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Wayne Samuel – Poetry is Yam and Egg sauce. It is oily, flowing freely around issues, absorbing, slippery, carrying many different flavors.

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1. Who is Wayne Samuel? – Name, Nationality, Family background, Educational background, age etc
Wayne Adewale Samuel is a Nigerian by birth, but after that his origins begin to get murky. His Family consists of one bouncing baby brother! And one lovely mother. Wayne’s biological progenitor is not in the picture. I’m old enough to be a man, young enough to be a boy, working towards the former, enjoying the latter while it lasts. If you want my actual age, add me up on Facebook, it’s all there. I’m a graduate of the University of Benin and two decades of life.

2. Can you describe the time when you first realized that poetry was something you love to do? When and where was your first ever poetry performance? How did it go?
Love is such a strong word. Fancy, and enjoy is more like it. I realized I fancied Spoken Words in 2015 when I wrote ILL4Grace. I’m a pretty private person and at the same time I like being very expressive, and it was such a revelation to be able to be both at the same time. The year 2015 was the first time, at the dopest Campus Fellowship in any University – CFi. I rhymed CSI, CFI and See As I. It was ‘so so’ by my standards, but good enough for me to want to do it again.

3. Do you feel education influenced your development as a poet? If yes, how? if no, why?
Education yes, through a woman called Mrs. Oladimeji who made me fall in love with literature. She was my lit teacher, and her impact is such that somewhere down the line I will give her a check of a million dollars. ( I feel as though future me will find those numbers extravagant, so let’s make that naira).

4. Which emotion drives your poetry the most and why? What are the common themes/ topics that forms the core of your poetry?
Love. I’m a romantic. Mostly love of God, cos He’s such an incredible lover. And other things I love are my dreams. The most common themes in my poems are my dreams, ambitions and introspection. I’ve been flagged for not doing alot of society stuff, but I don’t like to talk about what everyone talks about and no-one does anything about i.e. Politics.


5. You won Nigeria’s biggest Slam Poetry Competition, War Of Words Season 6, please share your experience during and after the event. Did you know you would win WOW 6? And what were the strategies you deployed to ensure you won?
During the event I had laser sharp focus, because I put a lot of planning into it. There was also a lot of nerves. The other guys were darn good. Kudos to the judges, I heeded their criticsm, I adapted. Particularly Finisher telling me to keep eye contact and when Toby Abiodun used a punchline I was planning to use as well. I got some buddy support from Promise Osigwe and a friend, which kept me going. By round 3 of the final, I was in murder mode. After the event, things were hectic. I was balancing work and the spotlight, trying to maintain communication with my new audience and not come off as a snob. A lot of new fans out there. I’m grateful.

Yes, I knew I would win, in a manner of speaking. Even second place would’ve been utter defeat to me. I told Olulu I would win, the screenshot is on his Facebook wall. Were there times I doubted it? Definitely, but by round 3, Daddy God and I had a convo, and I knew I had it in the bag.

Strategy was the build up, and utterly disregarding crowd reaction. I knew from experience the crowd would subjectively ship for their favourites, so I didn’t let the stellar feedback other poets got stump me. I never not even once did a reaction poem, everything was as I planned it. I was like my Father, bringing everything inevitably to my divine will.I also anticipated poets doing the same poem. It happened. I ensured every subject matter, every style, no one else would even dream of touching it.

6. What sex is poetry and why?
Poetry is female. Only women possess such elegance, such depth of emotion. Such grand wisdom and understanding. Only they can be so fragile yet so strong. Only they can be so subdued and yet so overwhelming. Only they can capture the hearts of men. Only they can bend so willingly and snap so ferociously. Only women can carry the seed of thought and birth words.

7. What colour is Poetry and why?
Poetry is purple. Because I believe purple has every color in it if you’re really looking. Its like red that died, blue that’s excited, green that’s mellow.

8. If poetry is a food, which food would it be?
Poetry is Yam and Egg sauce. It is oily, flowing freely around issues, absorbing, slippery, carrying many different flavors. It is solid like Yam, tasteless when not paired with the flavored oil of artistry, hard to swallow too. It is egg sauce, that is everything between solid and liquid, tasty, but boring when not paired with the hard facts of yam, dry without the fluidity of oil. Poetry is artistry, facts and everything in between coming together to make a supple meal.

9. If poetry is a car, which model would it be?
My poetry is a sports car with suicide doors (duh). It’s fast, it’s sexy, it isn’t built to be driven or enjoyed by lay men. It doesn’t slow down for the admiration of its audience. It does what it was built to do. Challenge the limits of the art form. It isn’t a minivan, it doesn’t necessarily carry everyone along, but the few that it does, have one heck of a time. Its engine is silent, but it packs all the power you can imagine. And though it does not pander to the masses like most of the Molues out there, it will inevitably outrun the bandwagon.

10. If poetry is a super hero/popular character, who would it be?
Obviously, Bruce Wayne (Batman). Poetry is born from the loss of something. It is a billionaire by day, rich and charming, dripping debauchery that sweeps models off their feet. But at night, it puts on the mask of a tortured artist, at night it haunts the city, perching over its darkest thoughts like a gargoyle. It faces off against the worst of villains. The Two Faced politicians. The corporate Penguins in tuxedos. The Banes of oppression. The Jokers who trend on the internet. The Poison Ivy’s who rule the airwaves. The Red Hoods who call themselves security. The Raz Al Ghuls who claim enlightenment but tend destruction. The Riddlers who….ah, you get my point.

11. Let’s get a lil personal, are you single and searching or single and attached? Tell us about the main lady in your life. Is she also a poet? How long have you guys been together? How supportive is she of your poetry career?
The main lady in my life, I call her my very own Rabbit. According to the billions of guys that are always hitting on her, she’s beautiful. Based on her turning down their offers of money and VIP treatment, I say she’s loyal. Considering the fact she’s transcended my many transgressions I say, she’s forgiving. She is like dancing in the rain, fun, but you could catch a cold, joyful, but there are dark clouds, powerful, but foiled by drainage, ultimately wonderful.

Been together 4, 3, 2 years? Depends on who you ask and how you define ‘been together’.

As per suppprt, well, she’s an Igbo girl, what do you think?

 

12. When you get married, how many children do you plan to have? Would you influence your children into becoming poets?
Plan to have two kids. And I plan to influence them to become artists, I don’t believe in being one tree when you can be the entire forest.

13. What one word describes you?
Artist.

14. Which biggest stage have you have performed at before? How was the experience? Which stage do you look forward to performing on?
A National syndicated show I guess, based on the sheer size of the audience. It was pretty fast.
If it’s poetry, throw me on any stage with Ezekiel Azonwu, and I’m good.
If it’s art in general, there’s no stage big enough yet, I will build it myself.

15. If you are to do a poetry duet, who are the two poets you would love to perform with? 
Two poets I would love to perform with. Preston Perry is one, even his name is art. Does Eminem count as a poet? I think he does. Eminem, because as far as unbelieving men go, he’s the greatest thing that ever happened to the Spoken Word (No boys and girls, this does not mean I endorse his brand of vulgarity, I’m just calling a spade a spade).

16. Who are some of your favorite poets, both locally and abroad?
Gonna get me in trouble with this question. Ezekiel, Preston, Chris Webb, Janette, David Bowden, Poet Tolu, Leonard Cohen, O.K (ex-leader of Jinus).

17. Of what benefit is poetry in the society? What societal issues do poetry address?
Words are pretty cheap, but poetry sort of boosts its exchange rate, and that way it helps society purchase progress by means which are fairly accessible. Oh poetry just loves politics. It’s like they were made for each other. They’re on some of that Elaina/ Damon -just please the fans and get it over with romance- (all sarcasm intended). Poetry, thankfully, also addresses abuse, hypocrisy, faith, religion, and virtually anything that tickles a poets fancy.

18. Can you take on poetry as a full time profession? If yes, how would you go about it?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. First I’ll create a platform a la Paul Word. Then I’ll attach myself to the Christian faith, a la Phillip Asaya. Then I’ll put out them catchy albums a la Tim Godfrey. Then I’ll have them hits, a la Nathaniel Bassey. Then I’ll be invited to them mega-churches a la House on The Rock. Then I’ll receive honorariums to the tune of *censored* -that’s between me and Pastor Paul 😉 . Or I’ll go commercial a la Lecrae. And have the best of both worlds. But only if I get a calling. Based on the counsel of God and hopefully not my own devices, poetry is just one facet of a much larger career.

19. Where do you see yourself (as regards Poetry) in the next 5 years? Where do you see Spoken Word Poetry in Nigeria in the next 5 years? Any advice for upcoming poets?
Two mixtapes, and at least one album. A recognized tour de force, a bit like Leno, who manages to be a rockstar and a movie star at the same time. Essentially what I’ll do is establish the fact that poetry is my ball, kind of like pop music is to Justin Timberlake/Adele’s ball. I’ll leave it alone for long periods of time, allow all the other dudes play with the ball for a while. Then I’ll come back, and take my ball.

I see a lot of passionate guys, Paul Word, Bankhall, Graciano etc so I think that if some sociological kinks in the community are sorted out, things could explode. One thing poetry lacks right now is constructive criticism, we have guys that promote poetry but no one that prunes it. We need to have that platform or system that calls a poet out and says what you just did right there, that’s total trash (I see the clap back potential here, don’t do it). I think there’s a lot of unhealthy butt-kissing which results in no butt kicking which won’t allow kicking down the door of the entertainment industry. You remember how rap exploded in Naija? Forget all the trash we have now, we had M.I and at least two classic albums. Same thing with RnB, Styl Plus. Afro Pop, 2Face. If we can let ourselves reach that artistic quality, rather than jumping to the WizKid and Davido era, we will break through. I believe in these guys..Paul, Toby, Graciano, Beloved etc, the Sky’s the limit, but we need that honesty. You can ask Promise Osigwe, I invited him to critic my first round, and vice versa, we were both all the better for it. Pruning – even Jesus does it- and the vine will have fully matured in 5 years. 

If you’re upcoming, find someone who will have the balls to tell you when you’re on the wrong track, and the wisdom to point you to the Usain Bolt lane. Don’t get lost in the sauce, don’t be DBanj, don’t be Drake, build a legacy, be Fela, be Lamar. You don’t want an audience, you want a cult, not fans – stans, not a village, but a tribe. Make art that lives, not art that merely excites.

20. Is there any link, blog or site people can go to to read your writings/ poems or even watch your videos?
I thought you’d never ask. I blog at www.dsoupkitchen.com .

You can download my poems (audio and video):
Ready Set Go (aduio) at https://goo.gl/N2yfEh ,
I Left Lucy for Grace – #ILL4Grace (video) at https://goo.gl/3qcVRC
and the evergreen PUSH at https://goo.gl/lzESrY .

Watch this space https://goo.gl/JTSLrJ for Shape of You, a Spoken Word cover/ reworking of Ed Sheeran’s hit of the same name.

21. Any other information you would want us to know about, maybe something personal? Thank you for your time.
I was going to say something Spiritual like the day I stop living for God, is the day I die. But I’ve heard stories…so let me say this instead. I’m here for you. Yes you, I was born in this generation to make your life, and your kids’ lives and their kids’ lives just a little bit better. I’m trying everyday not to fail you. I may never like your Instagram posts, or your Facebook, or follow you on Twitter, I might forget to reply your WhatsApp message, we might even be beefing, but I love you. And I’m here to serve you by fulfilling Gods assignment. So hang in there, cos you’re here for us too. We need you just as much as we need me. Can’t wait to have a few laughs together in heaven. Ragashabalantos.

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