FORMERLY homeless young people who formed a band have released their first album with the help of professional musicians.

Ensemble is a group made up of youths, many of whom have experienced homelessness and mental health issues.

Glasgow Times:

They released their first album, No Place Like It, on Friday, after teaming up with a host of talented professional players.

Andrew Sinclair’s song Battlefield was written when he was experiencing homelessness.

The group said it was about “having the courage to do something outside of his comfort zone and then finally finding a place he felt he belonged and could be himself”.

Glasgow Times:

The 23-year-old added: “Ensemble made me realise I do care and like helping people. Even if I can’t resolve an issue, I can at least try to help someone.”

The group, he added, has given him the confidence to pursue a career and has enrolled in college to study sound production.

Glasgow Times:

Steph McCrystal wrote the song Nightlight for the album, which tells the story of her close relationship with her brother.

Steph said: “When I wrote the song, I was in a homeless unit, my life was all over the place, and I was diagnosed with anxiety, so everything was very overwhelming.”

Glasgow Times:

“Being able to write this song for my brother was really special to me. He deals with a lot, so if he ever needs me, no matter where I am or what time it is, he can listen to it and not be alone.”

The album was recorded in Chem 19 Studios, in Blantyre – the same studio used by legendary Scottish musicians Calvin Harris, Franz Ferdinand and Deacon Blue.

Ensemble is the brainchild of the Wheatley Group housing association’s care branch.

Donna Maciocia, the co-ordinator for the project, said: “Ensemble has created a powerful sense of belonging and community and it is making a profound difference to people’s lives.

‘When songs and stories are shared in a safe and supportive space like we have managed to create, it is incredibly powerful. People feel heard – often for the first time – and feel that they finally belong somewhere.”

The project began in 2016

and the group’s activities had

to move online when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK last year.