With 36 years of life and 17 years of music under my belt, it’s refreshing to say that I tried something new last week. Yes, most people know me as a veteran singer-songwriter in Portland, but for a very brief moment in time, I took to the stage as a spoken word poet. It was rough, but it was rewarding.
In partnership with eROI, the Emerging Leaders Internship Program (ELI) put together the unique spoken word event. Entitled Relevant Matter, over a dozen performers grabbed the mic and let it fly. Everyone was their own artist. Everyone brought something unique to the table. We all took a different approach—and that diversity was the relevant matter.
WHISTLE STOP by TYLER STENSON
OPUS OF THE PINES by TYLER STENSON
LEAVES BLOW BY by TYLER STENSON
THE SPOKEN WORD FULL EVENT
I have always lived by the mantra that #LYRICisKING—all my songs start as lyrics that must stand on their own as words alone. In fact, if you’ve ever seen me reference Old Man Muse in the liner notes of my albums, he’s a character I channel when I write. He’s a gruff middle-American man, bellied up to a bar top and telling stories past the butt of a cigarette. If his stories don’t enthrall the young buck stuck next to him and share a folksy wisdom that the youngster can take with him, it doesn’t make it into a song.
All that to say: Speaking my songs wasn’t second nature, but it wasn’t a leap. That’s how they were written.
Thank you ELI and eROI for the wonderful night. And the chance to try something new in life. The performers were simply amazing and though I have some room for improvement, it was an absolute pleasure to share my words, sans music.