An interview with Travis Kruck

Q: What inspired you to become a rap artist?
A: I wasn’t able to express myself any other way at the time and found joy and great satisfaction in doing something well, vocally. Performances are amazing! Being on stage, under the lights, doing my thing is probably the only time I feel like a free spirit where thoughts don’t control me; my spirit and heart do.

Q: Is there any specific childhood memory that stands out regarding your speech?
A: One story that sticks in my head was auditioning for a school play. I had to walk up on stage, in front of a cafeteria full of classmates and first say my full name, followed by the song I was going to sing for the play. When my turn came up, of course I was nervous and undeniably expecting to stutter, but as I was waiting in line for my turn to speak I tried to focus and block those thoughts out. Sure enough as the pressure I was holding back came thundering in, I couldn’t even say my first name, only the first letter of my name about a thousand times. And to make it worse, the instructor had thought the mic was turned off or not working properly, so he instructed me to say "mic check" and when I couldn’t say that, I desperately resorted to tapping the mic head to show him the mic was in fact working. But I guess I wasn’t supposed to do that, he yelled at me pretty bad for that move!

Q: What is your greatest obstacle, and how do you deal with it?
A: My greatest obstacle is to not focus on trying not to stutter, but speak freely and learn to control my speech as I go along. Lately I've been doing rather well on this, but when all eyes are on me I tend to be as choppy as the sea below the storm and my control goes out the window. I’m learning to block all distractions out though and just try to focus on the subject I’m speaking on.

Q: What is your biggest dream?
A: You always dream about that big break, that hit single, followed by your prize work of an album and just making a living doing what I love to do. If you would have asked me this a couple years ago, I probably would have said to speak fluently and not stutter. But I’ve realized I will never speak perfectly nor can anyone else.  I shouldn't take it so seriously, but just live and have faith in myself that I can do what I want to do and in turn say what I want to say.

Q: If you could give a simple message to teenagers who stutter, what would it be?
A: Running away is not the answer. Hiding from the problem and letting frustration and anger build up inside will only hurt you more. Building confidence the is key in learning to cope with your stutter. Find out what it is you like to do and makes you feel worth something more than your stutter.  Soon you’ll have left your negative stuttering thoughts and judgments far behind, and you’ll be on your way to a future of your own choosing.