Straight Forward Giving
1853. Dani Stephenson
Dani Stephenson, from Maidstone, is a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning entertainment executive and producer who founded ‘Straight Forward Music Group’, an entertainment company that launched its own community charity foundation called 'Straight Forward Giving' to highlight the voices of young artists from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as partnering with charities to create voluntary fundraising initiatives for communities worldwide.
Dani has worked alongside major global artists such as KSI, Don Diablo, Nana Rogues, Terry Pastor, Ed Sheeran, Drake and many more, with his most recent project involving working with Marvel Studio’s and Disney to executive produce and compose music for the newest Marvel Studio’s production called “Eternals”. The opening week grew into a box office hit, charting as the No. #1 film in the world whilst accumulating $161.7 million in global sales.
‘Straight Forward Giving’ helps to provide opportunities for the next generation of young people from deprived communities nationwide, who, like himself, were raised in lower-income households and struggle to gain access into the music industry. The foundation has supported a range of projects and programmes, working with ‘Children In Need’, ‘Tovil Quality Of Life Forum’ and ‘The Prince’s Trust’, of which he is also a voluntary mentor for the mentorship programme. Dani has also taken an active role during the COVID-19 pandemic by keeping his recording facilities open for some of his community mentees to use as well as supporting vulnerable families by donating profits from his latest releases to charities, helping those affected by the pandemic. Dani has also launched a new initiative called ‘ComUnity (Community Unity)’ which is an educational programme to provide communities nationwide with free access to educational courses helping people gain the key skills they need to get back into full time employment.
In a personal letter to Dani, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was inspired to learn of ‘Straight Forward Giving’ and how you are mentoring young musicians from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Talent is universal and so I am delighted that you are levelling-up opportunities for young musicians to pursue their careers with music skills training and studio time. To do so alongside an award winning music career of your own is hugely impressive.”
“Wow what a humbling experience, it’s a very surreal and proud moment, through all of the trials and tribulations the world has been through over the last couple of years, all I’ve done is the best I can to help those in need. It never really enters your mind that people will be taking notice enough to give an award. Volunteering has always been a passion of mine, to give back to the community, so to get this level of recognition is unbelievable. I accept this award with the utmost gratitude, and extend it to all those people around the world that are on the frontline making a difference, as well as the people that have helped me over the years in my charity and community endeavours, without all of us pulling together as a united team, none of this is possible.”