The South Shields singer songwriter who made it in Hollywood - and now he's helping people closer to home

A South Tyneside singer songwriter has revealed his plans to help people’s mental health by using the power of music.

Dean James, who told how he was nominated in the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, has used his time in lockdown to come up with a project to help people closer to home.

Dean, 46, worked in the mental health sector for 15 years, including in Sunderland.

Since the start of the pandemic, he has been doing a music degree and part of the course was composing 25 minutes of original music.

Dean James. (photos by Michael Brady).

Now he is combining both of his expert areas of music and mental health work to launch a project which helps others in the borough.

Dean explained. “I want to specialise in mental health and music where we facilitate people having better mental health.

"It could be anything from community choirs to setting up a recording studio, or helping people with disabilities to come in and raise their self esteem.”

Dean describes himself as ‘just a lad from South Shields’ but he is a talented musician whose work is renowned in the USA.

Dean James. (photos by Michael Brady).

He explained: “For 15 years I worked as a mental health support worker and worked in Sunderland.”

But Dean also has a passion for music and he added: "I got scouted about six years ago by a guy in Sunderland who had connections in the USA.”

Dean said he was nominated for the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for one of his compositions and he was doing so well that he ‘was going to go to Nashville to record an album when Covid hit.”

Some of his work had already gained momentum in the USA and was being played across the country on radio stations.

“I like to tell a story with music,” said Dean who, as Dean James and the Black Dogs, was producing hard hitting dirty Blues-Rock which was having a real impression,

But now, as well as making an impression as a musician, he wants to become a freelance music welfare practitioner and will soon complete the degree at the Gateshead Academy of Music and Sound, having already taken a two-year HND/HNC at South Tyneside College.

He has also produced an album and expects his latest work to be available for digital download soon.

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