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Grime rap star comes on board to inspire next generation of artists

An international Grime artist has joined the teaching staff at Derby College Group to broaden the horizons of young people who have their sights set on a career in the music industry.

Elijah Eyes (stage name Eyez) is a former DCG student himself and will be teaching Grime, Drill, Hip Hop and R&B to Level one and two Music students at DCG’s Joseph Wright Centre.

The study programmes are available to both school leavers and adults and cover a wide range of skills including performing, composing, sound design, music production, administration and management with a clear focus on preparing students for the world of work.

Eyez started rapping when he was just 11 and has won international acclaim for his work.  Now in his late twenties, he continues to perform across the UK with a strong fan base and Youtube following.

He is particularly vocal about his love of Derby – his adopted home city – and his passion for nurturing up and coming talent.

He explained “I moved here with my family when I was six and, having attended four different schools, I knew a lot of people in different parts of the city and across UK.

“My music career really started to take off when I was studying Media at Derby College and I was getting invites to perform live across the UK, produce videos and appear on well-known online channels.

“My tutors were really supportive and understood that I needed to pursue my dream of being a major music star.

“Nowadays I am more grounded.  I still love to perform but my other passions are to support emerging artists and to mentor young people.

I have done a lot of education work at schools across the UK and also set up online tutorials which won me a teaching award.

“Now I am really looking forward to developing my teacher career at Derby College and to studying myself for my formal teaching qualifications.

“Although the experience for students will be fun and creative – it will be hard work and challenging for everyone.

“There are a lot of well paid career opportunities in this industry so I want to stretch the students to bring out their skills and talents and give them the best chance in fulfilling their dreams.

“I will still doing my own music and hope to carry out creating opportunities for emerging artists to but looking forward to teaching at the College and very grateful for the opportunities to get my formal teaching qualifications.”

He continued: “A lot of the time I am working and performing in London but I stay close to my roots and I have always taken six or seven local artists on tour with me including another Derby lad, Dubsy.

“I am also passionate about Derby and, in 70% of my songs I mention the city.  I hope to be involved in Derby’s bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2025 and I hope that rap will be an important part of that bid because we have some really great emerging artists here.”

Eyez concluded: “Grime rap is something that needs to be in a bigger place and more accepted by in the mainstream and coming to Derby College is a great opportunity to do that.

“People often think grime is violent scary but it is essentially poetry and literacy which I love – so much so that one of my other projects is writing a children’s book ‘Rapper Cat’.

“I hope that I can be someone that the students can relate to and to come and talk to about what they are experiencing in their lives to then express in their music.”

DCG’s Creative Industries and Business team manager Simon Nobbs added:

“We were looking for a specialist in Grime, Drill, Hip-Hop and R&B, primarily to appeal to talented young people who are producing these styles of music at home, but haven’t necessarily considered studying music full-time at College.

“Derby used to have a vibrant hip-hop scene, and I’m hoping that by appointing Elijah we’ll be doing our bit to continue this fantastic legacy.

“He is an artist of international repute and is a respected producer, songwriter, performer and recording artist. He is also a skilful teacher and is passionate about helping young people in Derby to reach their potential.

“Studying music can open up a number of different career opportunities in the music industry itself, from performing, composing, sound design, music production, music administration, management, or in live music.

“It can also be a good springboard into other courses or sectors, and teaches numerous soft skills such as teamwork, communication and attention to detail that employers in all sectors want.”