Alan Chan (Higher Education Introductory Studies 2015) has always had a love for music and his time at Birkbeck inspired him to pursue his passion. In 2020, his dreams came true when he soared into the public eye and made it to the quarter finals of the popular TV show The Voice UK. He is now committed to working as a recording artist whilst also being an ambassador for other students at the Academy of Contemporary Music.
At a young age Alan struggled with school. Growing up in the early 90’s his learning difficulties were not recognised and he was pushed away from pursuing any further studies. A few decades later, Alan was fuelled by a new desire to succeed in his career and also to chase his life-long love of music. Although already juggling a hectic work and personal life, he turned to Birkbeck to help him to pick up his Certificate of Higher Education so he had the option to complete university studies. “I attended Birkbeck part-time when I was doing three jobs and looking after my two older kids and that was with learning difficulties and reading difficulties…from then, I realised education wasn’t that bad. Anyone can learn!”
Alan’s time at Birkbeck gave him a newly found excitement for learning and university life. “I owe a lot to Birkbeck College and the tutors who taught me and gave me their patience. They were very, very patient and I had never had that before.” Alan then went on to complete his degree at the Academy of Contemporary Music where despite not having any previous academic training in music, his qualification from Birkbeck meant he could take his music career to the next level.
It was at the Academy that Alan was encouraged to participate and excel on The Voice, where he had the opportunity to meet with and learn from so many famous singers and songwriters including will.i.am, Tom Jones and Meghan Trainor. Since the show, he has also recently released the two singles ‘Better Man’ and ‘Monster vs Men’.
Alongside being a successful recording artist, Alan continues to work in the higher education environment as a Brand Ambassador for Universal Music at the Academy of Contemporary Music. Alan describes the role as, “they’ve put me in a position where I can help students going through such a difficult time. I’m doing what I love. I’m supporting people I love and respect. I am in a facility which I love.” Proving that returning to education twenties years later can unlock a brand new career and open the door to so many new life opportunities.