Rapper, comedian, actor and milk chocolate lover Ben Smith aka 'Doc Brown' speaks to Brent 2020’s Blueprint Collective Member Tyrique Tagoe Wyse about what influenced his music, his first experience of rapping and tips for getting into the music industry.
“When I was young, I’d go to these drama classes after school at the Tricycle on Kilburn High Road, which is what Kiln used to be called.”
Smith started as a youth worker during his holidays at Uni. Spending his nights pursuing his music by doing battles, DJs and open mics; often influenced by his family’s music taste, a mixture of Prince, jazz, rare grooves and Nirvana. However, it was working on a Lenny Henry show that led to his career as a successful comedian, and later on, voiceovers.
“With rapping, comedy and acting, there’s so much pressure on how you present yourself and keeping that consistency of personality going. Whereas, when you’re doing voice overs, you can really experiment and do crazy stuff.”
“There’s no perfect happy ending when you’re an artist. It’s just a series of ups and downs. And the beautiful part is throughout all of those ups and downs, you’re still an artist. If you can do that, you’ve already won.”
How have Brent’s legends been coping during the ongoing pandemic, and what might it mean for their work and practice?
In this new video series, guest hosts from the Blueprint Collective will be catching up – in a socially distanced way, of course – with legendary musicians, artists, athletes and activists from across the borough and finding out how they’ve been affected and perhaps even inspired by the COVID-19 crisis. Along the way, we will be digging deeper into our guests’ connections to Brent, discovering what they’ve been reading, watching, hearing and absorbing during this strange and frightening time – and hearing more about how they’re responding.
This forms part of Brent 2020 Unlocked.