As part of our Music Made Us campaign, BIMM student Nils West tells us what inspired his route into music, why he studied Songwriting, and what drew him to Hamburg.
Who inspired your route into music?
I don’t think that there is a specific person who inspired me to make music except for my dad. He is the one who led me to discover music at a young age. I loved to watch and hear him play guitar, even if it meant dinner getting cold. So, he bought me my first guitar, taught me how to play it, sung with me at live shows of his favourite bands, and together, we used to see every gig we could find, even on holidays. He lit the spark that eventually got me into making music myself.
Ever since then, I’ve written songs and sung. I’ve never shown them to anybody though as I thought it would just be a hobby. People who heard me liked it, especially my dad. So, when I was 18, I wanted to know if I’d be good enough to do what I love for a living, even if it meant working the hardest I ever have.
“It was my family. It always has been, and it’s the only thing I’ll ever need.”
I signed up for a singer/songwriter contest with experienced musicians. I was 18-years-old and had never had a real gig before, but I promised myself that if I’d make it to the top five, my plans on becoming a doctor would go down the drain and I would become a musician instead. On that day, my family (and especially my brother) convinced me to fight my corner and to chase after whatever would make me happy, even if people wouldn’t agree. And now here I am. It was my family. It always has been, and it’s the only thing I’ll ever need.
What made you choose to study Songwriting?
“I wanted to become the best version of myself in not only the thing I loved but also the thing I needed to do.”
I have written songs since I was 12. At first, I probably wrote some really bad love songs because I thought girls might like it. However, I quickly realised that it was more of a valve for coping with pain and struggle as I was the more tight-lipped lad. Simply put, it became therapy.
Over the years, I wrote multiple songs per day and because of it, I’m now left with roughly 2,500 songs, two EPs and a debut album. I wanted to become the best version of myself in not only the thing I loved but also the thing I needed to do.
Why is Hamburg right for you?
Despite being absolutely beautiful, Hamburg is a well connected, unmitigated music city. It’s full of clubs, labels and talented musicians – perfect to support an artistic career. Ever since my dad took me to gigs on the Reeperbahn I’ve wanted to play in Hamburg’s clubs, and this might now become reality. I look forward to meeting you at them and having a beer with you afterwards (or water if you’d prefer).
Our Music Made Us campaign is told through the students, graduates, journalists, experts and passionate people who have been shaped by music. Discover their stories here.