Tue | Aug 11, 2020

Jamaica-born writer finds calling with dub poetry

Published:Sunday | March 31, 2019 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle - Staff Reporter
Sonsie X

Internationally based dub poet Sonsie X always has a passion for writing. Bringing words to life comes naturally to her, but she never dreamt of making a career out of it. For her, writing was simply an outlet. Of course, she profited from selling her work to others, but performing her pieces herself was never on the cards. That was until 2017 when a friend encouraged her to record her work. She began to take it more seriously, and dub poetry slowly became a profession.

“People hear about poets, and they usually just expect a poet to stand on stage and recite poems. I never really looked at it (dub poetry) as part of music – as something I could make money from on iTunes and everywhere else by just recording,” she said. “I got involved in dub poetry when Kevin from Payday Studious told me I was too good at writing not to be performing my work myself. He said: ‘Sonsie, your work is amazing! it’s unique. you need to put your voice on record and start going into the studios yourself instead of selling your work or giving people your work.’ I used to just write for my friends, or I’d enter writing competitions, but I never really took it serious because I just didn’t think that you could.” She revealed that after working on her breakout project with Kevin in 2017, she has never looked back. She believes that she has found her calling.

“It was honestly an invigorating feeling (getting behind the mic for the first time). I was shocked by what I heard coming out of me that day. I did not know my voice had so much power. I’ve always been told that I do, but I never really realised until I actually went behind the mic and I saw what it did to the people in the room,” she said. She continued, “It’s been such an amazing experience. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to so many places doing what I love. I’ve been to Quebec, Africa, Jamaica, and every experience just humbles me. I’m always grateful for the opportunities I get to perform because each performance inspires me to keep doing what I’m doing because of the tremendous support I’ve received.”

Unique Dub poet

Sonsie X told The Sunday Gleaner that although dub poetry may not be as glamorous as some other professions in the creative industries, the response to her work has been so overwhelming that sometimes she’s still taken aback. She says that so far, she has been referred to as the ‘female Mutabaruka. “People say dem never see nothing like me before. They say I’m like a young, fresh Muta, but my style is so different,” she said indicating that she’s not the typical dub poet. “Even though I was born in Jamaica, my personality is very different from what you would expect a dub poet to be. I’m a rasta in real life, but I love my weave and I love fashion. I was very nervous because of my uniqueness, and I wasn’t sure of the reaction I would get from the public, but the support has just been wonderful.” She revealed that persons like Louie Culture and Bounty Killer have been key members of her support system.

Describing her work as a well-woven web of assorted topics, Sonsie X says she writes about sex, relationships, love, freedom, individuality, and education. All of which will be expressed in her upcoming debut album, Namaste. The album will be released on vinyl and will have seven tracks. The poet says that she decided on vinyl because she wanted to give the work an authentic, vintage vibe. She said that side A would showcase her more sensual side, while side B would be more roots and culture. Featured on the album are tracks such as The Prayer, Strawberry Kisses, Dear Desire, Feelings, Know You, Special Announcement, and the remix of the track. Namaste will be available on all major digital media platforms.

Satisfied with how much she has grown since 2017, Sonsie X says the only expectations she has for the album is that it reaches the ears of the right people. “I invested a lot in this project, and I believe in every single song that I have on this album. It was a hard journey, but it’s been a fulfilling one. I’m so proud of myself. My family, my friends, my children are all so proud of me, so that is a reward in itself,” she said. “I want the right people to hear this album and that they will receive it well. I want my work to speak for itself, and as long as it has a fair shot at doing that, I’m ok with the end result, whatever that is.”