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Home > Multi award-winning POWER UP opens applications for Black music creators and industry professionals to join Year 4

Multi award-winning POWER UP opens applications for Black music creators and industry professionals to join Year 4 of its Participant Programme

Welsh Translation

  • Alumni include Nova Twins, Donae’O, Jamz Supernova, Sanity, ShaoDow, Whitney Asomani, Hannah Shogbola, Despa Robinson, Adem Holness and Abel Selaocoe
  • Black music creators and industry professionals can apply for career-changing support and join the POWER UP Network of 120 previous Participants
  • POWER UP recently picked up Music Week’s Women in Music Awards DE&I Initiative Award and continues to call for more collaboration from the industry organisations to power up Black talent

POWER UP has announced the opening of applications for Black music creators and Industry Professionals to apply for POWER UP support and be part of the Year 4 cohort of the Participant Programme.

Co-founded by PRS Foundation and Ben Wynter, POWER UP’s Participant Programme elevates pioneering Black talent and is a key feature of the long-term initiative launched to address anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the music sector.

The programme, specifically designed to fit the needs of the participants, assists in the development of their careers and practice, and helps those in the network to break through glass ceilings and accelerate change across the industry. 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.

To apply, head to PRS Foundation’s website for the details, guidance and the online application form.

 

Applicants are encouraged to attend the following online workshops featuring Senior POWER UP Manager, Yaw Owusu and guests:

POWER UP Participant Programme Insight Session (for Welsh applicants) ft. Aleighcia Scott

Monday 26th February, 17:00 – 18.00  

POWER UP Participant Programme Insight Session (for Scottish applicants) ft. Sami Omar (UP2STNDRD)

Monday 26th February, 18:30 – 19.30

POWER UP Participant Programme Insight Session (for any UK based applicant) ft. DONAE’O

Wednesday 28th February, 18:30 – 19.30

 

The POWER UP Participant Programme is now a 120-person strong network bringing varied experiences and considerable expertise to power up and contribute to the wider POWER UP Movement.

The programme has already supported award-winning talent, industry professionals taking up senior and Board positions across the industry, and creators who are dominating playlists and lineups across the UK and globally.

A snapshot of Year 1 & Year 2 Participant successes so far include:

  • Two-piece band Nova Twins won a Heavy Music Award, toured the US and Europe, signed to Marshall Records and have secured BBC Radio 1, NME and Spotify Equal support globally. Their POWER-UP supported second album Supernova was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, they won a 2022 AIM Award and received 2 x BRITS 2023 nominations
  • Other artist and music creator Award winners since POWER UP was launched include Mace the Great (Welsh Music Prize 2023 nominee) Ego Ella May (Jazz FM Award winner), TAALIAH (AIM Award), Bemz (DJ Mag Award 2022, SAY Award 2023 nominee) and DoomCannon (MOBO Award).
  • Not to be outdone, Industry Professionals winning awards include Jennifer John (AIM Award), Eunice Obianagha (whose creative events work was nominated for a Music Week Award); and Christine Osazuwa, Hannah Shogbola, Esta Rae and Whitney Asomani have all been added to the Music Week Women in Music Awards’ Roll of Honour
  • Several industry professionals have launched new ventures, and new roles, promotions and appointments include: Adem Holness being appointed Head of Contemporary Music at the Southbank Centre; Ree Sewell being appointed A&R Coordinator at Universal; Selina Wedderburn being appointed GM at UD; Christine Osazuwa being appointed as Chief Strategy Officer at Shoob; and Eunice Obianagha was appointed as Head of Diversity at UK Music
  • Despa Robinson was appointed to the AIM Board, and Daniel Kidane was elected to the Ivors Academy Senate
  • Artist KG became a full-time Capital Dance radio presenter, with coverage in Complex, Mixmag and Clash, and industry professional Kwame Daniels presented his own Inna Rhythm series on BBC Ulster
  • Guvna B (Year 2 artist managed by a Year 1 participant) became the first rapper to top the UK Official Christian and Gospel Chart and received a MOBO Award 2024 nomination
  • Live agency, Marshall announced that they have signed CHERYM and Bemz 
  • Abel Selaocoe signed to Warner Classics, and his debut album hit No. 4 in the Classical Album Chart and he was on Later with Jools…
  • Des Agyekumhene’s company Soga were behind the Close To Home NFT campaign for Aitch– the first artist to claim an NFT entering the UK’s official album charts
  • Forward Slash founder Keturah Cummings was selected for the 2022 Barclays Black Founder Accelerator programme and launched new podcastJack of All Trades
  • Dan Kidane’s Sun Poem was premiered in 2022 with the LSO and Sir Simon Rattle performances across the UK and Europe garnering critical acclaim
  • Saffron Records founder, Laura Lewis-Paul weas nominated for AIM Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Keecia Ellis, has received investment from Station 12 for her publishing company Rekodi Music.

In November 2023, POWER UP was recognized at the Music Week Women In Music Awards, picking up the DE&I Initiative Award at the ceremony. This is the second award POWER UP has been awarded after receiving the inaugural IMPALA Changemaker Award in 2022. As the impact of POWER UP is increasingly recognised, POWER UP Partners continue the call for more music organisations to get involved in the initiative and to move beyond solidarity and into tangible actions and reach the expectations of what the industry had promised in 2020.

Ben Wynter, Co-Founder of POWER UP said, “POWER UP was conceived to confront the systemic anti-black racism deeply embedded in the UK music industry. It’s crucial to acknowledge and celebrate the early strides POWER UP has made, both among its participants and across the broader industry landscape. Witnessing the empowerment of Black talent as they break through glass ceiling barriers has been truly inspiring.

However, as discussions around anti-black racism wane in some circles, it’s vital to reiterate the importance of supporting initiatives like POWER UP. Without collective industry backing, achieving true equity and equality will remain a distant goal.

I take immense pride in the POWER UP fellows who’ve emerged from our participant program, along with the impactful collaborations we’ve fostered with companies such as YouTube Music, Beggars, Black Music Coalition, the UK Arts Councils, industry trade bodies and Spotify. From leading discussions on Joe Rogan and anti-black racism to contributing to significant policy discussions such as the IPO Government round table on streaming and industry reform, our efforts are influencing change.

Moreover, IMPALA’s recommendation for a POWER UP initiative in every European country underscores the program’s efficacy. As we open applications for year four, I urge the industry to rally behind us in creating a landscape where POWER UP becomes obsolete—a testament to an industry truly committed to inclusivity and equality.”

Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation and Co-Founder of POWER UP said, “We’re delighted to have opened the applications for Year 4 of the POWER UP Programmes. The POWER UP Network (already 120 people strong) is going from strength to strength laying a foundation of support for the future. The Network is having some great results and that is in part to the diversity of Participants from around the UK, across genres and disciplines. So I strongly encourage more people from the nations and regions of the UK to apply.”   

Announced in 2021 alongside a premiere of Time To Power Up, POWER UP was co-founded by PRS Foundation and Ben Wynter 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, Believe, Simkins, Creative Wales, Arts Council of Wales, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, 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, as well as Associate Partner, Daft Springer, who each bring added-value support to POWER UP Participants.

More than 80 Black music executives and creators came 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.

POWER UP has received over 1,200 applications since it was launched in February 2021. The demand for a fairer and equitable music industry is now huge, and POWER UP is proving to be a vital initiative. Over £12.8m of grant support has been requested through POWER UP alone across its three previous annual deadlines – with PRS Foundation and funding partners investing over £1.1m into participants’ projects alongside invaluable holistic support.

POWER UP has run a number of outreach sessions including webinars and events in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  More sessions will be announced in the coming weeks on POWER UP’s social channels @TimeToPOWERUP_ .