“Sure I get writer’s blocks but I just let them melt into my drinks, (the non alcoholic kind), I write off positivity and put up firewalls so you can’t put poison in my mind! If you got something to say, don’t be afraid to let it shine, breathe and write everyday for mental exercise!”
Words echoed off the brick facade of the underground gathering place for writers, spoken word artists and admirers alike. Alive with the sound of clinging glasses and the occasional finger snap, Nichole Acosta welcomes first timers to the spoken word open mic by transforming from a seemingly quiet and attentive on-looker soaking in every word of her peers to this fearlessly introspective and honest performer as soon as she steps on stage.
And that’s exactly what Nichole Acosta does, breathe and write everyday for mental exercise.
We all have certain things that we need to do to “get back to ourselves”, something that makes us feel the most honest to ourselves. Nichole found hers in writing, and it’s not just a hobby, it’s a way of life.
Influenced by the likes of Def Poetry Jam, Beau Sia, Ray Bradbury, Lemon Andersen, Saul Williams and Amiri Baraka, the Brooklyn N.Y. native began writing at the age of 11 when pushed by her creative writing teacher to be free with her words and tell her story, whatever that my be. Nichole quickly grew to love writing and ultimately performing at a young age. “My first experience on stage at 11; it was really cool, here’s a room full of coffee drinking poets and I’m just a kid, so that was fun.” says Nichole as she reflects on her early days as a performer … “I just wanted to share my story and hopefully people would get some empowerment out of that and not feel alone.” she continued.
Understanding the power of words and the importance of giving her own voice to her personal journey, Nichole was never attracted to the thought of being “just a book poet”, always wanting to “be out there” and connect with her listeners in her form of catharsis, humbled by the moments when a listener would approach her and say “I know exactly where you’re coming from, I can relate.”
I just wanted to share my story and hopefully people would get some empowerment out of that and not feel alone.
So what is that story? Maybe that of a multi cultural girl growing up and feeling mistaken, misjudged and misunderstood by her peers, annoyed by presumptions, navigating this city in search of self while proclaiming “I am Chirishican; Chinese, Irish y Puertorriqueña combined! Let me let that marinate in your mind … Chinese, Irish y Puertorriqueña combined, no I won’t make you pork fried rice!” with notepad in hand and hand gestures slinging words at whoever is in her path.
Maybe the story of a voyeur questioning societal reactions to the variety of relationships we encounter in our lives, the manner in which we teach our children to view the world or even Lil’ Kim’s life choices. Acosta is fearless in her questioning of accepted social norms, the lens in which it views itself and the impact it has on individuals. Especially artists.
Artistic expression and communal uplifting is very important to Nichole Acosta.Serving as the Director of Community Relations for her home base, The Inspired Word (an NYC based open mic series which welcomes performers to showcase their art), and as the founder, producer and lead collaborator of the Epic XII (a quarterly performance event featuring collaborations between a changing cast of 12 musicians, singer/songwriters and poets) which Nichole is especially proud of. Speaking on the Epic XII and the power of collaboration, Acosta says “The power of collaboration is nothing short of magical, I mean I never get nervous before going on stage anymore because of these packs of 12 that I keep putting together. I just trust in our ability to work together. I get really, really anxious but I don’t get nervous anymore because you have 12 people to support you at any given time and you support them back. I think that’s really important.”
Through all of her accomplishments and even publishing her own book of poetry, “Field Of Fireflies”, Nichole accepts how strongly her individual work stands on it’s own, but realizes her greatest strength as an artist.
The power of collaboration is nothing short of magical, I mean I never get nervous before going on stage anymore because of these packs of 12 that I keep putting together. I just trust in our ability to work together.
“I’m the best at collaborating with people and bringing them together.” While accepting her self proclaimed weak points; “I know that I’m not a perfect performer, I’m not amazing at memorization but I always try to perfect it enough so that the audience can understand me and connect with the words”.
Whatever story Nichole set out to share with the world as that 11 year old performer, it’s clear that it is still being written and she hopes to share her observations in a thought provoking, world changing way from her deepest, most honest place; her notebook.
“I think success after you leave the stage is getting people to want to hear more and think critically and openly outside their own comfort zone, not just selling a book, that’s great but if you get real feedback, not just ‘oh you were great’. I want to know what did you really connect with? That’s success for me.”
As I said before, that’s what Nichole Acosta does, breathe and write everyday for mental exercise, it’s not just a hobby, it’s a way of life.
I think success after you leave the stage is getting people to want to hear more and think critically and openly outside their own comfort zone, not just selling a book, that’s great but if you get real feedback, not just ‘oh you were great’. I want to know what did you really connect with? That’s success for me.