“I now have the freedom to be myself everywhere,” Memphis begins. “In the past, when I was younger, I used to think maybe people are not going to accept me if I am not really what they like or if I am too loud. Now, I’m just coming here as me. This is just me,” he muses. There’s no waiver of self-doubt or no echo of laughter to take the edge off his words. “You either rock with it or not,” he adds. “Now, everyday, I’m making sure that I am just going to be me in every room I walk into.”
In the past, and even in the present, people have failed to understand the real Memphis. His talent, his passion, his music, the way it reflects and refracts in fans around the world, the way it picks up the right people and provokes the wrong ones, the way he has become a genuine creative spark in art and authenticity is everything we love about football. In a way, Memphis has become central to the story and evolution of GAFFER – what he stands for on-pitch, in fan culture, in modern life. His life, his creative spark stretches beyond just being a footballer and down to the clothes he wears, the tracks he writes and the multiple ways that he can nutmeg someone.
You can look at some other sports stars, some other footballers, and there’s some that are more successful than Memphis, some with by far better stats. But, what does it really mean? All the numbers, all the comparisons? To what end or what influence do they have on a player or a person that looks up to them? With Memphis it all feels different. Because, the growing number of people that he influences, the wider his audience, the wider his impact, the more he has come to understand about himself.
He acknowledges, wholeheartedly, the evolution of his own mindset, his own performance and, subsequently, the impact on the world around him, has become easier with experience. As the journey unravels, you feel that his purpose, whether he is fully aware of it or not, is to utilise his voice and his many different interests to encourage change and push fans, players, people and the game in a direction that it perhaps wouldn’t have gone in if he wasn’t there.
“What has the world still got to learn from me?” he repeats. Not to buy himself time but to allow the question to sit comfortably in the air for the second. “Everyone should learn from each other. That is my way of thinking and living. Because you are never too old or too young to learn something from somebody. Like I say; walk by faith and not by sight. Whatever you want you should pray for it and act and live like it is already happening. Don’t react to certain stuff but actually do it. Be in the present. Rather than thinking when something is coming your way that you’re going to believe it. You have to prepare yourself in the mind that the thing you want is already happening so you can work towards it. That way you will always meet your goals.”