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South & City College Music Alumnus Tours the World

Zak Craner, now 27, studied for his BA (Hons) in Popular Music at South & City College Digbeth campus nearly 10 years ago. 

Zak is currently living ‘his best life’ on a world tour, playing the keyboard for ex-One Direction star Louis Tomlinson. At the time of interview, the tour had finished the USA leg and they had recently arrived in Poland for the start of the European leg. The tour will eventually head to South America and Australia.

He describes touring as a mixture of hard work and fun, with ups and downs.

“It’s a rollercoaster of emotions.” Explains Zak, “Though Louis really looks after his team.”

Zak got the gig after attending an audition in London. Although he has been on tour in the UK with other well-known acts, this is the first time he has been on a world tour. He’s played New York, Chicago, LA, Nashville & Indianapolis, among other cities across the USA.

When reflecting on his time studying with South & City College, he said that for a college to have a fully functioning auditorium and the standard of the facilities and equipment is rare. Before starting the HND course, Zak had studied at another college in the West Midlands, and at the time he was there, there wasn’t much by way of equipment.

The South & City College HND course was recommended to Zak by a tutor at the other college, so he came along to an Open Day and got to speak to music tutors, such as Nils, Simon and Harvey, who have a great deal of experience and connections within the industry. Attending the Open Day left him with a great first impression.

Other facilities that impressed Zak were the recording studios.

“Studio time is really expensive.” Zak said, “The fact that students can use them for free is amazing. I’d recommend all music students to make the most of that opportunity. The music software is also of industry standard.”

When asked what advice he would give current students he said, “Think about how you are going to make a living. I earn money not just through being a musician but also through music production. It’s important to have skills in more than one field. Also, put videos of you playing on social media channels and practice as often as you can. Music directors can then see what you are capable of and if they think you’re good enough, you’ll get invited to auditions.”

The college wishes Zak continued success and we hope to catch up with him in the future.

Have you been inspired to study music? View our music courses which are taught from Digbeth and Longbridge campuses.