Matthew Vaughn is a 20 year old poet, rapper, song writer, and more from the city of Columbus, Ohio. He currently attends Wilberforce University. He is also a member of Underdog Academy, as well as Maroons Arts Group. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Matthew at Wilberforce University. Throughout our shared time at Wilberforce, I’ve been able to learn from Matthew through encounters that we’ve had. I’ve been moved by his art and presence in more ways than one. I reached out to Matthew for an interview to answer questions that I had about him and the craft of his artistry.
Allahnastevie: What is art? What does it mean for you?
Matthew Vaughn: Art is breathing. I always give the same answer. Art is the release of the mind of the spirit. The body is literally all of these things. When you’re in your craft, you lose control. You don’t necessarily know how it takes over your body. Without it, you may literally die. How often do you actually realize how you’re breathing? The breaths that you take are essential and you don’t even notice them on a day to day basis. To acknowledge that breath, and to acknowledge that release; that’s what art is.
AS: How important is poetry to you?
MV: It just ties into that breathing thing. Art is breathing, so poetry is the way I breathe. Poetry is really my first love. It’s a gift to me: to be able to write it, and be able to appreciate it.
AS: How long have you been performing?
MV: I performed for the first time [during] my junior year, which was 2013. I performed my first actual spoken word piece the following year in 2014 during my senior year. Ever since then, I kinda got addicted to the feeling. The first time I ever performed was the scariest shit on this earth. I was shaking. I wasn’t ready. I wore sunglasses so I could close my eyes and not look into the crowd. After I was done, to be appreciated by the ones around me and hear the response…knowing that people actually connected to what I have said or, you know, worded in a certain way that they may have not looked at, that was addicting to me.
AS: What do you hope to achieve while performing? How do you hope to reach people?
MV: This is actually in all of my bio’s for my group’s site [and] for this show I did production in. It’s to connect. My whole purpose in performing poetry is to connect with each and every person that I read for. Or [if] they read my piece, hear me through someone else (however they do it), I want that person to connect every single time, in some way or another. That connection may very well be that it upset them. That connection may be that they don’t agree with everything I’ve said, but they acknowledge it. To hear it, to respond to it in some way or another is all I desire in doing what I do.
AS: What’s the feeling you have while performing poetry?
MV: Performing…so I get nervous every single time I perform, right…after I start, it’s gone. I’m off in the races. So, if I’m doing well on a piece, I feel like I’m floating. I don’t even get to enjoy the moment because I get taken away into the poem. Like literally, I performed the shit out of a poem and really left it all on the stage. Then [I] get off the mic and I’m like back into Matthew. [Then] I’m like, “Damn that was so long and I was absent for a lot of it because I was so into the performance.” It’s an amazing feeling. It’s kinda like euphoric. I would describe it as that.
MV: When it comes, it comes, but I try to force it as much as I can. I try to write as much as I can, because the only way to have writer’s block is to block your own writing. If you’re not writing, then you’re going to have writers block. Like literally just write and you will be able to write. I try to write as much as I can, whenever I can. Like if something hits me in the moment and I have my phone on me, and I can [jot] it down. I’m going to do it. Or if I’m not in the space, like I’m driving , I can voice record it. It just comes when it comes though. Sometimes it will be in a short little haiku or a one minute poem. Sometimes it will come in a three minute poem all at once. Sometimes I’ll start a poem out, get a stanza written even for like a month and then come back to it like, “Oh, I’m randomly inspired to write something about this topic for a poem, so here it is.”
AS: So Matthew: the poet, the tree, the spirit, the human. What will be your lasting impact on this world through your art? Through your ability to connect ?
MV: To let them know that everything that is within them is okay.
“For every mourning,
The sun rises.
For every death, a life is born.”
– Matthew Vaughn
Click the link below for a video of Matthew’s poetry: