Blog: Asher Knight

Currently on tour with Boyzone, and with a new single out, 21 year old Asher Knight talks about his experiences of being bullied at school and how music helped him survive

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Growing up in Bradford was very difficult for me. I went to a Christian school during the day and at night attended an amazing ballet school called the Northern Ballet Academy. It was hard attending school where no one understood my love for performing, and I was made fun of because of it – called things like “gay boy”, for example. At the time, the name calling became stressful, and also having dyslexia and trying to keep up with everything at school proved to be impossible. I decided, with the support of my parents, to move school and go to a performing arts school in the south of England. It was my time hopefully to feel normal and not like an outsider anymore.

When I moved school, I found it hard. I’d left home and didn’t know anyone. I tried to make friends but sadly struggled. Soon after starting at the school, I lived with a boy who decided he didn’t like me and wanted to bully me. He used to beat me up in my own room and steal from me. The name calling continued and, as he was considered popular, people found it funny. Eventually at a school sports day, he decided to stamp my face in, damaging my teeth and scaring me. I learned to hide myself from everyone, never hanging out with people. I spent breaks hiding in a cupboard where no one could see me. I never understood why it had all happened.

When I started to sing in front of my class, all my fears vanished

Eventually, I found music thanks to a teacher called Miss Shaw, who at the time forced me to sing Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley. When I started to sing in front of my class, all my fears vanished. I found myself in the song. I met vocal coach CeCe Sammy, who took me under her wing and taught me many things to do with music. From there, I started visiting schools and talking to hundreds of students about my struggles. When I started doing it, I was shy, unconfident and scared of what everyone thought of me, but as time went on I opened up more, I found confidence in myself and now feel comfortable sharing the story.

Performing at schools made me realise I didn’t need to sit in the past anymore. The only way I could help myself was risking everything to try and find who I am. Being open to students allowed them to feel confident – I started to get messages about how they had taken my advice and it had worked for them. The number of students I met in person who told me that they wanted to commit suicide was scary, but then a few months later I’d get a message from them saying I helped them.

Even in situations where I wasn’t getting bullied, I was scared that it would happen again

During the All Saints tour I was able to go on stage and really truly find myself more. I have so much more to learn and that excites me because while on the Boyzone tour I can learn even more about myself. Meeting huge audiences each night is like nothing else! There is an energy a crowd gives me and I give them and when they connect, magic happens on stage, which is amazing. Each night I get to meet people who I have always looked up to, and I get taught more about being an artist every day through meeting people like Boyzone and All Saints. They are so kind to look out for me, as they know I am a new artist who is still learning, so to watch them and learn how to treat everyone is invaluable.

When I heard Save Me From Myself for the first time, I was emotional. Someone had taken my story and made this incredible song that I could relate to entirely. I lived in what happened for years. Even in situations where I wasn’t getting bullied, I was scared that it would happen again so I hid away. I had to choose to help myself, as the only person that could help me was myself. No doctor, friend or person could have helped me. They could support me, but no one else would have been able to help me reach the other side. It took years to get where I am today, but it happened. I found out that it’s OK to feel emotional. It’s OK to be angry, upset, hurt, because I am only human.

I found out that it’s OK to be me, Asher Knight.

Asher Knight is currently touring with Boyzone and his new single Save Me From Myself is out now

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