Professor Green | Thinking Big
“We’re all raised to be individualists, somewhere along the way we stopped caring about other people.”
Thinking Big with Maisie Williams is a monthly podcast where our Co-Founder, Maisie Williams, sits with influential creatives who are paving the way in their industries. In her second episode, Maisie meets Professor Green to discuss his music, his advocacy for mental health and the importance of collaboration in elevating your work and supporting other creatives.
Professor Green, real name Stephen Manderson, grew up in East London. As a child he was academic and had dreams of becoming a barrister, but from a young age believed that this path wasn’t available to people with his background, so decided not to pursue the opportunity to study at St Paul’s Academy. He jokes that after leaving school at 13, he ended up needing a lawyer rather than becoming one. Stephen began his career fairly late, not discovering his skill for rapping until he was 18. By this age he’d already gone off the rails, but says that music helped him by providing a channel for expressing the emotions he felt. Since, Green’s music has won a number of awards and he has collaborated with many prominent artists covering multiple genres such as Emeli Sandé, Giggs and Miles Kane.
10 years since the release of his first album, he now uses his platform to advocate awareness for issues such as child poverty as well as mental health and youth homelessness. Coming from the breadline, Stephen’s music has given him the opportunity to use his voice for the people who are struggling to have their’s heard.
For Stephen, collaboration is essential in the music industry and has always been part of his work. Stephen’s introduction to the music industry began with rap battles and he says that working with other rappers brought an “element of competition that lights a fire in you that you don’t get when working alone.” Early on in his career, collaborating with other artists trying to break through was a step up into the industry, not only for him, but also for the people he worked with. In an industry with such high competition, it’s common for people to use collaboration as a tactic for personal gain, however Stephen highlights the importance of authentic collaboration and to be selfish when creating your art. This is his main bit of advice for those looking to pursue a career in the arts “If it’s not authentic, people will see straight through it.”
Next, Maisie meets photographer, Olivia Rose. If you’ve got a suggestion as to who you’d like to see on Thinking Big with Maisie Williams send us a tweet @daisie.