Frank Xteele is a dynamic creative force originating from Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. His passion for artistic expression began in middle school and led him on a journey encompassing poetry, spoken word, acting, and playwriting. This early exploration served as the foundation for his multifaceted artistic career. Frank’s poetic talent was evident from the start, as he honed his skills and used poetry to express his thoughts and emotions during middle school. His journey as a spoken word artist, poet, actor, and playwright reflects his dedication and authenticity. Through his spoken word performances, he captivates audiences, taking them on introspective journeys through his verses.
Beyond poetry, Frank’s artistic endeavors extend to the stage and screen, with notable appearances in local productions and “Matrix: Resurrections.” He shines as an actor, bringing depth and authenticity to his characters. Frank also ventures into playwriting, co-authoring a powerful spoken word stage play that showcases his literary finesse and allows him to take center stage with his unique energy and perspective.
Throughout his artistic journey, Frank’s spoken word performances have resonated across diverse locations, from the streets of New Orleans to Berlin, New York, and Minneapolis. His story is a celebration of artistic exploration and growth, from his beginnings as a middle school poet to his current roles as a spoken word artist, actor, and playwright. Frank Xteele encourages all of us to embrace the transformative power of art and embark on journeys of self-expression and discovery.
Frank, your journey in the arts began during your middle school years with poetry. How did this early experience shape your current artistic endeavors?
Frank Xteele: My early experience set sort of a baseline of objectives for my poetry. And those are: To always tell the truth, be a voice for the people and to add an heightened sense of emotion in the tone of every piece.
What initially drew you to the world of poetry, and how did it evolve into spoken word performances and playwriting?
Frank Xteele: Crack. The crack era started and I saw an influx of drug abusers and crime go through my neighborhood at an alarming rate. I also just recently found out that one of my friends of whom I only see once a year died from the side effects of a medicine she was prescribed. So I wrote a poem about drugs.
Could you share with us a pivotal moment from your middle school years that deeply influenced your artistic direction?
Frank Xteele: I would have to say a pivotal moment from those years would have to be when my parents got married. I sang at the reception and from then on I wrote songs, poetry, and short stories.
Your work as a spoken word artist has resonated across various cities and cultures. How has this global exposure influenced your creative process and themes?
Frank Xteele: It has been a blessing travel and I’m grateful to be able to do what I love. Traveling opens up the world and adds Intel that holds the passion, purpose and pulse of cultures and experiences I plunge myself in. It only allow me to keep my intensity pure, my bottom line honest and my imagery vivid.
“Matrix: Resurrections” marked a notable moment in your acting career. How did this experience impact your perception of acting and storytelling on the big screen?
Frank Xteele: Being in Matrix: Resurrections showed me that there is an a lot of work put into acting and storytelling in major film. The consistent drive to live as a character for 6 months and the enormous staff it takes to pull it off is mind-blowing! I have a newfound respect for filmmakers.
As both an actor and a poet, how do you find a balance between the two art forms in your creative expression?
Frank Xteele: The balance is in the common denominator. Emotion. In acting, I’m always looking for the emotional attachment to the character. And in poetry the poem is created because of an existing emotional attachment. The transition I make when switching from one to the other poses no problem at all.
Co-writing a spoken word stage play must have been a unique experience. Could you tell us more about the creative process behind this collaboration and how it impacted your approach to storytelling?
Frank Xteele: Yeah, that spoken word stage play was a group effort of poets and playwrights. We decided on themes, content and wardrobe. And we put our heads together and pulled the best and worst out of each other. That experience led me to add poetry to my playwriting and getting more acting gigs.
New Orleans, Berlin, New York, and Minneapolis are all vibrant cultural hubs. How have these diverse locations contributed to your artistic growth and perspective?
Frank Xteele: Each city adds imagery that is loaded with emotion, people, events and subject content. All those things are what keep the passion alive in my art. It gives me motivation to keep working, creating and loving what I do.
Your performances are often noted for their emotional resonance. How do you navigate the fine line between vulnerability and strength when delivering such poignant pieces?
Frank Xteele: Honestly, the strength is in being as vulnerable as possible when delivering my pieces. Knowing I have to allow myself to live in the emotion demanded of the piece takes strength.
What inspired you to use your art as a tool for social change and awareness, and how do you see it influencing your future creative endeavors?
Frank Xteele: What inspired me to use my art as a tool for social change was the pain I felt directly or indirectly by suffering communities. I see me being creative in many different media outlets as well as placing myself in positions to be on both sides of the camera and/or microphone.
How do you incorporate elements of your personal experiences and beliefs into your poetic narratives and on-stage personas?
Frank Xteele: Through my mannerisms and stage presence, I live in the moment of each piece as I’m performing. The pain I’ve endured from having Sickle Cell has paved a way for me to translate emotion very enthusiastically with practice. One of many bittersweet aspects of my life.
What challenges have you faced in your artistic journey, and how have you overcome them to become the artist you are today?
Frank Xteele: Life has been my biggest challenge. Life happens. Unexpected events, lost loved ones and tragedies like Hurricane Katrina definitely crippled me. Yet, every event I live through makes me stronger. I use that pain and channel it into poetry or characters.
In your opinion, what distinguishes a powerful spoken word performance from a merely good one, and how do you ensure your performances consistently resonate with your audience?
Frank Xteele: A good performance will entertain and maybe even inform the audience. A powerful performance will engulf the audience into the depths of the words and invoke an emotion response from majority of the audience. To make sure I’m consistently resonating with my audience I practice in the mirror, for friends and visit open mics to work out any imperfections I may have when performing a piece.
What are your thoughts on the current state of spoken word and poetry in the mainstream media, and how do you see your work contributing to its evolution
Frank Xteele: Let me just say… I believe there is something on the way that will expose the greatness of spoken word poetry to the world. And I’ll have something to do with it.
Your spoken word performances are often deeply introspective. How do you maintain this level of authenticity while navigating the demands of the entertainment industry?
Frank Xteele: By absolutely ignoring the demands of the entertainment industry and only focusing on the voice of the people and solutions to social injustice.
What specific themes or emotions do you find yourself revisiting frequently in your performances and recordings, and how do they contribute to the overarching narrative you aim to construct through your songs?
Frank Xteele: The pain of black men and women. The effect oppression has on the black family, poverty and hunger. And they contribute by being present.
Could you share a particular recording or performance that holds special significance to you, and tell us why it is so meaningful?
Frank Xteele: Public Enemy’s ‘Fight The Power’ is a song I can say holds some significance to me. It gave direct instruction to stand up against injustice. That let me know it was possible to have a voice that can touch the minds and hearts of those in need.
What strengths do you believe you bring to the table as an artist that allow you to effectively convey your message and connect with your audience on a deeper level?
Frank Xteele: I bring intensity, passion and the gull to say what most won’t say in a way even more are scared to say.
What projects are you currently working on, and how do they reflect your artistic evolution since your earlier works?
Frank Xteele: I’m working on a love poetry book that will focus on passion and love and a book of inspirational quotes and phrases. I’m creating something special and never seen before with spoken word and I’m also currently casting for a short film project with another local artist.
Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future, both in terms of your personal artistic growth and the impact you hope to make in the wider artistic community?
Frank Xteele: To take poetry to Broadway and Hollywood!
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