Poetry, Prose, and Profit Series: Canden Webb

“If I can touch someone- help to heal them with my words and the sincerity of my heart, then I am a shining success.”

Canden Webb

 Photo: Courtesy of Canden Webb

Photo: Courtesy of Canden Webb

Meet the Poet, Artist, Singer and Visionary, Canden Webb

Interview by: Chiereme Fortune

In-demand spoken word poet, author, founder of an entertainment business, mentor. What has this journey been like for you up to this point?

Thank you. It's been a great learning experience. The greatest learning experience, actually. It's hard to imagine accomplishing your goals when no one told you where to start but I've learned to just move one step at a time and to gain as much knowledge as possible along the way.

Let’s talk about your process. How do you prepare for a show? How did you develop the business side of your creative hustle? What’s a key understanding that creatives need to have when it comes to profiting from their craft?

I'm usually very focused before a show. I don't like any distractions. And I don't usually eat. If you want to tell me something important, you should probably wait until after the show is over. Lol. There's a nervous energy. I always pray. As soon as I hit the stage it feels like I was made for it. God legit helps me remember all my lines.

The business side came about through trial and error. It's easy to get burnt out as an artist. People will ask you to come here, perform there and will give very little in return. I'm not judging them- some don't have it to give but in this business, you have to know your value and create boundaries. You shouldn't be using all your own resources to do things for others. That's called charity, not business. So I started to write down what I wanted.

As a creative, you have to learn to clearly state your terms and be prepared to lose a gig or two to gain better opportunities. Be your own boss! Give yourself raises as you acquire accomplishments. Expect people to meet your expectations. Be grateful and tithe!

In addition to being a creative wonder woman, you’re also a follower of Christ. How does this relationship impact or influence your creativity and business?

Oh my goodness, influence? It is absolutely interwoven in everything I do. God is the Creator of gifts so I'm careful with mine to maximize them. I've been extremely unsure, extremely discouraged and extremely broke many times but when you have a relationship with God, you have a confidence in Him that keeps you going even when you want to quit. You know even though people see you, that really God controls it all.

When you’re not dropping bars and hosting events, how do you pay the bills?

Up until a year ago, I worked full time. Now, I manage social media accounts for small businesses. I do Poetry mentoring. I also babysit my mentor's kids. I work occasional odd jobs and I peddle my books and t-shirts. I do whatever I have to do to eat and keep my dreams alive.

You’re also a creative mentor. Tell us who you serve, how you help them and what to expect in a mentoring session with you.

I serve artists. They are my fave! My sessions are tailored so you can expect to grow. I'm blessed to be able to see how artists can maximize creative writing, songwriting, publishing, branding and portray a better overall image while staying true to themselves. You can also expect to be motivated and hear the truth.  

How can creatives, poets, writers begin to build a solid brand both on and offline?

It starts with figuring out who you are as a person and as an artist. Then locating how much of that you want to portray to the public. In other words how you want to be identified/recognized. Lastly, it's a commitment to being consistent in sharing.

5 Minutes until curtain call. What are you thinking?

I'm thinking, ok Canden, let's kill this one time for the game.

What was the push that started Beautiful Minds? How did you select your artist lineup? What’s next for BM?

It was actually kind of haphazard. I wanted to have a Valentine's Day Entertainment based event to inspire singles and cut down on the temptation to succumb to cuffing season. Lol. It was called the Real Love Poetry Show. We did it the first time in February of 2015. But I never do anything the easy way so I decided it needed an umbrella company for marketing purposes. And viola, BME was born! I later decided to use the company to not only do events but to serve talented artists that deserved a larger platform.

We are preparing to launch the site. And provide a major network that makes it easy for artists to create.

Heartache on a Silver Platter,” is your most recent book release. What was your process for this book, what are you hoping readers walk away with and how did your writing process differ from, “The Girl with the Pen,”?

The process with HOASP was simple. Experience a broken heart. Wonder why no one ever explained how crazy it felt and try to give a progressive account. I'm hoping we can stop sugar coating our feelings as Christians.  I'm hoping that people can understand accepting the hard journey without losing hope.

The Girl with the Pen was different because it was a collective work. I had so many poems that had already been written so all I had to do was format and arrange. The Girl with the Pen just came together naturally. HOASP was put together out of necessity because I needed to hear so many of the things in that book at the time. I thought to myself if I'm feeling this way, and many have felt this way before me, why is there no reflective guide for this. And then I set out to create one.

What is the most important thing poets and writers need to remember when working towards pursuing their passion full-time?

All things are possible with God.

What are you listening, watching, reading right now?

I listen to a lot of music. Travis Greene, Tye Tribbett, Christian hip hop, Tori Kelly, Tim Bowman Jr., Cass, Hollyn, Johnnyswim, and my friend Tavonna Miller are a few in rotation right now. I also read a lot of business articles.

How do you unwind?

I watch tv and movies. I hardly ever watch tv when I'm working/focused. And I love movies.

Best on-stage memory?

Hmmm, I'm not sure. I think it hasn't happened yet. I know that's weird but just go with me. My best memory overall was Rhetoric 2016. But it wasn't onstage. It was afterward, people came up to me and gave me hugs and told me how I'd touched them. The ultimate highlight was my that my 90-year-old grandmother came and was smiling from ear to ear. She has a blast and said my poem was the best thing she ever heard. That was music to my ears. A healing. That's that stuff that really matters, you know?

Where can we connect with you and anything we should look out for this year?

@CandenWebb and www.candencwebb.com

Everything. You should look out for everything.