Leo Kalyan Music Week Awards 2018 Speech
At this year’s Music Week Awards we were delighted to invite the artist Leo Kalyan, who had received Momentum Music funding, to the stage to talk to the industry audience about the impact our funding has had on his career. This is what he said:
“Good evening everyone. My name is Leo Kalyan, I’m a singer, writer and producer from London. I’d like to start by reading a message I received from a fan a few weeks ago:
“Hi Leo. Can I just say how grateful I am for you. Because really your songs have changed everything for me. They have stopped me going back and forth questioning my identity and really helped me to accept my sexuality. Thank you so much for existing because you are pretty fucking cool. I hope this reaches you.”
I wanted to share that with you all because when we talk about Facebook marketing – which is how I used some of my PRS Foundation funding – it can sound a little detached or corporate. For an artist from a historically underrepresented ethnic and sexual identity in the music industry, finding your audience is 90% of the struggle; and as you can see from that message, the value in connecting with the right audience is immeasurable.
When I started this project, I sometimes felt as though I was shouting into the void, with little hope of anyone ever hearing me. But thanks to PRS Foundation’s support which supported costs of recording an EP and touring as well as marketing, people have, and it’s a huge honour to know that my music is now helping young people who are struggling to come out, particularly people of South-Asian descent. When I was growing up between Pakistan and the UK, I desperately wanted to see someone in the public eye who allowed me to feel seen, heard and validated. Now, I have the privilege of being that person for others, and I’m so grateful to PRS Foundation for giving me the means to find my people and take on this role. The funding has opened up doors for me in other ways too; I’ve been able to create fan bases around the world, and I’m excited to say that I’m about to go on my first 4 city tour of China at the end of May this year.
Success in music is often measured by plays, hits, tweets and likes, but sometimes we lose sight of the fact that we make music to foster a connection between ourselves and our audience.
So, before we get on with the rest of the evening, I want to say thank you to PRS Foundation for giving me the chance to create those connections – it’s made everything I do so much more personally gratifying, and I know from the countless messages I’ve received just like the one I opened with tonight, it’s making a real difference to people all over the world.