01:00PM, Thursday 21 January 2021
An anti-knife crime campaigner and DJ has helped a down-on-his luck local lyricist to create his first ever studio track.
Stephen Ambrose, also known as Stevoss, is the project leader of the Love Music Hate Violence (LMHV) project, which involves visiting schools to teach young people how to resist knife crime and gang culture.
This was put on hold thanks to COVID-19 – during which time, Stephen came across video of a Sydney Douglas, a local figure who sings on the street.
This was the second time Stephen had seen a video of Sydney singing. In 2006, Sydney had ‘gone viral’ around Wexham School where Stephen used to teach.
“We came to the conclusion that he was talented but hadn’t had the best life,” said Stephen.
Homelessness and mental health issues have caused problems for Sydney, obstructing him from making the best of his talent.
Stephen began sampling Sydney’s vocals from the recent video and created a reggae song. Then he tracked Sydney down with the help of an old school friend, inviting Sydney to come to his studio.
Sydney recorded his own song 'Lose Dem Brain' to a beat created by Stephen. The song, which is about how people ‘lose their brain and cause others pain’, is due to be released in the next few months.
“It was inspiring to see how much talent he actually has,” said Stephen. “People look at the homeless side of him and not that side – people don’t always see there’s a story behind his situation.
“He told me he’d always wanted to go to a studio but no one had been able to take him. His face just lit up.”
Since recording, Sydney – who turned 55 this week – has been practising his music and focusing on getting healthy, now in the care of Collaborative Care Solutions in Slough.
Stephen says the plan is to work together again soon, when COVID-19 restrictions ease.
“This has given him a new lease of life. Just to hear that is rewarding,” said Stephen.
Sydney has featured in an episode of ‘Dubplate Pressure’, Stephen’s short musical series, and will feature the music video for ‘Lose Dem Brain’.
“Sydney said he is looking forward to becoming a star on TV,” said Stephen.
Dubplate Pressure is available to view on YouTube at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=w4PaP2H3yTQ
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