Holloway rapper Trigger Man on gang rivalry and being saved by music
- Credit: Lauren Matthews / Key Changes
Growing up in Holloway, Jason Connor, better known by his rap name Trigger Man, was involved in local gang rivalry and struggled with his mental health.
Music was the perfect distraction, he says. Trigger Man started writing song lyrics as a teenager and got involved with pirate radio through his brother.
Now aged 37, Trigger Man is producing his own rap singles with local charity Key Changes: Positive Mental Health through Music.
His experiences growing up in North London, as well as his mental health and family struggles, inspire his lyrics.
“Growing up in North London, I saw a lot in my time, with gang violence, just growing up in a rough part of town…the music was really what kept me from going mad. I was always writing songs, writing lyrics,” Trigger Man said.
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Trigger Man was introduced to Key Changes last November by luck, when he was visiting a community centre in Islington and a member of staff mentioned the charity. He says music has been key to his recovery.
“It keeps me focused, it definitely takes my mind off any mental health or struggles. I’ve been through so many down situations, things like losing access to my son.”
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He continued: “I was always song writing, and that’s what stopped me from doing something stupid.”
Key Changes, first established over 20 years ago by patients at Highgate Mental Health Centre, is a charity who work with musicians experiencing mental health problems.
It operates like a record label, helping songwriters, singers, and rappers to produce and promote music.
CEO Peter Leigh says music can be transformative and empowering for people with mental health struggles.
“It’s a new way of viewing oneself after the trauma or crisis of mental health. It’s a way of creating a healthy, new version of oneself as a music artist,” he said.
Trigger Man is hopeful about the future and has big ambitions for his music career.
He said: “I’m hoping one day I can get an album out there, and I want people to go ‘wow’.”
His latest single, Strength 2 Strength, is available to stream now. Trigger Man's Instagram is www.instagram.com/trigger_man_ukrapper