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Meet A.E. Charles of StandUp! in Stone Mountain

Today we’d like to introduce you to A.E. Charles.

A.E., please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. I grew up in Stone Mountain which is a suburb 30 minutes outside of Atlanta. Since I was a child I loved creative writing and wrote many short stories. I started writing poetry in the 8th grade for a school project. Throughout middle school and high school, I would make music here and there for myself and with my friends. When I started college at the University of West Georgia in 2010, I was inspired to write poetry again by listening to rappers like Drake, Wale, and J.Cole.

Soon after I started writing again I also was encouraged by my sister to enter into different poetry contests which led to many of my poems getting published by the World Poetry Movement and Eber & Wein Publishing. Also around that same time, I was encouraged by friends to perform my poems at Java Monkey Cafe’s open mic night on Sundays in Decatur. This slowly led to me doing spoken word videos and releasing them on YouTube. After I graduated from The University of West Georgia in 2014 I collected all the poems I had written during 2010 – 2014 and made a book out of them entitled The Experience and released it in 2015.

Two years later while I was trying to finish up graduate school at George Washington University I decided to release another poetry collection of all the unreleased poems I had including a few new ones which was entitled The Undergrad Collection. Later on that year I started recording my poems and I would send them to my friends who were producers to make beats for them and turn them into songs. This led to me putting out a spoken word ep called Words and multiple other singles.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My journey has definitely been one of trials and tribulations from creative setbacks like my first poetry book The Experience not coming out quite like I wanted it to at first and having to go back through and re-edit it and make it better than what it originally was to losing people that meant the world to me like my grandfather, mother, grandmother and uncle. I never let going through these struggles hold me back from accomplishing my dreams but instead, I used them as motivation to become a better person and to become better at my craft. I know life is a precious gift from God so I try to be mindful of that and use my time and energy wisely so that I can not only be the very best I can be but so that I can have a positive impact on the people around me.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I consider myself a poet first but I’m also an author, singer, songwriter, podcaster and creative consultant. Through all the multiple things I do creatively I am most proud of the way I inspire and motivate people through my work to go after their own dreams and aspirations because for me it’s all about making a positive impact on the world through my work.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My parents encouraged my creative desires from an early age whether that was letting me join the church choir, take piano lessons, go to art camp, etc. My sister encouraged me to enter into poetry contest which helped me get my poem published before I put out my first book and helped me get more exposure and most importantly showed me that I had a unique voice that people liked.

My cousin Pierre, friends Henok, Jordan, Osa, Richard, Sean, James, Victor, 90z, Kyz, Coach Banks, Josh, Ford, Cam, Hao, KJ, Adrian, Mo, Devonte, Chris, Mr. Snell, and all my English teachers and music teachers over the years. And all my family and friends/supporters who believed in me, encouraged me, helped me and gave me advice along this journey. They are all appreciated and their words all kept me going on the right path.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Victor Rashad

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