Spoken word poetry is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools to convey a message – and when combined with fierce creativity, the result can be a truly exceptional work of art.
Born in 2000, multidisciplinary artist P. A. Bitez eludes classification. Her works blend and transcend different creative fields, yet her creations feel coherent and uncompromisingly authentic. Bitez’s furious passion merges with her unquestionable ability with words to scrutinise the fabric of her feelings and vividly depict the most hidden corners of society.
Contemplations, a short film Bitez made for Black History Month in collaboration with BBC, combines mesmerising music and visuals with poignant lyrics, giving a sense of intimacy while also depicting an age-old story of oppression and sacrifice. The slow dance and warm background colours amplify the intensity and urgency of Bitez's words, breaking into the listener's mind with irresistible force.
Bitez is also the author of the poetry collection Soft Tortures, a captivatingly honest portrayal of life as seen through the eyes of an adolescent. What’s next for this inventive polymath? We spoke with Bitez about her upcoming EP “Vintage Destiny”, which will come to life thanks to the support of MIF Sounds.
From singer-songwriter, award-winning poet, actress, and filmmaker – you wear many different creative hats. How do you juggle those different roles and align your creative vision?
I’m very multifaceted, I live fast, and my mind goes a thousand miles per minute. I feel everything and need to be stimulated. It’s not something I consciously do, it just is.
There are moments when I feel overwhelmed with all the possibilities, but I always try to think positively and trust what I’m feeling, make myself a promise and make it happen. That’s an obligation. I enjoy things, so why should I limit myself?
What first ignited your creative spirit?
When I was younger, I was alone a lot. I would listen to Michael Jackson, Nina Simone, and Mazzy Star and read a lot of poetry – hours spent inside my head. My imagination is a holiday for me, where I can recharge. I guess creativity is a coping mechanism for my own ennui. When I was nine, I became acutely introspective and started writing lyrics and poetry. I loved to sing, quietly in my room, and now I do it on stage.
How does it feel to be included in the second round of MIF Sounds artists? What do you hope to achieve with their support?
Honestly, I feel really honoured. Smiled for a whole day when I found out.
I’m looking forward to releasing an EP which reflects what I’m living here, now – the chaos as well as the calm. The aim was to write a record that would remain timeless, classic, and relevant.
You’re a self-described ‘revolutionary’. What message are you trying to send through your work? What do you want people to take away?
Don’t expect the same thing from Bitez. Every song, every sound is just an aspect of me, a small mirror into a series of my many sides. I live in possibilities and genre-bend. I’m not interested in typical or normal. I’m searching for the person I was before the world told me who I was. It’s fun discovering myself. My work can take on quite political tones, but the main aim is to project love through my music.
How did you find your sound? What was that journey like?
I’m very eclectic and love a lot of jazz, Amy Winehouse, and Nina Simone. I started listening to No Name and she blew me away. I’m also heavily inspired by FKA Twigs, and Florence and the Machine. I love Hope Sandoval’s voice. I listen to a lot of indie rock and Grime. And thank God for Meekz! I think authenticity inspires me. I like those artists who are unapologetic.
And how would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard your work?
Dreamy. Very human. Sometimes surreal.
How do you personally discover new music or artists? Are there any local artists, events, or trends that you want to share with everyone?
It’s quite an organic process. I might listen to some indie artists, and then the algorithm recommends me similar artists. Sometimes tech is great! Also trusting your friend’s taste, the people around you are full of gems. Be a sponge!
Besides music, are there other sounds that inspire you?
I love the sound of rain; it feels cinematic but also calming. I like the sound of someone cracking their bones, it reminds me we’re transient, all air.
What excites you the most about The Factory opening in Manchester?
All the opportunities and new experiences on offer. I’m excited to continue working with MIF and get involved with their projects as much as possible. Excited for the shows and to see The Factory grow – a space to create. The youth need that, we all do, as it gives a little purpose.
What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to the next generation of emerging artists?
Be original and talk about the things that make you exceptional. Be okay with being misunderstood and even hated. Try.
Tell us a little about what you’ve got in store.
My first single is Blank Page, a song about creating yourself in a world that projects narratives onto you. It’s all about reclaiming your identity in a deeply chaotic and confusing world. “Vintage Destiny” is very philosophical, often sad but incredibly hopeful. Look out for some glitchy visuals and dreamscapes. I wanted to make auditory poetry with this EP, so it’s going to be an experience to immerse yourself in fully.
Rising Sounds: in a collaborative series between Sound of Life and Manchester International Festival, we’re visiting MIF Sounds: an incubation programme for some of the UK’s most promising emerging creatives. Join us as we explore the unbound creativity of Manchester – sometimes hidden, sometimes on the fringes – from corners brought to the light by MIF Sounds.
Cover Credits: Manchester International Festival & wacomka/Shutterstock
Writer | Marco Sebastiano Alessi
Marco is an Italian music producer, composer and writer. He’s the founder of Naviar Records, a music community and record label exploring the connection between experimental electronic music and traditional Japanese poetry.