8th July 2016 was a strange day. It was almost 10 years to the day since I joined National Grid, the first and only company I had ever worked for. But this was my last day with the company. I’d decided a few months prior that I needed a ‘new challenge’, and so I searched for the exact same (or similar) job, just with a different company. Along came Avon Cosmetics. Everything on the surface seemed to be perfect. It was just 3 miles from home, meaning that I could cycle; it offered a new challenge, and the shorter commute would give me a better work/life balance. How wrong I was.
I took a month off work in August to travel Europe, but the same feelings that I’d experienced at NG were resurfacing. I yearned for something more fulfilling, something more ‘me’. And so when I returned to work in mid-September, I knew that the clock was ticking on my time there. In December, I handed in my notice and left before New Year. New Year, new me was my mantra (how cliché).
So I started 2017 living at my parents’ home, unemployed and unsure of where my life would go. I crept back into what I knew and started the job hunt once more. Interview after interview dominated the next six weeks of my life, but one stood out – Save the Children. On the surface everything was great. The salary was more than I could’ve asked for, the location was in Central London, and they were flexible on working hours. I started my new job on 6th February and by the time I’d reached my 27th birthday at the end of March, I knew that the same feelings were coming to the surface. A change was coming.
I decided that I couldn’t stay at Save the Children, surrounded by the obnoxious corporate stench of money. I can’t actually recall a time where I had a conversation about how we were actually saving children. How ironic…
But this time, I didn’t act on impulse. I put on a poker face, biding my time until I’d figured out where I wanted to go next. And then it hit me. All that I’ve ever truly wanted to do is create music, and so to pursue this passion, I needed to be completely consumed by music itself. Then came the light bulb moment – to reach my full potential as a musician, I have to first learn as much as possible about my passion. So I applied to study music at university.
What happened next was unbelievable. I, by my own standards, underachieved at school. I’d hidden my true self for a number of years, and on reflection, this prevented me from realising my true potential at the time. I made a plan, wrote a speech-like email, and contacted the University of Northampton. I knew that I didn’t have the minimum entry requirements to enrol, but I had three things:
• a voice;
• some music that I’d already created; and
• life experience!
The university accepted me as a special admission, and I soon received a firm unconditional offer. I’d made the first major step in the next phase of my life.
As soon as the offer came through, I left my job at Save the Children and again planned for how I would make my studies a priority. So I’ve now got a job in retail, something I think everyone should experience, and it works around my studies.
Lyrical Miracle at Metropolis
“Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.” – Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
In late June, my bank, First Direct, posted a competition, in partnership with MOBO, to find the best songwriters in the country. I passively copied and pasted some of my work into their Facebook post, and a few weeks later, I was contacted to say that I was one of 5 winners! Our prize: a weekend a Metropolis Studios in London working alongside amazing songwriters and producers.
Metropolis Studios is hallowed ground. I was in the same space as the likes of Adele, Florence + the Machine, Amy Winehouse, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Ed Sheeran and more. This really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
During the weekend I contributed lyrics and vocals to no fewer than three new songs, all of which were (in my opinion) bloody awesome. The experience gave me a taste of what I could do if I truly devote my time to my passion.
So where am I now? Next week I enrol at university – I can’t wait to get started!
I’ll keep you posted on anything that I create, and I’m working on some cool new stuff that I’ll definitely share very soon!