Alim Kamara is an award-winning lyricist; he is a hip-hop artist, storyteller and poet who is based in the UK and will be joining us in April for the Settle Stories Festival.
“Crowds that have witnessed his delivery described his hop-hop style as poetically vivid and energetic. Alim Kamara and a mic accompanied by a live band or even just an instrumental back up, form spectacular combinations.”
Alim was raised in one of the most socially deprived areas of London as well as spending parts of his childhood in Sierra Leone and has dedicated much of his artistic work to working with young people in similar circumstances, inspiring them to use rap, music, poetry and storytelling to express themselves. He has worked around the world and delighted audiences in the UK, Sierra Leone, Canada and Holland, sharing his unique blend of music and storytelling.
Since graduating from Middlesex University in 2007 with a 1st Class Degree in Creative Writing and Media Writing, he has gone on to tour globally performing live music. He has written two rap albums and is currently working on a third.
His most recent accomplishment was closing the event for the renowned Ted Talks which took place in Tottenham for which Alim received a standing ovation for his performance.
I asked Alim to answer some questions about his journey to date and what he would say to his younger self if he could . . .
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
A: My greatest achievement would be making a conscious decision to be a full-time artist. Coming from a background where the expected norm is pursuing what are considered respectable professions i.e. doctor, lawyer, accountant; I set a precedent for doing what you love.
Q: What inspires your creativity?
A: My environment, my culture, my experiences inspire my creativity. I was born in the UK but spent my childhood in Sierra Leone. The amalgamation of the two worlds. Growing up around griots (storytellers) and campfires to then being transported to the digitised era of rap, pop music and spotlights are evident in how I deliver.
Q: Give one piece of advice to your younger self.
A: To my younger self, I would say, "Dude considering you got an A in GCSE drama, pursue that instead of going for business in college."
Q: Who is your artistic idol & why?
A: My artistic idol is the hip-hop artist, actor and poet Tupac. He was a bold, fearless and worked tirelessly to express with vulnerability.
Q: What is your key goal with your artistic practice?
A: Currently, my key goal is to remain consistent in creating, stay in my lane of just delivering to the best of my ability.
Q: What are the stakes? What happens if you fail?
A: I fail every day and it continues to build and shape who I am. I feel like if I don’t learn a valuable lesson, it finds its way to come back and test me. I have faced so much, and I am still standing. This is a testament to who we are as people; One of my favourite sayings is, you may not be responsible for getting knocked down, but you are certainly responsible for getting back up.
Q: If you could be any literary character, who would you be and why?
A: Which Literally character would I be? hmmm, I would have to say Anansi for he takes on many forms and will live on forever and ever - finding his way through the hearts of tellers and listeners.
Q: What do you want your tombstone to say?
A: I want my tombstone to say - still available online.
Interview conducted by Charlotte Furness