Melodic Movement: A 1 Year Special
In honor of Melodic Movement’s upcoming 1-year anniversary, I had the pleasure of interviewing founder Carmen Feliz alongside one of our members, Alexander Fomenko. You can find Carmen at carmen.feliz.mm on Instagram and Alex at svistoplas on Instagram. We hope you enjoy this look into the origins and process behind our open mic events!
(Speaker Code: A = Alex, C = Carmen, K = Kourtni)
A: How did you end up at this place where you’re currently at; arranging and organizing this open mic? I believe there is more behind it and what happens here is just a fraction of what happened. Tell me, how did you start? What is your journey?
C: Poetry really was an outlet for me. Kind of saved my life a couple times, I think, in college. Everybody goes through the same things, but I think poetry is a way to put that on paper and for us all to relate together. That’s why I wanted to start a poetry open mic; so we can all come together and share and talk about that. The root of it, I have to say, is God. I am a Christian, that is my faith. I feel like God put that on my heart: to create a safe place for poets, people to share what they need to share to feel a little bit lighter in their lives. I think we all walk around with a weight, and it’s just so heavy sometimes. So this community is what can lift that and make that a little bit lighter. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes. Some days I’m tired, I’m overwhelmed. But this is what I’m supposed to do: show up. And I do it. Thankfully, we have Kourtni who has taken a lot of the weight off by doing the blog posts and everything. So that has been amazing. So yeah, that’s the origin story!
K: How did you go about getting in touch with the owners of Mudita, Cure…and how did you choose these locations?
C: Honestly? When I first moved here, which was four years ago now, I just fell in love with the cafés around here. They’re all so unique and privately-owned. My dad was a small business owner, so I love supporting small businesses. I just looked up a list of all the cafés and I visited all of them. In a month, I visited like fifteen cafés, spent a lot of money, and just emailed all the owners. Whoever would get back to me, that’s who I went with.
A: What did you come to those owners with? You probably had a really good story, or at least a little bit of community, right? So, you were saying that you had people coming? How did you get those people together?
C: I had no clue who would show up. I first went to an open mic at Zeiders American Dream Theater, and that’s where I met people…and I got maybe five people’s phone numbers? That was the start, but when I reached out to these cafés and coffee houses, I didn’t know who would show up to the open mic. You know? I just emailed them “Hey, they’ll be here. People will be able to buy coffee from you and tea from you. It’s a win-win!” Then, when I got my first yes here and from Cure Coffeehouse, I went into marketing. I put fliers up all around the city, I made an Instagram, I paid to boost the Instagram ads…
A: Was that the hardest part?
C: Yes, yes. Marketing was the hardest part. I went to different open mics around the city. I would go up and share my own work, then say “Hey, our kickoff for Melodic Movement is in October!” and I would like…constantly try to promote it.
A: So it started here, in this city, from the open mics, and then you made some direct marketing there, then online as far as reaching all kinds of communities, and now…here you are, right?
A: Well, all the good things are coming from the pain and weight that you suffered with, right?
C: Yes, thank you. That’s what it’s all about. We all go through pain. We all go through heartache and hard times, but if we can figure out a way to bring beauty out of it and community from it...that’s like the whole goal of this.
A: Was it a long journey? How long had it been since you went to the first open mic?
C: It was a few months. So, I went to the first open mic and then it was probably three months? I had this idea in July of last year, October was our kickoff, and now we’re at a year next month. I think I’ve spent more time at my own mics than at other mics. It was pretty quick.
K: How did you come up with the name Melodic Movement?
C: It was actually from a project in college where you had to make a business plan. I made up this van that you had a recording studio in, because I was a Music Business major, and you’d drive it around so that music production can get to the unreachable. I named it Melodic Movement, so I took that name and put it to use.
K: What would be your biggest goals or things you’d want people to take away from Melodic Movement as a program?
C: Biggest takeaways would be: You’re not alone. You’re never alone. I think as poets, we feel emotions a lot. Our emotions are very big, very real. There’s beauty in that, and there can be beauty from that. I always say I used to have a security blanket of sadness. That was my security blanket. I lived in it, it was comfortable. Once you get out of that, then you can grow. So that’s what I want the people that come here to know: that there is beauty after the darkness.
K: How do you feel about the way Melodic Movement has grown and taken off? I know you already mentioned that you weren’t expecting it to and you had no idea who’d show up. So what is your opinion, thoughts?
C: I honestly feel so blessed, whether it’s just a few people or a dozen people that show up. Just the fact that people come and they’re getting something out of it, they’re getting out of their shell, they’re speaking in front of an audience for the first time. Just seeing other people go outside of their comfort zone and outside of their thoughts…that’s what I love about this.
K: What are your hopes for Melodic Movement in the future?
C: I don’t really know! I think I just want it to continue to grow and reach the people that it needs to reach. I think this is the one time in my life I don’t have a plan, and I’m realizing that that’s okay. It can organically grow and meet people where they are on its own.
Huge thank you to both Carmen and Alex for their time. It was a pleasure speaking with you both! We look forward to seeing you at Cure on October 5th!
October 6th, 2022 - The Kickoff