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Music for education & wellbeing podcast [28] TRANSCRIPT: JB Rose, performer, recording artist, vocal tutor and Singing Vegan Mum

AH: So hello, it’s Anita here and welcome to the latest podcast. In this episode, I’m talking with JB Rose, who is a performer, a recording artist and also a vocal tutor at Heart and Soul, which celebrates and develops the creativity of people with learning disabilities; Clean Break Theatre Company, which focuses on women in the criminal justice system; and Second Wave Youth Arts where she’s also an associate director. And I’m also a little bit starry eyed today because JB has also supported Chaka Khan. She’s worked with Coolio, Omar, Junior and various other well known acts and had her latest tracks produced by Erykah Badu, and Beverly Knights producer, Neville ‘2b3’ Thomas. Do you know, I’ve never said that out loud. I hope I said that right.

JBR: You did it right Anita.

AH: Oh, brilliant. So welcome, and thank you, JB. It’s great to have you here on this swelteringly hot day in July. Hopefully you’re somewhere cool and not in a boiling hot room. 

JBR: Hi, yes, I’m lovely. I’m in a lovely big room with a window and a patio door blowing balloons all around. 

AH: Oh, it sounds lovely. So to start off with, I just wondered if you could tell us a little bit about your musical journey. You’ve done so much according to your CV and bio. So how did you end up where you are today? 

JBR: Yes, when I saw that question, I thought wow, that’s a big one [Laughs]. 

AH: Yeah, absolutely. 

JBR: But you know how I started off, I started off in youth theatre, a youth theatre in Deptford, at the Albany theatre. We had vigorous classes and workshops that I went to regularly. I went to drama classes. I went to dance classes. I went to music classes. And in that area across the road, literally across the road, there was a place called Lewisham Academy of Music, which is now called MIDI Music. 

AH: Oh, I know MIDI Music, yes. 

JBR: Yes, run by Wozzy ‘Wonderful’ Brewster. But then, she’s a little bit older than me, but my peer, but she was one of us kind of a kid. But now she’s a person with an MBE and that kind of stuff. So I came through that angle. And it was during the good times of London borough of, gosh, Ken Livingstone times when you had that massive. There was lots and lots of funding for youth arts, young people, music, that kind of stuff. 

AH: So a lot of stuff you went to was free or low cost?

JBR: Actually it was mostly free and subsidised. And the standard of teaching was absolutely brilliant. I was totally immersed in the arts. In the evenings, I would literally be getting dressed, sorry, coming home and getting dressed to go out to do a drama class. And because every term was working towards a show, and within the drama show, there will always be music, and then I’ll be going to the Academy of Music course, now called MIDI Music. And I will be learning singing and how to play a little bit of keyboard. And so across the road from the Albany was the Lewisham Academy of Music. I used to go to music classes and singing classes there, I set up a band. And every Wednesday there, Helen Terry, the backing singer of Boy George, who was in Culture Club and the first single had already come out. And so it was very exciting times. I’ll probably have been about 12 or 13 or something. And so in terms of how I got to where I am now, I’ve been to so many different metamorphoses. [Laughs] I can, I could put you know, if I was to just put it into one ‘cap’, you know, catch all phrase, I’d say I came from youth theatre or youth arts in general, where I literally had access to, not only very high quality teaching and training, I was also mixing with people who were at the top of their pool at the time. So Helen Terry from Culture Club at the Albany Theatre. They always had massive artists coming over like Roy Ayers, and lots of acts coming in doing performances, Jools Holland played a bit every Friday night. As young people of 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 it was much more free flowing in the cafe – which is a massive large cafe – you would have all creative people, you know, just hanging out. Gil Scott-Heron, that’s it, it’s just come to my mind now, from America and you’d see them hanging out in the cafe just before they did their soundcheck. And then because we were the young people in the Youth Theatre, and the Youth Music Department, we would walk in and sit around and watch them perform. There wasn’t so many gatekeepers around, and it was a brilliant time for me and for my peers to just be involved in the arts. And my parents were very kind of relaxed and cool with that, because I was always you know, before I started going to these places, I was always I couldn’t keep still, I was always difficult.

AH: That’s fantastic. It sounds like it was a really good environment in terms of being collaborative and connected you into lots of networks, and maybe quite participatory, would you say?

JBR: Totally participatory in terms of myself as a young person getting involved in theatre, music and the arts and performing. And then as I said, we then got to watch the professionals perform in the main space, because we usually performed, like in studio spaces, or whatever. And we had access to just go and watch it and see how they do their things. 

AH: It sounds amazing. 

JBR: Yeah.

AH: And did you have any formal, what they call formal, you know, one-to-one music lessons at all on that stage?

JBR: Oh, yeah yeah. So I was always sort of looking for classes. Goldsmiths College was just up the road, so I was doing courses at Goldsmiths college. So what I’ve been talking to you about is what happened from maybe 12 to 25. But within that you have the more, you come in at a level of entry of interest. And of course, I wanted to sing. And then as the years went on, I wanted more core skill and wanted to understand a bit more. And so then through that I went on to Goldsmiths College. Lewisham College I also did music work classes and stuff like that. And then within that, I was also then when I got to like 18, I started doing session work. I was also very interested in script writing, because I love theatre too. And then I wanted to know how to write a song myself, and that kind of thing. 

AH: Did you know from an early age that you wanted to sort of combine both passing on skills and being a mentor or a tutor yourself, as well as a performing career? Did you sort of always see that as going hand in hand? 

JBR: Yeah, I think for me, it was always, I mean, I didn’t think of it in that way. But because I always loved children, I always loved babies, I loved kids, when I was younger. So that was always happening for me. And then again, through the arts companies that I go to in person, and once you’ve sort of reached a certain age and a certain level, then you’ll start mentoring younger kids to you. And it will be formalised, the small certificates that you would get, you know, for, you know, mentoring young people or younger people to you, and that kind of stuff. So for me, yes, it was always part of me to share what I had, my skill, singing came easy to me, telling stories came easy to me. And then working with others also came easy to me. So when people didn’t quite get it I could go, ‘Okay, let me show you. What if we do it this way, or we can’t do a harmony, okay. Let’s not use their fancy language’. And I was using language that would be accessible to people.

AH: So from when you left school, what was the next step after leaving school? How did you earn a living? 

JBR: I was never going to work from nine to five. [Laughs] It was never in me to do that. But because all my peers were also doing great, as you said, you know, like Wozzy, she was very active in getting the arts into schools and letting young people express themselves. All my peers ended up sort of becoming associate directors or directors of quite a lot of London arts companies and theatres and that sort of stuff. So then I started tutoring, I also did a youth work course as well so I had some kind of youth work qualifications. I did a City and Guilds. It’s a bit like a PGCE that you call it now because I had all this experience and knowledge and then to enable me to kind of teach in colleges and stuff like that I needed some kind of certification. So I went to Lewisham College to do some of that, and then I also did a year at Thames Valley University because I was really interested in vocals.

AH: Oh right, so it looks like you’ve kind of built your own training programme if you like, and you combine that with actually doing it. So you’re practising it working with young people being a performer at the same time as cherry picking the various courses in youth work and arts and that were right for you. That sounds great. 

JBR: Absolutely, because I wanted to work in colleges. And as time went on, and, you know, I was getting work in schools even, you know, they needed some kind of certification. They knew that I knew how to work with young people. I have all this experience, you know, I can work with massive groups of kids or massive groups of adults. I used to even do, I still do actually inset days with teachers, helping teachers to kind of think about how they teach young people and make it accessible using their maths. So you could do it in this particular way and that kind of stuff. So I kind of formalised it. So yeah, and within that, as you rightfully said, I was always being an artist, I was doing session work. I was doing drama. Me and two other friends we set up a theatre company called the Bomara Theatre Company with a lady called Angela Marne who is a well-known comedian now, and Mary Berry, and the three of us was up and down, doing all these comedy sketches. And then within that, I will be still going to college here and that kind of stuff and building on formal education and basically getting certificates that then added up to something that could be recognised. 

AH: And so how did you get your first big break or mini-break into being a recording artist? Because there never is the ‘big break’ is there, it’s all surreal and a hotchpotch of opportunities, isn’t it? 

JBR: Yeah. So I remember the first time I recorded something I was doing a little Saturday job in Brixton, called Bon Marche, and didn’t know there was recording studio up there, and some guy came down and said, ‘Look, we’re doing this song, and I’ve written it, anybody here can sing, I just need someone to put this song idea down’, and then my friends were going, ‘She can sing, she can sing’. And so I literally just went upstairs, and I recorded something, I was about 16 or 17 then, and they were like, ‘Wow!’. And I harmonised it because I’ve been doing that, you know, but I hadn’t ever recorded it. And from there on, and they were like, ‘Wow, can you come and do some more singing for us?’. And then I kind of got into looking at, you know in those days they had newspapers like NME and Melody Maker, and at the back they’d be looking for singers and singers for songwriters. So I worked a lot for Rondor Music, and people like the guy that came downstairs and said, ‘Can you record my song?’, and it was just word of mouth. So I ended up doing loads of kind of singing for songwriters who wanted to get their ideas down, and especially for Rondor Music. I remember recording and singing songs that were being placed with Whitney Houston at the time, and Anita Baker, and I was so excited.

AH: Oh my goodness.

JBR: I was just getting used to the idea, and you know, going ‘Waaah!’.

AH: Absolutely.

JBR: Yeah, it was absolutely amazing. And so then basically, and what’s happened to me for the whole of my life really has been reputation. So I’ve never really sort of put up a CV or put a website up saying I’m available for workshops and musical directing. It’s just been literally word of mouth and my reputation. And from one thing comes another thing, comes another thing and I’m always juggling like, ‘Oh my gosh, commission here’ or ‘singing for this’ or you know, when I got a publishing deal with Westbury Music in Brixton, I would be like the featured act on a drum and bass group, one guy called James Hardway. I sang with Swayzak, which was a very well known house band and I sang on three or four tracks and wrote on their albums and stuff. So I did a lot of that as well, which was, if I wasn’t writing, if I wasn’t singing for songwriters, I was the featured artist on various types of producers who just had singers on their album kind of thing. And it ranged from jazz to drum and bass to soul to house. So that was always bubbling along. And then the theatre stuff, of course, I got into writing as well. So I love writing stories. And I also got asked to write for the BBC and I wrote this, I was one of the writers on the first black drama called ‘Brothers and Sisters’, and was 25 years at the time. And yeah, I wrote on both series, there was two series, and one of the writers was a lady called Amma Asante, who is quite a really well-known director now. Again, it all started from, because I know we’re looking at this thing from an educational point of view, it all started from working with my peers. And we all went off and carried on doing great things, and then whenever they were looking for, you know, as I said, someone to do some singing or some musical directing, or directing, or songwriting, or someone’s written a film, and they’ll go, ‘We just need a song that sums it up. Could you write the lyrics for that?’. And so when I work with young people now who just want to go, ‘I want to become the next big blah, blah. And I want to speak to the big head of the whatever’. I would say, you know, who the head of the next Sony records is, it’s probably the person right beside you or somebody in this room. And I always say to them, be good at what you do. And then stay friends. [Laughs] 

AH: Yeah, that’s just so amazing. And it’s so important, isn’t it? I was talking to Tomorrow’s Warriors the other week, Janine Irons and Gary Crosby, and they were talking about creating this community of young people who are going to support each other as they journey through their musical lives and careers. And it sounds like that’s absolutely what’s happened with you. One of the things I was going to ask was, how easy or difficult did you find it to find your own pathway in music and making a living in it, and it sounds as though it was relatively easy because of your approach, and because of the kind of ecosystem around you. But moving on from that, I wanted to ask, what would you say to organisations like music education organisations, hubs, music services, and others who are set up to help young people with this? What do you think would most help young people nowadays? 

JBR: Yeah, I mean, I talk about it a lot with my colleagues. You know, when I talked about when I was going to the Albany Theatre, and there was the classes and sessions that were available for young people, which was affordable. Well, I can’t remember paying anything. And then we had access to people that are actually doing it in the world, and high calibre too. And nowadays, everything seems to have to always go through such a system that that doesn’t get a chance to happen. So young people don’t get a chance to see how, when they’re in a room, practising music or learning how to do something, or creating a piece for a show or a performance, they don’t also get a chance to see how it’s been done by the so-called successful people or the successful people. How is that? How does what I’m doing now translate into the real world? And what does it look like? What does it feel like? So sometimes young people think, ‘Oh when do I stop?’ or they think it’s like a nine to five? There’s no understanding around just kind of collaboration. And I know, it’s, you know, back in those days, it was I would just call it the Ken Livingston time. 

AH: Yeah, yeah. 

JBR: Very much into the arts, very much into supporting the arts. And so there was access to stars and celebrities, and you could see it being made, you could see. I used to walk into rehearsals and sit at the back and watch them rehearse, I could watch them stop and go, ‘Okay, do it again, do it on the three’, that sort of young people don’t necessarily get that chance to see that. And then so it’s how they apply it. So finding those ways of helping young people to understand what it takes to be good at what they do. And being able to see their peers as well as people that are doing well in the industry. How does it all come together? How does the magic happen?

AH: So one of the things would be creating an environment where young people and professionals can mix somehow.

JBR: Yeah, and then people will just experience it. So yes, there is that mentoring thing, which I’ve been involved in a lot with all the organisations that I’ve worked with, where a young person would shadow me, or shadow a director or shadow a musician and that, but also being able to just have access to it and see and be and just be a fly on the wall. 

AH: And it sounds like that was a really empowering and open environment for young people so that you felt that you could go in and watch a rehearsal or ask somebody for help or ask somebody a question. And so what would you say to young people, sort of thinking, ‘Well, I can’t get access to this, I can’t do you know, I’m facing a lot of barriers to get where I want to get’?

JBR: Well, I think YouTube is a fantastic thing because everything’s on there now. So people are putting up there you know the process, how they write songs, how they do anything, how to put anything together, so there’s one thing. Number two, I remember you know how I especially got into music a lot and how I got more musical work you know, as a session singer or the lead singer or got to meet bands that wanted a singer was that I would go to, I know they’re not many gigs and gigs are coming back but I would go to all the gigs. These singer’s nights where singers would go on stage and sing. It’d be covers, but all the singers were also doing their own albums, their own stuff. So you would perform and then they’d go, ‘Could you sing on my new single?’ or ‘Could you?’ or ‘We’re looking for’. And so I would say get out as much as you can go and watch everything. I used to go on my own as well. Don’t be scared to go on your own, you know, being a girl. Because in my groups of friends, my friends were not musicians, they were more actors and that kind of thing. They didn’t want to come where I wanted to go all the time. And so gather up the courage and go and watch a gig, if that’s what you want to see some person perform. And I still do it today, which is I go to gigs on my own and perform myself, you know, and have courage, find courage to follow your dream. And so if you want to sing, go to the pub and see that person that you really like, and sit there and watch them. And doing that you make connections anyway.

AH: It sounds like that the other really good thing that comes from your story is that you’ve absolutely pieced together a situation that’s right for you, doing all sorts of things that you love. And often young people can tend to be funnelled by adults into one thing or another. But particularly when you’re creative, it is possible to create what they call a portfolio career and do exactly what you love and make it your own. 

JBR: Yeah, and I think, you know again, I think that the distance now between, say someone like me, or somebody who is being creative, and then the young up-and-comers, there’s a big divide. Where I was being brought up, and I know it’s the same because I also worked at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, and those sorts of environments where young people, again, were allowed to go and get involved in the workshops and the classes and stuff. But then they all had  total access to what’s going on in the main space, they could also usher, and all that kind of stuff. And then those young people are now heads of all sorts of things. And that seems to be a big gap these days. There’s no mixing of the kind of people that have done it and haven’t done it. And we need to find a way to do that, because sometimes now when you come across artists, young that are coming up, as you said, they’re kind of very tunnel vision. That’s it, I’m just doing this. And it limits them. Because there’s all sorts of other possibilities around them that they’re not able to access because they don’t understand the importance of it, and they don’t even see it, you know.

AH: To be open minded?

JBR: Yeah, to be open minded is definitely the case and understand the word collaboration. When I run my singing classes, I always say the biggest hits that you can think of that sold all around the world are always collaborations, every single one of them. Ed Sheeran does not work on his own, he is a collaborative person. And so I tell that to artists who just want to sit there on their own and write songs. Which is good, you can do that, but you know, Elton John, everybody, they collaborate, because that’s when you get the best outcome.

AH: And that’s why you know, music groups are such an important part of the whole musician development. 

JBR: One hundred per cent.

AH: Okay, in something you wrote, you said, “I’m very blessed to be able to make a difference through singing, songwriting, and music, and also working with three exceptional charities, all of which are leaders in their field. It’s the love for singing, sharing, connecting and lifting up others that allows me to create all this music”. And that kind of seems to sum up what we’ve been talking about. All those parts of your being and all those parts of what music can do for people is sort of incorporated in your life today. But can you tell me a little bit more about those three charities that you work with? And it sounds a bit of a daft question now because we’ve talked about this, but why that’s an important part of your life?

JBR: I’ll deal with that bit first. Why it’s important is because I came up from youth theatre, and if I hadn’t come up from youth theatre and met all the variety of people, I don’t think I’d be the person that I am today. And when you come up through youth theatre and youth arts, you meet everyone from all walks of life. So the organisations that I work with are three very different organisations. So Clean Break, I’ve been with over 20 years now. And every year I run a variety of different musical sessions. So last year, I was the musical director and writer of a small piece, but it’s with women, ex-prisoners, or people who are in trouble of being offenders. So Clean Break’s been going for 40 years. They run drama, music and wellbeing sessions for women who come out of prison. Some of it’s accredited, some of it leads into, they connected with Central School. And so a lot of the women have the opportunity of actually doing the degree course there, or the MA course there. And they come and they have an experience, however long that experience needs to be to then decide what they want to do. Sometimes they do it just because they want confidence. I’ve got many memories in my mind of that experience. But I have one particular lady, she’s a grandma. She was like 70 or something coming to do drama and music, and she did music with me. And in this particular class that I was doing, they would end up recording a song that we would have written in the class. And this particular grandma lady, she said, she had such a hard life and most of the women, in fact all of the women that I worked with, had something that happened when they were younger, when they were teenagers, or no support from adults. And it wasn’t just one class, it was all classes. There were middle class people, there were really rich people there, there were people that people typically think would be in a prison, but they were not, they were all across the board. And that lady, she cried, and she said, ‘You know, in a circle, going around saying your name and being her you might think is so simple, and now we’ve written a song. If I had this sort of support growing up, I would have never ended up the way I’ve ended up’. And it just broke me up, and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh’. And working with Clean Break and the women there, there have been so many of those occasions, especially when we go into the music room and into the singing booth. I suppose because we have this perception of you know, when you go into the recording studio, you know, we will always lead up to that bit. And there are so many women that when we used to hit the recording studio and the mic, and I’d tell them how to use the mic and microphone technique. Now we’re going to record the song. And then there would be tears. Look, you know, where we’ve come from, what we’ve experienced and whatever. And I think having that understanding of people from all walks of life comes from that I come from youth arts. Because when I was going to my art classes, they were in the room, everybody was there. And we all had one love which was the arts. And then Heart and Soul. I know Heart and Soul from the Albany Theatre because of course I came up through Heart and Soul and so that goes back to this thing about your peers are other people that will end up possibly giving you work or you’re giving them work. So Mark Williams is the CEO of Heart and Soul which is now a celebrated trailblazing disability arts organisation doing music for people with disabilities. The age group, again, is everybody. They’ve got a young people music programme to people … I work with a woman called Lizzy Emma and she’d been with Heart and Soul for years. And they do albums, and Heart and Soul what they do is they offer arts again to people with disabilities of all kinds. And then they attach professional performers with professional artists. So with Lizzy, for example, in her band, she writes songs, I help her, I co-write with her as well. But in her band is Charles Stewart, who whenever Mariah Carey comes over, he is her musical director, also Grace Jones when she tours in Europe, Charles, and the drummer, all play with Grace Jones. So these people are at the top of their field, and working with all these big international artists. But, I call it our day job, is supporting people at Heart and Soul and being in their band and supporting those musicians. And again, giving a voice and a face to people with other abilities. So that’s Heart and Soul. I met Mark through the Albany, and Mark was just like me, a young person, and then he was really interested in supporting people with disabilities and he set up Heart and Soul with a few other people and off they went. And then Second Wave again was very similar. So Second Wave was a youth arts organisation. It started off as a women’s group because at the Albany, and at that time anyway, there was a lot of support for young people but the men seemed to dominate the art space. So Second Wave was born, and then it became a mixed group. And then after I sort of done my time as an artist there and I got all the support I wanted and I went away. And then I kind of came back to do the odd classes and sessions and then eventually I became an Associate Director for Second Wave. And that’s definitely a ‘come up through’ kind of thing, so Second Wave works with young people from 11 until 25. And lots of young people have come through like Shingai Shoniwa who used to be in a group called Noisettes. 

AH: Oh, yes, I remember them. 

JBR: Yeah. So she came through Second Wave. We’ve had loads of young people that have gone on to perform and be in things like X Factor and young people that are performing on Coronation Street and all that sort of stuff. So loads of young people have also come through these organisations and even in Clean Break that are now kind of household names and stuff. 

AH: Oh that’s brilliant. And do you think those young people have the same ethos as you in that they think that it’s part of their life as a musician to pass it on that sort of ‘each one, teach one’ type of idea? 

JBR: I think so because youth arts has a different kind of filter. Maybe if you went to like drama school with the young people that I know, that have come through the arts, and even some of them that are not artists, like my sister actually came through the arts and now she teaches business and marketing at Westminster College. Yeah, and she always talks about she never had that arts background. She said, the way in which she approaches her teaching and understanding collaboration, and understanding why people have barriers to learning, she said she wouldn’t be the teacher she is today and she’s always winning awards, and she became a fellow at her University the other day, and that’s because of the grounding of what, you know, youth arts can do for young people. And understanding that it’s a collaborative piece, and that you have something to bring to the table. I always work with artists or young people or anybody who I’m working with who say, ‘I can’t sing, I can’t act, I can’t write’, and I always go, ‘Okay, so we put that away, put that away over there for now’, and then we go through a process. And then we always end up with even if it’s a one-off workshop, we always end up with something that they have created. And I just kind of like you know, orchestrate it. And then they’re like, ‘Wow, I never thought I could write’ and ‘Wow, I didn’t think I could sing anything’. And I’m lucky, that is always a pleasure. 

AH: Absolutely. Because the creativity is always somewhere in a person isn’t it, just as music is, it’s just a case of unlocking it and giving people the confidence to release it really. And that’s the power of a really good tutor or mentor. I’ve got one final question, but before I do, I just wanted to invite you to tell people about where they can find you and what your releases are, and are all about. And also I forgot to mention that there’s a whole other strand to you, which is ‘Vegan Singing Mum’. So tell me a little bit about all of those things.

JBR: Alright, so I love cooking and I come from a large family. And I became a vegan about 12 years ago. And I’m always cooking because my Mum passed two years ago, and then they both kind of got diabetes and other things, they were in hospital all the time, and they’re talking about food. I then set up a YouTube blog called ‘JB Rose Singing Vegan Mum’, and every Sunday I put up a recipe. Usually healthy, so I won’t, you know, be cooking in deep fried oil or anything like that. Or I also find different sugar alternatives. So yes, I have a website, I’ve got a YouTube channel called ‘Singing Vegan Mum’ because I’m passionate about cooking. And then also I have just literally released, as you said at the beginning, a single called ‘Gold’ and it’s out now on all streaming platforms. Actually, it’s a remix of the original, which was released about six weeks ago. Yes, so it’s a soul song and that’s available. I’ve got a website Yes, so last year, I haven’t had a single out for a long time like me on my own. So last year, I wrote a song called ‘Back to Love’, which did really well. And it was all about really, you know, we were during the middle of the pandemic and everybody, of course, was panicking, and there was a lot going on. And then at the same time, about a year just before that, less than a year, my young cousin who was only 21, and he was going to university, he went to a nightclub in London, sorry in Kent, and he came out and there was this big fight that was happening in front of him. And he got caught in the crossfire and he was killed. And it really devastated our family. And so the song and second verse especially talks about, you know, a lot happening, people are angry, people are worried. And the song is called ‘(Bring it) Back to Love’. So let’s bring everything back to love and that’s available again as downloads, and the video I filmed at home and my, I’ve got two boys who are 11 and seven, and they filmed a lockdown video. And then to follow on this year, ‘Gold’ is all again about you know, not doubting yourself and believing in yourself and realising that you’re gold. And again, that’s doing really, really well and I just found out actually that it’s number five in an American soul chart. 

AH: Oh, well done. That’s brilliant. And they are really beautiful songs and well worth listening to. I’m sure anybody who works with young people or young people themselves, will find them really inspiring. So finally, can you tell me, a bit of a big question, but can you tell me what you’d like to see change in terms of opportunities and progression pathways for young people in music? 

JBR: Okay, so I think I alluded to it earlier. I think there needs to be some kind of bridge between young people and people that are already doing it. It doesn’t have to be older people, but some kind of way in which young people get a chance to meet and collaborate, and be mentored by people that are actually doing it in the music industry. I think there needs to be no barriers to people to get into the industry. I mean, there are always barriers and that’s, you know, age, colour, class, you know, sexism and that kind of stuff. So there needs to be ways in which there’s access for young people. Because what I find when I do find young people who are very talented, that they need to just understand again what I’ve been talking about the whole thing about collaboration and being open to other ideas and other people, because that will only enrich what they have to offer. So I would say to people who are offering music to people to think about how they really help young people connect it in the real world. And if there’s a job, there’s work for them, you can work. As I said, I’ve worked, I’ve never done a nine to five and that’s because I’m open to, you know, working with somebody who’s a dancer who wants somebody to sing while they’re dancing, that kind of thing.

AH: Absolutely brilliant and inspiring advice. Thanks so much, JB, I’ve loved talking to you. I’d love to have a longer natter. Let’s do that sometime. But for now, thank you. And if you want to read more about JB, I’ll share the link to her website and networks and all that type of thing in the show notes and make sure to listen to the tracks because they’re really beautiful. Thanks, JB.

JBR: Thank you so much for having me Anita.

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