My Magnificent Journey

By - Thursday 23rd May, 2013

Local rapper and producer Chris Gaisie (aka “Picasso”) gives an insight into the production of his album, the proceeds of which will help support Croydon charity ‘Reachin’ Higher’

Seven months ago, I decided to make an album. With a dissertation to write and a degree to finish, it seemed like a bit of an inconvenient time to take on such a project. Still, I knew it was something I wanted to do and I had to start working on it immediately. While this may sound like a random impulse, it was actually a well thought out fundraising plan. On July 7th 2013, I’ll be travelling to Bolivia with ICS (International Citizen Service) Tearfund for ten weeks to work with disadvantaged young people, and children living in poverty, implementing long-term change. I first found out about the scheme through a Croydon youth charity I volunteer for called Reachin’ Higher, who will be sending out a team with ICS Tearfund. All ICS candidates are required to raise money towards their placement and I figured I’d need to do something to help reach my target of £1,500. Hence, “The Magnificent Journey”.

Armed with a midi keyboard and a copy of Ableton Live Lite 8, both of which I purchased in my first year at uni (thanks student loan!), I set about creating my first solo project. Having previously only recorded as part of South London hip-hop group Heaven Bound, this was a slightly unnerving step. However, my time in the group since 2008 has helped me to grow individually, and continues to do so; working with other MCs forces you step up your game. Even more influential was the number of great music producers I’ve had the honour to work with over the years, which led me to buy my own gear in the first place. I grew more confidence composing my own music when working on the soundtrack for Simple Things, a film by South London director Samuel Hall.

Musically I wanted to try something different, and audibly create something similar to an animated film or children’s novel

Rewind to seven months ago, I was doing what students do best: procrastination. As fun(?) as a dissertation can be, I decided to mess around on the keyboard instead. This eventually turned into the first track – “The Inspired Lil’ Robot” where I list many of the MCs who influenced me, whilst describing a need to find something greater. It was then that I knew what I wanted the project to be about.

Studying Philosophy and Film at UEA for the past three years has made me increasingly interested in entertainment as a medium for philosophical ideas. Somehow my mind put two and two together and “The Magnificent Journey” was born; the story of a robot who goes on a journey to find out why he was created. So I began work on what I could only describe as my “electronic rap soundtrack”. Musically I wanted to try something different, and audibly create something similar to an animated film or children’s novel. Despite the whimsical concept, writing “The Magnificent Journey” became quite a personal reflection of my own experiences – the many highs and lows of everyday life. Being  a christian also had quite a bearing on the writing, with themes such as searching for purpose continually popping up. However, rather than forcing an obvious lesson, the hope was for the listener to find something they identify with and reflect for themselves.

Fast forward to April 26th, “The Magnificent Journey” went live on Bandcamp and the support has been great. There were a few difficulties along the way –  for instance, trying to find my feet in audio mixing while finishing a degree at the same time – but it got there in the end.  I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me so far, whether you’ve bought a copy, supplied equipment (thanks for the mic Sam!), designed artwork, sponsored my All-Round Afro, (another fundraising activity) or whatever you’ve done – thank you! My hope now is that the album will continue to sell and that people give generously to the cause. Having just finished university, with the departure date rapidly arriving, I’m more excited than ever about going to Bolivia and I can’t wait to make a difference where it’s needed most.

Chris Gaisie

Chris Gaisie

Having recently finished his degree studying Philosophy and Film at UEA, Chris decided to head back to home-sweet-home, Croydon. Currently a youth worker in Croydon, he spends his days doing everything from mentoring to teaching how to rap. Music is one of his biggest passions and he can often be found performing for a crowd.

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  • Anne Giles

    Fantastic and good luck!

    • Chris Gaisie

      Thank you!