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‘It’s about being true to yourself’

16 October 2014

Big Music Project Hub champion Sean Kinsley on what inspires him and why his work’s the real deal…

Rap musician Sean, 24, volunteers at The Big Music Project hub, The Street, where he organises gigs workshops and events. We caught up with Sean at The Big Music Project Live event in London.

Sean and guitarist performing on stage

As a Big Music Project champion, Sean stages events that use music to glue the community together.

“I get a lot out of The Big Music Project,” he says. “I like to help people through issues and I also like music and to be able to connect them is amazing.”

Scarborough-based The Street, holds regular gigs, runs recording sessions, workshops and a production course for young musicians and plans to add music video directing, fashion design and drama. It put on an event with Oxjam Music Festival, this Autumn, which spanned genres like hip hop, punk, acoustic, pop and grunge.

One thing Sean’s especially proud of helping is new recording artists find their feet.

“We’ve got some people whose self-esteem is really low,” he explains. “Getting them to do things like record a simple chorus, even if there’s nobody there, they find it very nerve-wracking. So I eke them into it in the studio by building their confidence.”

One person he’s helped recently played a gig at Moj

o’s Music Café in Scarborough. “That’s a pretty big thing because they’ve gone from being scared to even sing a note in front of people to doing gigs for 60 people. It was amazing.”

With his own music, authenticity is everything. “I rap about my life and the things that inspire me.” Shunning mainstream hip-hop fodder like girls, guns and gangsters, Sean raps about real people’s struggles. “I don’t rap about girls and clubbing because that would be lying. I’m in a committed relationship. I’m just a normal guy who feels for people who have it rougher than me. That’s what I write about.”

Rapper Sean holds up his award

One such person is a friend who felt pushed out by her mother’

s new boyfriend and ran away from home and lived rough. “She said things like that change you because people look at you and judge you. They don’t ask your story, but instantly think you’re a druggy, an alcoholic or a waste of space. I wrote a song about that.

Besides building confidence in new artists, Sean also uses music to help other young people cope with personal issues such as bullying.

He says The Big Music Project has come at the right time. “More people want to be involved in the music industry and not just on stage. More want to work backstage. You wouldn’t have the artist if you didn’t have the people helping out back stage, so it’s an amazing thing to see.”

At The Big Music Live London Sean spoke to the Big Lottery Fund about the live event, volunteering and his busy schedule.


The last of the four national Big Music Project Live events is in Belfast this  Saturday. They have attracted thousands of young people and major artists. But it doesn’t stop there. The Big Music Project is also running an internship and work-experience programme, including online listings and associated careers advice called The Big Music Project On Track Scheme for young people who want a career in music.

Follow @BigMusicUK and #BigMusic for the latest.

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