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Get to know: Dan Tsu

REVEALED: Dan Tsu

Q: We know there is more to Lyrix Organix than meets the eye. Can you give our readers an insight into what the collective does?

Dan Tsu: Lyrix Organix is an events and youth education company that explores the power of words through music – spoken word and hip-hop particularly to create social change. We experiment with live performance. We break down boundaries between artist and audience and specialise in providing platforms for young people and charities we believe in.

It’s quite a rabbit hole which blossoms into stages at Glastonbury, unusual shows from Roundhouse to Brighton Festival and education programmes around the world – most recently in Ethiopia, Sudan, Russia and Kazakhstan. We have collaborated with the likes of Akala, Kate Tempest, Ed Sheeran and Kojey Radical.

It’s very much about empowering the next generation and ensuring our future through music and poetry.

Q: What inspired your involvement?

DT: When we started in 2009, we were inspired by creating change for British music with a real message. Today, we see poets as the true voices of our generation – whether they are spoken word artists or grime MCs hitting the mainstream.

Lyrix Organix was also inspired by shaking up the live music industry and the way people approach gigs. It’s about bringing people together as a community where politics and economy fail us.

Q: Are there other collectives that operate in a similar way that inspire Lyrix Organic?

DT: Inspiration comes from everywhere – from festival teams (The Common, Glastonbury), to charities (Cardboard Citizens), artists (Ai Weiwei) and social movements across the world. But in truth, it’s often the every-day struggles of ordinary people – we’ve been particularly inspired by the young people we met in Ethiopia and Sudan. This all influences our work.

Q: Talk a bit about some of the exciting gigs you have coming up, where people could come and see first hand what you do?

DT: We are really excited to headline Harlem Festival at Rich Mix on September 9. It’s our only London show for our flagship project, Lyrix Organix: UnFold. We’ve previously sold out Roundhouse and headlined Kate Tempest’s Brighton Festival.

UnFold has been evolving over four years and showcases exceptional young performance poets – inviting them to collaborate with a string section and incredible musicians. It’s complemented by visuals, literature and is propelled by artists we believe are the future voice of the UK.

Q: If someone wanted to be a part of Lyrix Organix, what’s the process?

DT: We offer as many opportunities as possible – whether on stage or behind the scenes. It’s all about providing platforms and experience. The best way is to follow and contact us via our social media, telling us more about why you think you can help create change through music, poetry and arts. We can’t promise anything, but we see everyone and help wherever possible.

Q:: Where would you like to perform with Lyrix Organix most? Is there a venue that is on your bucket list?

DT: It used to be Glastonbury, and now that dream has happened. I would like Lyrix Organix to tour internationally more often – across east Africa particularly, but also South America and south east Asia. In the UK it would be a dream to perform at Royal Festival Hall, or in the Roundhouse main space.

Q: Where do you see the collective in five years’ time?

DT: Spread across continents, delivering live youth education programmes and live events to people who need it the most. I see all the young people we’ve nurtured bringing us through when they’re achieving their dreams. I have no idea what it looks like, but the energy and love is there. I believe this is what will make us truly sustainable – people.

Q: If Lyrix Organix was missing anything, what would that be, and where do you find it?

DT: Good question. Mostly we’re missing finance, be it public funding or private sponsorship (like most arts companies). In nine years, we’ve been mostly funded by my own pockets, with some help from Arts Council England – and proven that money isn’t everything.

You can create real change with words, music and people. That is the foundation.
I don’t feel Lyrix Organix is missing anything other than time and money. Imagine what we could achieve with those.

Certain Blacks: Harlem festival and Lyrix Organix show is on September 9 at Rich Mix - visit www.richmix.org.uk to book.

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