Twenty-five-year-old Akeem StonedwithCupid Chandler-Prescod is a 3rd-year student at The Barbados Community College pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Arts & Entertainment Management. He has also won three National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) Silver Awards for his pieces Boys Will Be Boys, Prizefighter and Diary of My Life as well as the Earle Warner Trophy of Excellence in Theatre. StonedwithCupid is taking his craft a step further as he has been invited to perform at the Pan African Creative Exchange and Vrystaat Festival from June 25 – July 8, 2019.
Bajan Vibes sat down with this talented artiste to find out more about who he is as a creative.
Q: How did you derive the name StonedwithCupid?
A: The name StonedwithCupid derived from me wanting a name that reflected my lifestyle, habits, and personality. Given the nature of my art being personal and perspective-based, I needed something that connected with my being and thus with my audiences. With that being said, the ‘stoned’ part of the name stems from indulgence or consumption. In this case, the consumption or indulgence of things I am infatuated with or like. The infatuation is where the ‘cupid’ comes into being as it is a cherub that represents attraction and sometimes love; I thought it was a fitting symbol to encapsulate my likes. In essence, the name is a reflection of a part of my personality that believes in surrounding yourself with things you like and enjoy throughout your life.
Q: In the three years since you emerged on the scene, you have redefined the poetry sector with a fusion of poetry, music, and rap. How did this come about?
A: I can’t say I have redefined the sector as I am the only one offering this style of product on the market in this quantity. What I can say is that I have introduced a new type of content and innovated the typical way of doing spoken word and have created a demand for this new offering. This came about as I was already familiar with theatre, songwriting, rapping, and musical production so when I decided to become a spoken word artist, I thought it would be best if I fused all the elements into one. This fusion became my unique selling point and probably gave me an advantage over other poets.
Q: You have also won three NIFCA Silver Awards – a hat trick. What can we expect this year from StonedwithCupid?
A: This year I am looking to dive in fully into digital distribution of spoken word and poetic offerings. I would like to have at least five tracks out by the end of the year where I am involved heavily in the production process. If possible, I will also like to release my debut project where every track is written and performed by me with some being engineered and produced by me. As for NIFCA, I am not entirely sure I may enter this year but if I do, I will attempt to have my entry aided heavily by some element of digital recording whether it be a vocal sound bed, backing vocals or even have the sound itself play a character.
Q: You are also a rapper. When can we expect to hear some of your rap offerings on the radio?
A: If all goes well something from me should reach the airwaves by October 2019. However, this decision is not up to me but I would implore local DJs to take notice of local artists and also take a risk on playing something that may be deemed experimental. I would rather prefer one of my spoken word tracks [to be played] on the radio as we already have Barbadian rappers on the radio. But at current, I have only ever heard two spoken word artists being played on the radio. Also, Barbadian spoken word is unique to the island, and the style is indigenous. It can act as a true reflection and expression of the Barbadian people.
Q: You are scheduled to perform at the Pan African Creative Exchange and Vrystaat Festival from June 25 – July 8, 2019. Are you excited to embark on this venture?
A: I am excited about the Vrystaat Festival as it is the first time I would travel to perform. Also, it is the first time Barbadians have been invited to perform poetry or spoken word. It is a massive opportunity for me to push my brand and my genre forward into an international market. (LG)