By John Lewell
On Thursday evening, NTU WRAP participants learned from an accomplished musician and songwriter, Freddie Kofi. The Nottingham-born MOBO award-winning nominee gave the students tips on industry, expressed his passion for Gospel music, and explained multiple types of song structure.
I am a BA Creative Writing student, but WRAP is open to everyone across the university, and it was great to be in the presence of so many keen writers and readers who focus their academic lives on other subjects. The evening took place in the rather splendid and ornate Old Chemistry Lab on NTU’s City campus. This building would not look out of place on the grounds of Hogwarts. Under its high ceiling, I could quite imagine Potter eating his Christmas dinner.
Freddie arrived with the smile he would carry throughout, an expression that signifies passion for a lifelong desire: to make music, sculpt song, and share these things. If eyes are a window to the soul, then a smile is the doorway to the heart. And out from between the smile arrived the intent, greeting everyone in a humble and comforting manner that put at ease even the most novice-like of songwriters in the room.
Freddie explained how a songwriter generates an income and, more importantly, how they don’t if certain boxes are not ticked. It was a revelation to find out that if a music artist does not register with the PRS, then it is likely they won’t get paid if the radio plays their song, and by joining the PPL, you can get support in collecting any revenues you believe are owed.
The workshopping allowed the participants to create their own lyrics in one of the formats Freddie had explained: verse-chorus-verse-chorus or maybe verse-bridge-chorus, for example. The results were impressive, considering the time each group had to create. Freddie was polite and supportive of all the outcomes and alluded to the sentiment, ‘You need to make lots until the good stuff arrives.’ This I have heard before, expressed in one way or another, from Ed Sheeran, Rick Rubin, and just about every other great creative person.
Throughout the evening, we got to hear the gospel tones of Freddie, and to know a little of his taste for the eighties sounds. He showed how his faith had inspired his writing and, in doing so, inspired me, an atheist, to want to experience more Gospel and faith-driven art. There is something very optimistic about a person with true faith. It makes someone of non-faith, except in that which is proven, admire the believer. It makes a small part of the atheist want to believe, if only to experience the enlightened emotion for a moment.
After being involved in Freddie’s workshop, I’m sure most attending will have gained vital insight into the music industry, but most importantly, an insight into the positivity and obsession to craft that Freddie Kofi expresses.