Words by Smiley Team
A reformed prisoner music project in London is giving those who have been behind bars an opportunity to reform their lives and offering a way out of the vicious cycle of re-offending.
Led by a team of former prisoners and guided by a panel of music industry professionals, business experts and musicians, Red Tangent Records aims to challenge perceptions and create second chances.
The label is an extension of Changing Tunes, a charity supporting desistance from crime by growing individual potential through music.
One artist on the label, Noble1BOF, has used music to turn his life around and now wants to prevent young people from making the same mistakes he did. Noble1BOF is an ex-member of the infamous Brixton PDC gang and has spent around 15 years of his life in prison.
During his final time inside, Noble dedicated himself to writing and quickly found himself working with the Irene Taylor Trust, who gave him his first opportunity to perform whilst in prison.
Since then, Noble has gone on to become an ambassador for the Irene Taylor Trust, working with young people at risk of offending to help prevent them from following in his footsteps.
Now he is an artist with Red Tangent Records and has his debut album coming out later this month, called Benefits of Freedom.
“These bars are my life, you know? It's my story, and yes, sometimes there's swagger and sometimes it's cold," says Noble about his upcoming album.
Noble hopes that both his music and his work with young people can help him channel his difficult past into something positive.
Changing Tunes and Red Tangent Records are giving ex-prisoners the chance to choose a different path, regardless of criminal history, age or background.
“The importance of connectedness and support can’t be overlooked," says one anonymous musician-in-residence.
“I have learned, through my work with Changing Tunes over the years, that sometimes simply the act of just being present and acknowledging someone else’s humanity can have a tremendous impact on their sense of self.”
The charity hopes that their work will prevent the stigma of lived experience, and help people who find themselves trapped in a negative feedback loop of re-offending.
“We believe that everyone with the motivation to change, no matter their personal history or circumstances, should have the right to develop a positive identity," they say.
SUPPORT: Find out ways you can support the Changing Tunes charity, using music to support people in the community.
BECOME A FRIEND: You can "become a friend" or the Irene Taylor Trust to support their work on an ongoing basis. Find out more.