For the first time in 12 years, a contemporary spoken word poet has received a Grammy nomination in the “Best Spoken Word Album” category.

Sekou Andrews the former schoolteacher turned award-winning-recording-artist, and two-time National Poetry Slam Champion was nominated alongside star-studded competition. Andrews is most known for his self-titled, avant-garde and very poetic 6-track offering, SEKOU ANDREWS & THE STRING THEORY.  The last poet nominated was literary poet, Maya Angelou in 2007 and prior to that won the award in 2002 for “A Song Flung Up To Heaven.”  

Sekou can be found keynoting at a Fortune 500 company, inspiring thousands at a concert, or performing for Barack Obama in Oprah’s backyard. His poetic keynotes are in such high demand with leading brands like Google, Toyota, Nike, Paypal, Viacom, EA Games and Microsoft.

Andrews’ album was nominated alongside Michelle Obama (Becoming) who essentialy won the Grammy, The Beastie Boys (Beastie Boys Book), Eric Alexandrakis (I.V. Catatonia), and John Waters (Mr. Know It All).

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“Receiving this recognition is beyond exciting and an incredible honor. I’ve dedicated my career to helping to pioneer a commercially viable industry for the art form I love. I hope having spoken word poetry back on the GRAMMY® map will open doors for future poets to be recognized,” said Sekou. “Plus, what better company for The String Theory and I to be in than to be nominated alongside Michelle Obama!” he added.

Check out the incredible spoken word poet below.