David Delisca is one of the rising stars in spoken word scene. Born in Haiti—bred in Toronto, Canada—Delisca has dazzled listeners and lovers of poetry with over 120 performances throughout Canada. Like many spoken word performers, the spoken word is at the core of his very being. He breathes it in his sleep, even. One of his most appreciated performances was of his self-written piece “Blackberry Love”, which was a smash with audiences when he performed it at an edition of the Tonronto Poetry Slam. The performer was handpicked by the Camden File Project, a social organization based in Canada to perform “On the Railroad” to raise awareness about urban youths in Canada, and the issues that face them.
Delisca took some time out from touring, writing, answered a few questions about himself and his craft.
Tell us about yourself.
This is always one of the hardest questions for me to answer. I can’t help but to get awkward with it. I like to think that I am a person that routinely does self-analysis, check-ups but I still don’t know what to say about myself. Umm…I’m tall, dark and I like drawing my name in the sand with my sneakers… is that a good answer? Forgive me for my complex. It’s either I’m vague about myself or I get too deep about myself. Maybe if I had a Rick Ross instrumental then I would freestyle exaggerated boisterous bars about myself.
How does one become a spoken word artist?
I think becoming a spoken word artist is probably the easiest thing ever. Just write something and perform it. It could be universally the crappiest string of words and sounds but it still word be a piece. Yes, there is an art to it, the root of all art is expression and the need to express yourself. [Sings the sample heavy of classic hip hop group NWA’s “Express Yourself”]. Strategically, you want to set up a piece in a way that you can communicate the goals of your expression effectively and efficiently so that they audience, reader, listener and can receive that information.
Do you think it’s important for a spoken word artist to write their own material?
If somebody is going around calling themselves a spoken word artist, then I think they should be able to write their own material. With that being said, I believe spoken word artist can take someone’s piece and re-interpret it through their perspective. Myself, I love to take rap verses and do it in a “spoken word style” to showcase the layers of the lyrics. I treat the simplicity of 2pac lyrics as if it’s Shakespeare because I feel the skeleton of his lyrics allow it to be filled with a lot of emotions.
When you’re performing your material in front of a crowd, do you ever get the jitters?
The first few times I did. I don’t get jittery in front of the crowd much but I do get jittery right before I step onto the stage – some folks think I be dancing and doing the Harlem Shake. But, I’m really shaking out the nerves. The only time I get nervous while in front of the crowd is when I’m trying something new such as dancing, singing or vocal impersonations.
Do you remember the first piece you ever wrote? What inspired it?
I can’t remember the first piece I wrote, regardless what it is was, I trust that it was dumb and stupid and I would be embarrassed to read it. I do remember the first piece I performed, it was called… actually I don’t know what it was called. But it had to deal with loneliness. During that moment, I was practicing celibacy and I told myself that the next person would be the last person I will be with so during my celibacy I ended up trying to tell myself that I’m not lonely and stuff like that.
Are there certain literary figures that you have a special admiration for?
The homeboy Langston Hughes. Kahlil Gibran. Robert Frost. Edwidge Danticat—the utmost admiration.
Do you think that technology will totally wipe out literature and the need for it one day?
Technology is such a crazy thing that I am ambivalent about. Through technology has made impersonal interaction easier but conversely made personal interactions harder. Hopefully we don’t evolve into a stoic robotic world in which natural human movement and actions such as emotion become abnormal. Anyways, literature will never be wiped off because we all need to tell stories but I do feel that technology could make it less genuine.