THERE is a saying that those can, do and those who can’t, teach yet musician Jill Brown, proves that she can do both as she is setting up a new music label Criminal Records.
For the last 10 years she has been running music workshops in Scotland’s largest prison HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow and wants to initially record former prisoners for the label with the hope that she will eventually be able to record others whilst they are still incarcerated.
Artists like Johnny Cash and BB King have previously performed and recorded in prisons in the USA but this is something of a novel idea which she hopes will encourage prisoners to find their voices and self-esteem.
She told the BBC “My goal is to give people a voice and it’s simply that.
“It’s to give people a voice that feel they are denied that, and it’s to plant a seed of hope to let them see that their lives can be better and they can give back to society.”
The concept isn’t completely new as it was tried in English prisons a few years ago, but now with the help of Eric McLellan who worked for a decade with US label Sire Records she hopes that she will have more success, especially as a number of US rappers have been discovered following their release from jail.
As well as generating money through training, Jill Brown hopes to raise money with her own track Promised Land, which is now available on Bandcamp and she forecasts that her first signing is likely to be a hip-hop performer as that style of music is most popular with the young offenders she has met.