Award-winning poet, Mark Joshua alias Teardrops, is known for his mad spoken word flow. Five years into the world of poetry, he chats with Cynthia Mukanzi about his journey
Why the name Teardrops?
Tears are still waters that run deep and hold a feeling of tenderness. When someone is crying and tears are flowing, there is a deep meaning in them, be it pain or joy.
What inspires your creativity?
I cannot really pinpoint one factor. My poetry is inspired by love, revolution, God or spirituality and social issues.
When you get on stage, what’s the one thing you always wish to accomplish?
My main goal is to positively change people’s mindset, influence them to be active and better society as they voice that which society is reluctant to speak out on.
Poetry has taken long to score a niche in the entertainment industry in Kenya. What would you say is the reason?
It’s true poetry has bloomed late in our country. There weren’t enough platforms in the past and the art of spoken word was percieved as a minority in the arts culture. Poetry was not embraced early like music and film. The mainstream media also shunned it. But today, we have branded our art and are everywhere.
So poetry has finally found its place on the table?
Kenyans are accepting it and considering it during events. We have made a great leap. However, the mainstream media is yet to give us credit. Sometimes it feels like they are shutting us out because they think we are competing with rappers and other artistes.
You might blame the society and media for not appreciating poetry but Kenyan poets seem to lack oneness. Unlike the music industry, poetry does not have a unifying organisation. Why?
As an individual, I am not here to compete with anyone but to convey a conscious message. It is true togetherness is absent among poets and thus we have no organisation of our own. We are not on the same page because people want to outshine each other instead of edutaining.
What is the toughest thing about your work?
Sometimes you are called at an event to perform and you give all your best but you are underpaid or not paid at all. On other occasions, I get overbooked and end up disappointing other people who do not take it well. Another issue is people cancelling gigs without prior notice.
You’ve been doing poetry for the past five years. Is it a good source of income?
If I compare now and when I started, I can say things are much better. It is promising and hopefully things will get better.
Are you happy with where you are today?
Sure. I am still growing as an artiste and also ecstatic over the progress I am making. I launched my first album last year and it was one of the most fulfilling moments in my life.
What should your fans look forward to from you?
I have a couple of surprises on the way. I am working with Xstatic, Sarabi, Juliani, H_art The Band and Mufasa on something good. Watch out for it.