Located in the heart of Tottenham, The RecordShop has proved itself to be a beacon of creative nurturing for young people in Haringey. The RecordShop is a pop-up recording studio and artist development initiative, founded by 29-year-old musician and entrepreneur Mary Otumahana. Hailing from a creative background herself, the artist found it necessary to channel new access to resources and opportunities for young people in north London.
North London native rapper and entrepreneur Mary, otherwise known as WondRWomN, is the mastermind behind Tottenham’s latest creative hub. Established in 2015, Mary created a pop-up recording studio giving budding musicians free access to recording equipment, as well as an artist development programme for 16-25-year-olds over a course of 10 weeks. We briefly spoke to her about The RecordShop and her journey along the way.
What was your inspiration that kick-started the RecordShop, as we know it today?
When I was younger I noticed that there was a lack of opportunities for young people in inner-city areas of London. I was attending loads of music workshops trying to better myself as a musician and hone in on my own craft. Shortly after this, I realised that I would need my own recording space for my music and through different organisations, I was able to find free spaces for 16 -25-year-olds. I applied and got it and applied for funding also! After using the studio space for a while with my equipment from home I envisioned something much bigger. I wanted to set up a studio to benefit others and open up the door for young people to nurture their creative talents. It was from this idea that the RecordShop was born.
As an artist yourself, how do you think coming from a musical background has aided the RecordShop?
I think it has been monumental to the whole process. It makes me different. As someone who is currently still working on my career, and is growing in my artistry every day, it allows me to impart some wisdom on the young people I work with. There’s a sense of familiarity that’s present. As I was also, at one point, a beginner in writing, recording and performing my own music. I am able to see things through an artistic lens, rather than just a business perspective.
Tell us about your music! How would you describe your sound?
My music is a fusion of genres but it primarily stems from Hip Hop and rap. I grew up listening to classic 90’s Hip Hop. My favourite rapper growing up was 2Pac and I love boom bap production. J Dilla is my favourite for stuff like this. I have always been a lover of real music and real instruments. Recently I have been performing with a live band and I love it! Experimenting with my music and keeping my sound alive and fresh is always a priority of mine.
What’s the most gratifying thing you’ve witnessed since you’ve launched the RecordShop?
Definitely seeing artists that we’ve worked with grow their confidence! Being able to see people who had little to no musical experience grow to become better artists is amazing. Also, being recognised for my hard work. A few publications i.e. Time out London have picked up on the work I’ve done and have shown so much support! Makes it all the more worthwhile. Doing the RecordShop has presented me with more opportunities. For example, recently I have collaborated with the O2 and held a few music workshops in DJ’ing and production.
What’s the next step for the RecordShop?
Growth. Growing our platform, audience, and a team is what’s next for us. As well as hosting more workshops and events, and just making the RecordShop a household name in the UK music scene.