Home of a hip hop collective, releases from supported artists and soon to be sharing wisdom at a Write:Record:Release session on management and A&R, Storge’s Sam Law takes a look at the creative hub that is Derby’s Baby People.
Creativity is an addictive habit. There’s something about producing something that’s yours – truly yours – and seeing it out in the world that keeps drawing people back for more. This goes doubly so with music and art; studies have proven the benefits of engaging with the arts and culture, and producing something of your own in that area can be immensely liberating and empowering. It’s a feeling that Baby People, Derby’s very own ‘music and arts development organisation’, has taken fully to heart.
Tucked away down Forman Street – just a stone’s throw away from the acclaimed Dubrek Studios – ‘the UK’s first dedicated Hip Hop school’ is not at first glance the most assuming place. But take the smallest peek at their work, and it’s instantly exciting. Baby People are driven by a mission to improve the lives of the most deprived in our communities through the power of music and art. Motivated by a belief that people from all stages of life can find empowerment and expression through the arts and culture, the organisation run workshops and educational classes in music production, creative writing & lyrics, graffiti art, and more. The result is a thrilling collection of singles, EPs, and artworks that give a voice to those most often denied one.
The epitome of this hub of creativity and production comes in their 2017 summer school mixtape, available for free on their Soundcloud. It’s an eclectic mix of tracks, all interweaving to eventually come together in a cacophany of sheer artistic delight. There are piano ballads, R&B anthems, a capella melodies, and covers of some of the world’s greatest musical hits, creating a multilayered mix of sounds, genres, and personalities all playing off one another, but as an album of songs it truly defines Baby People‘s mission statement. At its core, Baby People is about bringing people together and giving them the opportunity to make a statement through the power of art and music.
It’s a message that’s not lost on the organisation’s collaborators. With a managing director, Baby J, who has produced music for artists like Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, and Estelle, Baby People have been able to attract some of the biggest names in hip hop to work with the group and elevate it above its already lofty heights. Artists such as Wretch 32 and N Dubz have worked with the organisation to give young and budding performers a platform at some of the region’s marquee music events like Derby West Indian Carnival, FUSE Fest, and Derby Music Month, Wretch 32 commenting that ‘Baby People studios is part of the heart and soul of UK music’. It’s hard to disagree with him.
Baby People provides a crucial but often overlooked role in the Derby area. Music and art have the unique power of providing excitement, community, and catharsis for those who engage in them, making for both an enjoyable pastime and a compelling force for good, especially in vulnerable communities. Giving those communities a voice to tell their stories and express their feelings in a creative and constructive context, whilst producing something that they can feel real ownership of, is therefore something we should all strive for if we want to live in a fair and equal society. For providing these sorts of opportunities, I cannot applaud Baby People enough.
Opportunities with Baby People range from one-off workshops to full year academic placements. For more information on how to get involved, visit their website.
There’s a chance to hear from Baby People owner Baby J alongside Spencer Wells of Frankie Goes To Hollywood and manager of James Morrison at a free Write:Record:Release workshop at Dubrek on management and A&R on Saturday 26 May 2018 – book your place here.
Find Baby People: