Singer, songwriter, producer, and spoken word artist, Kimberly “DuWaup” Bolden, is a quadruple threat who has been bringing her own brand of flavor to the city’s flourishing arts community for nearly 20 years! She is a pioneer who has conquered the mic, the stage, and everything in between and is showing no signs of slowing down. With four independent albums, a successful poetry slam, DuWaup’s Cincinnati Poetry Slam, she is certainly a woman who has mastered the art of owning her own brand. She is a wife, mother, artist, and artist mentor who seems to tackle each role with relative ease.
As a Poet, DuWaup is about as versatile as the many hats she wears. Depending on the poem, she is the lover, the sister-girl, the advisor, or friend and she delivers each role adeptly. She has graced many stages over her impressive career with many more to come.
Kimberly “DuWaup” Bolden is also the founder and Executive Producer of Cincinnati Poetry Slam as well as the Marketing Manager and Poetry Programs Coordinator for Elementz Hip Hop Cultural Center located in Cincinnati, OH. She has won spoken word competitions and awards, both as a solo artist and as a member of spoken word groups and collectives. DuWaup has collaborated with other creatives on major spoken word events, recording projects, stage plays, web series, and publications. DuWaup is set to release her first poetry book along with an album that will feature some of the poems from the book (some spoken, some formatted into songs). Both the book and the album are titled “SINCERELY, DuWaup”. This dual project is a compilation of 20 years of writing and life experience that will officially be released on December 3, 2021 on Amazon.com and all streaming music platforms.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
I’m a late bloomer so to speak. I began writing poetry in my late twenties as a form of self expression. It was my love for performance that really spearheaded my desire to write. It was in performance circles that I was introduced to spoken word poetry. I was so enamored by the art form that I grabbed a hold and never let go. It was because of my love for spoken word that I became an avid writer and performer.
What I love about writing poetry is that writing allows me to tell my truth, speak my peace and speak my mind without interruption. It’s the truest form of self expression, in my opinion.
The thing that initiated me into being a writer is the same thing that frustrates me the most about writing. As a performer, I find that my writing is sometimes stunted because of concerns of how well a poem will “perform”. It was while writing poems for my book when I began to release the expectation for a poem to perform well. I embraced being vulnerable and transparent and began to write from the heart without care of criticism. I know there is always criticism, but I don’t let it lead my thoughts or my pen.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
Yes. This is my debut book entitled “SINCERELY, DuWaup”. My book is actually a part of a dual media project consisting of the book as well as a digital music soundtrack to the book. The soundtrack features original music production, poems and songs. I’m a singer and songwriter as well. Both projects will be released on December 3, 2021 . This is a particular collection of poems in that I carefully considered which poems would be in the collection. I was determined to have a focus and a theme. I like themes.
I wanted to curate poems that were truthful and sincere. I allowed my strengths, weaknesses and vulnerabilities to be exposed, in all of their truth, without fear of who might be watching. My hope is that my book will inspire the reader to do the same in whatever healthy, creative fashion they choose.
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
Most of my poetry is inspired by my life and experiences. There are times, however, when I step into someone else’s shoes and write from different perspectives based on what I witness from others. So, in a sense, they are all real-life experiences.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
I don’t have a writing schedule, except if you consider that most of my writing is done either in the early morning before everyone else is awake or at night after the house quiets down. There are times, like during the process of writing my book, that I purposefully separate myself from the hustle and bustle of all that the family has going on to write.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
The first book that comes to mind that moved me emotionally was The Coldest Winter Ever by Sistah Souljah who I also consider to be one of my favorite authors.
I’m currently reading Mirrored Images by Chyrel Jackson and Lyris Wallace
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I’ve had many significant achievements as a spoken word artist (performance poet). But, the most significant achievement as a writer is definitely becoming a published author. In the next five years I foresee releasing at least two more published books also with numerous opportunities to share my art and experience with individuals, groups and organizations both at home and abroad.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
During my writing career, I’ve realized that every person, every group and every audience isn’t the same. Everything ain’t for everybody.
The best advice I can give to better cope with navigating the publishing process is to not over-think the process. Over-thinking leads to feelings of being overwhelmed which can cause one to become stifled or stagnant in the process. Just let it flow. Let it be.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
Yes, juggling is hard. I try to stay in one frame of mind as much as I can, especially when I’m in the beginning stages of either process.
I’m just now in the pre-ordering phase of the book launch. My book has been available for pre-order for less than a week and sales are going well. I have a substantial following as a spoken word artist, so there is a lot of crossover following for my book.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
Being a spoken word artist, I read my own writing in order to memorize poems that are intended for performances. I actually enjoy reading my own work. The funny thing is that it’s traditionally been harder for me to allow others to read my work, but overcoming that angst has been liberating.
10) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
I know women don’t typically tell their age, but I’m proud to say that I’m a forty eight year old married woman with adult children, a small child and seven grandchildren. I am that late starter in the industry. I believe my years of life and experience shaped me and made me ready for this journey.
I guess, depending on the audience, a late start could be a hindrance. But to that I say, know your audience.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I write to release thoughts and emotions that I feel I must get out in order for me to move on or to continue on. I also write to connect and relate as well as to educate and inform.
Writing helps me feel more empowered because it provides an avenue for me to express myself without restriction or interruption.