Congratulation to Brandon for winning America’s Got talent. I am proud to know Brandon and his poetic journey.
I met Brandon at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento in 2016. He definitely has ambition and drive for Spoken word and Poetry. Plus, he is a Stockton native. 209 certified.
We both have been poets in Sacramento Poetry Community for several years. Brandon has performed in United States, New Zealand, and Europe. I performed in several cities in the United States. We both have hosted Poetry Shows and events. Plus, we are members of Sacramento Slam Team.
I have been honored to feature Brandon Leake at Sacramento Poetry Center Monday poetry reading show. I am also proud that he competed and won second place in SPC Quarterly Slam. We have been combatants, comrades, and diplomats of poetry and Spoken word.
The day Brandon told me he was a participant for America’s got talent, I was excited because I knew he could propel spoken word to the masses. Plus, this is a great opportunity for spoken word to come back to the mainstream was wild to me.
I am glad that he was guest on Iambic poetry podcast. We had a long discussion about his poetic journey.
Brandon is a man on a mission and America’s got talent is another step to push his message or poetry. I am honored to know him and to be called one of his friends.
Brandon Leake has been writing poetry since high school. Since then, he has been writing, teaching, and performing poetry professionally for 15 years. He has won several Slam poetry Tournaments, writing chapbooks and anthologies, creating 2 albums, and running a non-profit organization called Called to Move.
June 30, 2020 – Brandon Leake was the first Spoken Word artist to perform on America’s got talent. With a heart moving poetry performance, Howie Mandel hit the Golden Buzzer.
To learn more about Brandon Leake, Check out his podcast interview on Iambic poetry podcast. Hit the link above.
My first love for hip-hop was Emceeing. I enjoyed writing poems and prose in school about nature and personal things. But, I was a 10 years old kid with cable TV. MTV was one of the most watched channels in my house. While I enjoyed watching Brit-pop and Heavy Metal, it was Hip-Hop that grabbed my attention. I found vocalist who did not sing but spoke in rhymes. I thought it was the greatest thing!
I started changing my poems into rap lyrics to be more involved in the Hip-hop culture. I started making tapes and doing shows at 13 years old under the moniker, RES or Resolution. I would be involved with several rap groups and bands over the next 25 years. Most of these groups became local acts in different counties like Mr. Know-It-All and The Essence Of from Washington State.
I was mainly influenced by East Coast style due to their lyrical content but Emcees on the West Coast and South started getting more of my attention as I got older. Emcees (Rappers) would be blunt, offensive, passionate, and articulate. I wanted to be in that position in music and life.
By 2000, there was a shift in performance art. Poetry Slam started to emerge nationally. Poetry slams were used to eliminate the boredom of poetry recital and create an interactive show. Local coffee shops and performance stages became hosting areas.
Poets would bring their poems to either read them out loud or perform them to an audience that would judge their performance. Poetry Organizations started holding poetry slams nationally with cash prizes. These slams were used to provide open mic shows.
Now, Rappers and street poets started leaving the street corners to participate in coffee shops. They knew their style of poetry would resonate with other poets and the audience. Poetry slams and Def Poetry Slam started a new chapter in Hip-hop. Poetry was embraced as urban.
Emcee to Poet/Spoken Word Artist
My first poetry appearance was in 2002 at the Anywhere Cafe in Stockton. The show was called the H2O poetry slam. It was run by a couple from Oakland and held weekly. I would become a regular attendee performing my rap lyrics for 3 years. Then I started rewriting my rhymes into poetry forms and performing them with different emotions and without music.
Now, I have gone onto perform rhymes in bars and stages and poems in front of cafe patrons. So I created this full circle of my Emcee side. I evolved from a poet to an Emcee when I was young, but now, I have returned to my roots.
In May issue (Volume 1, Issue 2), Iambic’s CharRon has a discussion with Grace Loescher, One of Host of Sacramento Speak Out, an Open Mic Show at Shine Cafe in Sacramento.
Grace is a DC native who moved to California after her university graduation in Florida. She became a program director of Waking the Village, a non-profit organization devoted to ending youth homelessness.
She became host, accidently, after Midtown Outloud host shutdown the open mic show at Shine Café in November 2016. She and 2 other host (Matt Walsh and HK Poet) banded together and open a new open mic show called Sacramento Speak Out. The open mic show has a strong LGBTQA following that still continues to thrive in Sacramento.
An spoken word artist herself, she collaborated with Singer-songwriter Jordan Moore on their new EP, Some call it holy. The EP is available on ITunes. They also just completed a mini tour in Downtown Sacramento.
We discuss being a new host and being a poet, something that she did not go to college for(Grace has degrees in Studio Art and Theater Art). Plus, Being a solo host and working with others. For more information about Grace and her endeavors, check out her website: http://www.gracemakesstuff.com
Have you ever did something that impress somebody?
That would be Jenny, my new Slam Poetry coach. We have started training for October Sac Poetry Slam. She training me to write and perform powerful performance poems and improve my ranking with competition. I definitely wanted this to happen and I am going to follow her lead to get it. I have known Jen for almost a year now. We met at Joe Montoya’s poetry unplugged at Luna’s cafe. She has watched me perform spoken word poetry and participate in the Sac Slam every third friday for a year. In her words, I am an inspiring poet who has potential but I am still an amateur.
My first love for hip-hop was Emceeing. I enjoyed writing poems and proses in school about nature and personal things. But, I was a 10 years old kid with cable. MTV was one of the most watched channels in my house. While I enjoyed watching Brit-pop and Heavy Metal, Hip-Hop started to appear. I found vocalist who did not sing but spoke in rhymes. I thought it was the greatest thing!