Interview with Karen Gibson Roc

A Spiritual Poet — Spoken word

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B. Seed : Thanks for being on brightseedblog.  A “poetic vocalist”, poetry, music, spoken word. All these things are a part of and make up your art. Has Karen Gibson Roc carved out a new genre for art lovers?

K. G. Roc : Yes and No! There are a variety of artists that do spoken word with music like myself but I think my uniqueness comes from the tempo at which I deliver my poetry within the music and not just over top of it!

B. Seed : described you as being a chic who “has the gift”. Is this how you see your groove, as a gift?

K. G. Roc : ABSOLUTELY! I believe I am here in this physical sensibility to deliver my poetic essence within the music. We all know that music can wake us up and make us feel things otherwise dormant. The poem and the poet must remain an integral part of our world or the world of art! Poets are uber important to humanity and its evolving nature. So the art of poetry and music combined is a very powerful medium for change!

B. Seed : You are from Jamaica. Were you a child when you left? Was your stay in New York a happy one or a big adjustment from Jamaica?

K. G. Roc : I left Jamaica when I was 2 years old! I grew up in Toronto, Canada and spent 20 years in NYC !! I would say growing up in Toronto had its great moments mixed with the challenging moments of puberty and early adult hood. New York was everything I dreamed it would be! It created in me the desire to live as an eternal artist and for that I am forever grateful!!

B. Seed : Why did you move to Toronto? Did it remind you in anyway of Jamaica?

K. G. Roc : My parents moved me to Toronto for opportunity I imagine. There is a large West Indian or Caribbean Community in Toronto so I was raised in a very closely knit community, of course it was quite the opposite of Jamaica.

B. Seed : “Destiny In Poetry”, “My Life”, “Through The Storm”, and “Beautiful Flower”, a song dedicated to your daughter; all posted on Soundcloud. What is your impression of that site?

K. G. Roc : I like Soundcloud very much, it gives you access to a plethora of universal music. Lately I find it to be a wonderful and connective community of music lovers!

B. Seed : You mention that you began with your art as “a way to express my uncomfortable awareness of what life had become for me as a late teen”. What did you mean by that? Does your Poetry now, still express what it did then?

K. G. Roc : I was just like any other teenager peddling her angst. I wrote about it in my early work because it cradled me and got me through many a challenging situation. My poetry expresses something different now, I express my thoughts and feelings on spirituality and the expression of Truth. I hover around thoughts of existence and life purpose/destiny.

B. Seed : You credit Lemongrass Music with helping you get your music on compilations. What is your relationship like with them today?

K. G. Roc : I’ve been working very closely with Lemongrassmusic since 2008 and I am still working with them to date.

B. Seed : A new album titled “THE COOL OF DAY” is coming soon. Your 2008 album “Touching The Soul” was released on the Lemongrass label i believe, but that was not your first album was it?

K. G. Roc : THE COOL OF THE DAY IS RELEASED it released in 2012 on Lemongrassmusic and my first album 5&2fish was released independently in 2004.

B. Seed : Fashion, cancer research. One might not see a connecton between the the fields but that’s exactly what Glamorama has done, connect them. What was it like working with Patti Labelle, The Commodores and Sheila E ?

K. G. Roc : It was wonderful! They all made me feel comfortable, no one made me feel like a newbie it was all about performance and sharing the stage for a brief moment in time! Patti in particular encouraged me!

B. Seed : Def Poetry Jam, Brooklyn Academy of Music Opera House for Def Poetry Plugged In, California African American Museum, Literary Arts and Music Festival in Jamaica W.I., a wide range here. These must have been exciting times right? Anything special stand out in your mind?

K. G. Roc : They all do but the Whitney Museum in NYC was special to me as it was the performance that gave me the courage to make a life as a performer! And I was 6 months pregnant with my little girl!!!!

B. Seed : How financially significant was recieving the “Canadian Council for the Arts-Grant Recipient for The Spoken Word and Storytelling Program (dub rap poetry)”, to you?

K. G. Roc : Very! The grant gave me the opportunity to fulfill a dream of recording a live project and packaging it!

B. Seed : You’ve also written a radio spot for Viacom/The Kaiser Foundation, an AIDS testing awareness program. How did you get started with that?

K. G. Roc : They approached me and we collaborated on the final copy!

B. Seed : So what’s next for you come 2014?

K. G. Roc : Well next we are working on a feature length documentary that will encompass the last 15 years of my life as a mother and a poet! And I have two new singles set to be released in 2014!! Through Lemongrassmusic.

B. Seed : Thanks for being here. Anything you would like to say to our visitors?


We live in these times for a reason, and when we observe greatness speaking among us it is a blessing. I am thankful to be able to share these words with this mighty woman .. peace!

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