In this instalment of our Featured Alumni series, we catch up with Keys alumnus Junior Kusi!
Junior Kusi graduated from the Keys Degree in 2014. Since then he has worked with artists such as Hollie Carmen, Naughty Boy, KYLA, and RAY BLK, who he’s currently preparing for a US Tour with. Junior is also endorsed by Roland and Fusion Bags.
Hi Junior! Tell us a bit about your background, and why you want to work in this industry?
I started learning keys at a later stage in my life, when I was 14 (self-taught) and I’m currently 22 years old. It was more of a hobby than anything else for the first 6 months before I then realised I wanted to play this instrument every day for the rest of my life. So I had to play catch up for a few years because I realised everyone had been learning since they were about 4/5 years old.
This made me more determined to learn about my craft and put myself out there, which I would encourage massively. You never know who you’ll meet. I did my first gig at Fairfield Halls in front of 1600 people. A lot of people tend to get nervous but I was thrilled at knowing this was going to happen. I realised then that performing is what I was meant to do. I want to work in this industry because of the way music is another language. Everybody connects through music on some sort of level and I love that. Being a part of something so huge, who you meet, where it takes you… What you can achieve is amazing!
It’s this journey that allows me to say now, I am currently a: Keys player / MD / Songwriter / Topliner / Composer.
Tell us about what you’ve been involved with since leaving ACM?
It’s been a bit of a rapid development but exciting time since graduating in 2014!
I have since gone on to work with artists such as: James Morrison, Tinie Tempah, Naughty Boy, Ray BLK, Elli Ingram, Dappy, Stylo G…
So many others but those are the most recent names.
I have been in the studio writing songs for artists such as: Kyla (once dance), Raye, Nick brewer, Fuse ODG which is great because songwriting is something I have always loved and being able to do it for a living is a bonus. You should never take this job for granted.
What are your aspirations for the future?
Honestly my only aspiration would be in 20 years time that I am doing exactly what I am doing now. Planning to travel the world too haha! (totally off topic I know).
How did your course prepare you for life in the music industry?
It was great, especially being under mentoring from Brian Henry. Having his knowledge in front of you on a daily basis is something you almost don’t realise until it’s gone. So many people will try to rip you off as someone with lesser experience than those around you and the course showed me how to manoeuvre around that. The course taught be to be firm and actually helps with management of yourself in terms of dealing with situations on a daily basis like organisation, being punctual communicating clearly etc. The smaller things that matter the most basically!
Do you have any advice for those looking to get into the industry?
Yes and it’s literally be the best at being YOU. It’s great to have inspirations which I always encourage but don’t be a mirror of them. Nobody can be better at being you than yourself. You’ll get hired because they wanted you not the mirror of someone else ;).
What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
The connections and being in an environment of pure musicians doing what I do and sharing the same aspirations that I share. Especially in my year group we all pushed each other to do the same thing, It was never isolated groups everyone kind of just got along which was great and that really gravitated me to coming to ACM.
What was the best part about studying at ACM?
That’s a hard one. I think the best part of studying at ACM would be LPP (Live Performance Practice). That really taught me to ‘just play the song’. Less is more!
If you’d like to be a student at ACM to kickstart your career in the music industry like Junior, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days/ to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.