Adventures in Charleston and beyond ... Click here for poems.

Creating Empty Space

The latest album came from my desire to s l o w d o w n. I feel comfortable in a slow space, but sometimes get caught up in the story of being “busy.” No more. These songs came to me from that spirit. Some of the tracks were unfinished songs on my hard drive […]

How does it feel to be officially eligible for a Grammy nomination? REALLY GOOD. The nominations were announced this morning, but “empath” didn’t make the top 5. The Spoken Word category is full of celebrities reading books – Jimmy Carter, David Sedaris, Questlove, Tiffany Haddish, Courtney Vance. “empath” made the top 234 albums for the […]

My album with Quentin E. Baxter has made it to the ballot for Best Spoken Word album. For us to get an *official nomination*, we need votes from NARAS and Recording Academy members. If you know any Recording Academy members, will you send them this graphic? And tell them I’ll give them a hug. Please.

I’m overjoyed to bring another poetry festival to Charleston. How does this year differ from last year? For one thing, I think it’s important to … simplify. Last year was phenomenal, but felt scattered. So, I decided to limit the events to one week: October 17-24. The public art projects will happen throughout the month. […]

I was the poet in residence at the lovely Zero George, a stunning hotel and restaurant in downtown Charleston. I connected with the Zero George staff over an encouraging and honest conversation about making sure that spaces like this feel … open. And welcoming. Earlier this year, I did a poetry reading and workshop at […]

The fine folks at the Arts Institute of Charleston asked me to be the commencement speaker for the 2018 graduating class. I’ve never done that before, so it was an honor to grace the stage and meet the scholars. I'm about to do the commencement speech for the graduates of @AiCharleston at @CHSMusicHall. Number of […]

Walter Edgar’s Journal. Now there’s a name that is familiar with a lot people in South Carolina. I’ve listened to his shows for a long time and never really considered the fact that I would have a chance to be on it! Well. Here I am: After this appearance, I received A LOT of […]

Friends, this is Cheryl Boyce-Taylor. She’s the mother of Phife (Malik Taylor), from A Tribe Called Quest. A. TRIBE. CALLED. QUEST. One of the first things I *ever* wrote was a rap based on one of Phife’s verses, in 1991. It’s because of Tribe that I sharpened my writing skills. It’s because of Tribe that […]

In honor of National Poetry Month, the most impactful poet I’ve ever read is Ani DiFranco. Her wordplay, politics, art direction and DIY ethic have been HIGHLY influential on my work. Some examples of the lyrical genius::: “More and more there is this animal looking out through my eyes at all the wires in the […]

I can honestly say this is the electronic album I was born to make. Why? Because, finally, I feel like everything came together much better than any other of my solo releases. empath (variations) feels … complete. Everything I’ve learned about music production, design, publishing, mastering, song structure, looping and more is all here. I […]

it’s totally normal to play meditative electronic music in your backyard, right? open is a 21-minute collage of music, recorded live. It’s a warmup for a full-length release, later this year. gear used: Elektron Digitakt, Moog DFAM, Teenage Engineering’s OP-1, Folktek Nano Garden, Teenage Engineering’s PO-16. the free download is here: and the video:

Happy new year, happy new book. empath is available NOW! the album version is up next. This book has my best work and my best design. I’m excited to share this experience with you. The book has six parts: Part 1: habit creature (love poems, a return to the style of my earlier work) Part […]

37. The National – Sleep Well Beast: Their best album since 2010’s masterpiece, High Violet. I dig it when the band gets experimental – electronic touches are all over this moody and brilliant record. 36. Jay-Z – 4:44: No I.D.’s production is perfect and Jay-Z’s lyrics are on point and personal. (kudos to speaking the […]

“empath” secrets

Some inside info about the new project, exclusively for the 7 people who read this website. // the original title of the project was “movement / meaning.” // the concept of the book was sparked by this tweet. // that tweet inspired me to write a poem called “empath (motherland)” and to come up with […]

I’m ready …

I’m ready to let you know about new project, empath. You’re probably thinking, “Uh oh. Didn’t you just do a poetry festival? Shouldn’t you sleep? What’s next, bruh?!?!” Well …     empath = a 185-page poetry book, (featuring poems about love, connection, family, history, social justice, social media, Prince, feminism, and, of course, Charleston). […]

… and it’s been a great journey. Like many artists, the process of making a project is just as important as the final product. It’s where the joy lies. I’ve been editing / writing / singing / pushing buttons / playing / designing for a few months now. What you’ll get is a unified statement. […]

Burke HS poetry club

Burke High School teacher Kaitlyn Mindel reached out to me because she leads a spoken word poetry club at the school. They meet weekly and have been planning to do a slam at the school. I recently visited and was BLOWN AWAY by their talent and skill. Evidence: I’m going to work my hardest to […]

(thank you)

Welp. Free Verse is over. I’m proud that this festival accomplished what I wanted it to: amplify voices that needed to be heard while spreading poetry across the city. I couldn’t have done it without your support. Much love to  SC Humanities, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the Charleston Visitors Bureau. And the sponsors: the Cooper School, Pure Theatre, MOJA Arts Festival, the SchoolHouse, Enough […]

My dream of putting together a poetry festival is now a reality. When I became poet laureate of Charleston, my main vision + goal was to spread poetry in Charleston and make it a more stable scene. Poetry has been alive in the Holy City for a long time. When I moved here in 2003, […]

Tori Amos, thank you

My relationship with Tori Amos has gone through its ups and downs. Like many people in the Tori universe, I first came to her music in the 90s. Under the Pink was my first album, and I quickly went to Little Earthquakes then Boys for Pele then From the Choirgirl Hotel then To Venus and […]

A fun album …

The last one took a lot out of me. So I made analogue // 6: a 17-minute collection of songs inspired by the 80s. Dig it: analogue // 6 (2017) by tape loop The video:

I spent a few months working on an album that proved to be my most difficult project to date. TELEMAQUE. grew from a desire to give a musical voice to the depression that arises from America’s history. You see, sometimes poetry is incapable of expressing pain accurately. Words can only go so far. In my […]

I’ve visited a lot of schools before I became poet laureate of Charleston. But now, the visits are becoming more frequent and more rewarding. I’ve done poetry workshops and/or read poems at The Cooper School, Meeting Street Academy, Claflin University (Orangeburg, SC), Sanders-Clyde, Academic Magnet, Wando High School, and Ft. Johnson Middle School. Soon, there […]

With analogue // 4, I set out to make an album as rich and textured as the soundtrack work of Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross. (I can dream, right?) The second track ended up sounding like William Basinski. Analogue // 4 was written and recorded Jan. 27-29, 2017, using an OP-1. Think of it as […]

2016 was an overloaded of great music. Even in its last week, 2016 brought us the amazing new EP from Nine Inch Nails. That would have made my list, but I’ll wait to see what Trent brings in 2017. Anyway, here’s my favorite albums of the year. Enjoy: 24. noname – telefone an intimate, groovy […]

Here’s the third album in the analogue series! I recorded this Dec. 26 – Dec. 28, 2016. Very much inspired by the Stranger Things soundtrack. The only instrument I used was my trusty OP-1 synthesizer. I’m in love with it. For the video, I used old footage of the family from our military adventures. Yep, […]

my 18th album

The analogue series has been a fun little project for me to sink my electronic teeth into. The concept: record one album a month for the next six months. Improvisation. Use nothing but analog instruments. Record in one day. Well, the second album in the project is complete. I cheated by recording it in three […]

A few weeks ago, I was asked to read poetry for Wando High School‘s Live Poets Society. I appreciate the idea of students focusing on living poets instead of dead ones (sorry, Walt). There’s so many great poets who are active in the scene, writing inspiring work. The experience was priceless. I read a few […]

Some photos from TEDx

Was so excited perform at TEDxCharleston with my brother in art, Quentin E. Baxter. The love we received from our performance was beautifully overwhelming. Seriously. THANK YOU if you came up to me to show love. My apologies if I seemed out of it, or was at a loss for words (ironically). Here are some […]

I challenged myself to write and record an electronic album in one day. I’ll be doing one electronic album per month, for the next six months. The first record in the “analogue” series was completed on 10/27 with synthesizers and drum machines. It’s yours now. ENJOY. Stream and download now. Dig? THE VIDEO: THE ALBUM: […]

Despite the loss of Prince, it’s been a great year. A new house, a strong marriage with the most intelligent woman in the world, the TEDx news, and … this. BUT WHAT’S NEXT? Well … I’m designing the national music magazine No Depression. No Depression has a rich history of in-depth stories about roots music. As a graphic designer in Charleston, […]

!!!!! Ironically, words aren’t coming to me right now. I’ll just share the good news with you …. Official press release is below. Also check out the story from the Post and Courier. For Release: June 22, 2016 AMAKER NAMED POET LAUREATE OF THE CITY OF CHARLESTON Charleston, S.C.—Mayor John Tecklenburg announced the appointment of Marcus […]

Here’s another example of the universe working its magic: two months ago, I was invited to a luncheon for the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. At that luncheon, CML showed one of the videos I did for them on a big projector. After the luncheon, I took a walk down King Street and ran into […]

More blessings came my way earlier this month, when PBS came into town to talk to Marjory Wentworth and I about the healing power of poetry and its impact on our community after the massacre at Mother Emanuel. The crew filmed me at Hampton Park, near the Demark Vessey Statue. I read two poems, “Black […]

Words can’t express how FUNKAY the Prince tribute show was, at the Charleston Music Hall. Man. The Hall was sold out! I’ve never seen a crowd like that before: an extra diverse group of purple power was in the building. And everyone was dancing. The band ripped through the setlist. Here’s what we played ::: […]

Life as a DJ

Thanks to Pam of the Soul Preservation Society, I’ve been able to do what I love the most: spin vinyl for people at parties and events. Yes, we spin vinyl. It would be so much easier to do it digitally, but we are old school. Plus, hauling around crates of vinyl around town is some […]

The fine folks of This Should Be a Podcast – Andrew Sprague, Ryan Wilcox and Liz Segrist – interviewed me about art, poetry and my hatred of Seinfeld. I love this podcast – it’s super funny and relaxed. Check it out below, and also check out my wife on an earlier episode, as well! My podcast […]

365 days of love.

One year ago today, I married Jordan. Fellas, to get the scoop on how to find eternal bliss, follow these steps ~ step 1: open your eyes and realize you are already friends with the woman of your dreams. step 2: finally ask her out on a date. goes to @moes crosstown. step 3: write […]

My life changed when Vikki Matsis came to me a few years ago and asked me to do the branding for OHM Radio. I did the logo and website for it, and I also do a show every Monday and Thursday. 78.3% of my shows are dedicated to Prince (of course). A great side effect […]

Thoughts from a mega fan. My speech at the Charleston Music Hall, prior to a showing of Prince’s “Purple Rain” on May 18, 2016. I don’t have a good memory. I have a hard time recalling names and moments from my past. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to remember what I did last weekend, much […]

My first official show as tape loop is in the books. MAN, it was an amazing time. About 80 people came to Redux for the Surround Sound show … I’m so thankful for the love and good energy from everyone involved. Pam and Jason spun records, Nick Jenkins and I performed on stage and the […]

Some poets and I had the chance to set up shop at the Charleston Farmers Market, armed with a ton of blank paper and … a typewriter. We were there to celebrate the last day of National Poetry Month. We charged people $1 for a poem. It was amazing how many people loved the idea. […]

The first “poem” I wrote was a verse-by-verse cover of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Butter,” from The Low End Theory. I put “poem” in quotes because I really didn’t know what I was doing – I was just really enthralled with the rhyme style of Phife Dawg. The year was 1991, and I still had […]

Someone on Facebook said that I’m having a good year. I can’t argue that. The mayoral inauguration poem , the branding of the Charleston Jazz Festival and now … this! I’m so grateful to be included in this Charleston City Paper story. My little portion of the story talks about naps, Moe’s Crosstown, gin and […]

Happy to announce my new album, “the drum machine.” It’s a 31-minute electronic music album recorded at home in Charleston. The theme? Beats. It’s also an homage to my music from the last 10 years. I did my first album as tape loop in 2005 after buying a Boss DR 202 drum machine. That album, […]

Charleston City Paper Spoleto review: Madeleine Peyroux

I was asked by the Charleston City Paper to review Madeleine Peyroux’s Spoleto show during my honeymoon week with Jordan. Jordan and I chose one of Madeleine’s songs for our wedding, so we were eager to see her. Here’s how it looked, through my eyes. Read the article on the Charleston City Paper’s website Madeleine […]

2014 was another stellar year for music. It started in January with a great album from Mogwai (Rave Tapes), and ended in December with the instant classic Black Messiah, from D’Angelo. Here’s the rundown of my favorite records: 1. FLYING LOTUS, You’re Dead! Death is a topic that can be untouchable – not many artists […]

I was asked to take photos of a friend’s proposal: Lockwood planned to propose to his girlfriend (now fiancé!), Sarah Kenney, at the Battery. I’m definitely not a photographer, but I think the pics turned out pretty solid! See for yourself. Congrats to the couple! Nice to see so many good people choosing to get […]

Review: Prince, Art Official Age & PLECTRUMELECTRUM

Being a Prince fan can sometimes feel like being on a roller coaster. The highs are out of this world, but the lows are inevitable. For every great record like 3121, you’ll get a less-than-stellar album like Planet Earth, just one year later. But believe me, his two latest albums, ART OFFICIAL AGE and PLECTRUMELECTRUM, […]

Somewhere in West London …

I have many favorite artists. Most of you know about the heavy hitters on my list: Prince, Joni Mitchell, Ani Difranco, PJ Harvey, Tori, Tribe. On that list as well is Kate Bush, and she’s making news because she performed her first concert in 35 years last night in London. It’s part of a 22 […]

My favorite 13 albums of 2013

13. Heiroglyphics – The Kitchen 12. Justin Timberlake – 20/20 Experience 11. Pearl Jam – lightning bolt 10. Arcade Fire – Reflektor 9. Atoms for Peace – AMOK 8. Paul McCartney – New 7. Local Natives – Hummingbird 6. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest 5. Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle 4. […]

Album review: David Bowie’s “The Next Day”

I’ve always been a little intimidated by David Bowie. His discography is massive. His reputation is legendary. His influence is immeasurable. So, where do you start when you want to listen to him? Like most people, I started with the Ziggy Stardust album. Beyond that, though, I was finding it hard to connect to his […]

When a musician grows older …

i have a strange fascination with growing old. at 36, i feel better than i’ve ever felt. people pump fear into your mind about age: they tell you that your 20s are your prime and your 50s are when you should start thinking about mortality. as prince sung, “what if time’s only reason is to […]