Corey 'Narkissos' springer
Artist, singer, poet, author, fitness guru
But on a more serious note; it is not often that you have the opportunity to sit down one on one with a successful multi-business owner who is a writer and published author, singer, classically trained pianist, spoken word artist and professional fitness guru who, I might add, is still climbing the ladder.
What is the method to his madness? I have an opinion: take a lot of confidence, mix it with equal amounts of will power and determination, top it off with a positive attitude and along with that you can add a dash of humility with a heart full of compassion and you will have Corey 'Narkissos' Springer. The persistent entrepreneur and perfect role model for young and aspiring artists.
However, you don't have to take my word for it. Take a look below and see what Narq has to say. After that I am sure you are going to agree that Corey 'Narkissos' Springer has got 'The Write Idea'.
Tripp: Corey, it is my pleasure to big you up! Now for those who are hearing about you for the first time just tell us your name and how you became Narq.
Narq: I was Christened "Corey Fabian Springer". When I started doing spoken word, I did so under the name 'Narkissos'. This was later shortened to 'Narq', because it was easier for people to pronounce. Now, that's what most people call me.
Tripp: Where were you born and how old are you?
Narq: I am Barbados born and I am 31 years at this time.
Tripp: Let's talk a little more about you as an artist. In what areas of the arts do you specialize?
Narq: The answer to that would depend on who you ask. Some consider me a great writer. Some consider me a good vocalist. Many who've been exposed to one side of my artistry, have no knowledge of any other aspect. Me personally? I can't fathom trying to confine myself to one box.
Tripp: So how long have you been an artist?
Narq: I can't remember a time when I wasn't. Truthfully, I consider myself a student of life. Art, for me, is knowledge. And, for as long as I've had breath, I've craved knowledge.
Tripp: When did you realize that art was going to play a major role in your life. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Narq: Childhood I'd say. I did the same things other kids did, mind you. But, I was also training in the piano, dance, and singing. In addition to that, my mother had fed my voracious appetite for knowledge with literature and my father fostered an interest in tinkering (as he was a top technician).
I've excelled at academia my entire life. But, while my mother, teachers and others with whom I'd interacted always thought that I'd stick with a typical profession, the truth is... I liked school because I enjoyed learning. When learning ceased to be enjoyable, I stepped away from the classroom.
When kids around me were asked "what do you want to be when you grow up", I'm the only one in my age group that didn't have an answer. I still don't know. All I know is, I'm here to learn and excel: to destroy, discard, assimilate, build, and grow. Art facilitates this.
Tripp: Interesting, so how would you describe yourself as a writer and vocalist?
Narq: For the arts, poetry is my bread and butter. I dabble in prose as well, but it wasn't until last year that my mentor confirmed that my prose was as strong as my poetry. I would never have guessed honestly. Outside of the arts, I write articles for different demographics. This satisfies the other areas of my brain, and keeps me sane. In either sphere, I'd hazard to label my writing 'observational'. I'm a people watcher. I like to reinterpret things I see: be it gender interactions, a sunset, or a rock... I just like to filter it through my brain for the world.
Musically, I'm a classically trained pianist. 26 years of piano to be exact. Vocally, I was trained in a choir and then by a vocal teacher who had gospel influences. The structure of the aforementioned influenced my style heavily, right up until maybe 10 years ago when my father (who is a great musician/vocalist in his own right) actively deconstructed my style and challenged me to throw away many of my inflections. I'm not sure how successful that's been to be honest. The process did teach me many things about my voice, as well as taught me new skills, but it also strengthened my convictions in other related areas.
I'm currently working on releasing my first single. I am told that the content, writing, inflections et. al. are unique... and impossible to confine to any category.
So, stay tuned.
Tripp: We definitely will, but I have to say that I have been following your progress as an artist for some time and one can get the impression that fitness is really your passion. They say 'the arts is a jealous mistress'. Where do you find the time to do both?
Narq: I have been a chronic insomniac for 13 years now. When people ask me where I find the time, I always chuckle. As for fitness... Yes, it is one of my passions as well as my primary business. It is also, in my mind, art. Through my work as a fitness consultant, I carve bodies, soothe minds, bolster psyches, and make people identify with something deeper. If that isn't art, I don't know what is.
My body is my business. It is my calling card. It is the sum of my work, as well as an exercise in perpetuity. I am art.
Tripp: Yes but I am sure many ask why be an artist. We all have met the purist at some point in time who believes it should be the arts or nothing else. But what about the pressure, from those who label us as hobbyists, to focus more on your 'real job'? There is hardly a market in Barbados for the arts. Especially writers.
Narq: Why be anything at all? When I was at school, I wanted to do my degree in English Literature. I was discouraged. I was told "How you gine find work with that?"Mind you, the majority of the people I know here who've graduated with degrees don't work in fields related to the said degrees. Others are unemployed, or have been working temp jobs within the government for the last 13+ years. I've digressed however.
[*any profession *] can excel in [*any economic environment*] if they apply humility and intelligence. Barbados is a hard place to live, period. I believe artists and entrepreneurs alike should read the footnotes left behind by 'Joe Average'. The average Joe diversifies his income stream so as to be able to live comfortably... whereas the average artist/entrepreneur wears hunger like a badge of courage. I know what hunger feels like, so I suffer from no such self-righteousness.
I came from a poor family of hard workers. My mother had 3 jobs at the time while I was growing up. One of them was picking cotton. Mid-day sun, we're sitting in a tent watching her break her back. Images like that, of my hard-working parents, embedded something in me that manifested in my manner of approaching life: Hard work. Make things happen. Put contingencies in place, so one hand shakes the other... so to speak.
The 'hardly a market' thing is a cop-out, in my humble opinion. The WORLD is a free market. Carve your niche. Extend your fingers around the globe. It won't be easy, but it certainly is doable... and fulfilling.
Tripp: Well said, I could not agree more. So tell us about your preference for poetry gospel and alternative where your career is concerned.
Narq: Poetry is how I see words. Everything is poetry. Gospel is the most beautiful music ever written. Alternative is tinged heavily with the one instrument I've tried to learn but couldn't: The guitar.
Tripp: I know you have already given us some insight into your experience as a performing and creative artist but tell us a little more about what you have done.
Narq: What's there to say? I studied piano from the age of 5 until I was a teen. As a teen I met Janice Millington-Robertson, who thought I was pretty good...and who inspired me to be better. She was SUCH a beautiful person. Many never got to see that side of her. That I did, was a blessing. At my Alma Mater Harrison College, where she taught, I met a huge crop of talent: Damian Marvay, Garvie Griffith, Phelan Lowe, Wesu Wallace, Barry Griffith, and too many other names... many of whom went on to do big things in the arts. I used to jam with them almost daily in the music room after school. It was brilliant!
I've digressed though. Yea... structured piano for a decade, and then I went on to teach myself and develop my own style. I played percussion instruments in a band as a pre-teen. We represented our school at NIFCA. During that time, I also did ballroom dancing... and went on to represent Barbados against Trinidad in the Rising stars competition. There was African dancing in there and street dancing in the years after that should probably also get a passing mention.
Where singing is concerned, I did structured vocal training with Dionne Lashley between 2000-2004. Prior, I sang with Children of Promise: A gospel group.When I decided to go completely solo, I entered NIFCA as a spoken word artist... performing a piece that fused poetry with singing. That piece "Music used to be" earned me a bronze, as well as an invitation to perform at the NIFCA Gala, and a gig at the Crane Hotel. Since then, I've been awarded one silver and 2 bronze awards at NIFCA.
Tripp: With regard to your NIFCA experience. Do you see this national festival as a stepping stone and do you think it has assisted in any way in your development as an artist?
Narq: I don't think see NIFCA as a stepping stone. Neither do I see it as a conduit for the development of the arts. I know many other artists feel the same. But, as I plan on entering again, I will refrain from commenting further.
Tripp: Your recently published book, 'Like A Sunset Over De Gully', tells about the experiences of a boy becoming a man in Barbados. We see a very straightforward description of his life and what makes it more interesting and graphic is that it is about the reality of becoming a man from the perspective of a man. Does this book reflect your experiences growing up in Barbados?
Narq: It does....Intimately.
Tripp: Why share your intimate details with the world?
Narq: Art is supposed to be honest. Art is supposed to evoke emotion (whether said emotion is positive or negative). I censor nothing I think or have experienced. In that way, I can be true to what art is.
Besides, a lot of the stuff I write about, nobody says. People think it. Men think it. It never reaches the atmosphere however, because men aren't stereotypically supposed to express certain sentiments. I've never been good with stereotypes however.
Tripp: What are the major collaborations you have done?
Narq: To date, I've only collaborated with one artist: Ayesha Nura. Before her, I did not believe in collaborations. But, her spirit resonated on a similar frequency to my own... so everything we've done together has been magic. At least one of our pieces can be found in my book 'Like a Sunset Over De Gully'. We've performed it on a number of occasions as well... to a great reception.
Tripp: What are your major achievements to date?
Narq: I'd have to say that publishing, and selling my book has been my most major one... at least in the sphere of the arts. The NIFCA awards, and being paid to perform, have been pretty huge for me as well.
Tripp:What has your journey been like while pursuing your career in the arts? We all know that the lack of adequate infrastructure is but one of the unfortunately necessary evils we face in this country as serious artists.
Narq: The arts community is rife with facetiousness, fakeness, and a general lack of support. At one point, I had stopped performing entirely... mainly because I could no longer generate truth in that cloud of fake finger-snapping pseudo-support. It was suffocating.
With regard to support, artists don't help each other generally speaking. I mean, there are some legitimate gems out there who bend over backwards to provide a platform for the arts... but even they complain about the lack of support. Small things like showing up at events, and supporting the bar. Or, buying high-quality work produced by their peers, instead of just talking about it.
"Oh, your work is SO HARD. I can't wait to buy your CD." - CD comes out, and you can't find any of the people who reserved a copy. They call for more events, and then don't show up. Non-artsy people actually support events more ardently than artsy people do.
And, personally, seeing that the arts may not be the average Joe's cup of tea, I think that needs to be commended. I have so much love and support for the average Joe. A lot of Joes don't even know the arts exist though. They just come to support a friend who's an artist, and they get wowed and keep coming back.
Speaking about 'not knowing', infrastructure here is weak. Corporate Barbados does not respect the arts. It sees it as a tax break solely. We are still a funding liability... which is something I learned firsthand when I was looking for funding for my first book. Every door I turned to for funding was slammed shut in my face. One of them was slammed gently, but slammed all the same. In the end, I had to depend on a personal loan from a friend. Without it, I would have had to wait additional years to publish.
Believe me. There is SO much empty talk floating around Barbados. A lot of wishful thinking and empty hand gestures. In the end, all the Barbadian artist has is his/her talent, close friends, family, and inherent tenacity.
Tripp: What pisses you off the most in your profession? Both art and fitness.
Narq: Fitness: Excuses; Entitlement; Shady Characters... both in the form of clients and peers.
Arts: Facetiousness; Dishonesty. Destructiveness. With regard to dishonesty, we have supporters who are total 'yes-men'. They surround artists, tell them everything they do is spectacular... even the bad stuff. This limits growth. Then, with regard to destructiveness, we have people whose sole goal in life is to destroy others... to bring them 'down to earth', by urinating on their artistry. The biggest irony is, I find many of these destructive people sitting on the boards of institutions that are supposed to be building the arts.
Tripp: On that note, what is your vision for your art form; what would you like to see happen in Barbados for persons like yourself?
Narq: My art, should God continue to grant me life, will grow and continue to evolve. I will not set a limit on its form. Barbadian art, equally, I would love to see follow suit. More festivals. More plays. More home-grown movies like 'Pay Day'. More liaising with other Caribbean countries. Less polarizing. I would LOVE to see the day that someone in Trinidad calls up the Bajan community and says 'Ay hoss. Allyuh want to come down this weekend to vibes?'
I see so many festivals through-out the Caribbean that I would LOVE to perform at. Right now though, it's a pipe dream... but a dream all the same. What we need here is unity. Here. Barbados. Through-out the Caribbean. That is what I would love to see most.
Tripp: I hope you don't mind me getting a little more personal, but you are an artist dating an artist or, at the very least, an artistic woman. That must be crazy. Tell me more about her.
Narq: It's a funny thing honestly. I think creatives understand other creatives, but they don't date well. Something about the random energies, mood swings, outburts... the things inherent to the creative process. These things, in my opinion, need to be balanced with a personality that processes information in a totally different manner. A cooler intellect so to speak. My best friend is that 'yin' for me. But, even though I can quantify what would work best in a utopic relationship, I'm only attracted to creatives. Which brings me to my girlfriend.
She's a beautiful person. Our relationship has always been laser beams and lightning... which has made for some absolutely mind-blowingly-delicious moments, as well as for some very rough spots.
She writes, she sings, she models. She too is art... and I love her.
Tripp: I know that your name is mostly associated with being a fitness guru and performing and creative artist. Share something with us that is not common knowledge about yourself.
Narq: I'm great with kids and animals. I have a thing for strays. I love to cook, and do so for the people I love as well as clients. Apparently very good at that. The problem with being good at the things I try is, as a chronic entrepreneur, I turn all hobbies in to money-making ventures...and, thus, have to go look to learn a new hobby from scratch each time.
But yea... I love cooking.
Tripp: You are a very vocal and outspoken person. Tell us more about your philosophy and your views on life.
Narq: My life view: I may die at any moment; Why waste a second? My dad has a morbid fixation on death. I hated it growing up. He'd always say "I don't think I'll live long. I'm giving myself til 60." It hurt to hear. But, in the same vein, it shaped his approach to everything...and made him a very epic man, with shoes I find impossible to fill.
Likewise, I live each day to the fullest. I say what I have to say. I work til my fingers bleed, and love til my testicles ache. I don't believe I have any limits. Sometimes my brain or joints disagree though.
Tripp: Go into a little more detail about your love for natural black women. Depending on one's cultural reality, it is considered a rare quality. After all, the lighter the skin and the less kink you have the more media worthy and attractive you become.
Narq: I love women. I love intelligent, well-groomed, ambitious, confident women.
I dislike, and say 'dislike' instead of 'hate' (because I would never be intentionally ambiguous), faux-beauty and pretentiousness. This isn't to say that women who choose not to be natural are automatically 'fake' but, rather, that there is a lot of fakeness inherent with the sub-culture.
That said, I do have many friends who are not natural, but are ambitious, intelligent, articulate, and all of the other traits I admire... but, we're friends as opposed to more because there's something 'more' than just isn't there for me.
I love the smell of a woman. A natural woman. Her hair, her skin... it's just different. The texture of her hair on my chest when I roll over in the morning. The coils. The depth. The confidence it takes to wear it, care it, and love it... I love.
Did I mention the smell? Smell is big thing for me.
Tripp: What are your plans for the future?
Narq: My plans. To conquer? No, but seriously, I started a small publishing company called 'The Write Idea', and I'm right now mentoring a young writer, as well as building a team. The goal here is to work with other artists, to get their work published. Me personally, I have 7 more personal titles in the works. The goal is to release a book per year... or every other year... growing in my craft from year to year. I'm also finally getting in to recording. So, I hope to have a full CD out in the near future.
In my non-arts life, I'm expanding my businesses. I just assembled a new team, and with their help I'm hoping that I can open a new branch of my fitness business within the next 4 months.
That's me: ever-forward.
Tripp: What advice do you have for young artists?
Narq: READ. WRITE/Draw/Express. READ SOME MORE. Try.
Don't think about limits. Listen to advice. Discard what isn't relevant. Put one foot in front of the other. Keep moving. Create honest art. Don't create for other people. Doing so, creating for 'likes', cheapens your art. Art at its truest, is art at its most powerful. At the end of the day, it does not matter if your friends and family don't support you. They'll either come around, or they won't. Be true to you.
Learn the rules of your art form. Break them.
Well, what can I say, I warned you didn't I? If you have enjoyed hanging out with Corey 'Narkissos' Springer as much as I did don't despair, you can keep up with what he is doing. Just go to http://www.getnarked.net/forum/index.php. However, just in case you did not get a chance to click on any links while you were engrossed in what he was saying or you may even be interested in something specific, I have provided the links again for you.
For sure 'Like A Sunset Over De Gully' is one of those books you just have to read. Get your copy here
https://www.createspace.com/4301175 or just go toNarq's page where you can contact him directly and find more than just his book. If you are like me and you are a sucker for good poetry then here is the place to find it
https://www.facebook.com/Narkissos/notes or watch his videos here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=vb.295812410439389. Better yet, see him in person. If there is anyone in Barbados that knows about fitness and can help you achieve that perfect body it is Narq himself. Get that info here https://www.facebook.com/NarkSide.
Thanks for getting Narqed with me! Come back next month to see who the next special personality will be and please don't forget to subscribe.