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Sophia Thakur

As a child

I was born in London, the same and only side of London that I can call home. I was raised in between music lessons, weekend gallery visits, frequent holidays, Gambian celebrations, sporting competitions and so much music. So much music. My childhood was filled with art, but we were never pushed to be artist or creatives. At least, not intentionally. My parents come from very academic backgrounds. The expectation was that we would become doctors like my dad’s whole side of the family, or lawyers, or bankers. But all of that art seeped up and took over. I fell in love with performance very young. Not necessarily poetry, but the stage. My parents found it charming at that age.

As an adult

I’d always written. I say always because I can’t ever remember not writing. It fitted into my life perfectly. I wasn’t a die hard artist. I was actually a very very regular, overachieving kid. Poetry was just something I knew to do from the age of 15. It became a career a few years later. But really it became a career once I graduated from the University of Birmingham and realised that now is the time to push it. I’d been performing and writing throughout university. I did two TED Talks, a few global campaigns, a university tour and countless high publicity events. I helped set up a poetry society at my university and ran it successfully for two years before passing the baton. Poetry was still what I was JUST DOING. Some would say that I was doing it passively, but it was working. I was building a huge international fan base, working with major clients and labels. Inspired thousands online weekly ... it was working. But so was my degree ... it was working my last nerve. Having to spend half of my time on my Politics degree, and the other half on poetry was normal. I’d been filling my gaps with poetry since first winning a poetry competition in year 11. It also meant that I’d never actually been a full-time poet, until graduation. After graduating I went on tour with an orchestra, performed at major festivals, began songwriting and started collaborating with MTV and Nike. I started working with young girls, inspiring a future generation and really sinking my teeth into just about everything. From hosting the annual Tech Awards, to running poetry sessions in corporate spaces... I found, and still am finding, new ways to take the skill that is writing a speaking, into other industries. That’s how I’ve ended up writing my first collection. I’m on stage already. I make music already, I work in illustration and media. But I needed something people could sit with. Sink teeth into, hold onto. These are the things that inspire. These are the things that evoke lasting change. A book was needed. Also, my large African and Asian family speak in the language of books, less so performance poetry. This is how I’ve ended up penning my thoughts.

Ten things you didn’t know about Sophia Thakur

  1. I was terrified of people reading my poetry. That’s why I preferred performance poetry. Less ambiguity.
  2. I wish I could dance. It physically pains me that I can’t dance as well as I wish.
  3. I believe that an honest conversation can solve any problem. Political, religious, family, relationship … any problem.
  4. My mum’s display of love is like none that I’ve ever seen. Sometimes I don’t think that she is human.
  5. I wish the family were closer.
  6. I wish I could re-read so many books for the first time.
  7. Songs > Movies
  8. I live inside so many stories in my head. I make my playlist based on which scenarios each song throws me into.
  9. I think I can really hear God when he speaks to me. Like, really really hear him.
  10. No claps, clicks or well dones. The biggest compliment is allowing yourself to be open to somebody else’s art.

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