Vocalist Jesper recently joined us for his first year on the Popular Music BMus. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden and lived there for most of his life before moving to the UK.
He shared with us how migration has affected his life and work…
What does the word ‘migrant’ mean to you?
The word migrant to me sounds a bit scary.
I see myself as more of a guy who moved to Manchester than actually being a migrant. I think it’s because I know I will always return home, no matter if I find, or don’t find, success in Manchester, as that’s where my family and friends are.
So, I guess that a migrant to me is someone who moves from their home-country without knowing when or if he/she will return.
Where were you born, and what caused you to move away from your birth country?
I was born and have lived in the suburbs of Stockholm, Sweden, my entire life. I chose to move to Manchester mainly to study at the RNCM, but also because I wanted to leave Stockholm and experience a new culture – particularly a new musical culture.
Before moving to Manchester, I studied music at high school, and as I started to write my own material I soon found out that, in comparison to Manchester, it’s hard to find places to gig.
That was one of the main reasons why I wanted to move to Manchester. From what I had heard, Manchester was supposed to have a big music-scene catering a wide range of genres. The city’s music scene together with the quality and reputation of the RNCM were the main reasons as to why I decided to move here.
How have your personal experiences of migration impacted on you as a musician and artist?
Now, I’ve not lived in Manchester for long, but I can definitely say that my musicianship, even though I’m yet to actually play a gig in Manchester, is turning into more of a job than the hobby it was before. I take my musicianship more seriously now than I did a year ago, and I think that comes naturally when you move to a new country to study or play music.
I’m a vocalist on the Popular Music course so songwriting is something that I’m really into, and nowadays I feel like I really put pressure on myself – in a good way – to write something new every day, in another way than when I lived in Sweden. So I think there’s definitely a connection between me moving from Sweden and my musicianship.
Where did the RNCM come into your story?
I studied music at high school, so in my final year I knew that I wanted to keep on studying music but I also felt a bit tired of Stockholm. I wanted to experience something new.
I looked at a couple of music Universities, for instance Leeds College of Music, Berklee College of Music and of course the RNCM, and when I had received a decision from all the schools I applied to, the RNCM felt like the best choice for me.
I met with the head of the Popular Music course and a few students from the College before I made up my mind about where I wanted to start my studies, and the RNCM just felt like it was a good fit for me. Also, of course, it’s not too far away from my family.
Where is home to you?
Home for me will probably always be my hometown just outside of Stockholm, at least it is right now. I reckon it will take many years before I can say something else, but that’s not to say that I won’t feel at home here in Manchester.
I think that in a couple of months, Manchester and the RNCM will feel like my second home.
I’ve only been here for a few weeks but the RNCM helps you settle in quickly so it doesn’t feel weird to live by myself in a new city.