Yasin El Ashrafi

"Helping people is the real reward and the thing I love the most"

What do you do?

I work in music and education, I own HQ Recording Studio, HQ Familia Record Label / Artist Management Company and I am a Director of HQ CAN (Creative Arts Network) Community Interest Company which is a social enterprise delivering music and arts projects to unemployed adults in Leicester/Leicestershire.

How did you get to where you are?

My education was sketchy and I was expelled from school at 15, but I always had an entrepreneurial spirit so after working in a few different jobs that didn’t fit I decided to start my own business and work for myself.

I started by setting up a social enterprise with some friends doing music projects in New Parks and then a year later after a few successful projects under our belts had the chance to take on a premises (the old 5HQ) which is when HQ was started, we opened to the public in 2012. I was also part of the team that ran The Music Cafe from 2011 to 2015 which we used as a platform for urban music events and to help local promoters including ourselves to have a quality venue to put events on, my events were mostly Artist Showcases, UK Hip Hop or Dance events.

After passing the club onto Vijay Mistry (2Funky Arts) I decided to put all my energy into HQ. I started the label in 2017 and have been releasing music and developing artists ever since.

Why do you love what you do?

I love what I do because I love music, I love people and love Leicester!

I feel in a really privileged position to get to help so many talented people work towards their dreams. Helping people is the real reward and the thing I love the most, money is important but not as important as job satisfaction and doing something that can make a real difference to someone’s life.

Why are you based in Leicester?

I’m Leicester born and bred and I love my city, we have diverse communities and amazing food.

We have a great little music/creative sector and although we are quite a big city it still feels a bit like a small town, everyone is connected somehow, I always say it’s like two degrees of separation here, talk to anyone long enough and you’ll find you have mutual friends...

We have great universities and have awesome football, rugby and basketball teams!

What next?

We have so much going on all the time I struggle to keep up myself sometimes!

We have new music coming all the time from our roster (Alice Kübe, Ffion Rebecca, Flynny O’Flynn, Harri Georgio, Maniscooler, Phidizz and Tayo B). HQ CAN is currently running multiple projects remotely for The National Lottery Community Fund, Youth Music, Arts Council England and Leicestershire Rutland Community Foundation so it’s busy times at HQ on all fronts.

Social media accounts to follow:

Facebook: @hqrecording

Twitter: @hqrecording

Instagram: @hqrecording