J. Ivy to Oveous
1.) Have you always wanted to perform/write?
Yes… hell yes.. back in high school me and my brother Carlito “Ziiinc Blue” made a demo tape with 3 songs on it. shit was kinda wack. but you can definitely hear the potential in both of us and the passion for the art was clear.
2.) What was your 1st performance like?
It was a disaster inside my chest and lungs. LOL. foreal tho, it really was. I was at the nuyorican poets cafe circa spring of 2003 and I remember shaking alot and apologizing to the audience for letting me put them thru such misery for 3 min. Later that night, a young man by the name of “David Lamb” came up to me and said… “shut the FUCK up… YOU are a Poet and a pretty fucking good one… oh, hi btw, my name is Lamb”. We’ve been really good friends ever since… lol
3.) What was your favorite/least favorite performance?
Honestly, can’t think of one in particular. but… I do hate it when a venue sucks. sound, lightning, noisy bars… for poetry. but when I perform my music… I really could care less.. I just work with what I have.. Just make it work! Is how I feel. every chance to spit, is a gift. na mean?
4.) At what point did you consider yourself a “Poet”?
When I found myself addicted to it. Goin to Nuyorican, Bar 13, and Bowery Poetry club 4 times a week was a clear indication of that. Standing in the freezing cold for 3 hours, just to get on the open mic list… c’mon… you have to be in love with the artform to go thru that. It was blinding. It was a beautiful time. I’ll never forget it.
5.) Who is your biggest inspiration?
My brother Carlos-Paul Salcedo aka “Ziiinc Blue” aka “The El-Tigrero” aka “Destro”
6.) Who is your favorite artist and why?
Don’t have a favorite artist, but…. Bob Marley would have to be one of my top five of all time. He put so much heart into every song. Dude is a legend, no question there. I also believe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an artist because of his masterful use words and speech. His speeches were like poems to me. He has and continues to inspire generations promoting humanity and peace across all lines of culture on a global scale. That shit is gangsta.
7.) If you have one, what’s your favorite piece and why?
Damn! son! whats with the PICK ONE OR DIE SHIT… LOL… Ok, ok.. I’ll try… If I had to pick one piece… I would pick “Imagine”. because its the kind of piece that shows people I’m a real muthaflucka.. And no matter where I rock it… someone always comes up to me after a show and tells me how much they were moved by that piece. so definitely that one.
8.) It’s obvious in your performances that you’re very driven…what
is your definition of passion?
My definition of passion is simple. Its an undying commitment to something you truly genuinely love.
9.) Your wordplay and the way you connect your ideas is amazing…does the gift of storytelling run in your family?
wow… THANK YOU bro. always means alot coming from someone so talented as yourself. You know tho, I’m not really sure if storytelling runs in my family per say. But, maybe it does thru the singers in my family. For instance, I have this uncle named “Dario” who used to be part of a jazz-folk trio back in the 60’s. He even released vinyl. Dude was ill with romantic songs. I also have to give credit to my parents because 90% of my personality comes from them. My dad for sure has given me some of his traits. His mannerisms and way of speaking and engaging people is something that can’t be ignored. So… thanks DAD! lol
10.) How did you come up with your stage name/what’s the meaning?
Well, my stage name isn’t really a stage name. Oveous is a tweak on my birth name Ovil and/or Ove. Basically a really close friend of mine started calling me Oveous because he said that I was like the Morpheus (Matrix) of rap. Lol.. stupid huh… but not really. In Roman Mythology, Morpheus is the god of dreams. My brother Ziiinc has a classic quote in the film SP!T stating “I have big dreams, just don’t let me wake up”…. and so when I adopted the “tweak” on my name I took all that into consideration. I added the Maximus to affirm that I plan on giving 100%(Maximum) to my craft everyday till my last day.
11.) What projects are you currently working on?
Oh mannnn… got a ton of shit goin on. And very grateful for all of it too. So I’m currently on a record label called Yoruba Records. I have an EP on there called “I Apologize” which has done really well with the electronic/dance charts. And a monster of a single called “Mirror Dance” which I collaborated with Osunlade (ceo of Yoruba) on that record. I also have 2 albums I released on the indie tip. The first was “Future Intentions” which we shot 2 music videos for so far and earned Top Albums of 2009 status from Nu-Soul Magazine. And the second is “The Iambic Moment” which I’m also goin to shoot some vids for. Currently, I’m promoting all these music projects. I also want to do a follow up to my Live Poetry album “Oveous Live 3.0” coming soon. But I also co-own my own clothing/Tee shirt line “Mileage High Club”. We have a great website with a growing fan club and we recently adopted some silent investors to take us to the next level. So, Life is good.
12.) Where do you see Poetry in the next 10 years?
I see it more on TV and Radio if it continues to grow along side technology. We need more poems on ipods! Straight up…
13.) The “Dream” is a journey, which we all know is unpredictable, but what do you see happening next for yourself?
I hope to give acting a try. Everyone keeps telling me that I have the “it” factor. And this is coming from other actors. I’m really intimidated by the whole acting thing because its such a difficult thing to pull off. One mistake, and the critics will send you to the grave. But if I take some lessons and find a good coach… I might be aight. I LOVE films so much, how could I not be in at least ONE before I DIE! Lol
14.) We’re all here for a moment in time…how do you want to be remembered?
I want people to say “yo… that dude Oveous and his body of work is ill… He spoke for the people. For human rights. For what it means to be living to your full potential…”
15.) When are we collabing?
LOL…Holla!! YO! as soon as I send this to Shihan, I’m gonna get your math from him. 2010 will see a J Ivy and Oveous collabo… no doubt about that. It will be an honor…
PS. One L’Ove to all the readers out there and supporters of my vision and voice. L’Ove yall!
Oveous to J. Ivy
1- Chicago is a wonderful place with so much soul. How would you define Chicago “styles” and its brand of Soul, being that you are one of its trendsetters?
Chicago is definitely a unique place and I’m very proud to be a Chicagoan. I’m proud to be apart of it’s rich culture. When it comes to styles there are many because the Chi is very versatile. You have your Hip-Hop heads, the hipsters, the gangsters, the business man/woman, the politicians, the conscious cats and those on the block that feel like their only way out is to hustle. All of these lifestyles thrive off a very deep love for music. Music that is highly influenced by our Mississippi roots to our now hypersegregated city to being in the center of it all and having a good view of the rest of the world. Opportunity is limited but everyone is determined to be the best which makes the culture/styles truly one of a kind.
2- How did you and Kanye West meet and what was your impression of him back then
and what’s your opinion of him now?
I originally met Kanye thru my guy Mikkey Halsted. Mikkey, who was the first mc tht Kanye signed, and I went to high school together. We reconnected in New York around the time he was recording “The College Dropout.” As far as what I think of him, he was a genius then, he is a genius now. He’s one of the Greatest to ever do it.
3- How was it working with Kanye and Jay-Z on the College Dropout? Were all ya’ll in
the studio together? If so, what was that like?
It was amazing working with Kanye & Jay-Z. I recorded my part in the studio with Kanye out in L.A. When I finished we listened to the joint over and over again. Everyone loved it and it was exciting to hear my voice next to two heavyweights in the game. Jay’s part was already recorded but we met a little later. Overall it was an unforgettable experience.
4- When was the first time you heard or experienced poetry like spoken word
and what was your reaction to it?
Well before the term “spoken-word” came about I was always moved by poetry that was performed by my classmates and I in gradeschool. My school was big on having us partcipate in recitals and plays. My uncle Granville who is a pastor was also a huge influence having us perform alot in church. That led to me performing in high school which led to performing in college with fellow poets. Even then it wasn’t spoken-word, it was just cats spitting poetry. It was always life changing.
5- How come you treated me like a stepchild first time I met you in Miami outside
of club Amnesia? Is this how you treat all your fans?(LOL… you probably don’t remember)
Amnesia, Amnesia, Amnesia. I love meeting people who have an appreciation for what I do. Sometimes I find that people misjudge my laid back demeanor. It’s all love!!
6- Ok, but seriously now, whats your favorite topic to write about and why?
I am one of those people who is really just excited to be here. So I write about life. I want to encourage people, inspire people, motivate people. Words are extremely powerful & I want my words to help heal people.
7- How does it feel to know you won a Grammy? Where in your house do you keep it?
It feels great to have a Grammy, but it makes me want more. I feel like like I’m just getting started. But the Grammy that I keep In my office is a great reminder of where I can go.
8- Chicago has a history of black on black violence especially recently in the news with young men losing their lives. How did you avoid this growing up and what can a youngster do now to avoid getting a bullet for Xmas?
The violence and the killings that have been happening in Chicago is truly nothing to joke about. It’s not a laughing matter. We’ve lost family and friends. We’ve buried those that are truly loved and adored! I’m still here by the grace of God, the guidance of my mother and deciding not to run with certain crowds. We have to get back to protecting one another and more importantly, we have to put an end to self hatred. That’s what’s killing us!
9- Your resume is crazy dope. Do you enjoy writing poems for sports more then
you do for music?
I just love writing! Whether it’s telling my own story, writing something about what’s happening in the news, sports or making music, Im happy with being able to express what’s on my mind.
10- What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in life thus far?
Nothing’s Promised, but Faith always Prevails.
11- Where were you when Obama was inaugurated and what did you do that night?
When Mr. President was inaugurated, I was in DC to witness history. That night I was traveling reflecting on my trip and ready to get to work.
12- I see you got a new album coming out. Who’s on it besides you? Got any
cool stories about the process of making this album?
Yes Sir!! The album is called “Here I Am.” So far, The Last Poets, Jessica Care-Moore, Malik Yusef, Redstorm, M’Reld, Tarrey Torae, Jessie Boykins III, Twone Gabz, Yaw & Khari L, Mikkey Halsted, Aaron Marsh of Copeland, and Fred Hampton, Jr. The entire process has been an experience. That’s a whole ‘nother story in itself.
13- How close are you to your family? What do they think of all your success?
Me and my Family are closer than black on beans. They are proud and cheering me on.
14- What countries have you visited throughout your travels? Where do you want
to go next?
I’ve been to England, France, Jamaica, Mexico, The Netherlands, Canada, and the Bahama’s. I’ll also be traveling to Aruba this year, but Africa is at the top of my priority list.
15- Yea man! I would love to collab. What do you have in mind? Music or Poetry? or both? Lets do it! It would be an honor.
Poetry is the forgotten part of music. Let’s find the right track and make it happen.