A Leeds Trinity University alumnus is pursuing a passion for music after working in education for more than 25 years.
Leeds Trinity alumnus Phil Mellen has signed a five-year record deal with independent label Wobbly Music, following a successful career in education, after becoming ill with coronavirus.
Phil, who graduated from Leeds Trinity with a PGCE in Early Years Education in 1994, became ill with coronavirus in March 2020, while working as Deputy Director of Children and Families at Leeds City Council.
Previously Phil has worked in primary and secondary schools across the UK since 1993, and was also Head of the Virtual School for Looked After Children in Cheshire East for three years.
Due to the prolonged impact of the virus on his health, Phil stepped back from his career in education and decided to use the period of imposed isolation and inactivity to pursue his music ambitions. His song writing was inspired by lockdown, love, life and mortality. Alongside singing, he plays guitar, drums, keys, bass and various ukuleles.
Phil said: “I have always played various instruments and had little bursts of song writing, but in the first throes of the illness, I had hit an unprecedented creative streak.
“I do feel very lucky that, despite the illness, I have ended up having the space and time to do something I have always been passionate about and maybe, just maybe, make a career out of it.”
He added: “The contract with Wobbly Music is for five years and this is a dream come true as I have wanted to put out albums since I was in my early teens, and now I have been offered that chance at 50!
My first album will be coming out this autumn, which has been mostly recorded at home. I have been doing a lot of online performances via Facebook, but I am hopeful – Covid-19 permitting – that I will be able to pull together a band for a live tour before the end of the year.”
Brett Arnall, Alumni Relations Officer at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I was delighted to hear that Phil had signed a recording contract, especially after what has been a difficult year with his health.
“After his exceptional career in education, I have no doubt that he will be successful in pursuing this new venture. We are very proud of him at Leeds Trinity University, and we look forward to hearing about his future success in the music industry.”
Since releasing his music under the alias BlackSheepLad, Phil’s songs have had airplay in over 30 countries and his Christmas song, Better this Christmas, has been streamed over 40,000 times.
You can listen to Phil’s live performances on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BlackSheepLad
For more information, visit his website: https://www.blacksheeplad.com
Picture: Phil Mellen. (Leeds Trinity).