In the world of ‘Street Poetry’ you never know who you are going to run across whose talent will throw you completely off balance. We had the pleasure of hearing an artist by the name of Lazyrus in full action while attending the Black 2 Love event in February of 2015. His style is not only passionate, but captures the attention of any audience. Lazyrus has been circulating through many artistic circles for some time and it was wonderful to be able to catch up this remarkable artist for an interview.
Here’s what he had to say
We recently had a chance to observe your performance at the Black2Love Gala in February of 2015. Can you tell us how you got involved with this event and about the pieces you performed that night?
“I had met one of the organizers, Amina Boyd while speaking at a church a few years ago. I performed two pieces there that night, ‘Gospel’ and ‘Inspire’. ‘Gospel’ is about universal love and finding a connection with the ‘GOD’ of your choice through silence. ‘Inspire’ is just a reminder that we were meant to inspire and push each other to be better while on this planet.”
When did you first find a love for poetry and spoken word?
“When I was a teenager, about 14, I had some troubles with my parents and often times spent nights in a row at a ‘Your Host’ restaurant. Back then, they were still smoking and open 24 hours. I really fell in love with it there. My oldest and truest friend you can say. It was in me.”
Is this around the same time you began to perform and if not, when did you first perform your work?
“I didn’t begin performing publicly until I was about 18 (1998). At that time, I would also perform music as well.”
Many often wonder how an artist remembers such elaborate works. What goes into remembering your own work and what advice can you give to someone who hasn’t yet reached this level?
“Being a musician, as well as a poet, I’ve been lucky enough to record much of my work in song form and then remember it the way people remember their favorite song. Also, by repeating it out loud so many times, the muscles in my mouth begin to remember certain patterns of delivery. Sounds odd but it’s scientific fact that muscles do indeed, have memory.”
What subjects do you find yourself creating around the most?
“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a “bleeding heart”, I guess. I write a lot about social, spiritual, and personal maladies. I guess spiritual progression, political awareness, and overcoming obstacles would be my forte.”
Do you also consider yourself a “Slam Poet” and if so, what do you enjoy about slam poetry?
“Yes. I am a slam poet and in fact, have won more competitions locally and regionally than perhaps any other poet in WNY ever. It’s not that I really, really like competing in Slams so much because I don’t in spite of my victories. It just so happens that in Buffalo, slam poetry seems to be the only way to make a name for yourself as a poet. So, I do what I must.”
What events have you performed in over the years that you feel resonate with you the most?
“I have performed at so many events over the years as a poet and musician that it’s hard to remember them all. I am really proud of the “Sole- Brew” benefit that I threw at the Gypsy Parlor this past December to raise money for the homeless this winter. The charitable events are really the ones that touch me the most. I write to promote positive change in the world and these events are the ones that matter most.”
What is your proudest moment as a poet / spoken word artist?
“My proudest moment as a spoken word artist has to be when I traveled to Albany with a bunch of younger and less experienced poets for a team slam called ‘Wordfest’ last year. It was great to share a victory with them. Loved it! I also was happy to go to New Jersey as part of the 1st ever Nique Invitational Slam and win that one as well. It’s a toss up between those two events, I guess”
Knowing what you know today about poetry and the arts what advice would you give to your younger self?
“To be more aware of the business end of the arts.”
Do you have any other artistic talents?
“As I had said before, I am a musician/producer as well. I’ve been playing or creating music of one form or another for about 15 years. These days I primarily work in Hip Hop – really trying to get a live band together to create a fusion of many styles. My philosophy with music is: The world is a big place, too big to just stay in one place.”
Who are your inspirations?
“ I have a diverse group of inspirations. Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Sage Francis, Big Pun, and many others. Life inspires me. Everyday things inspire me. It’s a tough question to answer quickly, I guess.”
Do you currently teach or plan to teach any workshops for upcoming Poets and Musicians?
“A few times I was blessed enough to speak about poetry at Fredonia College. Shout out to Brandon Williamson, founder of Pure Ink Poetry, for that. Currently, I am not teaching any workshops but would love to if given the opportunity. Progression of us as an understanding species is very important to me and I believe the arts help us greatly in that process. If anyone asks, I’m there.”
What are your future goals?
“As of now, my goals are to make the Slam Team to represent Buffalo in the National Poetry Slam in August and to begin touring as a musician/poet as soon as possible. While I love Buffalo, there is no place to really showcase the things I do and make money doing it.”
How can someone contact you for performance opportunities?
“I am availiable to perform anytime and I’d love to do so. People can contact me at elijahmaya13 [at] gmail.com or call me at 1-716-913-6244. They also can just hit me on Facebook as well. In closing, I just want to say thank you to you guys for the interview and send a blessing to all who are reading this. Peace, all.”
To continue into Lazyrus’ world, be sure to check out one of his many videos or follow him on: