In a harrowing account of his past, Mike Murray, the lead singer of PROSE, opens up and discusses his direct experience with homelessness in his own words.
“Our music is very much auto-biographical. It comes from real experiences and our personal thoughts and feelings. Since I was young, I have always used writing as an outlet whenever I’ve had something on my mind. The more I did it the better I became at it and the more it become a solid way for me to get something off my chest and deal with it. I think Britain is going through a lot, and although we’re not a ‘third world country’ a lot of people are having a tough time and artists should be telling their stories.
One of the things I touch on are my experiences of being homeless. From the age of 17 I’ve struggled with not having a stable home to live in. I was dotting around on friends and families sofas a lot, but it’s hard to keep that up for a long period of time without feeling like you’re becoming a burden – although that’s not saying they ever felt that way, just the insecurities that surface from being reliant on other people.
We were recently involved with ‘The Big Issue North’ and did a few things to help raise awareness and help the homeless in the North of the UK.
One of the things we did to help out was to join the Big Issue vendors, selling magazines on the streets of Manchester. It was part of the ‘Big Sell’ and we spent just over an hour helping sell the mag. They had a number of well-known faces from Manchester helping out and taking turns. It was by far one of the hardest things we have ever had to do. Not only cause it was raining, but it really opened our eyes as to how hard it is for these vendors to earn a living, they buy the magazines at half the price and sell them on for profit. People took no notice of us or were rude and that was quite a shock for us! The whole process gave us a new found respect for what those guys have to do to get by though.
We then took a vendor with us and went busking in Manchester Piccadilly Gardens, and raised £170 in a few hours playing our songs. This was definitely a lot easier for us to do! Along with that we decided to make a series of mini documentaries to tell the stories of some of the vendors that are out there selling the Big Issue and we used our songs in the videos. We included my own story too and used our song ‘All Too Familiar’ from the album as the basis of that particular one.
I was passionate about being involved with them because I know how it feels to not have a stable home or money, and how easily it can happen to anyone. So we decided to try and tell the stories of a handful of these people and what had led them to be in this position. We know first-hand how quick your situation can change, and that’s all that leads people into these scenarios – your circumstances changes in a short period of time.”
Words by Mike Murray, lead singer of PROSE
Words by HQ