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The Writers Block: Journalists Shaping The Creative Industries

Words by Nathan Tuft


Journalism as an art form can be often overlooked, with the focus sometimes shifted to the visual aspects of articles and projects. With that in mind, we wanted to focus on the people behind the words and give them a platform to shine. In our new series, The Writers Block, New Wave Magazine looks to showcase some of the finest writing talents across the industry and explore their journeys, how they got into writing, their process, and their hopes for the future.


Without further adieu, welcome to The Writers Block….


Amal AlTauqi

How did you first get into writing?


I first began writing at the age of 15. I always loved studying English and I was aware I had the capabilities during school. I have always been incredibly passionate, so writing was the perfect outlet for me. It's funny actually because my first ever blog post stemmed from being angered over the lack of representation of minorities at an award show during that year. I wanted to be heard and felt obligated to make sure I was representing my community and scene properly. Since then, I have written about everything I am passionate about.


What do you like to write about and have you looked up to other writers/journalists?


Everything related to creativity excites me. As a creative person myself, I thrive on showcasing the art of others, whether music, fashion, or art. I also enjoy digging deep and coming at a situation from a fresh perspective. Reading is one of my greatest sources of inspiration, in fact, it makes me a better wordsmith. It can be anything, whether it's a short article in the New York Times or an in-depth book by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler.


How do you approach a new piece and how do you motivate yourself?

Approaching a new piece can differ depending on what it entails. I like to think of myself as an organised person and I always make sure to have about one or two sheets of A4 notes and research before any project. The importance of being a writer, in my opinion, is always wanting to put your own little spin on something, whether it's how you question someone or how you write about the subject matter. I like to think outside the box and be able to portray my personality and encapsulate it into the work yet still be true to the spirit of what I'm creating.


Motivationally, the pursuit of every day inspires me. Whether it's music, fashion, creativity, or people, there is always something subconsciously around me, even when I'm not looking for it. As someone so committed to my work and with the effort I put into it, I love seeing it come to fruition. The result is always worth the effort. Having a positive mindset also plays a huge role in that, so I try my very best to see the best in everything - like surrounding myself with like-minded individuals who also strive towards success and being content.


What has been your proudest moment in terms of your journalism?

Most definitely covering Digital Covers for PAUSE Magazine. It's always a huge milestone in my career and I am so thankful to the entire team. Covers are extremely important since it represents the core of the company and though it can present pressure - I’ve had some amazing memories and have interviewed some of the best people within the industry. Another proud moment was when I interviewed Wyclef Jean and got an email back stating it was one of the best interviews he has had. Big fangirl moment, I grew up listening to him.


Who would you like to work with in terms of your writing?


I would love to expand my music and fashion collaborations even further. More clients, more contacts. There is no doubt that my career is on a positive trajectory, and I am looking forward to what the future holds. I just can't pinpoint who.


Amuna Wagner

How did you first get into writing?

I started writing in primary school when my mum allowed me to sit at her computer for two hours every weekend. I’d slowly type up stories about ghosts and magical creatures, invent countries for them and safely guard them through their adventures. From creative writing, I moved on to blogging when I took a gap year and eventually to first-person narrative essays for friends’ websites. Writing makes me feel confident like I am putting my talents to use elevating the stories of my communities; once I fell into it I never stopped.


What do you like to write about and have you looked up to other writers/journalists?

My writing explores the many ways through which we heal ourselves and others: ancestry, identity, pleasure activism, feminist spiritualities, and creative knowledge production. I write opinion pieces, poetry, short stories, and journalistic articles - anything and everything is interesting to me. Many of my friends write, too, and I look to them for inspiration. I believe that we become writers through reading and practice, both of which are best done in the community.


How do you approach a new piece and how do you motivate yourself?


I am passionate about storytelling that de-centers and challenges mainstream narratives, and exploring how people creatively dissect and shape our societies. I believe that good journalism disrupts harmful narratives and instead mirrors the world in its intriguing complexity. My work is an invitation to widen our collective horizons through solution-oriented, accessible media. I approach a new piece through assessing my assumptions and biases before I start my research; the journey of having my beliefs challenged or overthrown is what motivates me to dig deeper. I often write about people, so honouring them by doing a good job is another great motivator to give it my all.


What has been your proudest moment in terms of your journalism?

Ironically, my proudest moment hasn’t been a written piece, but a documentary I directed and produced in 2020. schwarz (black) became my quarantine project when Black Lives Matter protests arose amidst the pandemic and community was much needed. Living in Germany at the time, I invited Black Germans to my rose garden and we talked about Black Life, belonging, and contemporary German society. We turned the conversations into a film which has been screened all over Germany, in the UK, and Egypt. People have been reaching out to me about how much these conversations mean to them, and the protagonists have grown into a community that supports each other and pursues creative projects together. It’s the most rewarding journalistic work I’ve done so far.


Who would you like to work with in terms of your writing?


I really enjoy gal-dem’s columns and would love to work on developing my own column with a publication that promotes progressive, feminist politics and culture.



Nicolas-Tyrell Scott


How did you first get into writing?


I first got into writing through commentary online, while I was in secondary school, and then into college. I decided to use my thoughts on music on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, to start a blog. It stopped across my A-Levels but continued at University, where I also did one-off interview series with up-and-coming artists and also started helping platforms like Lost Culture.


Following the consistency, Hypebeaset pitched me a column years later and taught me some fundamental techniques that would help transition into journalism. I'll always be grateful for what they taught me and how they helped elevate my writing style.




What do you like to write about and have you looked up to other writers/journalists?


Music and culture are the overarching areas, but to be more specific. I love nuances in Black cultural productions in the digital age (think Clubhouse, TikTok, and DSPs), I tend to cover rap and R&B in the UK, as well as globally, but on a cultural level, what's happening on the ground, the developments in micro-communities within those genres, movements like women in rap, etc.


In terms of journalists and writers, of course. I love writers that have an established tone, beats, and care when it comes to documenting, reporting, and covering the cultural landscapes. Ivie Ani, Jesse Bernard, Sharine Taylor, Wanna Thompson, Najma Sharif, Shamira Ibrahim and Joe Zadeh immediately come to mind when I look at peers who I've loved the work of.


How do you approach a new piece and how do you motivate yourself?


I approach a new piece first by looking broadly, what needs to be told here, or what perspectives can be added to the pre-existing canon of documentation here. What style of editorial is this and how do I approach that, going through previous and new works (ongoing) in order to elevate my skill set and learn new techniques and, as of recently, planning. Sometimes, if it's a profile for instance, rough bullet points on aspects to cover based on the transcriptions just helps to have a focused, laser-sharp approach to writing. Taking a break from work and returning to it is imperative. You'll spot your errors, and you'll gain new ideas or ways of formatting information or arcs.


What has been your proudest moment in terms of your journalism?


So many, I think Bree Runway's PAPER cover shoot was a breakthrough. Seeing a darker skinned woman in pop in the contemporary canon get so much love and for the words to receive praise also felt good, I worked hard on that story. Additionally, a piece I did on Clubhouse which involved reporting was one of my first solid attempts at reporting on tech, sans the music connection. There are so many passion points of mine outside of music. Film, Television, Tech spring to mind for example. It affirmed that I can and will continue to explore wider material outside of music also.


Who would you like to work with in terms of your writing?


So many things. I’d love to write documentaries, a book — when the time feels right, not rushing that — and more, I’d love to work more with Apple Music, which I already have, Spotify, but also platforms like Netflix and HBO of wider writing. In terms of journalism, so many platforms spring to mind, but a US broadsheet (there’s one in particular) that I’m looking at for the future. Vulture is a platform I can mention. They still carry out impressive criticism, I’d love to do something on TV and music there too.




Ira Alecia

How did you first get into writing?

I’ll be a cliché babe and say I’ve always loved reading and writing. I used to write a lot of fiction/ poetry for fun when I was younger, but I actually stumbled into writing “properly” during the pandemic. I was working with an organisation called Woman To Woman as a team member, but when we entered lockdown and had to change plans, the founder reached out and asked if I wanted to write articles for the website. I started writing pieces that focused on culture/society, but the first music piece I did was the one I enjoyed writing the most, and people received it well, so I just continued from there.


What do you like to write about and have you looked up to other writers/journalists?


Interviews are my current favourite to do because it relates to my favourite aspect of the creative industry as a whole, which is storytelling. I love that artists are willing to share their journey with you and give you access to understanding their work beyond the music you hear.


Prior to writing, I mainly engaged in music content through audiovisuals so Chuckie Online, Julie Adenuga, and Amaru Wilcox were people I looked to. All the Frontline contributors are amazing - Blessing Borode, Lauren Gordon, and Niall Smith. They all have different writing styles and their love for music and topic of choice shows in every piece.

When it comes to sharing the stories within Black British music and culture with care and precision, Aniefiok Ekpoudom has it, and Alexia Radkiewicz threads her words together seamlessly.


How do you approach a new piece and how do you motivate yourself?

The foundation of any new piece I decide to do, whether a feature piece or interview, is just writing a few questions to give a skeleton on what I may want to focus on. Then I jump into research, where I tend to fall down a rabbit hole, but it allows more freedom and ensures I don’t restrict myself to original ideas if I find something new. Once everything is transcribed from the interview or I have the information from research - organise, draft, then piece it all together.


Motivation can be really fleeting at times, and I’m still working on being as disciplined as I’d like. Getting started tends to be the hardest part, so putting all the ideas on paper first and dealing with the specifics later helps when I’m feeling stuck. Other times I read through my work for inspiration. If all else fails, take a nap and hope for the best when you wake up.


What has been your proudest moment in terms of your journalism?

My proudest moment has to be the Lex Amor interview. It was the first interview and piece I did for Frontline, so being able to speak to an artist who is so intentional with their work and whose music I love was such a great start. It was one of the earliest pieces of work I feel captured my writing style, and I still refer back to it when I need some guidance.


Who would you like to work with in terms of your writing?

GUAP, Notion, and gal-dem are all platforms I like but I don’t have a particular one that overrides the other in terms of who I’d want to work with. Overall, I’d love to speak to and explore the work of more producers and people behind the scenes of the music industry. I think the importance of their work gets overlooked at times and I’d love to highlight that. My journey has been pretty organic and unpredictable so far, so I’m just taking baby steps and exploring what comes.


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