Over the next few months, we’ll be telling you some of the amazing stories from our hubs up and down the UK and Ireland. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved and of all the hard work done by our hub workers and awesome champions. Here’s Michael’s story…
Michael has been attending the Andrew Kent Music Academy (AKMA) since the age of 13 and, in fact, he was the first person to attend the AKMA.
When Michael was 13 he was referred to the AKMA because of his anti-social behaviour in school and around the community. Michael would produce graffiti art on private and public property, then purposely leave his email address.
Michael’s Big Music Project
Michael was one the five young people that attended the AKMA weekly session at the local youth club, where it was carried out in a small room with borrowed equipment. Michael would often be the only the person to attend these sessions and, youth worker, Wayne would make the effort to put on the sessions. Michael feels “Wayne must have seen something in me to have invested so much time in me.”
This is particularly true in the early stages as Michael would often “go off the rails” and Wayne would get him back on track by coming to his home, sitting him down and speaking with his parents. Michael’s passion for music was so obvious that it was often used as punishment when he did not behave. Not being able to go to sessions would mean that Michael would focus on his behaviour, so much so that his anti-social behaviour ceased to be an issue. Michael feels that this was because the support from the AKMA gave him a reason to “want to be at home on my laptop working on music rather than being out in the streets.” The AKMA has not only helped Michael change his behaviour but develop as person in regards to confidence and communication skills.
Michael has been a part of the AKMA so long that he has represented the AKMA and spoke at conferences which helped him conduct himself accordingly because, as Michael said, “I had to speak to different people that I would not interact with on a day-to-day basis.” Michael has also helped Wayne with funding applications. The AKMA has made Michael the person he is today, so much so that he stated that if it didn’t exist he “would not have a good job, would not be in the relationship I’m in now, would not have a house – simply would not have this good life I have now.”
AKMA has helped Michael accomplish every goal he has set himself in regards to music. These goals include DJing in the nightclub Oceana in Swansea at 15, DJing at Swansea biggest club Escape at 17, DJing in Magaluf at 17, DJing in Ibiza for a year with one of its most popular nights, to name few. Now, at the age of 20, Michael is a record label owner. Even though, Michael has gone on to do so much and discover himself “Wayne is still my biggest influences” and continues invest his time in the AKMA.
Looking back, Michael said “at the time I thought that Wayne was simply helping and pushing me with my music, but know I see that he putting me on the straight and narrow.”