As a writer, I’m constantly on the search for new sources of inspiration. In order to make my stories and characters as believable as possible, I try to study the world around me as well as the work of artist in various genres: poetry, music, movies and of course other books. Today, I’m interviewing a poet and musician, Ezra Letra. Ezra has created several albums and his lyrics display his love of poetry as well as an intellect that is not always associated with hip hop music. His work inspires me to take a closer look at my characters and to think about their history and how it influences their behavior on the page.
Ezra, tell us about your work.
I have spent most of my artistic career as a Rapper and Poet. Lately, I’ve added photography, producing, directing, graphic design as well as short story writing. I’m an artist who loves the arts so I try my hand at many different things and drop the ones where the muses don’t deem me worthy.
My main focus right now is called “The Nobody EP” produced entirely by Beatsmith Medore, a member of an arts collective called “The Last Ancients” (which also includes Isaac Kirkman, James Chang, and Pulitzer Prize nominee Clifford Brooks). It will be a highly poetic project. All the music is sampled from songs my father listened to when he was my age. It’s a celebration of my Colombian heritage and an attempt to bring melodies of yesterday into poetics of today. The release date is still TBA but follow any of my pages and you will be informed.
Wow! You’re a busy man. I have interviewed Pulitzer Prize nominee Clifford Brooks and am interviewing some of the other people you mentioned. They are all very talented. I expect great thinks to come from “The Last Ancients.” Tell us how it is you became a poet and musician. What was your journey?
I grew up in Queens, NY where Hip-Hop was the anthem of the city. I was raised in a rough neighborhood and spent a lot of time alone which developed into an anti-social personality. Everything was right for me to turn to poetry as a way to release frustrations and anxieties. Rapping didn’t come until I moved to Tucson, AZ to finish my Bachelors Degrees in English Literature/Creative Writing. Nobody knew me or my past, so it was yet again a perfect situation to practice my skill. Studying all the great poets and writers in college really helped with my lyricism as a rapper. I got to learn about John Milton from a professor who spent over 40 years researching on him. There’s something special in that, and I’ve never taken it for granted. The late and wonderful Steve Orlen was my senior poetry writing professor. His poetry is magical and getting one on one time with someone like that is another blessing in my story. I really believe the universe has slowly and surely been moving things along to get me to the point in my life that I am now.
Funny how when we really want something and work hard towards a goal, the right people fall into our paths and help us achieve our dreams. I enjoy the way your life story reflects in your music. It gives your music an originality that leaves me feeling like I’m listening to something totally new—not the typical tribute to someone else’s work. So what’s in the future? Are you working on anything right now?
Besides “The Nobody EP” I am also working on a couple of different YouTube series. I have one series called “Wordflex Sessions” which focuses on different rappers each episode. They rap without any beat, a capella style. I want to showcase different rappers and have them at the very core of being an MC, just their words and flow. I know plenty of talented rappers and that series is a way to broadcast them. The other series is called “Nobody.” It’s a documentary series that broadcasts people who might be categorized as “nobodies” on a global level, but they are actually “somebodies” when you focus in on that wide scope. It’s my way of flipping the term “nobody” and making it something of pride, a-la Emily Dickinson. The first episode has yet to premier but will feature The Last Ancients member Isaac Kirkman. Make sure you subscribe to the channel!
The “Wordflex Sessions” sound like a great series for writers in any genre. It’s a great way for other artist to step out of their thoughts and experience other people’s craft on a very raw level. Where we can find your book, website, and FB page?
-My website is www.EzraLetra.com
-My Facebook is www.facebook.com/EzLetra
-Follow me on Twitter @EzraLetra
I’m online all the time. I love interacting with people. Don’t be shy, I always answer!
Ezra, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. I’m always happy to meet artist as driven as you are. Readers, be sure to check out Ezra Letra’s music and YouTube shows. I’m certain you won’t be disappointed.