Each year The Foyer Federation awards Talent Bonds of up to £300 to young people who have experienced homelessness to help them grow a talent or skill and invest in achieving their goals – whatever those might be. Young musician Mackenzie Glover, who lives at Ravenhead Foyer, was awarded a Talent Bond to continue to build his career as a musician. In this interview, we hear all about his hopes and dreams, and how the Talent Bond enables him to move ahead with his goals.
Hi Mackenzie! Tell us about yourself, your background, and what it's like living at Ravenhead Foyer.
I moved out of home when I was 17 because of a bit of family trouble. I found out about Ravenhead Foyer, spoke to someone about it and they helped me to get in. At the time I was in college. It's a nice place in Ravenhead, all the rooms are quite nice and everyone who works here's nice too. I can't complain and I feel settled, which means I can focus on the creative side of my life.
Tell us about your music, how would you describe it, and what direction you want to take it in.
I got into music when I was about 14 or 15 and I did it at college. I remember playing my first gig, I was just full of adrenaline and I thought this is what I want to do. I just love writing and creating things, and I like stories so I thought being a musician works perfectly with that. I don't want to set any labels on my music, but I'd describe it as having a 'nighttime' theme, something that you'd listen to on the train home, or something you'd listen to when you're at peace. For the future, I just want to keep making more music and hopefully impact someone. I'd like to get signed to a label and get some more support with it, it's a lot of work just on my own.
Which musicians or bands have inspired you and why?
I like a lot of modern music, the first track was inspired by Beach House, I really like them they're quite ambient and chill, it's quite beautiful I think, also the 1975 and Bring Me The Horizon. Some people have said my tracks remind them of New Order as well. The artwork for the tracks is made in collaboration with a friend who's an illustrator, I like them because I think it's something you could tattoo on yourself which I think is quite cool!
Tell us about the Talent Bond, how did that happen?
Someone at the foyer mentioned briefly that I could get funded for some studio time, so I jumped at the chance and asked about it, and it came through! The Talent Bond paid for a full session with the studio, so that's all arranged now which is brilliant.
What's the music production talent, skill, or strength that you're currently developing?
Definitely spending time in the studio, seeing how the producer works and what he does. That's the key strength that I'm developing because I'm not producing anything, it's the producer who's doing it, so it's interesting to watch him work. I can mention an idea and what I want the song to sound like and he can just really quickly pull up very specific sounds.
What instruments are you playing?
I started with the guitar and then I switched to the bass because I thought that'd be more useful, and I also spend a lot of my time writing, coming up with ideas for lyrics and song ideas. I'll listen to a certain sound and if I think it's cool I'll try to recreate it. A lot of the work I do is electronic editing, we have all the instruments but generally we use a lot of synths and keyboards. On stage we're more of a duo than a 'band' because it's just me doing everything plus a singer.
What are your ambitions for the future?
To make music that sounds good, try and get into the scene, play gigs, make friends and network, get signed, and just start touring the world – that's the dream! For today I'm going to start rehearsing and prepare for next week's rehearsal in the studio to get the most out of the time there.
What would you say to somebody else's had a similar story to yourself, who wants to be creative but has moved out of home early – what advice would you give to somebody in a similar position?
I guess it's just to get settled in and then focus on the creative side. I could have just sat around and waited until I started university, but I was passionate about doing music, so I just pushed myself to go and do it. The first studio session was all my own money, so I just pushed myself to be determined and get it done. At the moment I'm studying Music Performance in college, and soon I'll be going to study for a Music Performance degree at University of Salford. In college I'm surrounded by other musicians, but not many have released anything, so I wanted to get on and actually get something out there. I think my unique background has pushed me to be a step ahead.