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Final Exam

Photo of Polaris Music Prize winner Haviah Mighty.

Creative Energy

Polaris Music Prize winner Haviah Mighty on how a childhood full of reading led to rapping.

By Laura Bickle
Photo: Yung Yemi

As a student, what career path did you dream of following?

I wanted to be an author. I did a lot of writing — books and songs. I would give myself projects and write up a rubric. In high school, I wanted to be a lawyer, but school seemed way too expensive.

Describe yourself in elementary school.

Opinionated. Eager to learn. Easily distracted.

Describe yourself in high school.

I would say I was focused but still easily distracted. I was tapping into my creativity.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

Early on it was English, and then drama. Drama was a great, distracting subject: it felt like I wasn't in school for that one session.

What was your most challenging subject and why?

English at the end of high school: Shakespeare and I are not the closest. Math was my hardest subject. I was convinced I had to take the advanced level and I barely made it through.

What music takes you back to your school days?

Early 50 Cent records. Get Rich or Die Tryin' was the first album I knew all the words to. And Lauryn Hill and Toni Braxton.

What were your favourite books?

I did a lot of reading. Misery by Stephen King: I found the style of writing intriguing. The Harry Potter books were awesome and I loved A Series of Unfortunate Events, too.

Who are your non-fiction heroes?

My family. My mom and dad are a huge source of support. They are so excited for my career. They always show up to my gigs and pay. I keep telling them they can get in for free but they won't ask.

My favourite way to spend recess and lunch was ...

Playing sports, but I was sometimes in detention at recess. In Grades 11 and 12 I liked to read at lunch. I remember someone calling me out and I felt so bad for that person because they were missing out — I was reading a really good book.

What books are you currently reading?

The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Reading really helps with writing. I like to come with new ammo for conversations and put more stuff in my brain to share it with the world.

My favourite school lunch was ...

Pizza. Wouldn't always get it, so when I did it was a luxury.