madtatter films

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‘WE NEED AS MANY ARTISTS AS WE NEED DOCTORS’ - SALVIN CHAHAL - SPOKEN WORD ARTIST

Many of you may recognise Salvin from this dope video by MadTatter Films from artist Inkquisitive’s ‘Souled Out’ Tour but apart from spitting with incredible flow over hip-hop beats (“forbidden from reading the scriptures, prisons are feeding the richer…”), Salvin is a powerful spoken word poet with a passion for activism through art. 

How and when did you first get into spoken word poetry?

I was always writing since I was a kid, but I didn’t get involved with writing poetry until I was in High School. It wasn’t until I heard Shihan and other artists on Def Poetry Jam that inspired me to pursue spoken word. My senior year in high school was the moment i decided to stick with writing. I’ve been performing, competing, and teaching literacy through poetry ever since.

What is the thought process behind your writing?

I really try to sit down and imagine hearing/visualizing the poem as someone that’s hearing/reading it for the first time. Whatever subject i’m writing about, I try to become that topic, or a specific person in that circumstance. The opportunity to get on the mic and say whatever you want is a blessing. Especially if you can make someone think or feel differently within a few minutes.

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What subjects do you mainly focus on in your poetry?

As a poet, you would want to create a diverse amount of material. Each piece is different, but many of my pieces are politically charged. I want people to learn something from my words, because sharing knowledge is essential. Many of my other pieces are stories that i’ve created from my own experiences or those that i’ve witnessed throughout my life which range from relationships to the rising rate of suicide in high school.

What are your dreams/ambitions for the future?

I hope to open or work with a community center such as Sol Collective, that emphasizes on art culture and activism in hopes to bring back art and music into the educational system. Every opportunity I get to spit or release more work I just want to be an example of expression. I believe expression is essential for human beings, even if it’s writing what’s on your mind or drawing something on a piece of paper. We need as many artists as we need doctors, and I just want to spark the creativity of those around me.

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What influence or input does your South Asian background have in your work and how is your culture important to you?

I love my South Asian background and I feel it’s necessary to somehow incorporate my culture with the work that I do. For example, Wisechild who is a producer, (We go by Native Children) plays the tabla while I spit my poems, which is creative and a great way to expose people to a small aspect of my culture. I am just a messenger, telling the stories of my environment, the omnipresent struggle and my culture. Culture is slowly diminishing, I just want to represent it through the art of poetry and music. 

Be sure to follow Salvin on Twitter and check out his Youtube channel where he’ll be posting great new videos of his live poetry very soon!

- S