03 Dec Life In A Wheelchair: Kray-Z Legz & His Musical Aspirations
Spending life in a wheelchair hasn’t limited Kray-Z Legz when it comes to his musical aspirations.
The proof is in the pudding, with collaborations with Snoop Dogg and Whizz Khalifa under his belt.
Sitting just thirty seconds from the main gates of Glastonbury is Kid Menace Studios (KMS), a unique studio that has been designed to cater to artists with disabilities.
Mark Humphries AKA Kray-z Legz is the 31-year-old rapper, producer, and disability advocate from Somerset, UK behind KMS.
Kid Menace Studios
Mark started KMS with the intention to connect artists in the UK’s Southwest music scene with the rest of the world along with supporting fellow disabled talent.
One such artist we are advised to keep an eye on is Scott Howells AKA DJ Nose It coming out of Bournemouth.
Nose has also spent his life in a wheelchair and DJs on an iPad using only his nose.
“We will be helping him produce his own music soon. This lad has a wicked taste in music so he’s definitely one to watch,” says Mark.
How did Mark get connected with Snoop and Whizz?
“Networking”. Mark puts high importance on his networking efforts and the idea of six degrees of separation.
This is clearly paying off for him both in his home country and overseas. He’s built a solid contact list in the US via producer Anno Domini.
“The contact list I now have links me to major hip-hop artists and legends of the scene such as Wu-Tang, Ice Cube, B Real, Busta Rhymes, Hopsin and Juicy J just to name a few”.
No easy ride
Although charities are there to help with access needs, there is nothing to support and help build the musical careers of artists with disabilities.
This is a gap in the market that Mark has been trying is to fill which is fueled by his lifelong passion for music and the main escape for both himself and fellow artists that suffer from a disability.
Add to this a battle with “depression”, then you must admire how far Mark has come along.
How does he manage to keep the demons at bay?
Simply put, writing.
Writing is something he’s used since the age of 15 to stay outside of his head when he first put pen to paper to write lyrics. He says it is by far his most effective method of coping. “I write my problems to share and when people relate, I realize I’m not alone with those feelings and I’m able to process them in a positive manner”.
Kid Menace Studios has been an added benefit. It has been keeping him and the artists he works with busy and focused during the lockdown.
One thing is for sure within the current climate it’s creatives and artists are working on their crafts from home.
KMS is poised to move on the influx of disabled and able-bodied artists set to come through the doors once the national lockdown is over. KMS offers facilities for artwork, digital design, producing, recording, distribution, promotion, and major artist contacts. It is only a matter of time before the artists come flooding to the studio.
Optimism during a Pandemic
Currently, KMS is at a standstill along with the rest of the country with no business or charitable support at all. “I’m surviving with the money from my own pocket to pay rent, bills, loans and other overheads”.
However, the optimist and hustler in Mark says he will be running a takeaway tea and coffee shop on the showground site.
It is set to become a mass vaccination center which is a potential savior out of all the doom and gloom.
“We will survive in 2020 and 2021 will see plenty of noise coming from us at festivals and shows across the UK. Big plans are already in place including collaborating with some more major artists on full custom tracks but in the meantime, I have a stream of solo work to release”.
Mark tells us about his experience opening The Scrap Yard stage at Boomtown Fair last year to a crowd of 3,000 people.
“Dreams do come true both of the performances have been the biggest set of my musical career. What an experience and buzz”.
The performance slots give him a huge confidence boost and inspiration to achieve bigger things and the feedback he got from the audience and onsite crew was an eye-opener for him.
“I feel that day was the start of my vision to shatter the disabled stereotype and whoever attended I’m sure will remember that day for all the right reasons”.
Mark’s message to fellow artists with disabilities is “never give up on yourself and ride out the journey and chase your musical dreams”.
“Be comfortable being you, be true to yourself this will make you and your music unique. Follow these simple guidelines and I believe anyone can make their own amazing story”.
On occasions, life has a habit of kicking you when you are down, but that didn’t stop Mark when he had to undergo leg surgery three days before a live performance in Newcastle UK.
“I had the surgery done under local anesthetic and released on the same day; I was advised by the doctors not to fly when I asked about the risk involved”.
He chose to ignore the advice given to him for the sake of the show at Sage International Arena for disability awareness week performing with his leg and foot still in bandages and returning home safely the next day with no further complications.
Shatter the stereotype
Mark believes that there is an unspoken taboo around disability that still hides in a lot of people especially hidden mental illness and traumas that people suffer with on a daily basis and can hold artists back from following their chosen career path in life.
“I believe we are all unique, we all have our own flaws. It’s how we embrace and overcome these flaws that make us who we are. Be proud of being you”.