From Behind the Microphone: Najah Schorré Bayyan
It was a cold November evening in 2013, I was about to do a spotlight performance at one of my home venues, Be Free Fridays in Baltimore, MD. My friend Olu attended to support me and to take pictures which he loves to do. While I was talking to some other friends, I looked over at him and he was standing next to a young lady, he looked at me and said Sherri don’t we know her mama?
*record skip scratch*
Me: Do we?
You can imagine the look on my face, as Olu told me that we know her mother from another circle we travel in. As I am never one to see who people look like all the time, I would have never put those two together unless I saw a picture of the two of them. Which is really crazy because they look just alike.
I met Najah Schorré Bayyan, in the summer of that year and was immediately blown away by her bold, in your face writing style. We had been running into each other in poetry venue after poetry venue for months slowly becoming friends. She was one of the first ‘new’ poets I connected with when I returned from my hiatus. Her writings are about search for love, her missteps in the process and loving one self. However her erotic work has earned her a spot on the nationally touring show The Sweet Spot. The first time I heard her poem, Starbucks Stranger, I was floored—almost mad I did not write it. That poem puts getting coffee into an entirely new perspective.
Fellow Poet Brother to the Night enjoying a rendition of Starbucks Stranger
Her personality can be seen as part of the team that organizes Be Free Fridays, every month there is moment of crazi
She also host Poets for Dinner, a monthly ve
Some of the best laughs I have had this year have included Najah.
She owns the stage when every stage she graces.
Stepping from Behind the Microphone: Najah Schorré Bayyan
Sherri: Tell us more about what brought you to writing poetry.
Najah: I was writing at 18 years old while attending Lincoln University. Once I left school and went on to start a family, I stopped writing. When I got divorced, I was extended an invitation to attend local Open mics in Baltimore by a fellow spoken Word artist Shelly Says So, and have been heavy at it since 2011.
Sherri: Tell the story of your first experience performing. (Include where, when, how you felt afterwards.)
Najah: While attending Lincoln University, I attending an open mic on campus called The Lion’s Den. It was there that I had an opportunity to share my writing with an audience. My first time, was interesting to say the least. The form was very basic, but honest and I found myself writing all the time after that.
Sherri: You have chosen not to use a stage name, why?
Najah: I tried to come up with a stage name, but it never quite worked out for me. I realized that I have yet to master being myself, so there was no need for me to try to come up with an alternate name for myself. Once I finally figure out how to be the best version of Najah that I was born to be then maybe I will change my name to something else.
Sherri: Who is your favorite writer? (This can be a songwriter, poet, author or anyone you consider a writer.)
Najah: I enjoy a lot of writers. I admire Ne-Yo, Stevie Wonder, Maxwell, Eric Roberson and Pharrell Williams as songwriters and admire Valerie Wilson Wesley, James Patterson, and John Grisham as novelists. I am also surrounded by local poets and writers that I know personally as well.
Sherri: You have one hour to have a conversation with anyone in history, living or dead. Who will you choose, and why?
Najah: My biological father would be the most interesting person to speak with. We have only conversed once in my life and I don’t think we got things cleared up.
Sherri Your perfect concert: who are three acts, living or dead, you would like to see perform?
Najah: Sade (this band’s discography is impressive), The Roots (Guaranteed to dance), Stevie Wonder (It would make my life!)
Sherri: Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
Najah: I was a very quiet as a child and was very shy. I was at peace with not being noticed and despite the fact that I am the complete opposite of that now, I am known for being happy to be home alone with my thoughts and not having to talk to anyone.
Sherri: Do you have another creative outlet? If not, what is something you have always wanted to learn how to do?
Najah: I like to sing…a lot and I sound good when I do it! I would like to act, but those opportunities have yet to come my way, but I am certainly open to it!
Sherri: [Borrowed from Inside the Actor’s Studio] If heaven exists, what do you want to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Najah: You were amazing to watch.