Host Spotlight: Olive

Host Spotlight: an opportunity to shine a light on our wonderful radio hosts and wider community, be it a new music release, a brand new music residency or simply to champion them as an individual. We chat to poet, spoken word performer and host of Hidden Poets, Olive!

Hi Olive! We’re loving your MDR residency Kaleidoscope. Can you tell us more about the ideas behind the show?

Ah thank you so much, I’m loving putting it together each month. My show sits in the very center of where all my interests intersect. Spoken word is definitely at its core, but I wanted to include elements of mysticism, herbalism and of course music. It varies each month depending on the space I’m in personally, or if I have a guest on, but I always keep rhythm and flow as the main focus of all the content within the show. 

I suppose I wanted to create a show that was informal and playful whilst still showcasing the power of poetry, and the magic of the natural world. As my show is on a Sunday afternoon at the moment it’s important for me to keep a lightness to it, although there’s still a lot of space for me to explore within that. 

I’m much more comfortable and confident on radio now that I’ve settled in, so I’m excited to see what I can create when I allow myself to just play in that space.

Does your spoken word and poetry work influence your show and vice verca? If so, how?

Definitely! Music has always influenced my poetry more than reading, I connect deeper to rap and performance poetry more so than written words. So for me there’s not really any separation between music and poetry which means I can curate my music selection from what spoken word pieces I want to share, and allow music to influence what spoken word to perform. It’s like one blends into the other.

Is it important for you to put your own personality into your work? If so, how do you achieve that?

I think it’s impossible not to when you’re creating something, especially something as personal as poetry. 

Poetry is a powerful art form because it connects senses, experiences and emotions just through words. It sort of simultaneously silences and ignites a room. The most powerful poetry is pulled from a very open, vulnerable place so the more specific you are about your experience the more impact the poem will have. 

I try to keep that in mind when I’m writing. Being as honest as I can and weaving myself into the piece always seems to give the best result. All of my spoken word is created from a place of truth, even my more abstract pieces are inspired by things I have thought, felt or experienced in some way. It’s very liberating and also terrifying to be so open when performing such personal thoughts to an audience.

Can you tell us more about ‘Hidden Poets’ and how it was born?

Hidden Poets is so special to me. To summarise it quickly it’s an event I created about a year ago which showcases music, art, poetry, food and mindfulness, but really there’s so much more behind it. 

I wanted to create a space where people could just get together and share things with each other. The initial idea was that anyone who came was asked to contribute something to help create the space together, so people brought food, tea, poetry, cards, juggling balls, drums and guitars. 

The name was inspired by random encounters with various people who would later reveal they privately wrote poetry, or created art. I like the idea that fundamentally humans are drawn to art, beauty and expression, like it’s in our DNA or something. 

I also thought it would be cool to move the event around, and leave trails for people to follow to find our “hidden” spot. I wanted to take away the pressure of performance, of people feeling like they have to be some kind of polished version of themselves. 

As the event moves about, into natural spaces like the forest, or random locations across in the city I realised it was naturally becoming more accessible. Changing the day, time and location meant the event was slowly opening up and becoming more available to more people.

I brought the event to Melodic Bar back in December and have done three events there now. This is a gorgeous space to be in as it does give an opportunity to platform people who do want to be on stage, and allows me to expand more on what I can create. I can include DJs, bring in pop up restaurants and even create crafts stalls from local artists. 

Hidden Poets at its core is a space for expression, celebration and community. 

Why do you think it’s important for us to be able to connect with nature? How does nature help you?

I think connecting to nature is the only way we can truly be healthy and happy. We are nature, we are natural beings and there is a fundamental need within us to stay in harmony with our natural environment. Not only does it sustain us, but it is a part of us just as we are a part of it. 

I genuinely feel free when I am exploring out in wild spaces. It makes me feel like a kid again. I’m definitely at my happiest, and always have been, when I’m having an adventure outdoors somewhere. 

But as well as all the fun and freedom nature gives, there is so much knowledge held in these spaces too. I am a very introspective person and highly sensitive too so I always find comfort in natural spaces where I can just discharge pent up energy. Pretty much all of my biggest life lessons have been realised in nature, understanding grief, life/death cycles, the balance of things, appreciating the importance of the cycle and how everything has a place and a role, all of these things have been understood and reflected back to me within nature. 

It’s easy for these things to be overlooked in the city because things move at such a fast pace, but when we remove ourselves and really tune into our surroundings we can connect to ourselves and our environment much deeper.

What was the last song you listened to?

It was Ngaminke by Les Mamans du Congo & Rrobin. It’s a gorgeous tune!

What else do you have planned for 2022?

I’m hoping to get some more camping trips in before the Autumn comes and explore a few places as much as I can but after that, who knows! I have a few creative projects brewing, but I struggle with burn out quite often so I’m also trying to give myself plenty of time off too. 

I also really want to hold a big Hidden Poets in the forest and create a whole day “Hidden Festival” buried somewhere in the trees so watch this space…

|| Olive ||