All music is poetry, but spoken word is a genre that truly builds a narrative around words. It’s been a niche market, never really dominating the public sphere in any impactful way. But that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been impactful for a lot of people. One of the most appealing things about spoken word is that it is so deeply introspective, and covers a wide range of issues that speak to something within everybody. Artist Jasmine Mans made headlines when she performed a piece on the sexualization of females in music and it resonated with many young women.
The piece also stuck with LA based artist Brooke Jean, who speaks about similar issues in her work. She’s been performing since 2009 and has covered a plethora of hot topics including race in America and the rights of women. Her work is not in-your-face preachy, or anything too controversial; she’s an archivist, documenting the troubling issues and (lack of) response that her generation is facing right now.
Her second album Reform is a bit lighter fare and continues on with the constant themes of growth and compassion, in her work. The album stems from many experiences which Brooke faced in the last few years, as she grew as a poet and also suffered personal and professional setbacks. It’s the kind of thing that we all go through, but don’t want to share in the literal picture perfect society we’re morphing into. For her, to show vulnerability is the true essence of spoken word and something that she only feels comfortable expressing through writing and performing.
We caught her performance at a spoken word night and sat down with her after her show to discuss her roots in spoken word, her musical influences and her writing process as she worked on her second album.