Sink or Swim – 17-09-19

It’s funny how things come full circle. The featured image (courtesy of Joe), is testament to that. It’s an entendre of visuals. Here, you have a portrayal of me capturin’ a portrait of Liam. But it’s more than that. This image also represents what I refer to as ‘image-gang’. If you don’t know what that means, I’ve got you. Usually with negative connotations, it’s a term used to represent one who acts or adheres to certain habits in an attempt to portray traits conducive to a particular stereotype/way of life. In simpler terms, at the point of this picture bein’ taken, I wasn’t what you’d refer to as a ‘photographer’. Yes I was takin’ genuine pictures of Liam usin’ his camera, whilst Joe was capturin’ it all for his personal content. But, at the point of this picture bein’ taken, I just wanted some wavy shots for the Gram. A lot’s changed since then.

This picture was taken last summer. If I remember correctly, it may have been around a month after I quit my full time job. After a near decade away, on my return to Manchester, I found the role through a recruitment company who in hindsight, I’d say definitely made the role ‘n’ company sound a lot more ‘thrillin’ than it actually was. But hey, I’m honestly not complaining. The company needed a sales exec, I needed a job, ‘n’ the recruiter got their commission. Trio of triumph in my eyes. Though I was with the company for around 16 months, the writings were on the wall for me to exit long before I actually did. I had a chat with Destiny and she told me straight:

“Child, this is no longer for you. Stop sticking to what’s comfortable. Sink or swim.”

For those who know, you’re already aware I’ve always had an inclination towards ‘creatitivy’. In particular, writing. More specifically, rapping. I won’t give you the full back-story in this post as that’s possibly a post for another day ‘n’ I’m already goin’ off course like I usually do. But in the briefest explanation, I started writin’ rhymes at 14, joined a grime crew at 16, entered an won a prestigious (at the time) Manc music competition at 18, went to uni for a term at 18, dropped out ‘n’ returned to the blocc to kick it with the man dem, started gettin’ into sticky situations resultin’ in the realisation it was either morte or  HMP for me so left Manc at 20, Kicked it in London ‘n’ Leeds respectively for a few where durin’ this time I was inconsistently releasin’ music ‘n’ videos, before I scuttled off to Chester at 25 to get the degree I should have gotten at 18: BA Hons English Language n Literature.

On my return, through familial roots ‘n’ contacts nurtured at uni, I began recordin’ a concept ep in December 2017. At the point of writin’ this, it’s June 17th, 2019. The vocals ‘n’ mix has been complete for around a year. I have not released this project. Here are the reasons:

  1. As it’s a concept ep, it requires an essential recordin’ yet to be obtained which sets the tone for the whole project.
  2. The initial excitement for the project has long since faded.
  3. Though cathartic in essence, some of the subject matters doesn’t fit with who I am now.
  4. I’m a self-aware man. Though some know me from the ‘grime-era’, that’s on a small scale. Recordin’ began at 29, I’m now 31. On a national scale, if I was to ever ‘blow’, I’d be considered a new artist.
  5. This is probably the most important – I don’t want it anymore. The hunger, drive ‘n’ desire needed to succeed as an artist no longer resides within.

It took a while, but I’ve made peace with number 5. It comes to a stage where one must put their ego aside ‘n’ have real conversations with yourself to ascertain what you want from life ‘n’ which direction you wanna go in. In a recent conversation with a friend I’ve known since our run in the same grime-crew, I expressed this to him. To use music as an analogy, in some cases, everyone wants to be ‘the guy’ – everyone wants to be front ‘n’ centre on stage. Whether motivated by financial security, material items, accomplished accolades, or body count, not everyone has the ability to not only achieve, but survive ‘n’ progress in the music game.

But, after the inner battle within ended with a treaty of peace, I searched within ‘n’ asked myself:

“what now?”

Fresh home from uni, I decided to put my degree to good use. Again, I won’t get too deep as I’m sure I’ve spoken on this topic in a previous post(s), but when I set up IBTC, it was to provide a platform for emerging creative talent in Manchester. I’d link them up, do an interview, take some pics, do a write up ‘n’ post the content. Bein’ a lot of work for one man to do workin’ a 9-5 alongside other commitments, I decided to outsource the photography where I could. But I was ultimately doin’ myself a disservice. Though producin’ content on a regular basis with the new found freedom of not workin full-time (I had money saved for this outcome), I was only pushin’ one skill: writin’.

At the point of this picture bein’ taken, I was merely playin’. A lot’s changed since then. Around 4 weeks ago, I ordered a 50 ‘n’ shot a few people thus settin’ up the DemzVisuals Instagram. Around 2 weeks ago, I ordered a 35. Last week I put out a message on a Manchester photographers  ‘n’ models FB group requestin’ people interested in ‘tfp’ shoots to ensure I maintain consistency in shootin. I’ve had 10 hits back so far. Today, I ordered a battery grip, two spare batteries ‘n’ a new back-pack for my gear as I’ve now outgrown my current bag.

In that recent conversation with my friend, I told him:

“I don’t have it in me to be an artist anymore.”

But that doesn’t mean I’m relinquishin’ the life of a Creative. Like my momzie said:

“You’re a a free spirit. You don’t like being tied down.”

‘N’ she’s right. The passion I once had for music started to manifest itself into an alternative route last year, but I wasn’t ready for the plunge. I was still holdin’ on to the armbands that was 9-5 and paddlin’ in the shallow end of safety. Yes, I work in an office again, I have done for a year now, but it’s flexible. It’s on my terms. The hours aren’t as extensive, which means a reduction in money, but I have more time to cultivate what I truly desire: content creation. I’m happy. Once upon a time, I wanted to be ‘the guy’. There are moments now where the light still flickers as the embers will never truly be quelled. But, I enjoy this ‘back-seat’ role. Truly, I do.

By being the man behind the scenes, I’m able to network with individuals I may have never had the opportunity of meetin’, I’m able to navigate new terrains due to the disciplines adopted from multi-faceted background, ‘n’, I’m able nurture content curated for the purpose of showcasin’ not only the client, but to display how I’ve channeled my energies into somethin’ new.

At the point of this picture bein’ taken, I would have sunk. Today, I swim.


Image by js__visuals