WORD UP!! @ The Laylow – Thurs. April 20th / 7pm-10pm/$5.00


Thursday April 20th 7pm -10pm / $5.00

Starring: KAIA RICHARDSON, ARETA MARSHALL & SHANNON BRAMER (Special Guest Artist Jef Kearns accompanying Areta Marshall)

Location: Laylow Beer Bar & Eatery /1144 College Street (corner of College and Dufferin)

WORD UP!! started out as a theatrical poetic series founded by Amani in 2011.  You might have seen WORD UP!! – Where Rap and Spoken Word Meet Theatre, WORD UP!! – Why I Write, WORD UP!! – Bring on da Love or WORD UP!!! -Eastern Corridor… Well now it’s time for WORD UP!! – Open Mic Edition @ The Laylow and this show brings some new flava to the Open Mic scene in Toronto. Young Poets, Elder Poets, Experienced Wordsmiths and Newbies are all welcome. Poets who sing, Rappers who Poeticize and Poets who Improvise are all welcome.  AMANI YOUR EMCEE/HOST will be there to interact with the audience and also to perform some of her own poetic pieces/songs.

OPEN MIC PEEPS  Please arrive by 7pm real time… to sign up for the Open Mic portion of the night. (There are 6 spots available) OPEN MIC PEEPS can do 1 poem with a 2-3 min time frame

“WORD UP!! is A SAFE SPACE for Newbies to perform and network”

Laylow – has the perfect vibe for this Open Mic – with amazing food, great staff and ambience that’s just right!


Amani - Host/Producer

AMANI… is known as the “Contemporary Blues Poet” – Winner of the BBPA Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in Entertainment… this multi-disciplinary artist has performed in shows like When Sisters Speak in Toronto to the Nuyorican Café in New York City to Rapso in Trinidad. Amani can Spit out fiery lyrics one moment and croon a spoken love song the next. As a multi-disciplinary artist playwright and producer her work challenges boundaries and blends multiple genres or styles. An Artspreneure who is passionate about youth arts and culture she’s been on the Spoken Word Scene since 1996. With two Spoken Word CD’s “Amani the Words the Rhythm the Music” and “Poetree Huggin”. Her latest endeavour was the successful World Premiere in Montreal and the Toronto Premiere of her new Theatrical Rhapsody “She Said/He Said”.  She was also just invited to perform in Cascadoo Spoken Word Festival in Trinidad this summer.

Social Media: Instagram – AmanisVibe Twitter – @Amani Live – Youtube Amani Live


kaia richardsonKAIA RICHARDSON (Because Young Classical Singers are still Poets)

Kaia is an actor, singer, dancer, poet and graduate of Randolph Academy’s conservatory performance program having grown up in Toronto, studying voice and dance from the age of 13.
Recent credits include an adaptation of Caryl Churchill’s A Dream Play, Footloose The Musical, Ismailova Theatre of Dance Production: The Little Mermaid, Hexen by Canadian playwright Caleigh Crow and The Three Friends by Canadian playwright Anne-Marie Woods. Kaia would like to thank her loving family, friends and mentors for their relentless support as she continues to grow as an artist.

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ARETA MARSHALL (Because Life Experiences Evoke Poetry)

Areta is a spoken word artist, writer and producer. In the past, she and her good friend Lisa Michelle (a talented R&B/Neo Soul singer/producer and actor) collaborated with trey anthony to produce Lyme & Tings, a talent competition that gave many up-and-coming Toronto artists a chance to showcase their works and provided them with new opportunities in which to grow and hone their craft. She also created the event Vicariously…Through the Eyes of a Poet, a show headlined by herself, but featuring many of the city’s top spoken word artists and writers including Dwayne Morgan, Jemeni, Al St. Louis and Rachael-Lea Rickards and a slew of talented musicians. Her poetry is motivated by life experiences, her own as well as others. If one person connects with what she has to say, then she knows she’s done what she’s supposed to do.

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SHANNON BRAMER (Because Playwrights are Storytellers & Poets)

Shannon Bramer is a poet and a playwright. Her newest collection of poems, PRECIOUS ENERGY, is forthcoming from Book Thug in September of 2017. Her most recent play, The Hungriest Woman in the World just had its Premiere in March at the Alumnae Theatre’s NEW IDEAS Festival. Shannon also spends a lot of time teaching poetry for various schools in Ontario and supervising kindergarten students at lunch time; please don’t hesitate to speak to her if you need any help opening your containers or finding your shoes.


Our first show was amazing both our features and the poets who blessed us on the Open Mic portion… check out the bios from that show!

kyara headshotKYARA (The Soulful Sultry Songstress)

Toronto’s very own Kyara deep, smokey vocals evoke the golden era of soul and it’s enough to send a tingle up your spine. With each song she paints a picture taking you with her on a journey that is indescribable and memorable. Influenced by the likes of Toni Braxton, Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill, Kyara’s jazz, blues, soul fusion is taking the city by storm. She recently released a small body of work entitled “4 The EP” stripped down to guitar and her warm vocals. In this 8 minute piece she illustrates many stories of love, loss and self discovery. 

“Packed together with some smooth acoustics, groovy melodies and raw stories about her past it’s altogether a soulful body of work.” Omit Limitation  /“Smouldering voice sounded decades older than her years.” NOW Magazine  Check Kyara’s Music on Soundcloud

mlg photo newest

MLG (The Motivational Poet) MLG, is a spoken word artist, writer, and communicator. She is a motivational speaker, who facilitates public speaking workshops and performs poetry in Toronto and Brantford, most recently at “Poetry and Jazz” (2016). MLG’s spoken word poetry has been performed at open mics such as Dwayne Morgan’s “Up from the Roots”, Al St. Louis’ “When Words are Spoken”, and she was the featured performer at Queen’s “Saturday Night Love” in December 2009 and Faith Connection’s “Theology on Tap” in January 2010. Marie-Lauren’s lastest published work is an essay «Living a legacy, lessons from a faith filled life», in Portraits of Faith, published by Novalis. 

hazel pic nw oneHAZEL (The Young BUT Wise Poet)

Mathias Haze, a.k.a. “Hazel”, is an 18 year old up and coming spoken word artist/rapper from the westend of Toronto. Starting his artistic journey with poetry when he was 14 years old, Hazel slowly developed into the spoken word artist/rapper that he is now by drawing from inspirations such as Kendrick Lamar, D’angelo and Andre 3000 then applying what he’s learned and performing his works throughout various events in Toronto. From performing at Soho House to collaborating with UNITY Charity, Hazel has graced many stages and often left audience members inspired by his art and shocked by his age!