Tokio Myers: I was tempted to go down the gang routes
BRITAIN’S Got Talent champ Tokio Myers admits he came close to being lured into the world of gang culture while growing up on a ‘rough’ council estate.
In an exclusive chat with Guilty Pleasures, the chart-conquering pianist told us about the temptations he faced as a teenager in Kilburn, north London. ‘I grew up in a rough area, a council estate,’ said Tokio, 33.
‘It was very easy to go down many different routes.’
He describes his debut album Our Generation, out now, as being about his lucky escape from the clutches of local gangs.
‘When I talk about the struggle, it’s about growing up on an estate and being lucky enough to have not gone down the gang routes,’ he added.
Tokio admits he had been tempted: ‘You’re a kid, you’re easily influenced. You don’t have the hindsight that you do as an adult. It definitely came up a few times, but I don’t know — someone was watching over me.’
Tokio hopes to inspire youngsters from similar backgrounds to make the right choices. ‘I’ve got kids saying to me that they, too, could go down that road,’ he explained.
‘I feel like it’s my responsibility as a big grown man to actually be like, “No, don’t choose that, check this out”, give them some strength.’
Before his BGT triumph earlier this year, Tokio was a session player for the late Amy Winehouse.
‘My main [memory] is bumping into her backstage,’ he beamed. ‘She’d come up, give me a big hug. I was a lot younger then, I had a big afro and I think she found me cuddly and cute.’
He has also shot hoops with Kanye West, who took a portable basketball net on tour. ‘Whenever there was downtime, we’d play matches together,’ he added. Tokio kicks off his UK tour in April.
Author: Tom Stichbury