definitely, each time I write I am almost educating myself again especially when writing about social, political, or history topics which require a level of research. As you grow older, your life experiences grow and your perspective of various things change.
How personal is your poetry?
Most of my personal poems never make the stage, but I do try in incorporating it when I tell third person stories. I tend to leave my personal poems for the page as it allows me to leave a part of my poetry for myself. When I do write however my personal poems are like an open book.
Where are you from? Which aspects of your hometown/upbringing have helped to mold you as a person?
I spent a bit of my childhood in Nigeria right before I reached my teens. Having witnessed both sides of life and [having] seen many different places, I am able to connect to the stories of different people. My poem ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ is an example of that as I was able to put myself in place of the kidnapped girls when writing the poem.
What are some of the topics that you are most passionate about (even if you’ve never written about them)?
Freedom is what I am most passionate about and it’s a theme I incorporate into most of my pieces even if it’s not the main topic.
Other than poetry, what are some of your interests (music, theater, sports, etc.)?
Music is another language the world loves. I occasionally play the piano with an interest in playing contemporary classical music as well as Jazz and R&B. I do listen to all genres of music [from] Neo Soul [to] Afrobeats as long as it is good music.
What has been the greatest piece of advice you’ve received thus far (poetry related or other)?
The greatest advice has been from my mother: “Always believe you are destined for greatness.”
What is your ultimate goal—with regards to your career or life in general?
My ultimate goal is to be a writer in all forms: articles, theatre, film and poetry. I do value education very much and will use my university degree as a platform to pursue a career in Accounting & Finance.
Do you have any upcoming or current projects that you’d like to mention?
In the future I would like to focus on visual videos to accompany my poems and will start to plan towards that very soon.