POWER UP Announces 40 Black Music Creators & Industry Professionals For Year 1 Of The Ground-Breaking Participant Programme
- Over 500+ applications received
- Participants across Hip-Hop, Rap, Grime, R&B, Soul, Dance, Pop, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Country + More
- Network of Participants across English regions, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland
POWER UP has today announced the music creators, industry professionals and executives who will make up Year 1 of the Participant Programme, a key feature of the long-term initiative launched to address anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the music sector.
Managed by PRS Foundation and launched in February this year, the Participant Programme elevates exciting Black talent and attracted 512 applications from 363 music creators and 149 industry professionals at crucial career stages.
The long-term network of participants gets off to a strong start, representing Black talent across the UK, with 38% of participants based outside London, including 2 in Scotland, 1 in Wales and 1 in Northern Ireland. 52% of participants are women or gender minorities and over a quarter are LGBTQ+. And selected participants work across a broad range of genres – from Black Music genres including R&B and Rap genres to Electronic & Dance, Pop, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Country and everything in between – and in many different roles and sectors of music.
The holistically shaped programme, specifically designed to fit the needs of the participants, will assist in the development of their careers and practice to break through glass ceilings and accelerate change. This includes grant support of up to £15,000 alongside capacity building masterclasses, mentoring, coaching, mental health and wellbeing support and access to added value support from POWER UP Partners and the peer network which is integral to breaking down barriers.
Year 1 participants are as follows:
20 Music Creators:
- Abel Selaocoe (Classical)
- Amahla (R&B/Soul)
- Anaiis (Alternative)
- GRAMN. (R&B/Soul)
- Daniel Kidane (Classical)
- Dapz On The Map (Grime)
- Donae’O (Afrobeats)
- Ego Ella May (R&B/Soul)
- GAIKA (Grime)
- Kasien (Hip-Hop/Rap)
- KG (Dance)
- Kyan (Singer-Songwriter)
- Lady Sanity (Hip-Hop/Rap)
- MckNasty (Jazz/Hip-Hop)
- Nova Twins (Rock)
- Rebecca Garton (R&B/Soul)
- Simeon Hammond Dallas (Country)
- Sola (Alternative)
- TAAHLIAH (Electronic)
- Yizzy (Grime)
20 Music Industry Professionals:
- Adem Holness, Music Curator, Horniman Museum / Relationship Manager, Arts Council England
- Christine Osazuwa, Director of Data & Insights – Global Marketing, Warner Music Group / Founder, Measure of Music
- Des Agyekumhene, Artist Manager & NFT Consultant
- Despa Robinson, Founder, BE83 Ltd.
- Eric Hunter, Music Publishing Coordinator, Sky
- Errol Anderson, Founder, Touching Base
- Eunice Obianagha, Founder/Director, Enspire Management, Co-Founder/Director Echo Music Foundation
- Hannah Shogbola, Founder, DAJU / Agent, UTA Talent Agency
- Heather Nelson, CEO, Black Music Festival & The Legacy Awards
- Jennifer John, Creative director, Composer, Music Manager, Vocal Coach and Music Mentor, Key Note Speaker, Jennifer John Music
- Kwame Daniels, Founder & CEO, Bounce Culture
- Laura Lewis-Paul, Founder and Creative Director, Saffron Records CIC
- Lekan Latinwo, Artist Manager, Intricate Management
- Loretta Andrews, Artist Manager/Founder, Safe Music Management
- Mohamed Ogleh, Artist Manager, 2-Tone Entertainment
- Nick Eziefula, Media & Entertainment lawyer, Partner, Simkins LLP
- Ree Sewell, Engineer Manager & Studio Coordinator, Metropolis Studios
- Sami Omar, CEO, Producer & Artist Manager, Up2Standard
- Sarah Shodipe, Freelance Music Journalist / Founder of Alt Access / PA Assistant, Dawbell
- Selina Wedderburn, Head of Operations, Your Army / Co-Founder/Director, Tempo & Flow / Co-Founder/Director, Plan A Group
POWER UP Music Creator Participant and pioneering UK recording artist, and Donae’O said
“Power Up has given me the opportunity to be supported by other people in the industry who will better understand the issues I have faced as a Black man in the music business. This has inspired and empowered me to lend my support to the next wave of artists coming through. I also hope, with the help of the Power Up Mentoring scheme, I can make a meaningful impact of the careers of others”
Industry Professional POWER UP Participant and Artist Manager/Founder, Safe Music Management Loretta Andrews said
“I am so excited to be a part of such a ground-breaking initiative. The Power Up programme is evidence of the real change many of us have hoped to see.”
Industry Professional POWER UP Participant and Founder, DAJU / Agent, UTA Talent Agency Hannah Shogbola added,
“POWER UP has empowered me to believe in progression – Competence not confidence! – I am SO excited to work creatively and positively through all projects, with a key focus on inclusion.”
POWER UP Partners, the Executive Steering Committee and over 35 Black music industry expert advisors were blown away by the quality of applications received, and the 40 Participants bring varied experiences and considerable expertise to the Participant Programme network and the wider POWER UP Movement.
POWER UP Partners applaud the huge efforts being made across the music sector since Black Out Tuesday in 2020, and celebrate the great steps announced recently. But with 500 plus Black applicants outlining their experiences in all sectors and genres of the UK music industry, it is clear more needs to be done to urgently move beyond solidarity and into tangible actions.
The process highlights the severity of anti-Black racism and the impact it is having on the inclusion and progression of talented industry professionals and music creators across the sector – including those employed by or working with major corporations or independent companies of all sizes, those working from freelance through to senior management and board-level positions, and music professionals in the recording sector, music publishing, the live sector, talent management, and those on stage, on screen, in studios and in the media – regardless of genre or location.
POWER UP will be sharing common barriers and key findings and the POWER UP Movement, in alliance with the Black Music Coalition and others will break down barriers, set targets and apply industry pressure to accelerate change, empower and advocate for Black talent, and influence policy to shape the future of the music industry.
Announced in February alongside a premiere of ‘Time To Power Up’, POWER UP has been set up and is managed by PRS Foundation in partnership with YouTube Music, Beggars Group and the Black Music Coalition. The initiative brings together several music industry partners across all sectors to accelerate change, with supporters including Creative Scotland, plus AIM, the BPI, the FAC, The Ivors Academy, the MMF, the MPA, MPG, The Musicians’ Union, PPL, PRS for Music and the PRS Members’ Fund who bring added-value support to POWER UP Participants.
More than 80 Black music executives and creators have come together to contribute and set the direction for POWER UP. An Executive Steering Group (ESC) was established in late 2020 featuring some of the most influential Black professionals in the UK music industry. Alongside the ESC, seven focus groups covering Recording and Publishing, Live, Platforms, Gender, Sexuality, Enterprise and Regionality delved deeper into the barriers Black music creators and professionals have experienced across the sector and how they could be addressed.
Co-Founder of Power Up, Ben Wynter said:
“POWER UP was created as a result of Black Out Tuesday and a year on it is amazing to see phase one of the initiative become a reality. I’m excited for all of the participants and Yaw has done an amazing job in putting together an incredible bespoke and holistic programme.
Whilst I’m happy to see the conversations that have begun since Black Out Tuesday, it is important to recognise we still have a long way to go. With the launch of the participant programme we can help support talent to break through the glass ceiling, but it also allows us to focus on the next phase of the POWER UP Movement – ensuring that we work with like-minded organisations to help the industry to become a fairer and more equitable place for all. Data collection and cross-sector collaboration will evolve into a POWER UP Pledge which will be announced later this year and will support companies and organisations to set and meet targets for meaningful change.“
Senior Power Up Manager Yaw Owusu commented:
“I’m extremely excited to start working alongside the amazing and inspiring individuals who make up the inaugural network and will be the first POWER UP Programme Participants. We have worked really hard on the design and content of the Participant Programme so, alongside our partners and various external delivery organisations, we can ensure it reflects and meets the holistic needs of the participants.”
CEO of PRS Foundation Joe Frankland said,
“Congratulations to all 40 Participants selected to be part of this first year of POWER UP. We’re delighted to offer holistic support to elevate all Participants and we’re excited to see the network becoming a base of knowledge exchange, peer support and collaboration from today onwards. I would like to thank our partners, YouTube Music, Beggars Group and the Black Music Coalition as well as Creative Scotland and all the music industry organisations that are supporting POWER UP in so many ways. With so many applicants highlighting the severity of anti-Black racism in music in 2021, the whole sector must come together to make meaningful change at all levels. With wide-reaching action, I truly believe our Participants will be at the forefront of a fairer, more equitable music industry.”
Sheniece Charway, Artist Relations Manager at YouTube Music said,
“POWER UP is testament to what can be achieved when we all come together to stand for what we believe in. That there were over 500 applications speaks volumes about the abundance of creative talent we have in the UK, and it’s a pleasure and privilege for YouTube Music to help break down barriers and bring about real change in the industry.”
Sheryl Nwosu, Lawyer and chair of the Black Music Coalition Black Music Coalition,
“The exceptional standard of the applications we received for this the first year of the programme proved to us once again that lack of talent is NEVER the reason that Black music creatives and professionals do not reach their full potential in the UK music industry; the POWER UP programme is a brilliant and bold example of the sort of action the BMC believes is necessary to redress some of reasons their careers can and do stall….to be able to support and literally power up the career of the 40 selected Black music creatives and professionals, to create a network for them in which they can thrive, develop, and grow, is extremely exciting to us and we’re already looking forward to their future successes!”
Beggars Group CEO, Paul Redding added,
“The team at POWER UP have put an incredible amount of time and effort into the selection process to get to this stage. Congratulations to all the successful applicants and I look forward to contributing to the network in any way I can and being active in this programme, not just with this cohort but I hope the many cohorts in the future.”
Alan Morrison, Head of Music at Creative Scotland commented:
“The Scottish music sector is overflowing with talent on and off the stage but what makes someone artistically distinctive is often what pushes them to the edges of the industry. We know there are many barriers to building a career in music in Scotland and so, together with our peers, we are working to address the lack of diversity and positively support career progression. Partnering with the PRS Foundation on the POWER UP programme will help open doors for Black music creators and industry professionals in Scotland, leading to better representation and visibility. The Scottish sector is already richer due to TAAHLIAH and Sami’s achievements, but POWER UP will place their work – and Scottish music in all of its diversity – in a brighter spotlight.”