South London singer songwriter Kemi Bamgbose wrote Courage to Dream nearly 10 years ago but only now has she found the courage to step out!
The Neo- soul style track was brought life recently by the wonderful northern soul songbird, Sarra Blair and also includes spoken word by motivational speaker, Lanre Sulola.
The song was written at a difficult time in Kemi's life whilst she was experiencing problems in her first professional job out of university.
"I wrote the song when I was young and disillusioned. I had come out of university with high hopes for the future but the gap between my reality and my dreams was so big. I ended up in a low paid graduate job where my boss did not like me (and made it known) and fell into a sort of depression. It took so much strength to go to work each day.... the song was written during this time."
The song is the lead single from the Courage to Dream EP - a collection of songs written by Kemi several years ago brought to life by her friends; a multicultural collective of singers and musicians from different backgrounds all united by their Christian faith.
The whole project was produced by her songwriting partner and multi-instrumentalist Tim Dullaway who also played almost every single instruments on the EP.
The 5 track EP is an eclectic combination of styles and including songs: Great Reward - an upbeat, radio friendly acoustic rock track based on Psalm 19 sung by the wonderful Anjuli Panesar Obaro. Highest Praise - a Latin infused, soulful pop gospel track sung by the marvelous CheKirah. Made the Way - an epic rock anthem sung by Bromley based worship pastor, Adam Bird.
So why did it take so long to put these tracks together?
"I had initially planned to release the EP 3 years ago but had to put the project on hold when my beautiful father fell terminally ill. After he passed away, I realised life was too short and just had to go for it".
More than a song, Kemi launched the 'Courage to Dream 2017' challenge in December 2016 as a sort of alternative New Years resolution where people are encouraged to achieve one thing in the year they have always wanted to do which also requires courage to pursue. The group has over 100 members with just over half participating in the challenge.
"Completing and releasing the EP was my personal challenge for the year and I am so glad I have. Publicising it in the group forced me to be accountable and to finish the task. Being part of the group has been great and so encouraging. Whether it's losing weight, completing a PhD, passing a driving test or writing that book - all of us have had to wrestle with an element of fear and self doubt. Courage to dream has become our collective mantra."
So what's the hope for the future for the project? "These songs are musical prayers. I hope the songs will bless and encourage people in their faith journey and to have the courage to live out their God- given dreams."