When Art, Design, Media, Music and Performance students at Southwark College were invited to a special assembly on Thursday 29 November, little did they know they were about to come face-to-face with their hero.
Introduced as the surprise guest, grime artist and British grime legend Stormzy spent an hour at the College talking to students about integrity and how he has maintained his identity in London’s music scene, before inviting a select group to attend a special Adidas event that evening. He brought along Mo Gilligan, a stand-up comic who found fame working on the TV series Big Narstie who talked to students about his own journey from retail to a career in comedy.
The assembly, which was billed as ‘An exploration into the driving forces behind the London music scene’, saw the unsuspecting students, gathering in the College’s atrium as a teacher introduced the themes for the session.
A few minutes later, Stormzy appeared on stage, much to the amazement of students, and joined the discussion. Sharing his own experiences, he talked about how important it is to maintain your identity and focus on your music if you want to succeed in the current creative landscape, and also spent 20 minutes answering students’ questions.
At the end of the session, Stormzy encouraged students to continue with their hard work and follow their dreams. He then revealed that there was more excitement to come, inviting them to board coaches which took them to a special event being curated by the artist for adidas.
David White, Deputy Principal says: “Having Stormzy visit our College has been an incredible event and one that students won’t forget. He was truly inspirational and really impressed upon them the importance of remaining true to yourself, taking the time to answer their questions about succeeding in the music industry.”
Stormzy (real name Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr.), grew up in south east London has taken the Grime world by storm since first appearing on the UK underground music scene, winning Best Grime Act at the MOBO awards in 2014 and 2015. He was the first Grime act to reach number one in the UK albums chart with Gang Signs & Prayer, and performed his platinum-selling track Shut Up during heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua’s ring-walk for his fight versus Dillian Whyte.