Photo Credit: Tya Anthony
Walt Maxfield-Jones is an actor, comedian and poet based in Baltimore, Maryland. He has appeared on the stage, screen and television and has been singing and dancing ever since he could walk. Each week he can be seen using his poetic license as the host and promoter of “Warm Wednesday’s” a spoken word venue which according to his website is “the largest and longest open mic poetry venue in the nation.” PrideIndex caught up with Jones as he landed in Los Angeles a few days in the final hours of 2011 here’s what he had to tell us.
PRIDEINDEX: Being from the West Coast how did you end up in Baltimore?
MAXFIELD JONES: Full scholarships to Morgan State University through a program U-CAN Go to college. I fell in love with a woman and the DMV (DC, Maryland, and VA) and decided to stay.
PI: You’re an actor/host/songwriter “habitual line stepper,” what is a habitual line stepper?
MJ: (LAUGHS)… Habitual line stepper over –er… (LAUGHS) or something like that. I always seem to take a joke too far so my friends gave me that label based on the Rick James episode of “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories”
PI: I understand that you have been singing and acting ever since you could walk, when were you bitten by the comedic bug?
MJ: The comedic bug was started crawling on me at an early age because my family always had jokes, but when I saw “Delirious” with Eddie Murphy, the bug sunk its teeth in.
PI: How do you prepare for each gig?
MJ: Quick prayer, quick pep talk like Ali hyping himself before a fight, shadow box for a few seconds, and then some Grey Goose to get me loose… (LAUGHS).
PI: Let’s talk a little bit about your poetic license, when and where did you first obtain it?
MJ: I started writing poetry for school assignments and then it lead to writing to romance women. One day at the age of 12 my poems started coming with melodies and I could not stop writing songs. It was how I dealt with my emotions.
PI: What’s the inspiration behind Warm Wednesday’s?
MJ: My college roommate told me he could not get a song he heard me singing out of his head, but could not figure out the artist who sang it. When I told him I wrote the song he told me that I really should do something with my music instead of just sitting on it. So I started an open mic to see if other people liked my songs too. It ended up growing into the largest, longest running weekly open mic spoken word venue in the country.
PI: Tell us about some of the performers that have spat at Warm Wednesday’s?
MJ: WOW… Poets like Lamar Hill, Taalam Acey, Love the Poet, Rebecca Dupas, E the Poet Emcee, Archie the Messenger, Lyrical the Lyricist… etc. Singers like Raheem DeVaughn, Musiq Soul child, India Arie, etc. I am honored by the artists that have graced the stage during the infancy stages of their careers and that by the ones that continue to come back week after week to perform. The talent that calls Warm Wednesdays home and encourages upcoming artist to come and pay their dues makes Warm Wednesdays the Mecca of Spoken Word. You never know who is going to show up or who is going to blow up.
PI: Name at least 3 people that have had the most influence on your artistic style.
MJ: Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, and my Mom.
PI: A little birdie told me that you’re working on a new film, what’s the 411?
MJ: The film is called “Dead Money” starring Clifton Powell, Tray Chaney, Sole’, and ME! (LAUGHS)… You can get on my email list, check out movie trailers, clips of plays and stand up on www.WhatWaltCanDo.com
PI: On your Facebook page there are a few photos of you snowboarding and playing football, are you a secret All American athlete?
MJ: It is no secret. I have always been an athlete. I love competition in both individual and team sports; basketball, football, tennis, boxing, snowboarding, etc. Snowboarding and boxing are at the top of my list right now. I love the learning curve. I love being the underdog and coming back to win… I will die trying to win. If I lose expect to see me again and again and again until I win. Sports are a direct reflection of my life. In life you cannot be afraid to fall down. You have to understand that falling is not failing. Failing is when you don’t get up. I am not the type to stay down. Instead I figure out why I fell, learn the lesson and try again. Eventually life will teach you enough lessons and you will stop falling… Well you still may fall but at least it will not as hard or as often.
PI: So you’re an all around performer; do you ever take time off and do absolutely nothing?
MJ: Time off? Nothing? Blasphemy! I am always doing something even when I am on vacation. Work and play are the same for me because I find a way to make money doing what I love. I live my dreams.
PI: Do you think there will ever come a point in your life when you will do only 1 thing (IE… just act or sing, or dance, or perform stand-up)?
MJ: People have told me to pick one all my life and I have never been able to choose. I feel like it would be a sin to pick one and neglect my other God given talents. If I get to a point in my life when I am only doing one thing, it will because it chose me not because I chose it.
Warm Wednesday’s take place at The 5 Seasons 830 Guilford Avenue Baltimore Maryland for more information on Walt Maxfield-Jones visit www.WhatWaltCanDo.com