Exclusive Interview with Toby Abiodun (Winner SOS Poetry Slam)

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Toby performing at an event

Good day sir, may we know you? My name is Toby Abiodun. The first son of my father, from Ogun State but born and raised up in Benin City.

I am a poet and spoken word educator.

 What/who influenced you to be a spoken word artist?

 I was determined to be ‘just’ a published poet until I saw a video of Holly Painter- it was there I realised that the stage is also one beautiful place to reach out, after then I heard Suli’s “Why I hate school but love Education” and it set a fire of love burning for the art. The urge grew deeper when I encountered Graciano Enwerem and Paul ‘Word’ Uma Joshua.

When did you start spoken word and how has the journey being so far?

Spoken word for me started early this year at 663 Open Mic and the journey has been pleasant.

Would you identify yourself as a spoken word artist or a poet?


I can’t name myself over the other. Both are arts that work hand in hand.

 Is this your first Slam Victory?
Yes it is!

 Describe the feeling in five words
Five words?

It makes me feel alive!

Where do you think Performance Art stand in Nigeria?
It isn’t really where it ought to be right now but I know it is taking over.
What are your motivations,struggles and goals?

Motivations: A better human society, a better Nigeria, a better world, a better ‘We’.

Struggles: Having to combine study with writing, work with writing and having to beg for stages.

Goals: To learn more about the world by telling the world what I know.  

To see spoken word on the same stage with Hip Hop if not even greater.

Who’s your favorite Spoken Word Artist in Nigeria?

Paul Word

What advice do you have for aspiring poets?

Learn more, get more!

Write right what is right and not write to be liked.

What do you think can be done to promote spoken word in Nigeria?

  Well, we could do what Def Jam Poetry is doing: Get some of our stars(hip hop, RnB, actors and actresses) to perform spoken word pieces in our events.

We could also make songs that feature spoken words, 

Try to feature good hip hop artists in our poems, etc.

Which spoken word artist would you like to work with?

 In Nigeria? Paul Word.

Outside Nigeria? Jefferson Bethke

What advice do you have for aspiring poets?

Readers are leaders!

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