What do you do now?
I’m studying Creative Musicianship (a combination of songwriting, performance, music production and music business) at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) in London. I chose ICMP for a multitude of reasons, but the main ones are that it’s based in London (a huge hotspot for artists), the facilities are brilliant, the course is designed to really stretch you artistically, and the university itself has some ridiculously exciting industry connections. Both inside and outside of university I have been co-writing with musicians, both new and well-established, in and around London. I’ve recently taken part in my first experience as a session musician, writing and recording backing vocals for an emerging artist, and I’m working on creating my own music.
In 2018, I went to study a Vocals course in Manchester. I applied very last minute and it was the only university that I applied for to study music. However, I really wish I’d have done more research into the university and the course. I wasn’t happy with the course and it just didn’t feel right, so I dropped out at the end of first year and decided to take a year out so I could take a step back and figure out what I wanted to do, and learn more about who I am.
I took part in a leadership course called Soul61, at a charismatic pioneering Church in Watford, where learned a lot about myself, how to lead a team, and theology. As part of the course I interned with a music team at the Church, where I was really pushed in songwriting and musical skills.
I spend a lot of my time writing and recording, which is an absolute dream come true. I’m still an active part of the music team at the church where my gap year took place, and I’m really looking forward to what comes next.
What advice would you give to your 17-year-old self?
You don’t need to rush into anything, you have loads of time to make decisions. As much as it feels like it does, life doesn’t run on a schedule. Go at your pace, and don’t compare what you’re doing to anyone else because comparison will rob you of your joy.
Believe in yourself and what you are capable of. No one is going to make you do well - you have to put the effort in and you really do have to be your own biggest cheerleader.
Learn to genuinely encourage and champion your friends. A little bit of support goes a very long way, and if you learn how to be happy for people, you’re giving yourself more reasons to be happy.
You are still growing, you don’t know everything, and in a few years you will realise that life is way more enjoyable if you allow yourself to learn. The person you are now is not the same person you will be in years to come. Have grace for yourself and have grace for others - we’re all on the same journey of trying to figure everything out.
What are you most proud of?
Actually following my heart and doing something I wanted to do. My time at school was spent doing Performance, and I think, deep down, I always knew it was what I wanted to do with my life, but I was just really scared that I wouldn’t be very successful, or that I wasn’t good enough to pursue it as a career. I wasted a lot of time trying to find a more realistic option, but I really just wanted to create.
I’m also really proud that I actually admitted that I wasn’t enjoying my course the first time around. I find it very easy to pretend everything’s brilliant when it’s actually not and dropping out was the best decision I have ever made. If I hadn’t dropped out, I wouldn’t have had a life-transforming gap year and I wouldn’t be living in London studying something that I genuinely love. I’m very proud of the person I’ve become — the past few years have really shaped who I am, how I create, and my relationships with people.