By Remel London | Published on 11 January 2019
I’m Remel London and I’m a TV, radio presenter and live events host! Music has always been a passion of mine which lead me to study Broadcast Journalism to work as a music and entertainment reporter.
Since becoming a presenter I’ve interviewed a variety of music artists from Jessie J to Craig David, Tinie Tempah to James Bay and even Tito Jackson! As you can imagine they are all amazing people from different walks of life. One thing for sure that they all have in common is that their lives have dramatically transformed by pursuing a career in music.
So I’ve teamed up with Southern Rail to visit a variety of destinations across their network from London Victoria to Brighton, Croydon, Eastbourne and Hastings. I’ll be travelling across the South to showcase the journey’s individuals and communities have undertaken through music.
Over the next few months I will meet music artists, music therapy mentors, organisations and visit events and workshops to get a first-hand experience of how music is transforming lives across the Southern Rail network.
First stop, Brighton! Why? Well I read an article earlier this year which explained that charities like Nordoff Robbins have helped the wellbeing of thousands of people of all ages around the UK through music therapy. Music has the power to transport you to another place, the ability to change your mood and comfort you at times of need, so it’s not surprising the healing impact it can have. It made me realise that music plays a major part in so many people's lives.
Music therapy can be used to work with people and groups, to help develop and facilitate communication skills, improve self-confidence and independence, as well as enhance self-awareness and awareness of others. It can be particularly beneficial to people who are dealing with mental health issues, children with developmental delay, learning difficulties, autism and adults with dementia.
After reading this and knowing family and friends who are currently experiencing similar situations, I wanted to know how I could spread the word about music therapy.
AudioActive is a ground-breaking music organisation, working with young people at the meeting point of technology and contemporary urban culture. They describe music to be “an end in itself as well as a tool for social change, education and personal development”.
See what happened when I took part in the workshop and met some of the young people at AudioActive!
Watch the video
After speaking further with the spoken word poet Romana, who’s from South London and performed at the workshop, she explained that she travels to Brighton using Southern Rail quite regularly to perform at events and to take part in community radio to develop her poetry and media career. Romana went on to saay:
“They are good opportunities to practice what I’ve been working on in different areas and helps get my voice heard, as I like to write about issues I’ve been through and to raise an awareness in a creative way. I like travelling as you meet lots of great people who are involved in events and helps expose my poetry. The more events I do, the more I see myself improving and I feel spoken word poetry really helps people to open up…”
Michael Sells, the Strategic Development and Programme Director at AudioActive explained why workshops and sessions like this are so important and can help to start a journey of transformation.
”Research shows that young men are less likely to access and engage with traditional talking therapies or seek help or support. To us, music is a powerful tool for personal development. We developed Room to Rant to provide a supportive space for young men to express themselves through rap and spoken-word. 'Room to Rant' proves that men have plenty to say and want to support each other when they have the opportunity.”
Katie Waters is the Engagement and Participation Coordinator at YMCA RIGHT HERE who supported the workshop and explained why this specific workshop was so important:
“We actually hosted a variety of events going on across the city including a group walk, a horticulture session, a table tennis session and this creative workshop - mental health issues and difficulties can be remedied in so many ways and music is just one of them. For young men, in particular, this is a great way for them to channel their thoughts and feelings that they may struggle to communicate in other ways.
“For me, this event had to happen because I've seen how important AudioActive's 'Room to Rant' sessions is for vulnerable young men. I used to work in the housing project that these sessions were held in and could see and feel the impact. It provided a safe space for them to talk and vent, which is something very rare especially for such hard to reach young people.
“Tragically one of the young men myself and AudioActive worked with died by suicide not long ago and the ripples were huge in the community. This session was partly a tribute to him and it was so moving to have his father and friends there. And important for us to talk openly about him and about looking out for one another.”
Keep a look out for more transformational stories from my journeys with Southern Rail!
Images courtesy of AudioActive