We recently introduced you to young Birmingham rock solo artist Charlie Georgio, who is one of many products of the HQ Recording Studio and HQ Familia record label. We invited the HQ guys to write a guest blog explaining their mission, what they’ve achieved and some of the inspirational stories behind some of the artists they’ve been working with.
Young people in the Midlands are being given the chance to turn their dreams into careers within the music industry with the help of HQ Recording Studio and the HQ Familia record label.
HQ Recording Studio was founded in 2011 in Leicester; it was created both as a commercial recording facility and a space for young unemployed adults in the city to develop their talent as rappers, sound engineers, music producers and singers.
Founder of HQ, Yasin El Ashrafi, soon realised that to give those working with him the best chance of success, he would need to cultivate and enhance all aspects of their lives. Many of the people they were working with faced confidence issues, had problems in their home lives, mental health problems or faced insecurities as artists. Yasin and his team mentored and developed the artists to prepare them for the cut-throat and sometimes ruthless world of music.
For example, spoken-word poet Asher X (give her a listen on Spotify) was suffering from depression due to her having to leave university to take on a carer role. Through mentoring, guidance and funding, she managed to build the self-esteem that allowed her to become a performing artist. During her time with HQ she made two music videos, one which raised money for Headway brain-injury charity. Eventually through confidence building and support from HQ she returned to university and completed her degree.
Songwriter/producer Tayo B is another example of how HQ helps artists outside of the studio. Tayo was suffering with mental health problems that stopped him from reaching his potential. He was studying Medicine, but dropped out of university due to his issues and then began to explore the possibility of following his true dreams within music.
Yasin saw that Tayo had the kind of talent and ambition that could help him one day become a successful pop-star. Tayo was given a management deal as an artist through HQ and employment within the studio as a freelance producer and engineer, leading to a dramatic increase in his confidence.
After helping many people over numerous years, Yasin became the inaugural Prince’s Trust Mentor of The Year and was featured in the Sunday Times Alternative Rich List. He also received a Prime Minister Points Of Light award for his mentoring and community work and has also been named Leicester Mercury’s Young Business Executive of The Year.
The talent coming through the projects was of such a high standard that HQ decided to start its own record label HQ Familia, which was established in 2017. HQ Familia, a label and collective of producers, rappers, singers and photographers/videographers who are passionate about creating amazing material, received the Ditto Music’s Record Label Of The Month in January 2019 and continues to go from strength to strength with every release.
Artists signed to the label include Nottingham-based rapper and singer Phidizz (listen on Spotify); Birmingham’s Charlie Georgio (listen on Spotify), a rapper and singer who has been signed to HQ Familia for the last 14 months and has brought out a series of music videos and singles; and Harri Georgio (listen on Spotify), a producer, singer-songwriter from Stoke who resides in Leicester. Harri is managed as an artist by HQ Familia and also has been given employment through HQ to be part of the team as a producer and sound engineer at the studio.
These are just some of the names on the label but there are many more artists that are signed to either management contracts or had singles released by HQ Familia. More further have been involved with HQ recording that say the team has had a positive impact on their lives in some way. Whether having their self-belief increased or having access to the studio’s resources to progress their talents, HQ is making dreams happen.
The aim for the organisation is to keep providing the best possible experience and opportunities for artists. Recently they have been running events with BBC Music Introducing and have been featured on BBC Radio 1Xtra. The facility itself has also had a new upgrade. They now have two professional studios with industry standard equipment, allowing them to become a one-stop shop for budding artists. This studio’s make-over maximises the potential for artists and engineers whilst providing a tasteful and state-of-the art professional working environment.
The studio and label are now getting national recognition for their hard work and talent, and aims to one day be an international brand. The studio and team are already making waves by collaborating with artists from around the world, whilst still nurturing the young adults and talent who are looking to get into the music industry in its hometown of Leicester.