EyesOn: JACQUELINE KIBACHA: THE PRETTY POET

06:41:00

"why have limits to how far I can see? Life and circumstance brings with it limitations and obstacles, so let me dream it as big and as impossible as I possibly can... and when that dream is crystal clear and that faith is solid without doubts, it will give me strength to overcome any obstacles or limitations that may come along the way." -Pretty Poet

AG: Take us on a ride into Pretty Poet’s world?
P.Poet: I'm also known as Jacqueline Kibacha. I was born an artist and someone who likes to help people and I don't think I ever tried to be anything else. When I was younger the only jobs I really heard of were doctor, nurse, teacher, lawyer, architect. I wanted to write books and be a queen. Growing up I have only recently discovered that being an artist and someone who likes to help people is my vocation and my call in life. I was born in Tanzania, East Africa. We left as a family when I was 3 years old and have since lived in the UK, Ireland and Kuwait.


AG: You spent a part of your childhood in Kuwait, what was life like back then? And have you been back after the Iraqi Invasion?
P.Poet: I was quite young when we lived in Kuwait. Life was blessed and those years of my life were reasonably carefree. I have vivid memories of school, I was very much into art and writing even from then. I remember there being a board in the classroom where we could bring in something we'd done, to decorate the room. I used to get one of the older girls where I lived to help me and every weekend we'd create these collages that were really cool. Teacher had to tell me to let my classmates have a chance as I'd bring a picture in almost every week.

I'd moved around a lot before my family settled in Kuwait and one thing that was very different to the places I had lived previously was the culture. Kuwait is an Arabic, Muslim country. Having lived in countries that were diverse in languages and cultures, I found Kuwait fascinating and to this day I have a deep love for the Arabic culture. I find it so beautiful from the script and language, to the fabrics to the traditions that are influenced by religion I guess, to the people.

AG: How did you come about the name, Pretty Poet? Is she the same person as Jacqueline?

Pretty Poet was a nickname that was given to me. I tend not to refer to myself as Pretty Poet  but Pretty Poet is the artist who you hear on my poetry tracks. I wouldn't go as far as calling her an alter ego as of course she is a part of who I am and she is who I am.

It helps to understand that Pretty Poet is a small part of who Jacqueline is because I do other things also and I am other things to other people.

AG: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
P.Poet: I am inspired by relationships and interactions between people. I like to write in plain language and in a very conversational manner. I write to get messages across and it's important to me that my listeners get it when they hear it. Some of my poetry has underlying themes and messages but usually that's part of me challenging myself in my writing. For the most part, you can play one of my poems and get it straight away.

I don't write to challenge my listeners intellectually... I write so that my listeners can hear something that they can relate to and where necessary, be challenged emotionally if that makes sense.... words that go direct to heart before they get a chance to get confused up there (in the mind).

AG: How and when did you discover your poetic abilities? Did you want to be a poet from early on?
P.Poet: I could read from the age of 3 and so writing was something I got into at an early age. I actually did a lot of creative writing... short stories with pictures that I would draw myself. Writing has always been a part of me and whether I become critically acclaimed for it or not, it is something that I will always do. I think it was at the age of 15 that I won a school poetry competition and that gave me an awareness that what I write can actually be enjoyed by other people. After winning that prize I must have entered and won for the next 2 years before I got tired of winning it... I needed a new challenge.

It's not so much that I wanted to be a poet from early on, It is more that I just am a poet, it's part of who I am.

AG: How did you nurture your talent?
P.Poet: Poetry for me is part of my creativity. I like to challenge myself creatively. It isn't easy to access people who I respect and look up to to coach me... not like when you're in school and have teachers and assignments. So I push myself and when I get the chance I have a couple of writers and readers that I hound with my work for feedback.

I write daily whether it's poetry or prose. I have book and books of my writings, some I go back to and develop and some I leave or just read to hear how my voice has developed.

Listening to other artists also helps me to nurture and grow my talent. I'm excited by words and rhythms in general, this is not restricted to poetry or spoken word, I also love hip hop and speeches by great orators.

AG: What is the one thing that best defines you?
P.Poet: If you speak to anyone who knows me or has spent time with me they will tell you that I am one of those people who you can not define with one thing. Try as I might, no box fits so I tend not to restrict myself to definitions.

If personal qualities were sold in shops as shoes are, every season I would buy Wisdom, Integrity and Patience. These things are important to me. They are things that I will always need and it's important that they I they are a part of who I am.

AG: What would you say, sets you apart from other spoken words artist?
P.Poet: Someone close to me has taught me not compare myself with other artists. In comparing I would see what makes me the same and what makes me different. What's more important to me than what makes me stand out from other artists is, whether my words stand out to you, whether you go away remembering a line that I spoke, whether that words has in someway given you strength and encouragement.

AG: How much of your work reflects on your outlook of life?
P.Poet: All my work reflects my outlook so far. When I write it's from my perspective, whether it's my feeling or my interpretation of someone elses feelings or my observations. I am a positive person so whatever I write about, I hope that it encourages a positive outlook whatever the subject matter.

AG: Who are your role models? In what ways have they influenced you?
P.Poet: There are specific women in my life who I regard as role models. Some are my peers and some are my elders, all are wives and mothers. You may never have heard of them so I don't need to tell you their names but I can tell you why they have influenced me.

They all share one thing... they are 'overcomers'. They have been through hard times or do living in a balanced way throughout the highs and lows of life, the loss of a loved one, the breakdown of a marriage, life changing things but also everyday things. They remain hopeful, positive and humble. All 4 of them are very beautiful and talented but so extremely down to earth. I looked for role models in women who are what we call 'high flyers' or 'movers and shakers' and I guess because everyone else was looking to them to be role models and mentors, I didn't have much luck in getting the time I needed. I'm not the kind of person to be satisfied with a role model I can never speak to or have access to. I can't take face value what I see in the media of someone or their public face alone and then follow them based on that. One day I opened my eyes and saw that I was blessed with amazing women around me, women that did not get huge recognition or column inches but just live examples that I would be proud to follow. They have influenced my perspective and how I view success and they have challenged me, with their lives. I love to be challenged. I am still learning.

AG: What are your goals and dreams professionally and personally?
P.Poet: I want to be the best mother, wife and friend I can be.

I do other things behind the Pretty Poet screen and some of my goals are around developing these. As much as writing is a part of me, so is art and fashion. These have been the 3 outlets for my creativity from way back it just so happens that the poetry I have shared more widely first.

I also have dreams and goals that are my secret just for me of course. But in short all that I do, I do in the hope that I will have impacted even just one life in a positive way.

AG: What is that one thing you find disheartening and would like to change in the society?
P.Poet: This would need to be a whole new interview. I am socially motivated and the things that I would like to see changed in society, I am working on developing myself so that I can be a part of that change. But as I said... whole 'nother interview.

AG: What benefit has your website and blog been to you as an artist? Do you think it is important for an artist to have a website or blog?
P.Poet: I blog on http://www.itsprettypoet.blogspot.com/ I started this blog just over a year ago. We had lost a close friend and I wanted to remember that moment as one that would encourage me to appreciate the fact that I am alive. I didn't really have a big plan for the blog, I just wanted an outlet to share my thoughts you know... not wait until a publisher or record label approached me to get my words out there. As I said before, it was that hope that I could impact even just one life in a positive way.

Having a blog has helped me firstly develop ideas... I use it to document what inspires me. It's called Pretty Poetic but I don't only post poetry or poetry events. Anything artistic or inspirational goes up.

Secondly my blog has helped me reach out to other people. I've had great feedback and have also had the honor of posting work by other artist and people who I meet and am inspired by.

Thirdly having a blog and also a website ( www.prettypoet.co.uk ) has given me the all important online presence needed as an artist to get my work out there further than I myself can go physically. I recently had a baby and being a new mum I'm not able to go out as I did and be everywhere all the time. Networking is such an important part of being an artist especially as you begin to see your art as business. Having a website and a blog has helped me build a network and connect with people who can enjoy what I do and say from places I have yet to visit.

AG: You are working on an album, what do we expect?
P.Poet: What can you expect from my album?.... I keep it real lyrically and eclectic music wise. The voice you hear is my own unique voice, the way I see things. I won't share everything with you in the first album, but everything I do share is straight from the heart.

AG: When are you launching? What excites you the most about your work?

P.Poet: I'm working in collaboration with French producer Dominique Lepine (Dr Do) on this first album, or EP to be exact. As we are both artists and really started doing this for the challenge and fun of it, there was never any pressure to launch anything. Now however I just feel it would be nice to have something for our listeners. People have been enjoying what we're doing so I'm excited to launch this for them. Dominique is such a perfectionist and we're constantly tweaking and improving on the tracks. The deadline really must come though, so end of this year it will be ready and launch will be planned once it's ready.

I have collaborated with other artists and recently I had the pleasure of working with Kenyan producer Ambrose Dunga on a very unique track called Mean Love which is already available on iTunes and Amazon. So yes, check out iTunes and download Mean Love!
P.POET'S message for fans and aspiring writers/poets

  • Be real, be yourself and find your own personal voice and it will come through in your writing.
  • Read and listen to other poets and writers, at the very least to put into context what you do.
  • Enjoy what your write!

Follow Pretty Poet on:

Twitter: @Pretty_Poet
Website: http://www.prettypoet.co.uk
Blog: www.itsprettypoet.blogspot.com

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