Former Ilkeston schoolboy to compete at major music industry showcase

Nathan Jennings, who started life in Ilkeston, has been invited to perform at a major rap music competition in Toronto next month
Nathan Jennings, who started life in Ilkeston, has been invited to perform at a major rap music competition in Toronto next month

A former Ilkeston schoolboy has been invited to perform at a major rap music contest in Toronto next month in the hope of winning £40,000.

Nathan Jennings, 19, will compete in the Canadian heat of the Coast 2 Coast Live championship on November 29, for a place in the world final, a record deal, and $50,000.

His family now lives near Vancouver after leaving the UK around 10 years ago but they still have many friends and relatives in Ilkeston.

Nathan, who performs under the name N-Jay and still speaks with an English twang, said: “I write about my experiences, or about sticking it to the man, but usually it’s about how I’m feeling that day.”

Nathan attended Larklands Infant School before dad Mark and mum Joanne first moved the family to Selston.

His early experiences of school paved the way for his trip to the edge of stardom.

He said: “I used to play violin. In school I was in choirs, plays, and dance shows but rap’s always been a passion of mine.”

“I’ve played guitar at an ice hockey game, but I’ve never performed on stage for hundreds of people, so this is really exciting.”

Nathan’s big chance came about when he saw a Facebook advert for the competition and thought he had nothing to lose by sending in his latest track, Arrogant.

A week later he got his invite in the post, and now says: “I was pretty surprised I heard back at all.”

He is not getting carried away just yet though and is still open-minded about his ambitions.

Nathan said: “This is an investment in myself. Whatever happens I’ll be happy to have had the experience. I’ll be practising, building my courage and learning the industry.”

He added: “If I won, I’d continue to make music, but maybe I’d use the money for education to better my career.

“I’ll keep writing and singing and maybe start producing my own beats and music so other rappers can use it too — because it’s all about collaborating with people.”

N-Jay’s latest track, The Man, is now available on Spotify at https://goo.gl/BjDhwF.