“I’ve learnt that you can’t just rely on your mentor, you also have to make the effort yourself to achieve what you want” – Romeo
Romeo, 15, was receiving support from a partner organisation that Rhythmix was working with. Music was something that helped him forget his troubles, but also something he wanted to pursue as a future career. Growing up in a small town, there weren’t many opportunities for music making outside of school, so he jumped on the opportunity of some one-to-one mentoring.
Max spent the first few sessions getting to know Romeo in terms of musical background and aspirations. Looking at a range of different artists, expanding his musical horizons and helping him to set realistic targets that he could achieve within the time frame of the mentoring programme.
They decided to focus on improving performance skills, doing a live show, learning some new music production and songwriting skills and producing at least one original track from scratch for online release.
As they worked together on songwriting, Max found an opportunity for Romeo to perform in front of industry professionals. He got great feedback from them, and it boosted his confidence in his musical abilities.
Max also took Romeo to see Rizzle Kicks perform live in Brighton. Max used to work with Jordan from Rizzle Kicks through his work at AudioActive, and was able to get backstage tickets for Romeo who was able to meet the band and ask them some questions. Romeo had never been to a live performance before and was completely inspired by it. Hearing Rizzle Kicks’ story helped him to visualize the potential for future success within the music industry.
“I think the whole thing was great, a great experience, a really strong live show to take in, meeting some pop stars & also a great chance for us to chat” – Max Wheeler
Max also taught Romeo to use a range of hardware and software to produce his own original backing tracks, ranging from professional DAWs and MIDI controllers to apps that he could use on his phone. The finished tracks were posted online, and Romeo is currently using these songs as part of his portfolio to try and get into Brit School for his 6th Form education.
Through his involvement with Rhytmix mentoring, Romeo was invited to take part in a high profile music project called Fuse that took place at the South Bank Centre run by AudioActive. Romeo got to work with some amazing young musicians, producers and vocalists there, developing an original live performance that was showcased at the Southbank Centre in London and the Dome in Brighton. This whole experience really helped to broaden Romeo’s horizons both musically and socially.
Romeo said that being mentored helped him to address his own insecurities. The challenges of working in different ways with a big group through fuse, and independently with a mentor, enabled him to unlock new skills and creative ideas that he didn’t know he had.
At the end of the project, Romeo was invited to attend the music sessions (where Rhythmix first met him) as Max’s assistant, working as a peer mentor to support sessions with his own peer group now he had enough experience and training. He rose to the challenge and feels that the experience has helped him think seriously about the idea of being a music leader himself.
The experience of mentoring and the relationship with Max helped Romeo to mature as a young musician. He is now thinking seriously about his future and is moving away from the challenges of his past.