Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Cline.
Melissa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
As a child, I grew up traveling internationally and nationally and the byproduct of that was really seeing people’s stories from a unique perspective. At a very young age, I gravitated to unique rhythms, music, melodies and poems as my outlet. I would then insert my story in the melodies and found myself writing in a genre I now know as the spoken word, but at the time had never heard of what we call today as spoken word poetry. I believe it gave a unique sound to my writing that wasn’t replicated from any other poet but was more reminiscent of the blues, gospel, and slave chants still sung in the south till this day.
I didn’t realize right away the power it had until I was asked to perform or to speak and afterward I would see people in tears. At the time it was not clear to me why my work affected people so deeply, but I soon came to realize that it wasn’t just a form of entertainment, but it was a form of healing for people of every age, background, and faith. It brought me pretty far from having performed in Russia, studied at Northwestern University, as well as became a two-time poetry state champion and now a consultant here in Los Angeles utilizing this God-given gift to work with organizations and individuals to promote healing. I’m an activist for women and champion for children and young adults dedicating my time to teaching the art of spoken word as a tool to heal from abuse, trauma, broken heartedness, political division and fear to name a few.
Looking back, I had no idea how a creative form like the spoken word could change a person’s life, but I now understand it’s power and I am committed to using that power as a form of healing to those who need it most.
Has it been a smooth road?
Oh, there have been so many struggles along the way. It’s said that out of our pain, we find purpose and passion. I think the spoken word was and is that for me. As a consultant, I have to wear transparency as my badge of honor, so without a doubt, I can say honestly every time I write a piece, I have to go back to that place of struggle when I needed healing the most. And every time I perform or consult, I push myself to keep that honest perspective so I’m deeply connected with my audience.
I would definitely say it wasn’t until I found my sweet spot with this art form that things began to shift. Most people would call me crazy to have a desire to do this as a profession, but I’ve been determined not to quit. When I limited myself to just being an artist who entertains, I went through some pretty bad seasons desiring to make this a job, but not seeing the fruit. Now, understanding the gift as so much more than entertainment, but a tool that heals and changes lives, I have packaged and positioned myself as a business with a mission to serve its community. I’m grateful to God for not only my triumphs but my struggle because my gift was birthed out of the pain and so was my business.
My work is definitely expanding, yet and still, I’m always looking for partners and sponsors who desire to reach those who need this work the most.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the MC Writes’ story. Tell us more about the business.
Yes, I am a consultant and I work one on one (or in workshops) with individuals utilizing the spoken word to overcome a trauma, transition and also with anyone needing to heal from a certain area in their life. It’s one of the most effective tools I know. I also perform nationally as a spoken word artist and consult for quite a few businesses mainly in teaching the power of storytelling to develop their brand voice in digital and traditional spaces.
To be honest, I am known as a spoken word poet that has a powerful voice that doesn’t sound like any other poet or spoken word poetry out there. Whether I am performing at a gala or speaking out in San Jose with the Salvation Army, I tend to hear the same things. I have definitely found my voice and I think when people hear it, they can tell. My desire is that others will find their voice as well. Whether it’s after a trauma or for their business brand, knowing and using your voice for good is so important.
I think I am most proud of overcoming popular culture. It’s easy to have a God-given artistic gift and only use it for secular purposes in entertainment. Though I love to entertain, I am most proud that my business transcends entertainment, but is a faith-based tool I’ve had the privilege of using on Capitol Hill, in schools, at churches and more to heal and uplift those who need it most.
It’s said that within our top 3 fears as human beings, the number one fear for most is public speaking. Most people are afraid to tell their stories, be transparent and share their truth in front of a body of peers. This robs us of one of our most powerful tools as human beings that no other living creature on this earth is blessed with. Teaching, instilling, and displaying that gift to others while seeing them healed in the process, really sets the work I do apart.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I see the poetry and the spoken word niche really expanding its definition. In a political era and economic shift where people are truly needing healing internally and within our communities, poetry and spoken word can create a unique space for itself. It’s so vital for gifted artists to understand their ability outside of just entertaining. I’m so grateful for people like Maya Angelou, Gil Scott-Heron and Nikki Giovanni who’ve already begun the work. In the next 10 years, my hope and belief is that poetry will be seen just as valuable as modern-day therapy because that is exactly what it is.
- Consulting Sessions are $80. LA Voyage readers receive 30% off on their first session.
- Website: MCWrites.com
- Email: MC@MCWrites.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mc_writes/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MCWrites
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/melissaclineca