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Barnet rapper Mikel Ameen tells Rosy Moorhead about his debut EP, World Changer
Supporting the likes of Wu-Tang Clan and Public Enemy and having your music tweeted about by Plan B, Wretch 32 and Sway would represent a pretty good life’s work for most of us. But for Barnet-based Mikel Ameen, who is just 24 and not even signed to a label, it’s just the beginning.
“It all came about through hard work and getting myself out there in front of people,” says Mikel, who grew up in Barnet.
Mikel wrote his first song aged just 14 – “It was called My Perceptions of Love and I wrote it in Grahame Park. I thought I knew it all, then!” – and has been busy writing, performing and recording his own music ever since. Now, he says, he has decided to stop chasing record companies and deals and go the independent route.
To this end he has formed his own record company and is preparing for the launch of his debut EP World Changer on October 11.
“I’ve got a little studio at home and it’s all mastered professionally,” he says. “It’s called World Changer because it’s an attitude that I’m trying to represent through my music, about seeing the power in being unique and the power to communicate to really effect change in the world.”
The lead song on the EP, World Changers, has been getting a lot of airtime on Radio 1 and Radio 1xtra and is being supported by a number of underground radio stations.
“The EP is full of really powerful tracks,” Mikel says, “each has its own story and character. And the whole thing is themed around personal development and inspiration, people looking at themselves in a better light and not settling whatever life presents to you but ordering it for yourself.”
Mikel describes himself as the UK’s first ‘world music rapper’. “Rap is what I do but my music draws inspiration from all around the world. I’m a Jamaican boy of African descent living in England and my stuff isn’t typical hip hop.”
Mikel does a lot of community work and has set up his own organisation, Get Familiar, involved in artistic and social development for young people.
“We use music, dance and drama to develop things like social and interpersonal skills,” Mikel explains. “I’ve seen that youths don’t really have a lot of inspirational guidance, I didn’t have that myself. I was really directing a lot of the songs on the EP at myself, to motivate myself, but I want them to inspire other young people coming up as well.”
- Mikel Ameen launches his EP at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch on Thursday, October 11 at 8pm. Details: 020 7613 7498, www.richmix.org.uk, www.mikelameen.com