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SWNY: How have you been able to successfully manage a music career as well as a career in Poetry for all of these years?

TA: Successful? I don’t know if “successful” is the word. “Blessed” is the better word, I guess. But I started professionally in 1996 and then took 2004-08 off to be a better parent.

Since 2008, it’s been a fun ride. I get to run around and make art in the various disciplines I love: poetry, music, design, school workshops and marketing. And, we get to do them with a community slant.

SWNY: Putting in the long hours; working towards being a better Dad… niccce!

SWNY: What possessed you to write your first poem?

TA: I suck at drawing. I kept writing because I liked it.


TA: [Laughs] I’m not trying to be funny, either, I just liked it. Writing felt good. It’s just that simple.

SWNY: How has your childhood upbringing influenced your Poetry writing?Tai Allen No Jewels back cover

TA: My dad was a poet and playwright. My godfather, Benji Nedd, was a songwriter and poet. Abiodun of The Last Poets was also a big influence. All three of them showed me the interconnection of songwriting and poetry.

SWNY: What do you struggle with as an adult? Does it influence you to write about it in your music or poetry?

TA: Life. I’ve never been into the existential elements or the selfish poems. I really do just try to talk about normal stuff.

SWNY: Throughout your career in the Arts, or even before you really got started, have you encountered people who doubted you could excel and who told you, you would fail? If so, how did it affect you?

TA: So many. But that is just part of working. Affect?! I suppose I like to prove “haters” and doubters wrong, but I am more about doing the work.

SWNY: How has what you do in the Arts affected your children/family? Has it influenced any of them to pursue a career in the Arts?

TA: My children think I am lame. But I find them also sharing my work or adding me to their list of faves. My youngest is an amazing artist, though I try not to push her. I exchange with and train, but I do it more for her personal growth. With the eldest I do the same, but in the disciplines she loves.

SWNY: Is Poetry a career path you would encourage your children or any youth to pursue?

TA: Yes. The path is the work though and maybe the career will come.

SWNY: What Causes do you support?

TA: Critical thinking for children and young adults.

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