Jamie is a musician. He is currently finishing his course at the Brit School and hoping to attend Goldsmith’s from September 2014.
I started playing classical guitar at my primary school, Cannon Lane, where I had lessons from Harrow Music Service and my teacher Otis from when I was in Year 4. I always knew that I wanted to play rock music, but there weren’t electric guitar lessons. I got my first electric guitar for my 11th birthday. I kept going with lessons and got involved with school productions and shows and everything led on from there.
I first found out about HAC through the music service and Otis. I started playing at the HMS Guitar Festival every year with my school. I then went on to apply for the What Next? project through HAC, which meant I got to perform at Somerset House and Lovebox Festival supporting N Dubz. I got a masterclass in learning how to write songs and play in a band at the age of 14, which was a massive inspiration and pretty much secured my career choice in music. It opened up my eyes to music as a possible career.
After that I did work experience at HAC in March 2011. We organised a 100% gig. It was fun! It was something to do and at that point it was a way of me getting my foot in the door for gigs. I performed in loads of 100% gigs. It was good socially as well; I enjoyed spending time with the people there and made a lot of friends. I didn’t have a group of friends that were so involved in the arts before. I think it’s really important because it brings people together in the community that are liked minded and creative, and it helps you make friends. It helps you feel a part of something and it gives you a lot of confidence. It’s a door for young people who can’t actually go out and gig; it breaks down age barriers. It gives people experience if they want to go and play music. I wrote a lot about 100% when I applied for Brit and I think that’s one of the reasons I got in. You learn a lot of team work skills, it’s good experience.
After the work experience we started the producers group and I just carried on with it in my own time. As the time went on it became a more and more important part of my life. I made one of my closest friend groups to date through it. It gave me more of an insight into how gigs are set up. It felt really real. You felt like you were doing something good, and at 14 you don’t come by that often. There’s not much, you don’t really get the opportunity to run things such as a gig. I met people that I had a lot in common with. It allowed me to use my music skills in another way, and it opened up my eyes to another possible route for me.
In 2012 I applied to the Brit School for the music course and I was successful. They only take two people from outside the catchment area so that was the life changer. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I have grown so much as a person. Now I have an offer from Goldsmith’s for the Popular Music course which is again another quite competitive course.
HAC completely changed my life. Not only did they give me the relevant experience, but they also helped me build in confidence and character. I guess you could say it had a snowball effect; one thing led to another to help me get where I am now. This is musically and socially as well. I didn’t have a proper friend group at my secondary school and I had found people through HAC. If I had never got the opportunity to do What Next? or to run the 100% gigs I probably would not have been pushed towards going in to the arts as a full time career. It’s been a life experience, a window of opportunity.