Lewisham-born and based musician cktrl (né Bradley Miller) would use the Converse x Dazed100 grant to help young BIPOC from London access music education. “As a child growing up in inner-city London, I was given the opportunity to learn to play musical instruments – I learned clarinet & saxophone – through free music lessons funded by my local council,” he says. “Being given this chance undoubtedly helped shape the artist I am today.”
This contemporary-classical sensibility is evident on the musician’s 2021 single “Mazes”, an enchanted electronic soundscape laced with cktrl’s signature saxophone that explores the maze-like twists and turns of loving someone. The release is a natural progression from the artist’s 2020 EP, Robyn – an ambitious, all-consuming work about overpowering feelings of heartbreak. One of NTS Radio’s original DJs, cktrl has been quietly integral to London’s underground music scene, working with the likes of Kelela, Dean Blunt, Virgil Abloh and Jenn Nkiru. Robyn saw him collaborate with the most imaginative names of the Black British underground, from the sounds of Duval Timothy, Coby Sey and Shirley Tetteh, to Ib Kamara who shot the EP’s artwork.
“I’d like to use the grant to inspire young people, as I know some may not see musical instruments as ‘cool’,” he says. “Then I’d like to show them how to use this skill to amplify both their voice and their ambitions – creative or otherwise.”
Text Zsofia Paulikovics