Archive for June, 2020

Piece of the Pie – Oren

Posted on: June 16th, 2020 by Steph Dickinson No Comments

Oren, 21

“I joined Pie Factory Music when I was 10. I remember when I was very young that I’d always loved being around music. My nan bought me a practice electric guitar when I was around 4, which was a great excuse to learn how to play it. 

Secondary School didn’t offer any opportunities to develop my guitar skills and I spent a lot of time being a ‘bedroom guitarist’. I knew that I had an interest in music and wanted to play with others, so I joined Pie Factory Music. I received fantastic tuition, and I couldn’t believe that it was free. Not everyone can afford private music lessons.

The staff really brought me out of my shell and made me realise that I had a real talent for music. And that I had to harness it, show it off and be proud of my skills. It’s a theme throughout the charity – they genuinely believe in you. 

After a few years I started volunteering at Pie Factory Music. I started helping out with their band factory workshop, I used my experience to help young people. I became more confident teaching the sessions and eventually I lead the workshops. After some time, I moved to supporting the youth club. My role was to chat to the young people, ask how they’re doing and try to engage with them. I was a lot younger than the other volunteers and staff, and I felt that they could relate to me a bit differently. 

With the support of Sam Evans who taught me how to confidently and effective lead workshops, I joined the charity as a member of staff. A lot of things happened during this period, I developed myself as a person, I grew in confidence and it was truly inspiring to see young people progress in the sessions. I motivate and encourage them, give them the space to be creative and I’m immensely proud when they achieve what they set out too. 

When I applied to the University of Southampton to study music, I included my experience at Pie Factory Music. The charity had such a huge impact on my life, shaped my personality and character that I couldn’t imagine not including it. 

A lot of peers on my course have never had the experience of being in a studio, learning how to confidently perform or set up a stage. I had already harnessed those skills at Pie Factory Music though – it was an invaluable experience. 

When I graduate I want to do a lot more with Pie Factory Music. The charity has grown significantly since I joined, there’s always different sessions on offer and new projects to get involved in. It’s been great to see and be part of their transition and growth. They’ve got an excellent reputation in the area. 

Pie Factory Music has influenced my life so much, it’s had an impact on my character and confidence. It’s given me focus and shaped where I want to be. Who would’ve known that when I joined I would have been exposed to so many opportunities and eventually start working for them. I never knew how much I would love teaching young people about music. I want that to always be part of my life and I know that I’ll continue to work with young people in the charity sector. There’s no better feeling than watching them grow in confidence and harness their talents.”

When you read stories like Oren’s you start to realise that transformative work takes time and that steady, consistent, support is important and worthwhile. If you would like to donate towards our ongoing work to empower and inspire young people CLICK HERE

To read Chloe’s story CLICK HERE

Piece of the Pie – Chloe

Posted on: June 10th, 2020 by Steph Dickinson No Comments

Chloe, 23

“I joined Pie Factory Music at 12. It was a friend’s mum that heard me sing who encouraged me to attend the vocal sessions she led at the charity. I attended that night and although I was terrified of singing in front of people, the staff were so welcoming and friendly that I soon performed my first solo performance.

I’ve always been really into music and singing. It was my grandma that taught me how to play the piano and by the time I joined the charity, I had taught myself the guitar.

During the vocal workshops I helped others with their singing so when one of the instructors left I replaced them. I was then asked to lead other workshops, like their recording sessions on a Monday evening. I was teaching young people how to use the recording studio, create their own songs and learn the language of music. It’s really empowering to share your knowledge and experience with other people, watch their confidence grow and see their development.

I collaborated with rappers from the charity to sing in their songs, and one of them was selected for BBC Radio 1Xtra as their hottest track which meant that the song was going to be played all week across the national radio station. I was only 15 at the time.

My experience at Pie Factory Music helped me to secure a place at the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music in Brighton. I was going to lectures about learning to perform, recording your own music and how to organise gigs but I had already learnt all of this at the charity. Going to university was building on the knowledge and experience of what I gained at Pie Factory Music. It was a huge boost to my confidence, and my peers were astonished at how much I already knew about music. 

The skills I learnt at Pie Factory Music have given me a solid foundation for a career in music. Singing and playing instruments aren’t now just a hobby but something to focus on. It helped shape who I am today and my career as a singing teacher. It opened up a world of opportunities, different music styles and gave me the freedom to express who I am through my songs.”

To read Billy’s story click here

Piece of the Pie – Billy

Posted on: June 2nd, 2020 by Steph Dickinson No Comments

Billy, 18 

How did your journey with Pie Factory Music start?

I was 16 when I joined Pie Factory Music. I figured it would give me something to do when I wasn’t at college. To be honest, formal education just isn’t for me and although I didn’t mind media studies, I was bored during maths and English so would often bunk off. College wasn’t creative enough for me so after just 10 months, I dropped out all together.

My pal told me about Pie Factory Music as he knew that I loved making music. I wrote my first rap song when I was 10, and was always performing in rap battles – I remember when I was in year 6 at school going up against kids in year 11. 

I just thought I would attend Pie Factory Music as they offered free studio space. Something that is absolutely unheard of.

What did you gain from attending Pie?

After two years, I gained so much more than time in a studio. I made a lot of friends, gained more confidence, learnt how to record music and be more creative with my beats and raps. I made my first album and performed six gigs at events and festivals across Essex and Kent – this would never have happened without the charity.

Billy performing at Elsewhere, Margate whilst taking part in our Emerging Artists Programme in 2019

Pie Factory Music gave me the confidence to take up new opportunities, take risks and make an effort. However it was the staff that I got to know that made a real, lasting difference. 

Matt, Zoe and Luis had a significant impact on my life. They didn’t change me but through their conversations, I gained maturity and how to conduct myself as an adult. In some way, they were role models to me. I went to them for advice and conversations about my life in general. Zoe, especially, helped me realise that I had a real talent for writing music. They unlocked my full potential.

To be the first to know about projects like our Emerging Artists Programme and sign up to our mailing list click here

To read Katie’s story click here