Lewisham Music collaborated alongside international recording artist and youth mentor Kenny Baraka. Our series of online music mentoring sessions focused on rap and lyricism and provided an inclusive online space for young people to experiment with their ideas, develop their lyric writing, transform words to rhythms, and explore the best way to progress their creativity.


Eight young people aged 10-18, took part in the music mentoring series and gained opportunities to; share their music and receive feedback, gain insight on the music industry/ creative careers and collaborate with Kenny to explore lyric writing processes and performance skills. Alongside the online mentoring young people were given access to our Lyricism 101 resource pack.


“These workshops help to build confidence and push their creativity. By taking courses in rap his creative writing and word use in his schoolwork has improved immensely.”



Who we worked with


young creatives


of young people are from areas ranked as the most deprived (measured against the IMD) 


are from the African diaspora


were from the Asian diaspora and


were from other ethnically diverse communities 


aged 10-13


aged 14-18 


are in receipt of Free School Meals 




Music mentoring evaluation

Three words to describe your experience…


Possibility. Fun. Informative. Uplifting. Inspirational. Amazing. Helpful. Lyrical. Confidence. Empowering.


The outcomes of the project and to what extent were objectives met

Following their workshops and mentoring…


of young people felt better able to express their own ideas through music


of young people felt they had learned new skills


of young people reported having a better understanding of the creative industries


of young people felt they developed a deeper understanding of lyric writing


of young people felt the workshop had inspired them to continue my journey into developing lyricism


Feedback from young creatives

We caught up with some of the young creatives from the project to get their thoughts:


“To me feedback is everything, what is the point in getting angry with feedback, when feedback gives you growth.”



“I wanted to write something to remind the next generation of this year’s painful journey. I think words and music can be a powerful way to remember people’s experiences and pain.”



“Flow is something I really want to work on as a spoken word artist, so it is great to be able to work on this with a rapper, exploring both flow and content.”





Feedback from parents/carers

We spoke to some of the parents/carers of the young creatives to get their perspective on how the project has had an impact:


“These opportunities are so very important for children, but for my child individually, he has spent his life so far quite alone. Never quite being able to form friendship groups until more recently and now this has been interrupted by covid which is making him feel more isolated than ever. He loves music and has been writing lyrics on his own for a few years now… everything you are now offering as an addition will help strengthen his skills as well as his confidence. Joshua ended the meeting with Kenny in the best mood I had seen him in in a while. These sessions/opportunities are a lifeline for our children. They are becoming adults and the tutors and mentors treat our kids as young adults, not children which helps them recognise they are maturing, and Joshua certainly feels proud of himself and his achievements after these sessions.”



“In the current educational and cultural environment, creative opportunities are rare. It is essential that young artists see their personal development as important and their chosen careers as valid and valuable.”



“This has promoted his passion for engagement and challenge his creativity towards life. As well as fostering his spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing.”



“Bailey had such an amazing time; he was radiant, excited, animated, and full to the rim with joy when he got off the course. The power in that joy is so important to a young man, it helps create confidence in everything they touch. He could not stop smiling. It has lit his imagination and it is the happiest I have seen my son since the pandemic. Lastly and probably most importantly is the positive impact this has had on Bailey’s mental health.”



Feedback from project facilitator

We caught up with Kenny Baraka to get his insights into how the project went:


“I found the series to be a rare and uniquely transformative experience. The 1-2-1 dynamic, the fact that the young artist CHOOSE to be there/participate which, in turn, lent itself to their willingness to learn and receptiveness to feedback made for a wholistically edifying creative space.”



“Equipping young people with lyricism is important to young people’s development for the myriad reasons that communication is vital to navigating the interpersonal reality of modern society. The better one can communicate, the greater their chances of getting what they want. Lyricism, at it root, is about saying what you – the artist – WANT to say (about their world view) yet in the way that [other] people NEED to hear it. And so in the direct correlation between lyricism and young people realising their dreams lies the true value of them being versed in the craft. The better they can write [song], the better they can communicate to [more] people, the better their chances for shaping their future.”





Project resource pack

Lyricism 101 - considerations to crafting lyrics


Young creatives lyrics

Here are some verses created during the project…


They don’t hear us

Drifting through this space unknown

While they sit on their silver thrones

Thrones of lies, deceit

They control us break us down

And what do we do?

Controlling our future

While we look things up on a computer

Sharing knowledge we need to fight back

And they say we do nothing

Say we just complain

And whine

And don’t even bother to try

But we do

We try every day

And they silence us

Young people standing up

Every second of everyday

And they silence us

Living our lives alone

Living our lives online

They say we are blind

When we see more than they ever have


It’s 3am in the morning

I have this question in my head

Can I continue in this reality?

Or am I better off dead?

But now it’s 5am in the morning and it’s time to come to life

It’s time to get off my arse

It’s time to get on with my life


I can’t see in front of me

Think I just hit the wall

I feel so disposable

I want to be diagnosable

A syndrome that’s applicable

That won’t let me forget

All these memories I have I hate it all


If you’d like to read more about the impact of our work or if you’d like to make some music with us then check out ‘Taking part’ and ‘Our impact’ below.