"Three of my best friends committed suicide when I was 15 and it happened one after the other," he says. "It got to the point where it was like 'who's next?’”
Those years in Avondale inspired the songs on Bronson’s LP, Beginners Luck. He hopes listeners will relate to the real and raw stories.
"If my music could have an effect on at least just one person I'd be happy.
"I want to make young cats aware that there is always someone you can talk to. I know it's a cliché, and everyone says it, but there actually is.
Bronson is a Youthline mentor for alternative education students and helps teenagers interested in music develop their craft. Youthline youth development worker and mentor Julia Rahui says learning an instrument or developing a skill can provide focus and a new path to those at risk. Julia says it can increase confidence levels, provide a different environment, a new peer support group and be a good tool to express feelings.
"It can let you express emotions more freely without directly saying 'I'm in a bad way'."
Bronson is also a mentor for youth programme K Soul, and says he was once on the verge of going down a criminal path. But he pulled back and now tries to show young people in similar situations there is a way out.
He turns the experiences into positives through music and wants to show others they can do the same. K Soul is the Te Karanga Trust's Creative Youth mentoring programme aimed at teenagers. The young people can choose between songwriting, rapping, singing or learning to DJ. Mentors then help them get ready for a performance in front of their family and friends. Bronson says the difference in teenagers who finish the eight-week programme is considerable.
"On the first day everyone was shy and a couple of kids were hostile but by the end of it, it was almost like a family, they just vibed."
Bronson goes by the stage name MeloDownz and produced Beginners Luck with sound engineer Rizvan Tuitahi using minimal resources. He wants people to know what is possible with just a microphone, a computer and persistence.