With 2020 proving a testing time for young people, grime star Big Zuu, the Young Urban Arts Foundation and Virgin Media collaborated to create a track with some of the foundation’s brightest talents…
By Virgin TV Edit
Founded by MC Kerry O’Brien, the Young Urban Arts Foundation prides itself in allowing young people to “strengthen their mental well-being through creativity, and ensuring each every one of them is seen, heard and celebrated!”
“We work with hard to enhance their aspirations and provide opportunities that may not be open to them,” explains Natasha Guthrie, YUAF’s Partnerships and Marketing Manager. “Particularly in areas where there’s been a reduction in youth centres and environments where people can be creative and express themselves.”
And despite the challenges 2020 has thrown the charity’s way, YUAF has continued to reach out to young people in communities across London. So when one of the UK’s hottest grime stars Big Zuu, alongside Virgin Media, reached out for a collab, it was a no-brainer. Watch the video for the single, Great To Be, below and click here to stream or download the track.
“Big Zuu was the perfect artist for our young people to work with,” Natasha says, “and not only because they absolutely love him! He’s worked with young people before, having undertaken plenty of youth work in the past, which was incredible for us.”
In remixing and taking part in a number of workshops from Big Zuu, and getting hands on with his track in a top level studio, YUAF’s cohort of up-and-coming stars were afforded a thoroughly unique and potentially life-changing opportunity.
“It gave them a chance to bring their lyrics, their voices, their skills and ideas to the table”, Natasha adds, ”and to be able to experience just being in a studio and creating something with an artist like Big Zuu.”
“It was an incredible experience for them, and something we’ve made happen alongside Virgin Media, which is amazing for us here at YUAF, because without that connection, this experience would never have happened for our young people.”
Having volunteered in a secondary school prior to studying Youth Work at university, Big Zuu brought more than just his unique musical know-how to the table, too. And, as it happened, he had the perfect track for the foundation’s stars to work on…
“I was releasing a song called Great To Be, and the message on it is for young people, so it was sick to get real young people to come and remix it and give it their own flavour,” he says.
“It’s good to highlight different people from different areas, working on their craft, you know? It’s sick for me to be able to bring them into my world and help other people see them, and shine some light on what they’re doing.
“They’re amazing kids, very talented. I felt like I was just going to a normal recording session! If we told them ‘You need to do this, you need to do that,’ they were able to instantly make it work. It was good to see them develop throughout the session.
“Most of them have never recorded before, or only had a couple of sessions. So to come to a top level studio is hard, you’re going straight into the deep end. But they adapted really well and handled the pressure. I mean when I was that age, I definitely wasn’t making music!”
The result proves as inspiring as it is an absolute banger, and is a perfect showcase for both Big Zuu’s talents as an artist, mentor and role-model, and the Young Urban Arts Foundation’s brilliant work with communities and young people across London.
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