Hackney spoken word poet M.Artz on taking the “stuffy” stigma from poetry

Spoken poetry artist M-Artz, aka. Marcus Haywood

Spoken poetry artist M-Artz, aka. Marcus Haywood - Credit: Archant

Marcus Haywood is currently shooting his second performance video with the launch of his debut EP on the horizon

Despite having only been on the spoken word scene for a short time, M.Artz has already made quite an impact.

The Hackney resident, real name Marcus Haywood, took off as a spoken word poet in 2013 performing at open mic nights across London.

Fast forward to 2016 and he’s currently shooting his second performance video with the launch of his EP Grown only a few months away.

“The EP is finished and is in the middle of getting mixed and mastered so I’m really excited,” says Haywood. “I called it ‘Grown’ because it really reflects where I’m at in my life.

“I’m at a place where I am mature, where my subject is mature, so it really feels like the right name.”

Spoken word poetry is the natural medium of performance for M.Artz, an artist who claims it was his love of “music and words” that originally spurred his involvement at events in London.

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Following a performance at Vortex in Shoreditch he was approached by the event’s organiser, Natalie Stewart – one half of performance duo Floetry – to record his material in the studio.

“Three years ago, I decided to start recording to see what happened. Since then the response has been great.” In 2014 he was approached to write and perform a piece of work at a protest against gentrification in Brixton.

The resulting Zone 2 was so well received that he’s currently turning it into a video.

Like Zone 2, the majority of M.Artz’s work is inspired by contemporary issues.

“I’m inspired by real life events. They may not be events I’ve experienced first-hand, but they are issues I can relate to and that influence what I’m thinking.

“This is really important to my creative process because I always need to start with a concept.

“I decide what to write about and take it from there. I’ve always got something I’m listening to through headphones which can also inspire me and I always work at night.”

So where did the name M.Artz come from?

“What I do, I consider an art form that uses all the letters of the alphabet from A to Z. That is where the second part of the name comes from. The M stands for my first name.”

Even in the few years that he’s been on the stage, there has been a significant shift in the popularity of spoken poetry with audiences increasingly gravitating towards it as a form of entertainment.

M.Artz attributes this to the accessible nature of the genre. “Traditionally poetry has had a stigma of being quite stuffy.

“It’s the thing you had to learn from books at school, but it actually shouldn’t be like that. This is something people seem to be realising.

“I don’t know why – perhaps people are just more open-minded now. In the next few years, I’d love to push to the front of this and when people talk about spoken word, for my name to be mentioned as an artist.”

M.Artz will release his debut EP ‘Grown’ later this year.

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