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Aussie rapper Daniel Harvey, better known as D Minor, has come a long way since being homeless at just 11 with his twin brother and is now celebrating Musicians Making a Difference or MMAD, the charity that helped get him on his feet and become the performer he is today.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, D Minor opens up about his own journey and about MMAD Day, a national awareness day that aims to reach young people through the power of music.
"Musicians Making A Difference Day is a national awareness day for youth charity Musicians Making A Difference better known as MMAD – a charity that actually helped me when I was younger," the 24-year-old shared with us. "The day encourages everyone to help the charity reach more young people by dedicating a song with a message of support on their socials with the hashtag #ThisSongIsForYou and tagging @mmadaustralia."
D Minor added, "Growing up I went through a lot; I talk a lot about my life through my music. I experienced homelessness from a young age, but music was always something I could rely on, it helped me survive. Writing lyrics was like therapy for me, it gave me an outlet to express the struggles I was facing. I often draw motivation from my past experiences when writing music. It drives me and has made me very independent from an early age."
In Australia, there are over 26,400 reports of child abuse and neglect every year, 27,680 young people are homeless on any given night and suicide is still the leading cause of death for young people
The rapper was 16 and living in a refuge when he first met the people from MMAD, saying they stopped him from going down a "really bad path".
"They inspired me to do more with my life. I went through all the programs at MMAD and they gave me the tools to make positive choices and find my place. Being at MMAD gave me a place to belong. I felt at home and found a family there. I discovered my values, set goals, and fought hard to achieve them.
"Then in 2019 I auditioned for Australia’s Got Talent and performed my single, Concrete Pillow that I recorded at MMAD’s studio about my experience of homelessness and sleeping next to bakeries just for warmth. I was blown away when I had a standing ovation and was lucky enough to make it to the semi-finals."
He continued, "After that I recorded and released my second single Home Run with MMAD. They have even helped me get into university even though I never finished school and they have been there throughout my whole journey. They helped to shape me into the person and artist I am today."
D Minor shares that being an ambassador for MMAD has been incredibly rewarding, "I know the impact firsthand, so it’s important to me to try to help make a difference where I can for other young people coming up through the programs. Music is powerful and I know that for so many young people it can be life-changing."
Now that he's working as an ambassador, the rapper says the best part is being able to share his experiences with other young people and let them know that someone believes in them.
"There’s nothing better than seeing a young person set a goal and achieve it or create change through MMAD’s music and mentoring," he tells us.
D Minor also shared that the work MMAD does with young people is 'incredibly important'.
"Many young people at MMAD are going through pretty unimaginable things. Without a place like MMAD, that’s where things get worse for young people – they may not have somewhere safe to turn, or a positive outlet, or people who believe in them, or opportunities for a better life. I hear it so often from kids at MMAD and it was the same for me – I don’t know where I’d be right now if it wasn’t for their help."
A lot of hugely successful musicians such as Ryan Tedder, Joel Corry, Calum Scott and more are also ambassadors for MMAD with D Minor describing it as 'one of the special things' about the charity.
"They open doors for people who’ve not had many good doors open in their life and it helps young people catch up to others who are more privileged," he said. "This sort of thing is next level, though… some of the opportunities I’ve had are things I’d never really imagined. I’m also just so thankful to be able to share my story and hopefully inspire others going through similar things to what I’ve been through. Music reaches us all."
D Minor also shared that his newest single 'Only You' is out on October 29 and is about "finding motivation within yourself".
"Know that you can always reach out for support and make sure you take hold of the opportunities that are given to you. You matter and you have unique talents and abilities – even if you don’t know it just yet. To all young people out there, happy Musicians Making A Difference Day and know that we’ve got your back!"
Find out more about MMAD Day at www.mmad.org.au.
Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800. Online support is available via Beyond Blue.
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