We’re back with an extra special form of Student Success – our Student Spotlight: Overcoming the Odds series. This three-part series will shine a light on a select few Point Blank alumni who have overcome some incredible obstacles to achieve their goals.
First up in our Overcoming the Odds spotlight series, we have Joshua Asante aka Stich, a talented rapper and producer who faced troubling times in his past life which resulted in him spending some time in prison for a crime he did not commit. Through dedication, hard work and perseverance, his name has now been cleared, he’s graduated with his degree from Point Blank Music School and the difficulties he endured are behind him. Watch the video below to hear Joshua’s story as well as a hard-hitting freestyle about the incident that changed his life.
Following the South Londoner’s graduation from our Music Production & Sound Engineering degree, we caught up with him to talk about how things have changed, his time at Point Blank, his advice for anyone struggling in similar situations and what’s next for the upcoming artist. Jump into the interview below.
Hey Joshua, how’s it going? For those who aren’t familiar with you, could you give us an intro?
Hi James, for those who aren’t familiar my name is Joshua Asante and I’m 23 years old. I was born and raised in Thornton Heath, South London. I started making music when I was 10-years-old and got into it through my older brother who used to play me music from the older boys in the area. This inspired me to enter a year 6 talent show with my friends.
You recently graduated from Point Blank with a degree in Music Production and Sound Engineering – congratulations! Could you tell us a little bit about your backstory and life before you decided to study at Point Blank?
Before Point Blank, I felt a bit lost as my life had no structure. I just knew I wanted to make music and learn to mix my own music.
Do you think the music industry represents gang lifestyle in an honest way, or does it focus on glamorising it?
I would say that that the music industry does give off this perception that being in a gang gives you a certain lifestyle, especially as most videos now you see money and nice cars – although there are a lot of artists in the industry that just tell it how it is.
Have you noticed there are any transferable skills from your past life to working in the industry?
Although I was in a bad situation, I’ve learnt to use those experiences in my music. As I’m not someone who likes to speak about certain things that go on in my mind when it comes to my music I feel like I can express myself freely which I find therapeutic.
How did you discover Point Blank?
I was at home one day with my girlfriend browsing university courses that were part-time that I could balance with my work life. At first, I was looking for a media production course as that is what I studied at college so it just seemed like the simple option, and that’s when my girlfriend found Point Blank online. Once she showed me how the course would be structured and the days I would be attending It was a no brainer.
Could you tell us a little bit about your time at Point Blank? Were there any things in particular that really stood out in your memory from studying here – this could be a technique you learned? A module? A lecturer?
My time at Point Blank surprisingly went by very quickly as I remember my first modules like they were only the other week. I knew I was in the right place when I was undergoing my composition module with Danny De Matos, and I can’t remember how the topic came about but I think I played the class the BL@CKBOX freestyle in which I spoke about my time in prison and what ended me up in that situation. I remember explaining what had happened in further detail to Danny telling him how I got into selling drugs and my time in prison. I remember feeling like I could tell him anything without being judged.
How important do you feel seeking mentorship/guidance is to overcoming lifestyle issues, breaking down barriers and progressing on the right path?
I would say be cautious of the company you keep as it’s the people I was hanging around with who I thought were my friends who tried to get me convicted of a crime I did not commit. I feel like if I had had the right people around me at the time my life would be completely different.
What advice would you give other young creatives (or anyone else) in a similar situation to your past life and help make sure they stay on the right path?
Never let a bad past situation hold you back from chasing your goals as it was my past that allowed me to create some of the best music I have ever made in my life, one of which being my BL@CKBOX freestyle where I detail the events which led me to face life in prison.
Are there any jobs in the industry that interest you other than being a musician? E.g. A&R, Management etc?
After my release from prison, I went to Ghana as my family thought it was best that I got out of the country for a while. Whilst out there my cousin’s boyfriend who was aware I made music brought me along to a session to record a song. He’d heard my lyrics in a previous year and was willing to collab with me. The studio was in a hollowed-out shipping container and used basic equipment such as a Rode NT1-A microphone and a Focusrite interface. At first, I was a bit sceptical as I had a mindset of I needed to be in a professional-looking studio with high priced equipment to get the best quality music but once the song had been recorded I was amazed. Quality-wise it’s the best track I have ever made. It was whilst watching the engineer mix the song when I gained an interest in becoming a mixing engineer as I had always been spending my money on expensive studio sessions where I would not be pleased with the mix so I decided to purchase the same equipment I used to record in Ghana and learn myself. Then when I came across Point Blank, it was a bonus as I knew studying there would help develop my skills allowing me to be able to record, mix and master my own tracks to a professional standard from the comfort of my bedroom.
What’s next for you? Do you have any projects in the pipeline you’d like to shout out?
I am currently working on an EP with a fellow Point Blank student which I am excited about because this is my first time working on something like this. I am also working on a single entitled “Can’t Stop Me” which I originally recorded a few years ago, but due to a poor mix and lost files, I’ve had to record it again.
Successes such as these are common among our students and alumni. We can teach you how to DJ like the best of them at any of our schools. If you’d like to learn how to produce, then we can build your skills from the ground up with our range of degree programmes. For more information, you can contact us here.
We compile these every month showcasing students that have studied with us for any length of time at any of our locations: London, Los Angeles, China, Ibiza, Mumbai, and Online. If you’re interested in learning the ins and outs of music with Point Blank, we’re currently offering 25% off our selected online, LA and London practical courses until 31st December. So, be sure to sign up before this offer ends using the codes ONLINE25, LA25 and LONDON25.
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