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Interview with local Spoken Word Artist Matt Jacobson

Local Photographer, Michelle Marshall interviews local author, writer, music writer, and Spoken Word artist, Matt Jacobson.

Matthew Jacobson is a gifted local author and writer and has been described as “one of the finest writers in Liverpool.” In 2017, Matthew released his first book, Pieces of Morrissey – a full analysis of his and fellow fans’ obsession with the influential singer/songwriter. The book received glowing tributes from the fans and the music world. Successful book launches in Manchester and London proved a huge success and this followed with an invitation to the “Rock and Roll book club” for an interview with a live audience.

Matthew has appeared on numerous radio stations/TV features on The Smiths/Morrissey. And also curated two nights at the British Music Experience – celebrating the music of The Smiths and Morrissey. Matthew’s series , ‘On the Streets I Ran’ brought wonderful reviews with actors, actresses, musicians and the sporting world all celebrating the series. This led to the former Lord Mayor of Liverpool writing a poem about Matthew and his wonderful words.

He narrates and writes with such passion, uplifting many souls – which lift MY mind and soothe MY heart.’

Matthews’ work has been published in music magazines with front page interviews and as a music writer has interviewed some of the biggest names in the pop/rock scene including Pete Best, John Power OMD, Midge Ure, Ronan Keating, Janice Long and all local artists across Liverpool. For this, Matthew is held in high regard by local labels and artists.

And now Matthew is also a Spoken Word Poet with successful written word submissions and radio play with top regional radio stations and established theatres. Leading Matthew to curate his very own ‘Leap of Faith’ poetry and spoken word night to encourage and support the community to take the leap into the creative world.

Explore Liverpool wanted to know more about the Leap of Faith night and Matts spoken word journey, so I recently interviewed Matt…

Hi Matt, thank you for your time..

It’s my pleasure, Mish.

This should be fun, your last interview with us – you were heading off to watch Emmerdale!

That’s why I’ve arranged to chat on a Sunday, Mish – it’s not on today!

You could ask to be an extra…

Extra! I want to do Spoken Word in the Woolpack or be a DJ, playing Smiths/Morrissey all day, …but ….we can but dream.

Which leads me nicely to your spoken word! What first inspired you to get into spoken word poetry?

Words and lots of them – lovely words, words with meaning, substance and beauty. I’ve always been interested in words and I spend my time reading,listening and looking out for them – piecing them together for articles or for spoken word. 

In terms of artists, John Cooper Clarke is a huge influence, sharp wit and a unique style. His words feel ever so real and raw. It crosses regions and it crosses oceans. Social commentary and basically, bloody brilliant. I wrote a response to his poem, ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, but mine is called, ‘Yours? I Wanna Be Mine’… as a tribute to him. 

I also like many poets from Larkin to McGough and others surrounding and influencing….

In a world of deceit, shame, fear and hate – words never let you down. They can comfort the soul, they can soften the grit and grime of the world and they are, well,…. everything. I am still searching and trying to improve as a writer and spoken word artist, so they are in my mind every moment.

But, your articles, poems and spoken word set have received such great feedback across the board, would it not be more of the same though…

For me, no, I have to continue to search, my book was a fast paced journey into fandom and I think I have now found a reflective style with articles and spoken word to an extent  but that’s the skeleton of the piece, for me the words add the heart, kidneys and soul and aid it to function in unison. I am always looking and scanning and I dig deep to claw and retrieve more from under the trapdoor of the mind….. …or from Hollyoaks one or the other (laughs). So I continuously search to improve…

Can you remember the first poem you wrote?

Yes, it was “the future must be better than the past cos upto now its been f****n last!” I was 7 weeks old! (laughs)

No, just kidding, I can and I have it now, it was in junior school and it was a poem about Bonfire night called the ‘The Stars at Night’. My Mum passed away three years ago and we found it in a box full of cards, gifts and keepsakes. Mum had kept it for all those years. She’s now looked after by one of those stars in the sky. I’ve never needed words and music so much after she left the world, torture, torture, torture – mentally, and physically. Writing and words have helped to dig deep and I’ve gathered and collated words from so many unwelcomed wounds. I have to write all the time – I’m no good with spare time as I can spiral one way or the other. 

I have a poem called ‘The Waves’ which is a tribute to my Mum. The background to it, I was at Formby beach and I was feeling, well, awful… nothing comforted me that day. I walked out and stood on the edge of the water and just looked out ahead – just water and crashing waves in front of me. I stood and asked Mother nature questions about my Mum, why she had gone, why now? And I felt the waves were coming towards me and the noise crashing at my feet was the waves sort of answering my questions. It was a …moment… a tough one. The poem is difficult to read, but the response from others tells me it’s helped them… which is nice, I’m glad it did.

Which other artists inspire you with the use of words and why?

Well, have a guess? …Morrissey, Morrissey and Morrissey. Genius. Pure and simple. Voice lyrics combine beautifully to provide a body of work that captures you and goes straight to the heart. Poetry with substance, purpose and meaning – all there, for you. It can help you, inspire you, rescue you and save you. To have that body of work from the 80’s to now is just remarkable. I often wonder what motivates Morrissey after all this time? After such huge success and a back catalogue any artist would be proud of. To maintain that level and have that desire is unique. I always feel his next album is as important as his first. He has drive and passion – the world is his canvas and he provides the colours. A unique individual. 

What is your favourite Morrissey lyric?

Michelle, that’s impossible to say – ill be here until the year 2045 choosing… so many have so much – they mean so much and id break down trying to explain!

You’ve written many articles and interviewed hundreds of music artists and numerous creatives for your extremely popular series ‘On the Streets I Ran’, how did you progress to writing and performing your spoken word poetry?

Well, it’s taking a leap of faith really. I’ve always wanted to give it a whirl, maybe two whirls – and i’ve always dreamt about doing so. And just as I took a leap of faith into writing a book, and another leap of faith interviewing bands, then another leap of faith into my own series, ‘On the Streets I Ran’, I then, yep, you guessed it – I took another leap into my own articles so I’ve tried to take another leap into Spoken Word. 

I’ve always thought parts within my articles – or poems within articles – have always been me testing or slowly dipping into… erm, …things you dip into !(Laughs), but the feedback was unbelievable and feedback confirmed or suggested –  it was poetry. So I thought I’d give it a go and again it seems to have worked – feedback has been tremendous, so I’ll continue – I’m not saying I’m any good at it by the way! I don’t think I’m any good at anything to be honest!

But feedback suggests otherwise Matthew! Its been unbelievable….!

It’s a peculiar world, it really is! And as I’m going red so… I’m off to the bar for a pint of wine!

Interview with local Spoken Word Artist Matt Jacobson
Matt Jacobson at Phase One – Photo by Michelle Marshall

You’ve performed your material at a number of venues, which venues stand out for you?

Well the first time at the ‘Monday night club’ hosted by Ian Prowse at The Cavern Pub was special, I was so nervous – I was halting acoustic music to perform Spoken Word and it was so busy – the music was brilliant and here I am stopping music to harp on. 

And at ‘Give Poetry a Chance’ at The Jacaranda was another mind blowing moment. It’s a wonderful night and I thank Dan Cullinan for the opportunity – that night gave me momentum to carry on as the reception was just… perfect. And I performed again last week at the same event but at Phase One – it was just what I needed. I’ve performed elsewhere but mainly those events – I’m picking up skills and confidence along the way. 

The response was great. I’ve also noticed free drinks from a few people along the way!

Well, why do you think I perform! – no it was very kind – totally… just wonderful moments… and very nice Gin! I think poems like ‘55 minutes’ and ‘Weyhey it’s today’ are humorous and added with the heavier poems, emotions go up and down and I feel this takes the audience on a rollercoaster through the night. 

‘Your poem ‘ Confetti Kecks’ at Phase One brought the house down….

Laughs – it did! …that was the first time I’d performed that… nervous moment but it worked.

You’ve started your own spoken word event ‘Leap of Faith’, how did this come about?

I submitted a poem to a local theatre and it was used in the show. I was then asked to go on the radio to perform some poetry as part of a BBC Radio Merseyside event and some of it made it to a ‘best of’ show at the end of the year. – and yet I had never performed outside my own flat!

My Norris Green poem was on Spotify before i’d performed it live so I thought it best getting out there!  

This also coincided with an exhibition I was asked to join. I was asked to display my work within a community event to inspire the community to be creative. On that day, I noticed myself using the phrase ‘leap of faith’ many times and I have also used it in this interview at least 206 times. But it’s true. Take the leap of faith – if you don’t do it, someone else will. 

Myself and poet Iroro Azanuwha have some amazing guests and also lots of people who watch and enjoy the evening. The level of poetry is amazing, so many talented folk in our community . It’s a special night, but not a competition between anyone or between poetry nights, for me – celebrates the city as much as we can and give as many opportunities a possible.

For those who don’t know, what can people expect when they go along?

We have some established artists and open mic – so some artists are performing for the first time and they have been returning again and again – just like yourself! It’s not my night, it’s our night. I want it to inspire… I aim for a safe environment and we make sure people support, applaud and care for each other. It’s an evening of wonderful words in a that safe and secure environment, and in this world – there aren’t many of them around.

I must say thank you to all who attend and perform and those who come to watch – and big shout out to local band The Sway, they have been to every event and even mentioned the Leap of Faith night on the brilliant Tenth Pint Podcast. I, like you – love the band. The future is theirs and I’m so proud they love the event – top band, top lads. They perform lyrics of songs, which are clever and smart and thought provoking.

And with thanks to Iroro, Claire Beejeraz, Christy Smith, Mitch, Molly, yourself, Stevie P, Stacey, Ray, The Denbigh Castle and my Sister who travels home from Scotland at each event to support. The first time she walked in I thought I owed her money or something (laughs) – just joking it’s lovely support from her and from all.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start performing?

Be yourself, free yourself. Have faith and belief in yourself, bring the world your words. The world will listen and love them.

What’s next for Matt Jacobson?

The 16:44 to the city centre… more of the same I think… let life find you…

Thanks Matt, we wish you well,

On the train?… no I thank you, and thank you and all at Explore Liverpool for support…. 

Michelle

Michelle Marshall

Explore Liverpool

For further details – check out @LeapofFaith2022 on twitter.

READ MORE: Interview with Spoken Word artist Sam Batley 

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