Nottingham

Glastonbury-bound rapper Jah Digga inspiring youth

Nottingham artist Jourdan Blair, who performs as Jah Digga, has been invited to play the Glastonbury music festival after an extraordinary personal struggle.

Seven years ago he had been kicked out of school and was having to deal with some of the drug-fuelled violence that made the St Ann's area of Nottingham notorious.

Danielle Beccan was Blair's second teenage friend to be killed, shot dead in the street not far from where Jourdan's brother and cousin were murdered in separate stabbings.

"Losing my people was hard but we've got to move on and make something of ourselves," Blair said. "It's made me stronger."

The 24-year-old is now a youth support worker, acting as a role model for children excluded from school in Nottingham.

He also gives up his time to run music sessions for young people at Sycamore Youth Club in St Ann's, giving them the opportunity to get their tracks recorded and sent out to the music industry.

"I know how hard it is to get heard. I'm just trying to give back to the community," he said.

Radio airplay

Blair recently teamed up with DJ Vimto.

As a result of sending a track to Dean Jackson at BBC Radio Nottingham he found his music being aired on BBC Radio One and playing BBC Radio One's Big Weekend.

"I've been making music for years. I'm going to do it regardless to express my feelings and if we can spread a message to the masses then that's a bonus," he said.

Blair is one of three Nottingham acts invited to play the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury music festival, 24 - 26 June.

He said he was nervous but said it was a great platform.

"We're going to do four tunes at Glastonbury, me 2-tone and a singer called Marita. We're just going to do what we normally do like we were in our bedroom," he said.

"I'm trying to get signed, I'm trying to be in the charts, I'm trying to be with the Dizzee Rascals and the Tinie Tempahs. I'm trying to represent my community. Anything can happen if you believe in it."

The musician said he wanted young people in his community to follow his example.

"I'd never have thought that I would play Glastonbury five years ago.

"But I put my head down and believed in my abilities and it's happening.

"I came from the same places as these kids I work with now. It's about the mindset. I'm trying to show these youths how to do that."