Edge Hill University has proved the catalyst for creativity and the fulfilment of a lifetime’s ambition for Music Production student, Jiaming Fan.
Born in Huangchuan, Henan Province, situated around 600 miles south of Chinese capital Beijing, the 22-year-old’s passion for music grew as his schooling progressed; coupled with an ambition to study in the UK (having first visited six years ago), he has managed to put into practice language skills he has worked on for 15 years.
“I had been studying English in an intensive training school for a year, and finally got an offer from Aberystwyth University to do an English Literature degree. Living over here I am now adapting to life as people speak English very differently from what I was taught in China!”
Despite the initial move to Wales, his real focus lay in music and performance. The Music Production course at Edge Hill University proved ideal to pursue his ambitions in exploring his own style, taking influences from R’n’B, pop, and rock.
“The module content online is something I really wanted to learn. I have really enjoyed it, especially the way we are taught. The equipment is very good, and our course is very practical – my music skills have improved a lot from it.
“Our lecturers are really helpful and commit a lot to their jobs. They opened the world of the music industry for me so that it is clearer to me where to go, and how to achieve my goals.”
His song, Escape From Prison, features on the Seeds compilation album, a first for the University, which is also available to stream via SoundCloud. It showcases compositions from a host of vocalists and musicians undertaking the three-year programme.
Recorded at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, famous for hosting an eclectic range of artists including Coldplay, the Spice Girls, Justin Bieber and Rihanna, Escape From Prison explores themes Jiaming had first mined throughout his early education.
“I found that music is probably the only way that I could escape myself. In music I didn’t need to listen to anyone, able to create anything that I could enjoy.
“It was written two years ago, at that time I felt maybe there was no way for me to study music in my life and I didn’t know when I could be released. The song just came naturally as a summation of my feelings.
“Parr Street was the first time that I officially recorded my song. The experience of recording was great, I learned so much from it, happy that it’s the very first step of my professional music career.”
The album project realised the vision of Gary Westhead, Senior Lecturer in Music Sound and Audio Production and Programme Leader for Music Production, who has been impressed by Jiaming’s improvement.
“He is one of the most improved students we’ve had, who’s come to us to fulfil his passion and really worked hard to progress.”