From the streets to the stage, the Woden Youth Centre has given troubled youth and up-and-coming artists a creative outlet and a chance to perform in a supportive environment for the past three decades.
Homegrown rapper and hip-hop producer Cappo has experienced first-hand the redemptive power the Centre offers Canberra’s young people who may be going through tough periods in their life.
“I didn’t do too well in college and dropped out and started doing drugs,” Jemeul Chadwick (aka Cappo) told Region Media.
“I got clean and found hip hop, and it has helped me a lot. I love writing and producing and recording and rocking the stage.
“I’ve played there quite a few times over numerous years and it has a cool vibe and people come through and have a listen and interact with the performers there.”
Band nights, like the one this Friday, offer young performers an opportunity to show the community what they’re made of and help build their confidence on stage.
“I’ve seen some pretty talented people performing and the Centre has done some great stuff like Lift Off, a competition to help talented artists,” Cappo said.
“I came from doing small gigs and shows to going out into the community in different venues and bars, and got to go to Melbourne on tour last year.
“Woden Youth Centre helps young artists that are starting out by giving them a place to perform and showcase their talent. It helped me find myself on stage and gave me confidence.”
Through the Centre, Cappo has been able to find other artists to collaborate with, drawing inspiration from acts like Nas and Mobb Deep to create his own A.C.T State of Mind.
“I love writing and producing and recording and rocking the stage, and I’m really influenced by 90s hip hop,” Cappo says. “For the past five years, I’ve really improved and learnt a lot of new stuff with a lot of other artists.”
This Friday (28 November) will be the final band night for the year at the Woden Youth Centre, coinciding with the Centre’s 30th anniversary.
The celebration will include food, drinks and, most importantly, the chance to catch-up with former and current workers and attendees from the past three decades of the Centre.
Cappo will also be performing this Friday night. You can learn more about Cappo on his Facebook page.