Having It All: Introducing 19-year-old Footballer and Artiste Derrick Abu
Persistence. Consistency. Drive.
These are all elements of success that are significant to Derrick Abu, a professional footballer and upcoming musician, who currently plays as a right back for Chelsea FC. Born in Germany, he resides in London, UK and believes that the most important quality of a successful football player is determination.
He believes that having a vision board on his wall keeps him focused, and his targets for each day keep him directed towards the path to success. I had the opportunity to speak to Derrick for PWR’s ‘Love and Perfection’ issue, and as we prepped for the interview, I noticed a pen and a pad on his desk, at which point he told me of his targets for the day, which included him writing a new song, and participating in 10 extra minutes of football training. He values the importance of building both inner strength through mentality growth, and physical strength as he focuses the majority of his time and efforts on building himself up to perform his two careers to the best of his ability - his music career and football profession.
Derrick mentions how he’s always been motivated by the concept of success from a young age, and has always strived to do well in the sports industry. We spoke about the misconception in regards to football as a whole, and how many people associate football with the simple task of kicking a ball into a goal post, unaware that there’s a wide range of skill, technicality and focus, as well as time, energy and physical strength that goes into this profession, as he aims to attend training sessions almost every day of the week, including visiting the gym frequently to build up his muscle strength.
When asked how he balances his workflow on a daily basis, he spoke about the unpredictability of his life as a sport professional, returning from Amsterdam the night before in which he spent his time training and enjoying time away from British culture. He spends his spare time in the gym, or working on his craftsmanship in his built in studio from the works of his very own bedroom.
His face lit up when he had the opportunity to speak about his music career, showing his love for both his crafts, on and off the field, as he continues works on his artistry regarding both industries. “My two careers are like my therapy - I feel like I can’t live, or function to my highest standard without them.”
As we know it, becoming a professional footballer is the dream of many young people all around the world, so when asked how to inspire young men or women attempting to succeed in the industry today, Derrick mentions the importance of, ‘doing it for yourself and not for anyone else’. He states that any individual aspiring to prosper in this industry should ‘be willing to work hard and motivate themselves continuously on a daily basis’, as he continues to thrive, and the desire to become the highest version of himself was part of what led to his triumph. He knew the value of self-belief, and envisioned the most successful form of himself, working diligently before it came to existence.
He notices that many young aspirers become enticed by the money and fame that’s attached with the title, yet fail to recognise the journey it takes to even claim such a position. He believes “You need to work for what you have, and above all, you need to love and have a passion for what you do. There’s no easy route - I was lucky to be scouted at the age of 10. I wish it was that easy, but I still have to work every day to prove that I’m worthy of my position.”
Derrick credits his mother as his greatest supporter having contributed majorly to his success; constantly looking out for her son, she ensures he’s grabbing every opportunity that comes his way by the horn.
It’s not about perfection, but progression, and we can all learn this from Derrick, as we spoke about the aspect of society's ability to place labels on absolutely everything, and placing individuals in a box based on the industry they work in. As Derrick claims the title of both a musician and a professional footballer, he doesn't believe in the aspect of labelling people based on what they do, but he believes that an individual can strive to become whoever they desire to be, and divert into as many career fields as they choose.
He’s aware of the uniqueness of becoming both a football player and musician, and allows this to boost his presence on social media through the process of actively building up his media presence online via platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, in which you can find content regarding both his music career via the name Chosen Records, as well as his journey to working with Chelsea FC. Rather than a weakness, he uses his ability to work in two industries as a networking strategy and a form of marketing for his personal brand.
When asked about his pre-game rituals, he laughs, before mentioning the process of eating scrambled eggs and porridge the day of every match, and, being a believer in a higher power, he ensures that he says a ‘short prayer before every match as it’s so important to allow God to move his feet for him’, as he believes he owes it to himself to transform his energy into gratitude and love to his craft. Therefore, if he falls short on his match day routine, and a day on the field fails to work in his favour, he tends to blame himself for not following through with his pre-game rituals.
Growing up with his mother and older sister by his side, he understands the importance of quality time with his family, and realises that if someone is of value to you, you’ll make time for them. Love requires sacrifice, to succeed in one’s passion, or to build relations with one another.
Originally from Hounslow, West London, Derrick has always been inspired to succeed by his roots - and the mere thought of who he could eventually become propelling him forward, as he states in our conversation that his ‘five to ten year plan involves becoming the biggest professional footballer and musician of our generation’, as he believes in the importance of aiming high. When stating this vision, he laughed and stuttered, claiming’ that it might sound crazy’, but he knows that with the right amount of passion, determination and drive, you can aspire to do anything, and that is his words of encouragement for young people aspiring to succeed in any industry.
He never believed he would ever have the opportunities he’s had, so when asked about his original reaction when offered such a brilliant position underneath the football club Chelsea FC, he states that he was astonished, but grateful, and aware that he is in a profession that many desire to be in.
The journey to success isn't easy; it's a narrow road that requires consistency in your craft, discipline, and continuous determination, as well as having the ability to tune out the mindset of those around you in order to achieve your own personal goals.
My hope for anyone reading this is that you may discover the same love for your own craft as Derrick has found in both his careers and familial love.
And remember, you make the rules, and this means you can divert into as many careers as you desire to. Derrick has shown us that it’s possible to find love, and perfect your craftsmanship in more than one profession - at the same time.
Interview & Words by: Chelsea Abili