I’m nineteen and I won the UK national youth slam championship (SLAMbassadors) at the end of last year. I’m a feminist, a loud mouth and probably a bit too outspoken for my own good.
You have recently performed in the monthly music and poetry night, Outspoken in London. How did you get involved in that?
I’ve met Anthony Anaxagorou – the host and a generally amazing poet and person – a couple of times and he just sent me a message asking if I wanted to perform and I said yes. It was a real privilege to perform at OutSpoken because the level of talent on stage all night is of such a consistently high standard. I was also lucky enough to shadow Anthony during a two day workshop at a secondary school in Brent in the run up to the gig, which was amazing.
Would you say that your work is very political?
I very much believe that ‘the personal is political.’ Though I also have an interest in politics in the “typical” sense. I think it’s important – especially for young people – to realize politics isn’t always parliament and policies.
"Politics is you, your life, your experience, and how you interact with the world and why"
What motivates your poetry?
I always write from personal experience, because I think the audience can tell when something is genuine and when it isn’t. Writing about things that you have lived and breathed and that you have felt leaves so much room for interaction and interpretation from those who hear it.
When did you begin writing?
I have been writing since I was very little, but not very much of it was poetry (or maybe I was just told it wasn’t). I think I properly started writing poetry when I was seventeen.
Do you have any mentors? Yes! Without Joelle Taylor I wouldn’t be even close to the poet, performer and really the person I am today. I’ve been so lucky to have her guidance and her support every step of the way because not only is she a phenomenal poet, but she’s also one of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet.
Where do you see yourself in 5yrs time? I’d love to start doing more festivals and would also like to get published; So hopefully performing at Glastonbury with an anthology out as well.
What do you feel are the barriers in your development? I’m very young, and I’m still relatively new to performing and writing; I only won SLAMbassadors in November last year so I've been doing this properly for less than a year. In that sense I’m not only still learning, but in a lot of ways still trying to get myself out there; trying to get recognized and trying to shout a little bit louder. I worry about not being taken particularly seriously as I am so young.
But these are all things I can overcome!
If you could go back in time, what would you say to 7yr old Ollie?
1: The word no never ever requires an explanation, no matter what. 2: You will never be soft, you will never be gentle, you will never be graceful. That is not your downfall – stay jagged. 3: Keep reading.