#MY MUSIC STORY – DMS FOUNDER: ELROY ‘SPOONFACE’ POWELL – PART 2
#mymusicstory #creativeminds #growwithus
We have been collecting music stories from industry veterans, aspiring young musicians and entrepreneurs to bring together inspirational advice.
We all love stories and you don’t need to be famous or a millionaire to feel you have a valid one.
It’s only fair I share fragments of my own experiences and will be doing so with peers from the industry via the DMS website to help others make informed decisions about their own journey.
PART 2: From No one to Number one!
When it came to escaping the ‘noise’, my Dad’s Mum helped massively in the early years. Grandma loved and spoiled me big time. Every week without fail there was a Ribena in the fridge and £5 pocket money waiting for me. I remember one time she had a massive 99 ice cream with a flake and sprinkles in a cup. She’d bought it and put it in the freezer until I made it round. I can still remember waiting impatiently for it to defrost.
I loved her very much and was shocked at how she died when I was about 17. One day she just sold her house and moved away without telling anyone. Maybe it was the family pressures or her ‘funny way’ of dealing with things.
I carried on exploring music and had support from my teacher, Mr Parker. School was also where I met Lisa Millett. She was the singing teacher that would constantly scold me for being lazy “practice your scales!”. It was also Lisa Millett that later connected me with the Black Legend Project.
Growing up in the 80’s / 90’s was a weird mix of racism, music and self discovery. If I wasn’t a ‘Mavron’ (derogatory Greek term) or black b*****d, I was a fat b*****d and as a kid you soon learn to ‘give as much as you get’. It meant I wasn’t always nice to be around.
Through Martial arts I met a string of talented, positive, black, male role models; Master Raphael Meade, Master Roy Bennett, Master Gary Grant, Grandmaster Trevor Codner and Grandmaster Erroll Williams. They taught me that anything was possible if you work hard and consistently enough. I learned about overcoming my fears, accepting myself and being more considerate to others. I also met my dear friend Darren Meade who paid for recording one of my first songs. Prior to that, my Godfather took me to a studio and showed me the harsh truths of writing – Jamaican style, no holding back. He ripped me to shreds, and although it was painful at the time, I was happy he helped.
After entering more school talent competitions, I met Peter Isaacs, (The Dred), at a youth club in Tottenham and a colleague of his helped me record a song for a Wood Green shopping centre showcase. It was then onto Hackney Empire and showcases at Uni where I first met a talented singer by the name of Lemar. I was hungry to succeed.
As a kid during the great storm of 1987, my Dad went looking for me after school and a slab of concrete fell off a roof almost killing him. He was such a hard-headed b*****d, he survived with just a few stitches, but needed loads of time off work and was laid up real bad. I got home safe but he didn’t get any compensation. The Broadwater Farm Riots and other episodes my family experienced with the police made me want to study law.
The time between A levels and University was seriously stressful and I didn’t do as well as expected. I just about squeezed in at what was then TVU in Ealing. I needed money and would do all sorts, (legit of course), from selling double-glazing, raffle tickets for charity, door-to-door perfume sales or delivering minicab cards, to working in the menswear department at Marks and Spencer’s.
Through Martial arts I also met Dej Mahoney, who at the time was Vice President of Business Affairs at Sony Music. He helped me with my first major record deal.
Always very warm, encouraging, sharply presented and well spoken, I admired his style and humble demeanour.
After leaving Marks and Spencer’s, I ended up doing a ton of house parties and odd jobs. I had the most fun working as an ‘Extra’. Following directions in-front of camera was always straight forward. At the time it just felt like you got fed and paid to hang out with other cool people that didn’t have a regular job. Doing this lead to presenting and doing voice-overs for what was Trouble TV (after being spotted by Tracey Cooley with my Cousin ‘Kaspa’, aka Big Mike).
I was still having regular singing lessons with Lisa Millett. One day she told me about some project that needed a vocalist. Having hardly left the UK I was excited yet apprehensive as she took me to Italy. The producers needed to re-record as they couldn’t get clearance to use the original Barry White Vocal. Back then, House Music wasn’t as ‘cool’ and accepted as it is now by major RnB artists in the U.S. I was just happy to get paid for the session, but thankfully Lisa and eventually Dej made sure the contractual side of things were taken care of.
What I didn’t know at the time was that ‘You See The Trouble With Me’ had organically become a monster hit with tastemaker DJ’s and all the ‘party-islands’.
It was ready to transition into the mainstream and my contribution was essential for that to happen. When it became a Number one record, my life changed forever.
Having just turned 21, fit, fresh and fearless, I felt invincible!
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