Whilst many will pinpoint achieving a perfect work/life balance as a key reason behind becoming self-employed, there’s another common reason why many look to become their own boss; to do something they’re passionate about for a living.
That was exactly the reason why Léna Walker got in touch with The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity – to allow her the chance to produce something that she has been passionate about since she was a child. Music.
Fast forward four years, and Léna, who performs under the stage name Leyley, has released one album and, having been spotted by an international producer, has recorded new music as part of a group, Kimi’s Paradise.
“I am a Leicester girl, but my mother grew up in the West Indies and my father has mixed Indian/Asian roots, so I have always felt more like a citizen of the world,” says Léna. “Music has been one of my biggest passions since I was a child and I played piano, guitar and sang growing up.”
Growing up in a city as culturally diverse as Leicester is something that Léna also credits for her continued inspiration. Alongside working on her music, Léna also entered – and won – the Miss Leicester competition in 2012; however, the passion for creating music and teaching was so strong, she knew it was something that she wanted to do for a living. Unable to create music whilst working a full-time office job, Léna knew that something needed to be done.
In 2014, Léna contacted The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity so that she could establish herself as a music teacher, in addition to allowing herself the means to be creative and record music.
“I found out [about the Charity] through a friend, who had helped grow his coffee business into what is now one of the coolest coffee houses in the city,” Léna explains. “The application process was clear, simple and straightforward and the Sir Thomas White team were always on hand and ready to advise if I had any queries or needed any help.
“My loan was used for a number of things,” she adds. “Essential equipment and musical instruments that enabled me to set up, so I could be completely independent and self- sufficient as a private music teacher, performer and solo-recording artist. There is no way I would be where I am now without the help of The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity. As more and more doors open, I am continually grateful.”
Since taking out her interest-free business loan with the Charity, Léna has been able to share her music with the world. In January 2017, she released her debut album ‘Find Your Tribe’, which also saw her featured on the BBC.
“I was picked up by another international producer and we have a new group called Kimi’s Paradise. Our music can be streamed online on Spotify and YouTube now,” Léna reveals.
“It feels like the sky is the limit and, doing what I love, I currently can’t imagine my life any other way. I will continue teaching, writing and performing the music that is in my heart. Taking inspiration from my friends and family, my home town of Leicester and the places to which I travel.
“It is my aim to promote the arts, to unite people and nations, and to inspire others to pursue their dreams.”
Following her incredible journey to date, Léna would encourage anybody to chase their dream job – and insists that the opportunity available via The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity is one that shouldn’t be ignored.
“There really is nowhere else that can offer the terms and support of a loan that The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity can,” she says. “At nine years interest free, this opportunity is a platform for you to step closer towards your goals.
“It can be a scary thought sometimes; taking the risk to be independent, but the rewards make it a hundred times worth it. Thank you Sir Thomas White!”
To listen to Léna’s music with Kimi’s Paradise, please CLICK HERE
The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity provides interest-free business loans to people within Leicestershire and Rutland.
Applicants over the age of 18 and under the age of 35 may apply for up to £20,000 to assist in the start-up or development of new business.
All loans are interest free for a period of nine years, with equal monthly repayments commencing three years after the loan is taken out.
For more information, please CLICK HERE