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    Meet Philly Native Mike English, Poetic Emcee Who Owns The Stage

    The setting for this interview was conducted in a small, yet noisy coffee shop. The marble walls carried sound all over the room; so intensely that you could hear a murmur from the other side. But, despite the noise, a great time was still had with Mike English. Mike changed his voice through the interview so that we could clearly hear what he was saying. He moved closer as the noise grew, to give less distance for his words to travel. Even during the interview, he shows elements of stage presence. 

    Mike English is a Philadelphia rapper, born and raised in the city. English started off as a slam poet, performing poetry in the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement. He was even a member of their 2015 international team. In 2017, English decided to take up rapping, and from there, has released numerous songs (“Middle Fingers,” “Ring the Alarm,” “No World Peace”) and an EP The Future if English. English is particularly good when he is on stage. He knows how to have a stage presence, which gives his spectators a show they’ll remember. He uses his charisma to its full potential too. Mike English has the rare ability to make his performances both relatable and fun at once, a skill every artist can enhance if given the practical tools. 

     Though Mike English’s slam poetry days are behind him, his experiences in the genre still have an influence on his music performances. “Cadence for sure, definitely Cadence,” he says, citing how to slam poetry taught him to find a rhyme in his performance. He also talks about how it has taught him to interact with a crowd and “share his truths in a way that’s able to move someone else.”

    English gives a lot of thought into his audience when preparing for a performance. His set list is based on the people who he will be entertaining that day. For instance, if he’s performing for children, then he’ll pick a kid-friendly song; and if he’s is rapping for an older crowd, then he’ll pick a more mature setlist. English also thinks about what he wants the crowd to feel while he’s on stage. He wants that time to be a moment which will resonate with them for as long as possible. English figures out what exactly he desires the crowd to take away from him, and how best to give them that message.

    I usually start by envisioning what I want the crowd to feel.


    When English gives on stage, he likes to start off with a joke to break the ice, a noble tip that seems cliche. This helps him relieve the tension with the crowd and humanize him in their eyes. Once that happens, English has more freedom to interact with them. Then, he starts the show. According to him, being on stage is like “being a human boom boxer.”

    You have complete control of how loud the crowd gets and you have complete control over how quiet the crowd gets; they can receive whatever you say.

    English likes to have fun with this power. He enjoys dazzling the spectators with his charm as he takes them on a journey through his lyrics. With the accessibility of video via cell phones, English’s performance could easily end up going viral. This pushes him to try his absolute best when he is on stage. Yet, like seasoned performers, even Mike English can make a mistake while going through his set. English’s plan for dealing with it is “to go 100 miles per hour.” He powers through whatever blunder he’s made, collects himself, and carries on with the show like nothing happened.

    The slam poet turned rapper, thinks of himself as a continuous student when it comes to performing. He believes that his worst show was one of his earlier poetry readings, back when he was just starting out. From there, he has built on his skill as a showman. English thinks that his last performance is always his best one because he is constantly evolving and improving. Performing has also given English good qualities that have transferred into his personal life. He has learned how to generally be more patient. He has also become better at interacting with people and opening himself up to them.

    English’s tips for new rappers and performers is to simply relax and be comfortable on stage.

    People are going to mess with you…the important part is to not let them bother you.

    For the latest in music and updates from Mike English, check him out on Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Facebook.

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