Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Enticing audiences with his Monthly Series Soirées Intimes, Kym Dominique-Ferguson is bringing the originality and creativity back to Poetic Soul. There is no limit to this man’s insightfulness, MontrealDancehallTV caught up with the artist to find out more about his music, projects, and what he's working on next.

For those who don’t know… Who is Kym Dominique-Ferguson?
Kym Dominique-Ferguson is a business man. An Artist. A man who is unafraid of speaking his mind, no matter the opinion of others. A man who is willing to work hard for all the things that make him happy in life. I was born to a Haitian mother and Jamaican father right her in Montreal, Quebec. I spent most of my youth hopping between Jamaica, Haiti and Canada before planting much needed roots in St Andrew Jamaica, where I grew up from a teen to a young adult. My formative years living in Jamaica with my father and step-mother guide many of my decisions and influence me continuously.

How did you get your start as an artist, what was your first big break?
This is actually two questions in one because I practice different artistic disciplines. I am at heart, a poet (or spoken word artist as people like to refer to us as), I studied theatre for three years at the Edna Manley College in Jamaica, and I am also a filmmaker. I must say I deem myself extremely blessed to have had three parents (mom, dad and step-mom) who encouraged me into the arts.  1)As a poet, my first big break was back in 2001, it was June or July. I had moved up to Montreal to study Cinema and my mother came and gave me a flyer to a show called "Soulshack". I had read my poetry out loud before, but I hadn't been active in the poetry community anywhere. So I practiced and practiced and eventually I went up on stage and killed it. That validated the beginning. The moment that cemented it for me came two years later, at the Florida Caribbean Students' Association conference. I performed to over 1,500 students from across Florida and the surrounding states and won the oratory segment of their competition night. It was very moving. 2) I studied theatre at the Drama School in Kingston, and every year the school puts on two plays.3) As a filmmaker, this industry is extremely cutthroat, and you have to do a lot of ass-kissing... can I say that here? get to where you want to be. I don't like to do that, so my climb has been a steep one. A friend of mine, Greg Frankson from Ottawa (at the time) decided to take a drive back to Montreal with me. I was showing him my short films that I had made for school, and a light went off in his head. He was one of the organizers of the 2010 Canadian Festival for Spoken Word which was happening in Ottawa. He asked me to produce an ad to promote the festival. Needless to say, the wheels started turning in my head. Ottawa has a plethora of talent that is just unbelievable in the spoken word community. I ended up producing what is known as a triptych. Three trailers, of increasing duration, that... well, you should just see for yourself.

You’ve been in the Poetry scene for a few years, how would you say that you have evolved as an artist?
As an artist my evolution has been from simply being a performer to becoming more business oriented, and being more organizationally oriented. I also put a lot more energy into my performance, even if I am reading a piece, I perform it, because I want the audience to experience every emotion, every moment, every nuance of the poem needs to be felt if not understood. As a producer, I expect the same of my events/shows. They are an extension of my artistic performance and possess high integrity. I put my heart and soul into everything I do, and hope that the audience appreciates the work. So far, so good.   
What inspires the root of your dialogue?
I am inspired by everything I am going through on a regular basis. I am inspired by things that my friends, family, even history has gone through. But my biggest inspiration has always been Love. Call me a romantic, or a fool, but Love is the most powerful subject matter in my poetry, the words that come from it can caress you like the afterglow experienced after great lovemaking, or slice at you like a thousand paper cut torture session. Yeah, that's right, Love can do both pleasure as well as pain. But it's Love, it's one of those things that they use the saying "Can't live with it, Can't live without it!" Some of what I believe were my most powerful pieces were born out of Love one very  notable one is "10 things I hate About You." Anyone born in the eighties will know that the title was inspired by the movie of the same name. It talks about the torturous feelings that come with knowing you cannot be with someone anymore, but still wanting them so bad, it hurts.

How did you find your rhythm as an artist in this industry?
I wish I could give you a cut and dry answer to that one. Ha! Finding a rhythm in this industry has been like riding on a sailboat with no motor, during a thunderstorm, no: a class 5 hurricane! You never know if you'll capsize and sink, or survive "God's Fury" and reign supreme. The risks in this industry are very high and when "betting the odds" it's usually all or nothing. There have been some serious struggles that left me wondering: What the hell and I still doing here? Why don't I just pack it all up and leave? But there's always that glimmer of hope that keeps you going.

What have been the biggest highlights for you?
The biggest highlight happened to me this year, and it was very simple. At the end of the January 2012 MADPOETIX: Soirées Intimes show featuring NYC poet Sean B and Montreal's own songstress Sarah MK, one of my patrons, who's also a friend of mine came up to me an said "Kym, I don't know how you do it but this show keeps getting better and better!" no word of a lie, I had a little dust in my eye after that. It validated the work I was doing and my drive that makes me continuously strive for improvement. 

You’ve launched several shows, Madpoetix Soirées Intimes, The art of Performing Aural sex what can people expect to when they attend?
Well, chronologically The Art of Performing Aural Sex (APASX) was created first and was running for five years before MADPOETIX: Soirées Intimes was even conceived. APASX was an experiment. Arriving at the end of my film degree at Concordia I knew that my industry (filmmaking) wouldn't afford me any liberties.  I decided to create an Erotic Poetry Show that syncretized poetry, theatre, music ad dance. Something Montreal had never seen, erotically. Whenever anyone attends an APASX event, they can expect some of the best erotic performances to hit the stage. Heheh! I actually have to warn my audience when the show starts that if they like the first half, they're going to love the second half. Why? Systematically after the first half of the show many of the couples in the crowd end up vanishing. Now, some of it could be because of the taboo content, let's be real, we're talking about sex. So it's definitely not your gramma's poetry, right! I am pretty sure some couples leave because they want to put into practice some of the words they have heard. The ideas they get. And so on and so forth. So we encourage them to stay for the rest of the show because our second half usually steams up windows better than the first. Also, we usually have an after party, it's always poorly attended! MADPOETIX: Soirées Intimes is an Open Mic Night that is our event made to give back to the artistic community. In 2010 we lost a notable artist: Bad News Brown. On Facebook and other social media people were posting his pictures and videos all over. Myself included. My girlfriend at the time asked me, or rather pointed out to me: how comes people wait until he is dead to promote his work? And that made me think. The wheels started turning. A venue became available, and everything fell into place. The Bar Privateer (formerly club Motions) became host to the MADPOETIX: Soirées Intimes. This series also offers a platform for young entrepreneurs to showcase their work outside of performance art.

Women are always trying to get inside a man’s head and vice versa. Tell us about some of your Poetic thoughts on the matter?  
My poetic thoughts...As a poet, who's been trying to understand the nuances of the female psyché, their mannerisms, why some women make the decisions they make, act the way they act... I am left dumbfounded and stumped. It's a real conundrum sometimes because one moment it seems like everything is okay, but the next you're getting the silent treatment and you're wondering what did you do wrong? But it's a part of the whole interaction, discovering the other person, their likes and dislikes, wants, desires, so on and so forth. And that's all good... But sometimes the frustration feels like swallowing glass. I try as much not to get caught in that, but I'm only human, and being a poet my imagination runs wild on me... I really could go on, but I think I'll stop here! Haha! 

Who did you look up to when you were growing up?
My father. See my parents divorced at a young age and I grew up with my dad, and a little while after my step mother came into the picture. My dad is an entrepreneur in Jamaica. He worked in photography from before I was born even though his academic vocation was graphic design. The two kind of went hand in hand. You could say I was fortunate because he always encouraged me in everything artistic, be it drawing, dancing, singing and even theatre.When I was in high school I studied technical drawing, and decided that I wanted to be an architect. My father took me to the best supply stores, got me all the tools I needed, and I excelled at it. My work was always impeccable and the quality though not as high as my dad's was always a few notches below. After high school I kind of ended up not knowing what I wanted anymore and he pushed me in a natural direction: Theatre. I haven't looked back ever since. I always admired his work, striving for perfection all the time. Getting that good shot. Becoming one of the best photographers in Jamaica. Staying aware of the advancements in technology. He always had, and still possesses, an acute sense of style and fashion that makes me feel shamed sometimes because his clothes are nicer than mine and I should be the young hip one! HAHAHA!  I was one of the lucky ones. I always looked up to him, and as I evolve into my own man, I still use him as a template. All the lessons learned, the arguments and the laughter, they shaped me into the man I am today, and will continue to shape me into the man I will be tomorrow. 

You're consistently traveling to Jamaica how has that inspired your art? How would you say those experiences have influenced your work and what you write about?
The language. Jamaica has a whole history that can be written when it comes to Oral performances. Bob Marley, Mutabaruka, Miss Louise Bennett; poets, singers, story-tellers. I try not to imitate, but observe, see what works, and integrate it into my work. The Language is a very powerful one. I love the sound of a Jamaican speaking. I find it to be distinguishable from all our other sister islands in the Eastern Caribbean. It's rougher with a grittier edge, yet caress you like a cool breeze in the morning on a beach in Negril.I always enjoyed knowing that my Jamaican roots sparked my poetry. But my Haitian roots also must be accredited for that. My grandfather, my mother's father, was also a poet, I learned much later on, he was also a filmmaker. His name was Jean Dominique. To any Haitian born before 2000, he was an important figure in Haiti's movement towards free speech. My mother brought me to Haiti as a child, and I discovered so much. Again, the language. So similar to my eyes and ears. Kreyol was to French, what Patois was to English for me. I gobbled it up for the four years I lived there in my youth. My travels to Jamaica, (I haven't been to Haiti since the year my grandfather was assassinated) are like a recharge for me. Montreal leaves me winded after a time and every once in a while I need that boost of energy. Jamaica, being around my father and step-mother, they provide that for me.

What would you like your legacy to be?  
I just want to be remembered as someone who wanted better for his peers. Who wasn't afraid to speak his mind. A man whose word you could trust blindfolded. A poet who could leave you entertained no matter the subject matter. An artist who gave back as much as possible.

What can we expect from Kym Dominique-Ferguson in 2012?
A lot is on the back burner right now. Getting things sorted out and organized. But there is a book and an album in the workshop, the upcoming shows are already booked. Every second Sunday of the month, the next one is July 8th 2012.We'll be featuring two local artists, open mic veteran Lex Garcia and songstress Nicole Musoni... After that... The sky's the limit... For more info MADPOETIX:Soirées Intimes

By Ms.LoisLane
Photography courtesy of  Kym Dominique-Ferguson

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