Talented young musicians and performers from across Birmingham who have used music as a means of overcoming personal challenges including homelessness have come together to record an album to celebrate Birmingham’s cultural diversity and challenge misconceptions some have of the city’s youth following last year’s disturbances.
The Beautiful Birmingham album is the result of a three-month collaboration between Birmingham based musicians aged between 16 – 25 and music producer, Cipher. The album documents their personal experiences of city life through poignant lyrics and a rainbow of musical genres from hip hop, bhangra, and folk to rock and soul music.
Concert organiser and local music producer, Cipher, said: “The Beautiful Birmingham album came out of a need to provide the city’s youth with a platform to challenge negative stereotypes that continue to exist about young people in Birmingham. It allowed some of our most exciting performers to express what they love about the city and show their commitment to making a powerful contribution to their local communities.”
Artists performing on the night, and on the album, include 21 year old Handsworth based jazz singer Natasha Brown, known by her stage name Call Me Unique. Despite an unsettled period in her teens which included a spell of homelessness, Natasha has now achieved high profile musical success, recently supporting hip hop mega star Nicki Minaj. She will be followed by Malik, a Smethwick resident who has become one of the hottest names in the UK hip hop industry having toured with Mark Ronson and Jay-Z. Top billing for the night will be Trilla, a Winson Green resident widely regarded as the UK’s best known Garage MC with over 3 million YouTube hits and appearances on Radio 1’s Tim Westwood Show.
Mashkura Begum, Executive Director of local charity, Birmingham Leadership Foundation (BLF), the official partner of the Beautiful Birmingham album and concert alongside Birmingham City Council and the Arts Council, said: “We are proud to be partnering with some of the city’s most talented young people for the Beautiful Birmingham album and launch concert. The project clearly demonstrates how are young people are taking the initiative and making a real and exciting contribution to city life – helping to shape its future for the better.
“Birmingham has the youngest profile of any European city and is it vital that our young people’s voices are heard. Beautiful Birmingham is a fantastic means of doing just that and we are very much hoping that the concert becomes an annual event.”
Cipher, who is also a well respected youth worker, added: “The Birmingham music scene is brimming with impressive talent. It is also one of the most musically diverse in the UK. Some of the artists involved with Beautiful Birmingham, such as Malik and Trilla, began their careers in community recording studios and have now taken their talent to the world stage. This album also showcases the city’s rising music stars many of whom are destined to burst on to the music scene with amazing success.”
Proceeds from the concert and album will go towards BLF projects to support local young people develop their leadership potential.
The Beautiful Birmingham album will be available to download from the BLF website www.bleaf.co.uk from Friday 16th November.