How one young North East musician made it to London’s West End
A dream of performing professionally on stage became a reality for Amonik Melaco. Hard work, self-belief and lessons learned as part of The Glasshouse’s Make Music: Young People programme combined to create a pathway leading to a career in performing arts.
“I knew 100%, without a doubt, it was what I wanted to do,” he says.
Amonik, from Whitley Bay, studied singing at The Glasshouse’s Centre for Advanced Training (CAT), part of the DfE’s CAT network, a high-level music training programme for young people with a passion for music and the potential to thrive.
As part of a vocal pathway, young people develop their knowledge, skills, technique, and musicality, while discovering the types of singing and music which they love, through exploration of styles from classical to musical theatre to pop and rock. Amonik had been singing for a while but wanted to step out of his comfort zone and explore new styles and techniques.
“I knew I had a voice, but I needed a better understanding of how to make music,” he says. “I wanted to feel confident in all areas and learn to read sheet music.”
Sometimes he struggled to hit the high notes and would feel tense when singing to an audience.
“It’s great to have one-to-one singing, but it’s a different story to sing in front of people, especially in an intimate environment,” he says.
Hannah Fumoleau, Make Music: Young People Manager and vocal tutor, supported Amonik to help him improve.
“His challenge was also one of his strengths: he had the ambition to do everything correctly,” she says. “In a performance situation, he found it hard to let go and present the song authentically.”
They worked together on improving his breathing and posture, helping him to improve his confidence so he could fully commit to his vocal performance.
“I trained hard with Hannah. Dedicating the time to rehearse and perform songs in the right environment made me believe in myself; I could do it.”
Although Amonik wondered if he would fit in at Make Music, he enjoyed meeting friends who had different musical skills but a shared passion for performance
“We had a common interest in performing and making music.”
“We see every student as an individual and do our best to help them onto the right path for them, including, in Amonik’s case, making it to the West End,” says Hannah.
At 16, Amonik went on to study for a BA Hons degree in Musical Theatre at Laine Theatre Arts in Surrey, where he learned about stage production and theatre directing.
“I had a different experience” he says “Both Make Music and university made me who I am.”
Having toured with the musical ‘Singing in the Rain’, he now appears in ‘Heathers’ in London’s West End. Amonik also features in Self Esteem’s music video, ‘Prioritise Pleasure’.
Hannah is proud of Amonik’s achievements.
“Getting into the West End involved real resilience, perseverance and a commitment to self-improvement,” she says.
Amonik still receives vocal support and encouragement from Hannah and says, “It’s a brilliant connection to have.”
“Parents and carers regularly update us,” says Hannah. “The feeling is always that their child’s time at Sage Gateshead has given them experiences that boosted them in whatever path they follow.”