Originally from the Bay Area, MATT GAMIN, aka ‘MAESTRO’, has made Southern California his home. The erstwhile MC actually stumbled upon spoken word by chance, attending a writing workshop on a whim. He’s now a member of the prestigious Vibrationists writing group, and making his national television debut this season on Verses & Flow. We sat down with Gamin to discuss memorization techniques, the importance of his very first poem, and how he got the ‘Maestro’ moniker.
LA: So, you live here in California, which has produced a lot of great poets. How did you get started with spoken word?
MG: Yes, I am from California. Grew up in San Jose, but have been here in Los Angeles since 1998. I still go back and forth between here and South Bay, though. As for spoken word, honestly, it hasn’t been that long. It was maybe a little over two years ago, and I had been writing lyrics. I used to be a rapper. I went to an open mic to see a friend perform. It was someplace off of Pico [Boulevard in Los Angeles]. There were a bunch of amazing poets, and some rappers and singers, too. There were two features there that night who I didn’t know, but who are now really good friends. They run a writer’s group in Inglewood. I was drawn to what they were saying, so I went up to them afterward and exchanged numbers and didn’t really think about it again. Then I started receiving general texts, inviting me to the writer’s workshops they hosted. This went on for six months! But, because I hadn’t performed that night, I ignored the texts, thinking they weren’t’ meant for me [laughs].