Written by Brittany Shawnté
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Today, we have poetry/songwriting duo XpressionsEnt! Nicole and Rae have both been writing for years, but, in the past few years have been steadily pursuing their dreams of writing and working together as a group.
Raised a self proclaimed “army brat,” Nicole discovered her love for words at an early age. After buying her first CD, Tim McGraw’s Not a Moment Too Soon, at the age of 8, she was truly captivated by the way the music made her feel. “I knew I wanted to make people [feel] that way at a very early age,” she said. Nicole began writing when she was about 12 years old, just occasional short poems that were a way to express herself. “I just knew that it was a way to release the things I was afraid to speak,” she admitted. Nicole admitted that settling down with her family in the city of Nashville had a great impact on her and her writing. “There is something about the Nashville grind and beauty that makes you want to get out and learn more, experience more, and grow more,” the writer said. She has also more recently been inspired by poet and novelist Charles Bukowski.
Rae herself has been writing for the last 14 years or so. “I knew early on that I had a gift when it came to writing,” she said. Originally from Los Angeles, the writer believes that the city had a huge impact on her. “The hustle, the will that’s required to survive [there] just helped shaped me and make me that more diverse of a writer,” Rae said. She acknowledged having her share of highs and lows in life, including being diagnosed with diabetes at 16. “No one has a perfect life,” Rae stated. “Adversity makes your life more relatable. Our words [have] real, raw emotion.” She began taking her craft more seriously about three years ago. “Life changed directions and it forced me to look at things differently,” Rae disclosed. “Once I did, my choice was clear. I have to write.” Rae is admitted obsessed with the talented writers and spoken word artists from creative arts company The Strivers Row, especially Alysia Harris, as well as the late, great Maya Angelou.
Nicole and Rae previously connected through mutual friends in high school, and quickly realized their shared love and passion for writing, poetry, and music. “Til this day, I remember us writing poems for each other whenever our crushes were acting crazy,” Rae laughed. “We became writing partners before we knew exactly where this journey would take us because we simply trusted each other’s ambition and talent,” Nicole added. Thus, XpressionsEnt was born!
XpressionsEnt regularly posts unique poems and quotes on Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. “We really try to make sure that we are offering readers something different,” Rae said. “Whether it’s in our approach or format, we try to give them more than the norm because that can get boring.” Nicole added, “We take risks with our writing to see how our audience reacts. We put our hearts on the line every time so that other people can relate.”
Currently, the duo is working on a body of work showcasing their songwriting skills, as well as a few books set to be released next year. Nicole and Rae hope to expand more into music and songwriting in the future, but don’t rule out other writing opportunities. “We are definitely trying to branch off into a little of everything,” Nicole said. “Once we get our foot in the door, nothing is going to be off limits.” Rae agreed, stating that she sees XpressionsEnt being a force to be reckoned with everywhere. “Words are so powerful. They can heal,” she said. “As long as I’m able, I want us to provide that for others in any way that we can.” Be on the lookout for this dedicated group in the future!