11th March 2020 15:42pm
“Once I’m into something, I really get into it, I research a lot & in this game [music], you have to know about work ethic.”
Upcoming music producer Rai-Kwaun has worked with a variety of artists in the UK. Inspired by the likes of artists Metro Boomin & Travis Scott, his work has been recognised by many including American artist, Frank Ocean. Skilled in the Trap* but versatile in the field with a different kind of energy, we spoke to him about his journey so far & recent role as a youth worker for Young Greenwich.
Who is Rai Kwaun?
I’m a music producer, performer but mostly producer. I spend most of my time making music with creative people and at Valley Central Youth hub, I work with young people in the studio on different music projects.
How did you choose music as a career path?
I’ve been in the music scene since I was in year 6. I used to rehearse with my friends and perform songs from existing artists. Fast forward to secondary school, my friend was making beats and I wanted to learn too. We spent hours in year 9/10 after school working on beats and I kept researching the sound I wanted to go into. I was inspired by American record-producer Metro Boomin & enjoyed it since.
“Relationships are important, breaks down to how others perceive & respect you.”
Growing within music, what has been your journey like so far?
My beats were not great to start with but I put in the work, late night shifts at the studio after school and had mentors who were like big brothers to me in the music scene guiding me. I was building on my work ethic and that was very important.
I applied for music colleges and got into all of them, including Access to Music, East London Arts and Music (ELAM) & the BRIT School which I chose was cool and worked hard from there.
Tell us a bit about any ‘breakthrough’ moments you’ve had in your career, what gave you that hype & opportunity?
I’ve had a few moments, once I was in the second year of college and Frank Ocean (American singer, songwriter, record producer) shouted out a song that I produced; Benzo by KISH on his radio station and played it on his radio station. It was a step forward but it made me want to push further and strive more.
How did you get into the platform ‘Boiler Room’?
I worked with a few artists such as KISH or SCUTI and started to build a network of creatives who wanted me to DJ at the Boiler Room. At first, I didn’t get to have my own show but a good friend of mine, recommended me at the right time and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have been there. It was a lesson learnt that in the music industry, relationships are important as it breaks down to how others perceive and respect you.
“Whatever you want to do, just work hard and you can get it. I feel like I’m almost a walking example of that”
What was your experience like growing up and going to a youth club?
I was an ‘indoor kid’ so growing up, I didn’t really go out unless I went to play outside. When I was in year 8, I started going to a youth club do develop my skills in music and got the support I needed.
Now you are a youth worker at Young Greenwich, what does it mean for you to work with young people?
If I can inspire at least one person, show them the different ropes of life, to work hard and reach their goals, that’s it. I’d like to show them life balance (which I am still learning myself) and what it means to be dedicated to their passion.
What’s in store for people who come to your sessions at Valley Central?
I’m more for the young people. Working with me they have choices on what they want to work on in the session - I guide them through it and analyse a lot but if they want to get ‘lit’ (more excited in the session) I can go in depth and make a beat with them. I’m looking to work with young people in different areas of music from lyrical to production.
I also want to strip down to who they are and what their stories are about, helping them to express their individuality. Make young people see that we are equal and they can do anything they put their mind to.
Rai-Kwaun’s sessions take place at Valley Central Youth Hub on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays every week at Valley Central. Sessions are free and open to all young people aged 10-19 (or up to 25 with Special Educational Needs/Disabilities), who live or study in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
*Trap with regards to music, is a sub-genre of Hip Hop & Rap which originated in Southern United States