Young Producers Blog: Young Producers and ITT present “Artistry Breakthrough”

Young Producers is a new project for young people who have taken part in Making Tracks, supported by the Arts Patron Trust. Our first 2 Young Producers Helen and Johnny are collaborating to put on a gig involving other young people and will be blogging about the process.

Johnny’s Blog #4:

On the day of the event spirits were high. The performers met with Jake from The Irene Taylor Trust and Alex (owner of the venue ‘Haunt London’ on Stoke Newington road and sound technician for the night) for a sound check and run through of the songs. It’s always good to get a rehearsal on the same day as the event and make sure the mics and instruments are at the right levels. Hearing all the tracks from the superband at the final venue was great. It was nice to hear all the solo artists that we called in from previous projects (Paradox, Nirobi and Pedro) that I had seen perform before. I was looking forward to seeing them share their new material.

We went through the hosting speeches to be prepared for what we were going to say to introduce the event. After a break, we came back to the room transformed into the final ‘Artistry Breakthrough’ look, which was amazing. There was a banner to represent the Irene Taylor Trust and a projection of the the front cover of the event’s flyer. This made a great background for pictures of the performers, to show what event they were performing at.

Once all the guests had arrived, it was noticeable that we had accomplished a full house, so we were off to a flying start. Helen and I delivered an introduction to the night with some background information of the Young Producers project, the event’s name and our experience with The Irene Taylor Trust. We gave a special thanks to everyone who helped make it happen.

We then jumped straight into performances with 3 tracks from the superband followed by 3 solo artists. We decided to split the running order to 1 superband song followed by a solo artist. This felt like the best option to space out the entertainment and keep things interesting. The music was so inspiring, to see everyone expressing themselves like true professional artists, it was a real encouragement and the atmosphere was electric. The audience was really supportive and evidently loved the show as they cheered on all the artists and contributed with crowd participation.

We had a surprise speech from Lauren to congratulate us as Young Producers with a card on stage, it was a really thoughtful gesture and pleasant surprise. After the event, the ITT team packed the equipment away in the van and we had some of the audience give their opinions of the night, as part of our “voice of the people” vox pops. We had some insightful feedback from guests of the evening, that meant us to hear what people thought of the event.

Overall the night was a huge success and I would do it all again if I had the chance to. I’m looking forward to supporting and being involved in future projects with the Irene Taylor Trust. Sending all the love, respect and appreciation to the charity, Arts Patrons, Alex, musicians and audience for a life changing experience. It has helped me grow as an individual artist and professional person. I really feel as though anything is possible and I have a real positive outlook on life and future prospects, both musically and career wise.

Young Producers Blog: “We all Experience ‘Breakthrough’ Moments”

Young Producers is a new project for young people who have taken part in Making Tracks, supported by the Arts Patron Trust. Our first 2 Young Producers Helen and Johnny are collaborating to put on a gig involving other young people and will be blogging about the process.

Helen’s Blog #5:

The day of the gig has arrived!

It was a later start than the previous two days, but everyone still came with the same mindset to put their all in to everything they did.

We got cracking with ‘Everybody Needs Music’, because I expressed my concerns about harmonising.

After some more thought on it, I decided to go on to the keyboard instead. The part was trickier than I had expected, and the tempo to which I was playing changed during the song. I felt like between harmonising and playing the keyboard, I didn’t give my best performance to the song; which was a real pity, as it was my favourite one.

It was really frustrating that I was unable to play the keyboard part perfectly on the night, but I had to remind myself that I am human, and humans make mistakes; and I’d only played my part twice before the live performance.

We then rehearsed ‘Phoenix’, and ‘Strive’; which both went well, before the soloists rehearsed their tracks.

By this point, I was feeling really stressed out, and wish I had been able to enjoy the rehearsals more.

It was time for the performance, and I felt a little calmer. Johnny and I went up to introduce the event, and it went well, even though we had never rehearsed what we were going to say. We then started the gig with ‘Phoenix’.

In the rehearsals, this hadn’t gone very well, but the performance sounded fine.

Paradox then went on to perform his two tracks, which were brilliant. His second track; ‘work like that’ was especially good, as he got the audience involved by getting them to join in on parts of the chorus.

We then moved on to ‘Strive’; which again, went really well. I hope Louisa was pleased with it, because she did amazingly.

Next, it was Nirobi, who performed 3 tracks. As always, she was wonderful. My favourite track of hers was ‘Parallel Universe’; it’s still stuck in my head!

Then, we performed ‘Everybody Needs Music’ which went really well; even though I felt like I’d messed up on the keyboard.

I was feeling flustered again after messing up, and then said the ‘thank you’s to everyone, totally having missed out Pedro’s solo tracks.

Despite my mess up, Pedro went on stage and performed three amazing tracks, as if nothing had happened. I found I really related to some of his lyrics, and really enjoyed hearing his tracks. I guess that’s just part of performing; but it was so nice to see how everyone had grown and progressed during their time with the Irene Taylor Trust, and how, ironically, I was one of the first making tracks participants performing that night, but people who’d started their journey later than me seemed less nervous and more professional.

However, I wasn’t ashamed, or embarrassed, I was just really happy for everyone else, and felt so privileged to have seen parts of their journeys.

This is what the Irene Taylor Trust is all about; not numbers and statistics, but being a platform for music lovers to develop both their musical ability, and their ability to make themselves a better future.

We all experience ‘Breakthrough’ moments, but the Irene Taylor Trust have provided me with some of my favourite ones. I couldn’t be more proud, and happy for all the performers, for breaking through all the obstacles.

I’d just like to say a few ‘thank you’s

Firstly, to the Arts Patron’s Trust, for funding and supporting the Young Producers project, and to all the performers and project team. But also, to the people working really hard behind the scenes, like everyone at the Irene Taylor Trust, in particular; Jake, Lauren and Luke. Also, thank you to everyone who came, and does/ has supported the Irene Taylor Trust; you have helped change, in my case even save, lives.

An Interview with Young Producers Helen and Johnny

For the last few weeks, our Young Producers have been planning and rehearsing for their event ‘Artistry Breakthrough’. I caught up with Helen and Johnny at rehearsals the day before the final performance tomorrow at Haunt which will be the culmination of all their hard work. 

Tell me about the name Artistry Breakthrough

H: The ‘Breakthrough’ part is about the daily struggle but also the struggle for everyone, everyone breaks through a barrier every day, at least one.

Has rehearsing the music here been a breakthrough for you?

H: Yeah definitely


What’s your favourite track you’re performing tomorrow?

H: I love Everybody Loves Music, it’s just a really great song and everyone has worked together on it which, like the other songs have been someone else’s idea and then it’s been brought to everyone but this one is totally fresh- so thanks Johnny for starting off the process.

What else are you looking forward to tomorrow?

H: I’m really excited to hear the other artists- I haven’t heard all their tracks yet so it’s going to be a real surprise on the night

J: Yeah I’m looking forward to that definitely, because I know they make good music and I know they’re gonna do well.

Most important skills you’ve learned throughout?

dsc00701H: The most important skill I’ve learnt is just to trust myself and be confident that I can do things

J: That’s a good one yeah, I would agree with that. And meeting people that work in venues or own their own and listening to them because they’ve got a lot of knowledge that you can apply to whatever you’re doing. So that’s something good to bear in mind wherever you are, that there’s always people around that can support you when you’re doing events.

Any advice for future Young Producers?

dsc00780H: Don’t overthink it, enjoy it while it lasts! I know I overthought it sometimes and stopped enjoying it but like it’s such an amazing opportunity

J: Get involved in any kind of opportunities and support people can offer you to help with the process. Even if you’re doing your own thing, just build up contacts so you can use them helping you, because with events it can cover so many different aspects, so as long as you have a concept you feel strongly about I don’t see why there’s any reason why it shouldn’t be a successful event.

From what I’ve seen in rehearsal today, tomorrow certainly looks set to be a successful event!


Young Producers Blog: Everybody Needs Music

Young Producers is a new project for young people who have taken part in Making Tracks, supported by the Arts Patron Trust. Our first 2 Young Producers Helen and Johnny are collaborating to put on a gig involving other young people and will be blogging about the process.

Helen’s Blog #4:

The ‘Super Band’ was reunited today.

We started off knowing that Johnny wanted to move away from the guitar and  bass, and be up front, doing vocals, but didn’t have the baseline for the song.

Johnny wanted us all to be involved in the process of writing the song, so we started off by Gary playing some different genres of music, and us all voting on which one we felt was best suited to ourselves, Johnny, and to the event.

Eventually, we decided on a blues genre song, and then had to decide whether to have it in a major key, or a minor key; of which Gary played both, and we decided on the Minor key one.

Whilst the rest of the band were working out the musical accompaniment; Fudge, Johnny and I worked on the lyrics.

The beauty of a blues song, is that you can sing about almost anything, and it will still sound amazing, but we decided to keep on the theme of music, and wrote a chorus.

We then wrote a verse for Fudge, in which we added some elements of the chorus.

I was trying to harmonise, but was finding it really difficult, as I’ve never harmonised before, and it was a bit daunting because Fudge has such an amazing voice, and totally kept to the melody, whilst I went off track a bit.

It was challenging, but I persevered.

Young Producers Blog: Holy Rehearsal days at Saint Mark’s Church in Kennington

Young Producers is a new project for young people who have taken part in Making Tracks, supported by the Arts Patron Trust. Our first 2 Young Producers Helen and Johnny are collaborating to put on a gig involving other young people and will be blogging about the process.

Johnny’s Blog #3

We spent the two rehearsal days in the same building that I first met members of the Irene Taylor Trust, for a making tracks project where we produced, recorded and performed an album in a week. It was nice to be back in a familiar venue with friendly faces, that I have worked with previously. I also grew up in Kennington so it always brings back childhood memories when I’m there.

Making music in such a big room is so refreshing; the sound really echoes through the space around you. There’s something really humbling about making music in a church and it felt like it contributed to us producing soulful sounds and righteous lyrics.

Helen and I were accompanied by a crew of talented musicians that work with the Trust on various projects: Emma (Producer, instrumentalist), Gary (Guitarist), Adrian (singer songwriter) as well as Tegan (Percussionist) from the  Royal Academy of Music and Rachel (saxophonist) from Guildhall. We also called in Louisa (singer songwriter) and Pedro (Lyricist) who had both been on a previous “Making Tracks” project with the Trust. It was a really strong team and a pleasure to work with a full band and other vocalists. Lauren, Jake and Celia from the Trust were also there to support us as an audience and document the experience with film, photography and recordings.

We spent the next two days producing 3 tracks: Helen’s poetic song “Phoenix”, Louisa and Adrian’s insightful song “Strive” and Adrian, Pedro and myself wrote to a groovy blues song called “Everybody loves music”. We got some recordings of each of the tracks so people could hear them back, outside of the sessions in preparation for the gig. It was really helpful to have other songwriters there to assist with lyrics and encourage us to contribute to the messages of the songs.

It’s quite exceptional how a roomful of musicians can work so well together, to construct such quality music in such a short space of time. I always find it really inspiring when working with the ITT and it just goes to show what you can achieve with like-minded creatives, to express yourself and have some strong material to perform for an event.

Young Producers Blog: Forming the ‘Super Band’

Young Producers is a new project for young people who have taken part in Making Tracks, supported by the Arts Patron Trust. Our first 2 Young Producers Helen and Johnny are collaborating to put on a gig involving other young people and will be blogging about the process.

Helen’s Blog #3:

We met for the first day today, to form a ‘super band’ consisting of previous making tracks participants, ‘sounding out’ mentors, a student from Guild Hall, a student from the Royal Academy of Music and Johnny and I.

Between us, we were able to form a band, with everything from a drummer to singers/ rappers.

I am always nervous to form a band with a new set of people, but everyone was really nice, and I felt like we were all included and equals.

We started off with ‘Phoenix’; which was a song I had written whilst in hospital. When it was written, I only had access to a 5 string guitar, so, as you can imagine, it had to be totally reworked musically. I was also unhappy with some of the lyrics, so with Fudge and Louisa’s help, we rewrote some of the lyrics.

It was a difficult process for me; firstly, writing about anything positive, and secondly sharing something I hadn’t shared with anyone before, so I felt quite hesitant, but everyone was really supportive, and after a good couple of hours; the song was finished.

We then started on a previous Making Tracks project song, ‘strive’, as Louisa wanted to revisit it.

The recording sounded amazing, but it was difficult to pick out the chords and replicate what happened in the recording, but we all put our heads together and persevered, and got a brilliant end result.

The chords and the pattern they were in felt quite unique, which was really special for us all. Louisa then put her verses over it, and Fudge wrote two rap verses. I was on the keyboard, and Emma helped me come up with a melodic harmony to the part she was playing on the synth.

At this point in the day, we were all starting to feel pretty tired, and I was really struggling to keep to the correct rhythm during the song.

Young Producer Johnny Interviewed by Sara

Young Producers is a new project for young people who have taken part in Making Tracks, supported by the Arts Patron Trust. Our first 2 Young Producers Helen and Johnny are collaborating to put on a gig involving other young people.

The Irene Taylor Trust’s Artistic Director Sara Lee interviewed Young Producer Johnny about his experience taking part in the project, the challenges along the way and his favourite part of the project, the tour of the Roundhouse- “It was really inspiring on a personal level and a good day to be honest – a great day”.

Listen to the whole interview below:


Roundhouse Rising

Young Producers Blog: Roundhouse Rising Soundclash!

Young Producers is a new project for young people who have taken part in Making Tracks, supported by the Arts Patron Trust.

Johnny’s blog #2

Starting the week in the office on a Friday afternoon was surprisingly refreshing. The lovely Lauren supporting me with the tasks in hand is always a blessing. A change of scenery is appreciated as we sat in the communal hub of the building to have a meeting and write the artist call out for the gig.

I then went on to write my first blog entry, which was a great first experience. Writing a piece to express my experience on this journey as an ITT Young Producer, really helped to show what I have achieved and so others can have an insight into the process as well.

Pedro and Johnny at RoundhouseJourney time next, as we set off for our day out to the Roundhouse. On arrival we just about found Pedro through the crowd thanks to his thorough description of his reinvented self. It was a pleasant surprise to see a familiar fellow musician who had been involved in previous creative projects with us (small world).

We passed the surprisingly orderly queue of punks, who were awaiting entry to their mosh-pit gig at the upstairs space of the building.

Once inside we had a warm welcome from Marie who is employed there as a producer. She gave us an extensive behind the scenes tour of the venue from a producer’s point of view.

We went on to immerse ourselves in the Roundhouse Rising Soundclash, which Lauren had impressively bagged us some free tickets for, thanks to her trusty industry contacts of course.

It was a really great event as I had never been to a Soundclash at this venue and I even saw some people I knew from other musical projects performing, which was highly inspirational on a personal level.

Interesting picture of crowd at RoundhouseWe took some interesting pictures of the artists and crowd, as each sound clash group had their own theme to their act, to be crowned the winner by shout outs from the audience. The music was amazing, such a range of genres and some real talent there. I really liked the fact that the artists joined the crowd after their performances.

All In all it was an eye opening day as I would describe it as one of the best working days I have had due to the venue, people we met and atmosphere at the event.

Love to the ITT!

Don’t miss the Young Producers gig ‘Artistry Breakthrough’ on Thurs 2nd March!



Making Tracks at the Marcus Lipton Youth Centre

Next month we’re excited to be taking our Making Tracks programme back to South London, working in partnership with the Marcus Lipton Youth Centre. This project is possible thanks to support from the National Foundation for Youth Music, the Mercers’ Company Charity, Peter Minet Trust, St James’s Place Foundation and the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation.

We’d love for you to join us to enjoy a performance of original music, written and played by the young people, on Thursday 23 March at 7.30pm.

This is a FREE event, but if you would like to attend, please RSVP to



Venue: Marcus Lipton Youth Centre, Minet Road, London, London, SW9 7UH

Nearest stations are;

Loughborough Junction (rail) – 6 minute walk

Brixton (rail) – 14 minute walk

Brixton (underground, Victoria Line) – 16 minute walk