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Asher’s Story

"I use music to channel my feelings and get through hard times."

I became homeless when I was 17. I had to leave my mum’s house and started sofa surfing with friends. I ended up selling drugs so I had some money, which at the time seemed normal – it’s what I had been around where I grew up.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes. It’s not just the damage that you do to your own life, it’s more what you put your family through. My Mum suffers from anxiety when I don’t pick up the phone to her, she fears the worst because of my past.

When I first went to prison I could see everyone was rapping in the exercise yard, so I went over to join them. They then said “Jump on next”. I remember my lyrics got a mad reaction. That was the moment that I knew I had potential, and that I should start taking rapping seriously.

I came to Your Place after I had a kid. Things didn’t quite work out like I hoped and I had to leave our home. Here, my keyworker gives loads of support in so many different ways. In the past I’ve found it difficult to be honest with people, particularly about the issues I’ve faced, and I’ve used my music to channel my feelings and get through hard times. I honestly couldn’t have asked for more understanding keyworker; I feel like I can share anything and not be judged.

Before lockdown, I entered rap battles and I’ve managed to win a few. I practice my material all the time, in my room, in my bathroom. People might think I am crazy, but I love perfecting my act and getting better all the time. Now I want to do it as a job, and share my experience through my music and talks. The team here have been very attentive and supportive to my career ambitions; they’re always suggesting avenues which I can might be interested in exploring.

Before my music career really takes off, I’ve looked at apprenticeships with a large railway company, but due to lockdown they’ve unfortunately stopped these and so I am doing working with a removal company to get by.

I recently spoke on a Your Place webinar where I was able to share my story. Just because you’ve been to prison, it doesn’t mean that your life is over. You have to make the decision yourself, and not always be thinking about how I can keep my friends on my side, because that’s when you start getting dragged into the wrong situations and crowds. Sometimes you have to take a step back, and decide “Is this for me?”. And that life isn’t for me now. I’m pleased to be getting my life back on track, and can’t thank Your Place enough for giving me the support and space to do just that.

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