If life was a painting then the 22-year-old artist Gwamz would have painted many of its landscapes by now.
Nathan-Pierre Gyamfi – or otherwise known as Gwamz – has made a lot happen for a 22-year-old. The South-London-born artist grew up like many of us; dreaming of scoring that winner at the World Cup final, in front of 70,000 fans and millions watching at home.
Drinking the magic tap water that Eddie Nketiah, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jadon Sancho and all the other ballers who have risen from the south side of the Thames grew up on, Gwamz had the talent at his feet from a young age and wasn’t afraid of showing it. A Manchester United fan, with two brothers that followed Arsenal and Liverpool, there was a clear path to football in the Gyamfi household. After trialling with Brentford and pushing his footballing career as far as he believed it could go, Gwamz found fulfilment in other forms and decided to allow football to become something he only cared about on weekends.
A keen love for music and technology, he found his love for computers and after years of experimenting it became a prominent fixture in his creative outlet. Making beats and writing lyrics on the side of navigating a career in web design and honing his skills through studying at university at the same time, his talents proved endless.
From your experience do you believe it's realistic to let children dream of playing football professionally?
I would say, it’s partially realistic. It’s always nice for a kid to have a dream of playing for their favourite club, playing in the champions league, etc and maybe you can work towards that; but at the same time, if we are being realistic, we have to always have a contingency in case things don’t go the way they were meant to.
South London seems to be a hotspot for footballers - why do you think this is?
I think it was a community thing. I grew up in a council estate and if there was even a foot of surface, we would use it for a football pitch! I didn’t get to play out much but when I did it was always games like 60 seconds, 2 touch and World Cup that were played. Growing up as a United fan and knowing that someone like Rio Ferdinand had made it out of an area like Peckham to the big leagues was a huge inspiration to me. Now you can see there are so many ballers from South that I heard about when I was younger that have made it to the top level. Guys like Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reiss Nelson, Jadon Sancho. Watching them play is so amazing to see. I feel like also for a lot of guys growing up in some parts of South London football is a way out. It’s a distraction from a lot of the noise that can come with growing up in South. Even now I still think that.
Was football especially encouraged within your community?
From my experience definitely! I went to school in South London all my life and right from primary school it was really pushed. We had a school football league called Lambeth & Southwark Primary Schools Football League. This league was very competitive and there were academy scouts there pretty much every game. They definitely saw the talent there and wanted kids to pursue their dreams. If that’s not encouraging then I don’t know what is!
What do you think is the most beautiful thing about playing football and the most beautiful thing about watching football?
The most beautiful thing for me is when the goal would hit the back of the net, you feel like you’re in a final and nothing else matters in that moment, just you and your boys. I would say watching your favourite team lift a Premier League title, seen plenty of that in my life time! It’s always a beautiful feeling.
What was your proudest moment of your footballing career when growing up?
My proudest moment TILL THIS DAY is a 40 to 50-yarder free kick I scored against Peckham Park Primary School in a league game. I scored two that game and my teammate Sam Garber scored another two, but we still lost 6-4 unfortunately. I screamed like never before, it’s a moment I will never, ever forget.
Did your passion for playing football die off as you got older or would you say that your other passions grew stronger?
I don’t think my passion ever died. I just think I honestly knew I wasn’t good enough to reach the top level of football. I started to dive into other things like music where that started to become my passion more than anything. I don’t play much these days but would definitely love to, so if you know anyone that plays for fun in a group shout me!
If you could make any change happen in the game, what would it be and why?
What would I change about football? That’s a great question. I would say all the top leagues around the world need to bring in that added time rule that they had running during the 2022 World Cup. You saw like ‘90 + 13mins added time’ because the refs were not allowing any players to waste time unnecessarily. They would just add the time on at the end! I think football would be even more entertaining with this rule in place.
Can you tell me how your journey into music started?
My musical journey started with playing drums in the church where I started to play around 12/13. I was also playing drums for the school steel pan band and other concerts where I was needed within the school. I then slowly went into music production where I took music GCSE. Music production definitely helped me when it came to vocal recording and writing because they both had similar elements that help you progress and I guess that made it easier for me. I started to fall in love with making a beat then recording on it and then adding more production and instruments to it; it became super addictive. The rest is history really.
Have you ever found any links between the music you make and football?
I would say a lot of the type of music I make is now being played in the dressing rooms at all levels of football. Afrobeats is becoming more and more global each day and even being recognised in football. Burna Boy is performing at the Champions League Final this year and that’s something I’m looking forward to.
What's your ultimate dream in both football and music?
As a United fan I’ve grown up seeing every trophy being won so it’s normal for people like us, however, you know we haven’t won a ‘proper’ trophy (not including Carabao) in years so it would be really nice to see us lift a Prem or even a European title in the next couple of years. Music-wise, I would say winning a Grammy would be the ultimate crown. Honestly, my life in music would be complete after that.
Find more from Gwamz on his Instagram.