12 February 2014 (released)
12 February 2014
Last week was a special week dedicated to storytelling and we were delighted to catch up with one of London’s most exciting spoken word artists, Suli Breaks. He gave us the low-down on what it is like to travel "Around the world in 80 days!"
You are travelling around the world in 80 days in search of inspiration, what exactly are you hoping to gain from this experience?
Experiences in themselves; as an artist you can limit yourself depending on what you have experienced. The main thing I"m hoping to gain is new experiences to channel through my art and through my work, to find new avenues to express what I am talking about. Recently I was in Israel in the Palestinian territory and already I had inspiration to write something new because it was only something I had seen on the TV screens but now I was experiencing it first hand, so I can put out refreshing material.
What type of material?
I am actually working on an album at the moment, I have started writing it and I want it to be different and have more angles and dynamics.
Your journey was inspired by Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, how did that come about?
It’s interesting, I hadn"t read the book but I had heard about it lots. A friend and I were talking about the concept and he said ‘I feel that you have written and produced so much in the same environment, so I’d like to see what you can produce if you had many more experiences." He thought of making something unique by emulating the same concept from the book and we made it happen!
Evidently, you like to break boundaries, be controversial and deviate from the norm, why do you think it is important to do this in this new era?
I don’t want to just be a news reporter and say everything that sounds right; I want to say things that challenges people’s thoughts. Ultimately, you don’t have to agree with what I"m saying, but if it makes your brain think on a different level then for me that’s an achievement. The brain has different paths and when you challenge a thought it opens a new one. Once someone can explore that, there is more opportunities presented for them rather than what we have been restricted to. It’s not me actively doing that, it’s just me trying to offer my opinion and create a new way of thinking.
What are the best cities you"ve visited so far and what have you learnt?
I liked all of them for different reasons. For historical reasons I’d say Berlin, because it"s like a giant museum and I really like looking into the history. I am so aware of the history because we learned it at school. I liked Stockholm for the people. My next stop is Ghana, my home town, I haven"t been there for so long I"m very excited and I will visit my dad.
You played a game called ‘The Sharing Circle’ after one of your shows, tell us a bit more about this.
Ah man, it was such an intimate experience, imagine there"s a room with about 50/60 strangers and it all starts off very light-hearted, but then people start to share really intimate stories as the night progresses.
The starting statement was "If you really knew me...’ So, people would say things at first like "If you really knew me, you’d know that I like chicken and chips" but then it got deeper with people saying things like, "If you really knew me, you"d know I haven"t seen my dad for four years, I really miss him". Some people started crying because you felt so secure in that environment. It’s amazing because it shows the power of openness, we often walk around guarding ourselves from each other, not realizing that sometimes people have similar problems and on the night some people said some really crazy things. I think society really needs to learn how to open up to each other.
You are only as good as your experiences, true or false?
True, a lot of people talk s*** based on the news or YouTube but until you experience it first hand you’re not as entitled to comment on it.
What do you hope that other people will gain from your journey?
I want to show people the potential of what you can achieve if you believe something and from the journey itself. I want people to see different insights and journeys through my eyes. I want to accumulate the footage and put out a documentary at around the same time that my album is released.
You have been recognised by big stars like Will Smith, what does that mean to you?
The fact that someone you"ve admired your whole life has reached out to you is incredible! Sometimes we are all about bragging rights, so it gives me my bragging rights. The fact that he likes my work got me gassed, I can’t lie! (Laughs)
One of the main themes of your campaign is travel. If you could time travel, what period in time would you travel to?
Oh man, that’s such a beautiful question! I’d probably go back to the period of Jesus Christ, because so much formulated around his existence and what he accomplished. So just to have first-hand experience of that moment in time, it’s a no- brainer, there"s no one more influential!
Where would you travel back to in your personal life?
I always wanted to play basketball, I would have gone back to when I was 13 and say, ‘Yo, you need to start training and stop eating chocolates every day!" I would have trained myself so that I was in a position where I could be in the league. They say you shouldn"t want to change anything but I would have wanted to change that; I guess you may not get to climb mountains but you may get to move them!
As its National Storytelling Week this week, who are your favourite authors?
Paulo Coelho, because of his book "The Alchemist", 150%! "The Alchemist" is just... (pauses) No other book that I have ever read has had the same impression on me. I’ve never read any of his other books, I feel like "The Alchemist" was so perfect, I don’t want to read anything else!