I was clearing out my “drafts” folder and realized this post was never published. Two years ago, just eight months before the release of my debut EP “The Restoration”, I was given the opportunity to share the stage with two Maryland-based poets which was my first time as a paid feature. For me that was a milestone. I don’t get asked in my own city, maybe because I’m new on the scene, maybe my age and maybe because I don’t fall easily into any type of spoken word category but I am learning to sit comfortably with being not popular. I am okay with being different because it’s about the process of creating art for me and the energy I get when I know the audience is responding and feeling my written word. Ironically a month from now I will be featuring for the same poetic prowess Simply Sherri in Baltimore for her Heard it Through the Grapevine and I am looking forward to the experience. It’s a treat to be surrounded by the energy of the artists in the DMV and I can’t wait to see them again, they always give me so much love in return!
Anywhoo…just thought I’d post this and I hope that I will see you in October! Visit my Facebook page for updates and more information or CD Baby to hear samples and download my debut EP titled “The Restoration”. I truly appreciate the love!
I’m starting to understand how this life journey works. Half way into writing my story, just a few months from reaching what is supposed to be my golden year and I am finally giving myself permission to rewrite my story. Every few years I get to the end of a chapter, look back, reflect, revise, and restate my vision for my life before I move on to the next. This past Saturday night was one of those times when thoughtful contemplation met up with years of unconscious manifestation and moved me towards a new chapter in my life. When Sherri of Simply Poetic Entertainment contacted me to see if I would be interested in co-featuring at her first Philadelphia edition of Heard it Through the Grapevine, I was pleasantly surprised! I met her once as the spotlight artist (opening up for her and the other feature) last August so when she contacted me I had to make sure feature meant what I thought it meant before I got really excited. As she expanded on the details I knew I had to say yes. An evening of wine and love poems; that had Toni Love written all over it! I started to think about the poems that I would recite. The flyers and event page went all over social media and I promoted the show with the same reserved passion that I always do but I was still nervous about making sure I carried my weight as a performer.
I arrived early, asked them to save me a glass of Sangria from the wine tasting (I can never eat or drink before a performance, it makes my stomach uneasy!) and sat down to calm myself. What many don’t know is that I almost always completely blank out before a poetry reading. I can’t remember anything I’ve written and I often grab a book or start printing out poems so that I’ll have them in written form just in case. My biggest fear is that I’ll stand up and forget everything. I panic, I pace and then I remember to sit down and breathe. As I sat I saw faces of love walk into the small gallery one by one. Friends who lived on the block I grew up on, a sorority sister who drove a few hours to get there, fellow poets, my Italian mother (that’s my nickname for her), and my brothers. I watched them add chairs as the room filled and the walls expanded. By the time I took to the mic it was standing room only. I was still nervous but excited and overwhelmingly grateful at the same time. Sherri said “you have a lot of support here..I’ve been asking who they are here to see..” It was a vision that I didn’t know would be replicated seven months later at my EP release party. There’s nothing like looking out into a room full of faces that reflect genuine love. Nothing.
I recited four poems and sang a bit too. It was an exciting night! The quote below is a comment sent to me the next day from the host of the event. I hope to see you at a performance venue soon. I will always return the love. #loveistheanswer
Toni Love: I knew when I met you last year you were a dynamic performer and would wow that crowd. Your energy is incredible and your words were amazing. Let me know when you get that CD done, so I can get one.