Ikenna Onyegbula

Ikenna Onyegbula a.k.a OpenSecret is a writer, arts educator and spoken word performance poet of Nigerian descent currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario.

In the seven years he has been performing, he has toured all across Canada, the United States and in Europe, featuring in many high-profile shows and festivals, like Hullabaloo, The Calgary Spoken Word Festival, Verses Festival of Words, Vancouver Island Music Festival, South Country Fair and North Country Fair. As a member of the nationally-acclaimed four-member spoken word troupe, The Recipe, Ikenna further honed his craft, opening for such acts as K-OS, The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and alongside 2-time Grammy winning Hip-Hop recording group Arrested Development. His work focuses on utilizing performance to get into the crux of varying life circumstances in order to challenge audiences to engage critically through a vast spectrum of emotions.

As an arts educator, Ikenna has facilitated countless spoken word workshops across Canada for youth and adult poets alike. His work as the founder and artistic director of Canada’s National Youth Spoken Word Poetry Festival, YOUTHCANSLAM, in particular, has enabled him to directly impact the lives of many of the country’s budding youth poet voices by providing a national platform upon which they may share their stories and ideas and also have the opportunity to be mentored by some of the country’s most successful and well-established poets.

As a writer, Ikenna has written hundreds of poems and has been featured in two national anthologies: Letters to a Future Church: Words of Encouragement and Prophetic Appeals (2011) and The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry (2013).

Major Awards and Honours:

  • 2014 World Poetry Slam Champion
    * 2014 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word Poet of Honour
    * Founder and Artistic Director of Canada’s National Youth Poetry Festival, YouthCanSlam (2013- Present)
  • 2013 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion
    * 2012 Ottawa Capital Poetry Slam Grand Slam Champion
    * 2012 World Poetry Slam Finalist: 4th place
    * 2011 Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion
    * Two time Canadian National Poetry Slam Team Champion, with Team Ottawa (2009, 2010)
    * Three time Canadian National Poetry Slam Team Finalist, with Team Ottawa (2008, 2009, and 2010)
  • Three time Ottawa Poetry Slam Team member (2008, 2009, and 2010)