Q&A WITH NICK BREWER

Nick Brewer, the rapper and spoken word artist, has written and performed a new track for Status Online to put commitment in the spotlight. Nick, who’s from East London, is a committed campaigner for mental health and social change. This latest work is written as a letter to his younger self and reflects on the benefits and challenges of committing to people and things. 

Nick took five minutes out of his busy schedule to talk through this new work and to explain why commitment matters to him.

Q: How did you approach this piece on commitment?

A: When I rap, I always want to think about what my experience has been, what mistakes I’ve made, maybe what things I’ve learnt from. A word like commitment is quite a loaded word and can mean loads of different things, so I have to think about - what would I hope commitment looks like if I was giving it to someone and what would I expect? So that’s the approach I took.

Q: Who did you write this for?

A: I think when I write, I write for myself and hope it will relate to others, that’s what I think is the most impactful. I never want to feel like I’m telling people what to do because I don’t have clue. This is my opinion and what I think. I was doing this as letter to my younger self and hoping that in what I’m saying other people can relate to what I am talking about.

Q: Have your views on commitment evolved?

A: I think my views on commitment have definitely changed. I think I’ve realised that commitment is so important and necessary. Whereas when I was younger I wouldn’t have seen it as that big a deal, I would have been more like - take it or leave it. As I’ve grown up and seen the things I’ve been committed to, different hobbies, even writing lyrics, if I didn’t stay committed to that it wouldn’t have developed to a point I’d be happy with. I think having grown up and seen where commitment was lacking, I think I’ve been able to reminisce and see my views have evolved from when I was younger

Q: Do you think it’s important to reflect on commitment when you’re younger?

A: I think thinking about commitment at a younger age is a good thing to do. It’s good to think what’s important to me, what people and what things matter, where do I see myself going, what do I see myself doing and who do I want to be surrounded by when I’m doing it? If you think of it with commitment in mind, you can potentially make the right choice and not waste your time or let things go that you might regret later in life.

Q: You said before commitment isn’t a fashionable word, why’s that?

A: Particularly in the world, we live in everything moves so fast, people are always changing, what’s fashionable is changing, what’s popular is changing. At the same time, it’s good to have solid foundations. I can think of people who’ve been there the majority of my adult life and some of those relationships have been hard work but when you work hard at something that’s when something really powerful and really special is built. It’s a challenge to go against the grain and to be committed to someone or thing in whatever form it takes but I think it’s rewarding

Q: What homework would you set to get people thinking about commitment?

A: What homework would I set to anyone listening? It’s really easy to think about other people and what other people should be doing better or differently but if I focus on myself and think if I’m a committed person what does that mean? That means probably having integrity, meaning what I say, caring for people. They are good things, and I’m not saying I do that all the time, but first of all focus on yourself and think if I am committed how will it make me feel and how can I become that person.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start out with rap or poetry?

A: To anyone who wants to get into rap or poetry, I think commitment is so important because when most people start anything you’re not usually that good, or there’s a natural talent but you have to hone it. Sometimes people can be put off. I remember when I first went to the studio and recorded a song, I listened back and thought – that sounded a lot better in my head, it’s rubbish! But I went back to the studio and I kept going back, now I record voice notes and listen back.

There’s no substitute for putting in time and effort and not worrying if people don’t get it at first. It took me a lot of work. Work out what kind of rapper you want to be, what you want to talk about, use trial and error. Just keep committed with the time and try some different things and work out what do you want your story or narrative to be, what things do you want to come across as being important to you in your music. And think about how you can make that unique.

To hear more from Nick, follow him on twitter: @itsnickbrewer