Don’t expect too much, by all means, work hard, but don’t set your expectations too high. Do it for the passion, expression and enjoyment of the art, not for the fame or money.
Just enjoy the art. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to please everyone, that is never going to be the case.
Just be yourself, take influence from other artists, but by no means copy them. I believe originality is key to be successful in this career.
As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Untold Poet.
Untold Poet is a UK, Essex-born rapper/songwriter and former frontman of ‘New Subjects.’ Supporting credits include ‘The 1975’ and ‘Labrinth.’
Now a solo artist (2020), Untold Poet’s matured beats and fine-tuned flows are arguably the most exciting sound to bridge the gap between RnB, rap and poetic rhythm.
With subtle influences of Drake, Kano, The Streets and Bon Iver, the energy is laced with forward-thinking wit and unexpected, honest emotion.
Crowned ‘Sound of 2021’ by BBC Introducing Essex and tipped for big things in the coming year, Untold Poet’s resilience through 2020 has shown, and been noticed, proving he has merit within the music industry.
Currently working on his debut visual EP ‘Start To Speak’, prepare to witness Untold Poet’s continued success in the music scene as he speaks the raw truth and nothing but… the unspoken story.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
The pleasure is all mine, thanks for having me. I grew up in a small town called Leigh-on-Sea with four siblings, with me being the youngest. I remember having an upright piano in my home that my sister played, and my brother played the guitar. I guess that had a big influence on me to start writing music. Through school, music was my strongest subject as I learned the piano gaining A grades, which boosted my confidence to start writing music. Soon after, I starting listening to Rap music and began to start writing music in this genre.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started writing music when I was around twelve years old after listening to Del The Funky Homosapien’s verse on the Gorillaz track Clint Eastwood. I loved his rhyming techniques and the way it sounded. It had me hooked straight away to write a similar-sounding verse.
While moving through my teenage years, I was influenced by the Grime scene with artists such as Wiley and Kano. This made me begin to speed up my rapping style. Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, where I live, has a very good music scene and community. To be a part of that felt great. I began to start performing at open mic nights alongside a friend. Together, we later established a band called New Subjects. We had a successful run of performing and a growing fanbase, but in the end, felt it was best we go our separate ways. I carried on writing music but not performing and it wasn’t until 2020 that I began my solo career as Untold Poet. I love writing music and expressing my emotions through the pen. I find it can be very therapeutic.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Back when I was in a band, we entered a competition for Live and Unsigned and contended against 10,000 other acts. Through all of the battle rounds, we ended up placing 5th in our category. It was an amazing experience performing at various O2 venues including the O2 Indigo Rooms, and performing to many expert judges. The feedback we gained was priceless and I’ll never forget the whole process.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am currently working on my debut visual EP titled ‘Start to Speak’. It will be a short film that will incorporate five music videos transitioning from one to the other with short parts of dialogue and acting in between to create a whole piece. We begin filming this month and I am very excited to get started with it.
I’ve also got a few collaborations with artists I’ve connected with through lockdown, so expect to see a few singles being released until my EP is out.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Firstly, I think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television so that everybody has an equal opportunity to be recognised for their success. Secondly, it is paramount that children have relatable role models that they can align with and look up to, in order to raise their aspirations from an early age and know that they are able to achieve anything. Thirdly, I feel that by being aware of others’ cultures, it enables us to embrace differences and learn from each other. A multicultural society should encourage others to be mutually respectful to everyone, which I try to encourage through my music.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
My five things would have to be:
- Don’t be too hungry, it can sometimes come across as a bit forced and desperate. Instead, just be casual and authentic with your approach.
- Don’t expect too much, by all means, work hard, but don’t set your expectations too high. Do it for the passion, expression and enjoyment of the art, not for the fame or money.
- Just enjoy the art. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to please everyone, that is never going to be the case.
- Just be yourself, take influence from other artists, but by no means copy them. I believe originality is key to be successful in this career.
- Always network. You never know what opportunities will arise from a simple conversation.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I would always recommend setting realistic goals in a suitable timeframe. Without goals, you will be endlessly chasing something that isn’t there. Once your goals are set and you steer towards them; the right opportunities will present themselves as you ascend to your end goal.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It would be to provide a sustainable ecosystem to countries that struggle with poverty i.e. building fresh water supplies, solar powered systems etc.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There really wouldn’t be just one person. I would have to thank my supportive family, the fans of my music and the resilience I have embedded in myself to thrive to succeed.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”. If you embed a can-do, positive mindset, I truly believe that anything is possible. This is relevant to any artist’s life that wishes to pursue music as a career.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
To have a sit down with the UK artist Kano would be amazing, he’s been a big influence on my musical style and lyric technique. To have a full conversation on his successes, life stories and how to pursue music further would be priceless.
How can our readers follow you online?
I’m across all social platforms; My Instagram is @Untoldpoetmusicuk and all other platforms @untoldpoetmusic. I also have a website with all my links and music www.untoldpoet.com
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!