Luis Marrero is making a name for himself in Philadelphia’s arts and entertainment community.
It started in 2008, when Marrero took the stage in his first open-mic show at Center City’s Art Institute. From there he discovered his voice and natural talent. In 2011, he began a poetry collective called Voices in Power, which grew into a full open-mic event that takes place every first and third Sunday at Jolly’s Dueling Pianos and American Beer Bar in University City. The bi-monthly event is complete with vendors, art, food and of course live entertainment.
The 24-year-old self-proclaimed “short Puerto Rican” (he’s 5″5′) said without poetry, he would be lost.
“If I didn’t have poetry, honestly, I don’t know where I would be,” he continued. “I was always in the streets. Poetry kind of helped me channel my negative energy into inspiration for other people who are going through some things.”
Marrero’s way with words and entrepreneurial pursuits have an influence on his peers too.
Friend and fan Gabe Wolf added, “To see somebody who is a poet and is able to cultivate not only their own career but potentially the careers of many other aspiring artists, purely through just their own devotion and determination, is always inspiring.”
These days, the Philadelphia native’s networking and hard work have allowed him to quit his day job and put all his time into his art.
“This is my only job,” he explained. “I don’t work no more so I’m just trying to be everywhere that I can. People just continue to give me love. People continue to invite me out and I ain’t about to say no.”
One of those invites includes a weekly gig at Sto’s Bar and Restaurant in Old City as a bartender and event coordinator for the Saturday night crowd.
Aside from his performance ventures, the poet also gives back to the community by hosting events like the recent Purple Ribbon Fashion Show at Philly’s annual Rhythm & Blues Festival. Marrero is fitting for the position which requires high-energy and visual appeal.
In the immediate future, he hopes to continue to work hands-on with local artists.
“What I want to accomplish with Voices in Power is a community,” he said. “I want to get into the school system a little bit more. I want to create my own workshops with art in all forms.”