London-based musician, producer, artist and DJ, Sharifa explains how being raised in a closed-minded town in the East Midlands led him to follow the music to London and embrace his true self.
Sharifa is an 18-year-old musician, producer, artist and DJ working across rap, pop, R&B and alternative. He is a producer and a multi-instrumentalist currently attending the BRIT school, and he’s already making inroads into the industry by being featured on BBC Introducing...
You’re from the East Midlands and have said you were raised in a closed-minded town. How did those experiences shape you and your music?
A lot of people are gonna say this, but I always felt very much like an outcast. I definitely felt like that at the school I went to – there were around 300 students in my year and there were about three black students, so I felt like I was not accepted in a place where I felt like I should have been.
In Darby, I feel like everybody follows a similar route of going to school, going to college, studying similar things, then they're going to get similar jobs and apprenticeships and stuff – which there's nothing wrong with. But when somebody does something that's outside of that, it's definitely looked down upon, so I felt very judged.
I didn't feel like it was the place for me because I definitely like to experiment and be unique and open minded. I always like to try new things and Derby didn't feel like the place for that. But it's so crazy that somewhere like Nottingham, which is literally five or 10 minutes down the road, is the complete opposite of that. Darby just wasn't the place for me to do what I wanted to do.