"I first heard about XLP in 2013. I was on my way home and I bumped into Ethan, the youth worker on the X-Mobile van project. At the time I wasn’t really sure about music so I kept saying that I’d come the next week. One day I actually came and recorded something. That’s when everything started happening and me and Ethan have built up a positive relationship since then.
Before the van, I never really did anything. I was constantly in trouble at school and got into fights a lot because I had anger issues, but XLP has helped change that. The first time that I went to the van I recorded a song I’d written about my cousin who was murdered. Ethan heard the lyrics and we started talking about it. I’ve realised that music can help me to release things that used to make me angry because once I write a song, the feelings I had go into it. If anyone is feeling the way I was when I wrote the song, they can listen to it and relate to it. They know there’s someone out there who understands how they feel.
I’ve also started making more friends because of the van. When I first started going there was only me and four other people but the next time there were fifteen of us, and even more people have started coming now. It’s created a social network; we’re gaining new friends. Now I speak to people who I would not have spoken to before and when we see each other the first thing that will come up is “are you going to the van?”. I see Ethan as a big brother and everyone who comes as one big family.
I’ve been given some amazing opportunities through XLP. I went to Abbey Road recording studios with some other young people which was an amazing experience. I was also part of the royal visit when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge came to XLP – that was probably the best thing I’ve ever done! Around that time I was stabbed and I was experiencing a lot of changes and challenges in my life. I was sitting my mock exams but I was thinking of just quitting everything and then Ethan called me and said, “Tex, I’ve got an opportunity… to meet the Royal Family!”. After that, I forgot about all the negative things and told Ethan that I wanted to be a part of the day. I met William and Kate when they came onto the van and William even wanted to record something!
If Ethan hadn’t called me that day I don’t think I’d be here; he literally called me at the right time. It shows that XLP really does care and want to give young people opportunities. I feel like the youth workers understand young people; that they know how we feel and know how to make our lives better. I’ve seen it change me and I know it can change other young people as well.
I’m very thankful to XLP for turning my life around and for always being there."