Underground Heroes: Danny Fahey of Thirty Pound Gentleman

One of the first rappers in the UK to ever get a record deal, is now using his industry experiences to coach and mentor some of Manchester's best artists and young creatives.

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 14 September 2023

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‘Underground Heroes’ is a new feature profiling some of the city’s unsung heroes from all walks of life and industry. Where better to start than with Danny Fahey, who after a career as a successful musician has been working with young creatives around Manchester for over a decade now, helping them with education, mentoring and employability, winning multiple awards along the way.

Not a literal Mancunian, but very much an honorary one, Danny moved to Manchester over a decade ago following a successful music career in London to set up Thirty Pound Gentleman, which he describes as ‘a creative company with a social mission’.

TPG has been working behind the scenes for years in Manchester, helping to influence and inspire the careers and lives of many of the city’s young creatives, winning a Chamber of Commerce Skills For Business award in 2017, and the SME News 2019 leading innovators of visual and audio resources; an award given for their 2018 Grind Seminar.

Speaking on the role of TPG, Danny explains “It’s about creation, just in its raw format, in the street format; it’s where we’re from and what we do. The social mission is all about employability. It’s to up-skill young creatives ready for the creative industry.

You might have a young person who has no academic proof, we are a GQAL registered centre specialising in creative leadership who can provide an accredited employability award to give them an avenue back into education, or directly into employment”

Danny’s ability to connect with and support young musicians is built from his success in the music business in his early life as a performer learning to manage himself at a major label.

Having been one of the first ever UK rappers to gain a major record deal, Danny brings with him a unique level of insight for TPG to provide mentoring to emerging artists, working with some of Manchester’s best young talents including Chunky, Gaika, Mason Collective, Daisy Adams, Slay, Stef Smith and Just Banco; who was recently featured in the Manchester Power 100.

“We can give young creatives the guidance I didn’t have. I’ve had a career in the music business, and can provide them something which is lacking, or not being provided by the institutions.”

Grime Beyond Borders was one such project, designed to connect Manchester artists with industry peers around the world, from Czech Republic, Netherlands to as far as Japan, with the two artists collaborating to perform together at reciprocal shows in each other’s cities.

“It’s based on an experience I had. When I was really young I was lucky enough to tour Australia as a musician, but being that far away from home for the first time, as far away from the estate as I’ll ever get, and people knew my music, so Grime Beyond Borders is designed to give young artists the opportunities for that experience.”

On the broader ethos of TPG, Danny says “We do what we want and we don’t ask for permission, and it’s allowing young creatives to know that’s ok, you don’t need permission, you don’t need to go to college or university to create.”

Alongside the mentoring and employability, TPG are heavily involved in a number of events around the city, from involvement with Manchester International Festival, to their Grind Seminar series, which Danny describes as the flagship initiative of the brand.

“The Grind Seminars are designed to let young people come to listen to ‘horses’ mouth’ experiences of people in the music business. In the first seminar we had ten speakers from artists, club promoters, club owners, brand consultants, people who they can listen to who have had relatable experiences.

It’s a warts and all version. People talking about successes and failures. I think it’s important to get it wrong. Some young artists feel like they have failed if they haven’t got a deal within the first couple of years. When you come into the industry you don’t know what you don’t know, and it’s ok to get it wrong, as long as you can learn from it and apply that.”

To find out more about the work that Thirty Pound Gentleman are doing visit www.thirtypoundgentleman.com