We had the good fortune of connecting with Groovy GranMama and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Groovy, why did you pursue a creative career?
Throughout school I was bullied heavily and often I thought I had it the worst, but once I got involved in the arts my entire perspective changed. I began playing roles in school plays as well as in Community theatre and they opened my eyes to the lives of others who are going through far worse. So in a sense I was able to cope with the bullying through walking in other peoples shoes.
Now, at the age of 24 I have adapted spoken word poetry and performance art as a healing mechanism not only for me in my adult life but for others who need to hear something positive. For me I feel as if I have found my purpose and when I’m on stage whether in a slam competition, event , festival, or so have you the entire time I feel purposeful to shed light on telling others ‘You can do it’ or banging on my djembe drum and telling people they are free.
I enjoy healing others and there is no better way to do so than through art. When we are feeling down we watch movies, shows, visit a museum, or listen to music. Why? To heal and to relate to something that makes you feel like you’re not alone. That’s exactly why I chose to continue my artistic career.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When it comes to my art I am proud of being able to create worlds and invite others into them. I do this through my sets, costume, and how I perform each piece in my show.
I believe what sets me apart from others is that I visualize myself performing just as any other musician would perform in a concert song to song. I open with my spoken word and smooth transitions and will use an instrument here and there throughout my performance. I treat it as if I am performing for the Grammy’s because this is a goal of mine to be able to perform spoken word as an artist and not just as a poet. I see more for myself beyond poetry slams and just reciting my poetry. This is what sets me apart from others especially in the spoken word community.
This vision is what keeps me going because this is where challenges have come in at. Others who may be veterans in this craft get to a point where they overlook certain artists and it can be very competitive and egotistical. However, for me competition is only against self and spoken word is meant for sharing healing for others not for self ego stroking or to put ones self above the next. It leaves no room to network or grow which is why this community is not as loud as it could be nor recognized.
This vision that I have for myself is what keeps me going and having people who have seen me perform telling me not to quit is the key to my consistency. I have learned not to get extremely excited to see ‘spoken word legends’ and not to be too eager. I have learned that I am a business as an artist and went from hitting open mics to learning about contracts for those who want to book me.
When I hit the stage Groovygranmama is gonna give you a show worth paying to come see. Not only that but you will leave better than you came and this is what the world not only needs to know, but needs. I truly believe that because of the nights I prayed to God I am being used to heal others and it feels amazing.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I enjoy trying new things with my friends who come visit. So, I would start off by trying a new restaurant with my friend that way we are experiencing something new together. Then I would take them to a local event whether it’s an open mic night, karaoke night, or just a social gathering. Here where I am there are usually open mic events at humanitree house, Ikonz event center, Mi Ranchis, or a local performance at the Augusta commons. After, I would take them to get a smoothie from Tropical fruit smoothie because I personally enjoy them then go for a walk at the Augusta Riverwalk, which carries all of Augusta’s history throughout the walk. During the walk I would stop and try a dessert or lunch item at Bollweevil because they are super delicious and reasonable with prices.
Due to the movies not always having a great movie to watch I would setup a fun night at home in the backyard on the projector and watch one of our favorite movies.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
During my darkest hours my family was there for me and I thank them. My mom and sister traveled to watch my shows even in the blistering sun. Mr. & Mrs. Butler, who are the directors of the Augusta Mini Theatre helped me tap into my artistic being during high school as well as my dramatic arts teacher Mr. Lewis.
For a while I stopped being active in the arts until I went to East Georgia State college and studied communication arts and political science. I had intentions on being a judge but upon meeting Mrs. Stacey Grant and Mrs. Veronica Monique who worked at the college in student life they pushed me to perform for talent shows and the pageant and that is when I got into spoken word poetry. Since then I’ve won slams, and earned a living being able to perform in my hometown and surrounding areas. A dear friend of mine Shakale Lewis who I met at college has pushed me to keep going every step of the way. We both have high goals for ourselves so it’s a blessing to have someone with the same mindset in my corner.
Tamell Bailey, Lester Boykin, Jessica Jennings, Clepz Productions