From: Riverside, California. LA Opera: librettist of Love and Light, premiered during Russell Thomas's 2023 recital.
Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is an internationally-known poet, singer, actress, photographer, wife, mother, and the first Black poet laureate for the city of Houston. Heralded as a "Literary Genius" by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, this California native was formerly ranked the #2 best female Poet in the World. D.E.E.P. has established herself as a notable force in the performance and literary world. Currently, she is a resident artist at the American Lyric Theater's Composer and Librettist Development Program and Rice University through the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning.
She self-published her first collection of poetry, Heartstrings and Lamentations, at the tender age of 19 while studying English at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Her university years helped foster a love for writing that was noticed early on by her high school English teacher. After being introduced to poetry slam in high school, she knew she wanted to focus on refining her voice as a poet. In the midst of earning a dual bachelor's degree in English and African-American studies, she competed at CUPSI (The National College and University Poetry Slam Invitationals) as a member of the 2004 University of Michigan Slam Team while simultaneously touring with the WordWorks Poetry Troupe across the Midwest.
She released her first full-length album in 2009 titled The Unfinished Work of a Genius. It is a collection of original songs and poems that explore ideas around spirituality and personal growth. Her sophomore album Beautiful Rebellion explores more socially themed poems. She has been featured on BBC, NPR, Upworthy, Blavity, Tedx, Button Poetry, ABC, and the opening video of the 2017-2018 Houston Rockets season. Her collaboration with the Houston Ballet celebrated Houston's resilience and provided hope for the city after Hurricane Harvey.
She had the honor of serving as a juried poet for the 2012 Houston Poetry Fest and an honored guest in the 2017 Houston Poetry Fest. Her work can be found in Haymarket Book's Black Girl Magic anthology (2018), Akashic Press's Houston Noir (2019) and Blind Faith Book's I AM STRENGTH anthology, and more. Her fiction and creative nonfiction work can be found in Crimereads (2019), Fjords Journal (2019), and the Remapping Wonderland collection by Alternating Current Press (2020). She has served as a contributing writer for Glamour, Texas Monthly, Muzzle, and ESPN's The Undefeated.
D.E.E.P. endeavors to see all of the ways words can be used to pull audiences together. In 2020, she began to venture into opera, serving as the librettist for Marian's Song, an opera centered around the life of Marian Anderson. This world premiere not only ushered her in through one of the most prestigious houses in the country, the Houston Grand Opera, but served as a permission slip to the theatrical dreams she kept hidden. In the following years, as the world pivoted to the crippling pandemic, she dove deeper into creating large stage works that heralded important voices and stories. She was awarded a Live Commission Grant by Performing Arts Houston to produce a visual poem and a work centered around Black life in quarantine during the pandemic, which also served as her directorial debut. The World's Intermission premiered at Jones Hall in 2021 and was restaged for a short film recording with the Houston Museum of African American Culture in 2022.
Plumshuga: The rise of Lauren Anderson is her most recent choreopoem which she wrote and is co-directing with Stages own Eboni Bell Darcy. She also created original music for the piece with the brilliant composer Jasmine Barnes. It champions the life of the incomparable ballerina who broke ceilings across the world. She is also currently working in collaboration with Kendrick Scott and Robert Hodge on Unearthed, a performance piece that shines a light on the Sugarland 95 and a new opera with composer Jasmine Barnes for the American Lyric Theater.
Her second book, Black Chameleon, published by Henry Holt & Co, debuts in the spring of 2023. This stirring new memoir combines new mythology with powerful lyricism. In addition, a storybook opera for young students, entitled Lula The Mighty Griot, which reinterprets one of the myths from the book, was released in 2022 with the Houston Grand Opera and is currently touring schools and community centers. In addition, an exhibit entitled "______ as Myth" engages community writers and artists to interrogate the use of personal mythology as a vehicle for social and self reflection. This exhibit opens at the Moody Center for the Arts on Rice University's campus in the fall of 2022 as part of D.E.E.P.'s residency with the Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning at Rice. recently, She currently tours as part of the Texas Commission on the Arts touring roster.
Learn more at LiveLifeDeep.com.