An interview with Imran Khan.
What is Sophie’s Journey Music?
We represent a charity called Sophie’s Journey, which provides free holidays for children living with cancer, to gain a form of respite from hospital life during breaks in treatment. We want to raise awareness of the charity outside its base in Lincoln so that kids around the UK know they can use our static van at Golden Sands Holiday Park in Mablethorpe.
We have joined up with talented musicians such as Siobhan Mazzei, Melissa Danial Ward, Katie Cooper, Chloe Rodgers, Paris Alexander, Emzae, Gareth Icke, Guy Ellerton, Mollie Ralph amongst many others to put on gigs which aim to raise the profile of the charity.
When and how did it all start?
It was when I became aware of Sophie in 2015. Sophie was a 12 year old girl who raised thousands for childhood cancer causes during her two year battle against a brain tumor called Medulloblastoma. Our charity resulted from the donations received at Sophie’s funeral in January 2016. Her mum Stacey wanted to provide something for children going through cancer which helped to restore their childhood.
I started the idea of doing a Music Event as my friends from Derby University, Mollie Ralph, Anna My Charlotte and Melanie Page were musicians. Then myself and Katie Cooper met at Rose Elinor Dougall’s gig at The Bodega and she introduced me to my sound tech Ricky Lui and my project took off from there. We did our first event at my university. Their PA was bust, so we bought one and then it became a real commitment.
What is your average day at work like?
Well I actually work in a Hospital, so it’s looking after patients, sometimes have to feed them, helping them when they are at their poorliest. But outside that I try to keep up with Sophie’s Journey events as and when I can. Promoting is a huge part.
Obviously you’re happiest when you can get a large group of people to attend. Mostly I enjoy gathering together musicians in our group. The atmosphere’s often really good. I think our project will keep developing over time to be honest. Everything’s new to me personally.
What’s the absolute best part about your involvement?
I love carrying on Sophie’s work. I love keeping her memory alive and doing things in a way which pleases her mum Stacey and her friends and family. Sophie’s a massive inspiration to all of us. Most of us are touched by cancer in some form, despite what they are trying to achieve as musicians.
We hope what we created is an original idea that people take to. I love the bond I have with a lot of our musicians and with Sophie’s mum. That’s what keeps me motivated knowing I have this support, and I am totally in awe of their ability.
What’s the weirdest experience during your time with Sophie’s Journey?
Ha, well we played a gig at the Ferry Inn, where it rained and our audience ran indoors mid song and we could see them watching us from the windows.
Getting on Notts TV and the Beat with Dean Jackson. Seemed obscure and unreal listening and watching back. We’ve had a few radio interviews where we thought, ‘did we really just do that and get airtime with our project?’.
Do you have any pet peeves, about any particular aspect of the music scenes/community/business in Nottinghamshire?
I just think that musicians, especially when they play at some of the bigger venues, should gain something back in terms of payment. I really respect the talent of some of the Musicians in the East Midlands and think they definitely deserve more support, and to get a little bit more for what they do. I think there should be a few more bigger festival events organised to add to Hockley Hustle and Dot to Dot. Roots Music did DH Lawrence Festival this year, and it’s stuff like that people should try more.
What do you see as the best things about the world of music in Nottinghamshire?
There’s loads of Open Mic’s, music venues like Rough Trade, Bodega, Acoustic Rooms and little places like Jamcafe that are super cool. You also have places like Roots Live Music doing great things and BBC Introducing and NUSIC. There are opportunities out there for musicians to play their songs and get noticed.
Can you give any advice or pointers for anyone considering doing the same sort of thing as you?
Regards Sophie’s Journey, I’m in it as I really believe in what Sophie was trying to do even when she was really poorly. It’s really important to follow something that’s in your heart and not get despondent just because things don’t always go to plan. That’s all I can say really about what I do.