A group of young people who were brought up in care are set to get their voices heard in an inspirational new song which is about to be launched in York.
The youngsters have been backed and helped by a team of professionals who have helped them write, perform, record and produce a hard-hitting, high-quality music video.
The track has already won the backing of music journalist and author Paolo Hewitt who has agreed to appear at a red-carpet event to launch the record in York next month.
The song, which has yet to be named, features York rapper Liam “Kritikal” Powers, who helped turn the group’s words into powerful lyrics and rhythms which they believe will inspire other young people who have lived in care.
The young people have been brought together with music and video experts by Springboard, a Lottery-funded project set up to help care leavers in York, Selby and Ryedale by Leeds charity Foundation.
Springboard introduces young people who have lived in care into protected professional situations and guides them through personal issues they may face as they enter the world of adulthood and employment.
They have introduced them to inspiring musicians, producers and film-makers from York-based Access to Music, Digital Sun Media, York St John University, Rack Mount Records and Inspired Youth, who have all worked with them to create the song.
Kev Curran, the director and founder of Inspired Youth, a not-for-profit arts and media group involved in filming for the project believes the professional experience has given the youngsters a “world-class opportunity”.
“Young people in care can feel let down, they have been through traumatic and unsettling experiences, being separated from their families, always being in new environments, they have difficulties with identity and confidence.
“This project treats them like experts in their own experience. It has brought them into the creative process, and shown them, literally because it is a song, that they have a voice.”
Springboard Project worker Tamsin Trevorrow-Earl said the idea came from talking to the young people about what they would like to be able to do.
“This is a group of young people who are passionate about getting their message out.
“Although some young people have a positive experience of being in care, others find it really hard.
“They wanted to reach young people in those circumstances to say even though it is hard you will come through," she said.
"Their message is keep believing in yourself, keep your head up high, you will come through this, don’t give up. This is a message of hope.” she says.
Powered by real life experiences which make up the storyline of the song, the final recording includes their singing, mixing, and playing the music.
It tells the story of a character who lives through being separated from family, taken away from siblings, and put into care homes and with foster parents.
One of the young men on the project, Callum Wilcox, 18, of York, said; “People in care might think; ‘it’s just me, my life’. They may feel hopeless, this gives them inspiration they're not alone.”
They were helped in writing the verses by York rapper Liam “Kritikal” Powers who works with Inspired Youth.
Project member Gemma Waddington said; “It has helped my confidence, I write songs about what I’ve been through and when people hear this they say “it’s really good’”.
“It was fun. We got to use professional equipment, got to meet Liam, he’s been an inspiration, it takes guts to stand up and show you've got a good voice, but his songs are meaningful."
Dave Young, a music technology tutor at York St John University who runs production company Digital Sun Media, said: “This has been one of the most enjoyable production experiences I've ever had, the content was emotive and very powerful, which is what you need to make great music.”
The music video launch at York St John University Auditorium on April 1 has been backed by Paolo Hewitt, a music journalist and author, famous for his biographies of Paul Weller and the Small Faces.
He will be giving a talk about his own experiences growing up in a children’s home recounted in his book, Looked After Kid.
• You can read a blog by those involved in making the music video at: springboardmusicproduction.wordpress.com/tag/digital-sun-media/