On 21 June POWER UP announced the music creators, industry professionals and executives who will make up Year 2 of the Programme.
Specifically designed to fit the needs of the participants, the scheme 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.
The MU is proud to support POWER UP as an official partner and in May, reported how it was the first recipient to receive the new the Changemaker Award, in recognition of its diversity and inclusion work.
With 431 applications from 304 music creators and 127 industry professionals at crucial career stages, POWER UP has received close to 1,000 applications since it was launched in February 2021. So far, over £10m of grant support has been requested.
The Year 2 POWER UP Participants are as follows:
- August Charles
- Becky Sikasa
- Guvna B
- Hannah Richardson (CHERYM)
- Josette Joseph
- Lex Amor
- Mace The Great
- Speech Debelle
- Adetokunbo Oyelola
- Akheim Allen
- Anique Cox
- Dean Bryce
- Jamz Supernova
- Joseph Ricketts
- Keecia Ellis
- Keturah Cummings
- Malaki Patterson
- Melle Brown
- Mobolaji Agoro
- Nigel Cudjoe
- Quadri Olanrewaju
- Rami Kadri
- Reece Stewart
- Richard Douglas
- Simisola Agbaje
- Travis Beckford
- Tumi Williams
- Whitney Asomani
The long-term network of participants represents Black talent across the UK and in the Year 2 cohort, 50% of participants are based outside London, including 3 in Scotland, 2 in Wales and 2 in Northern Ireland. 50% of participants are women or gender minorities, and over a quarter are LGBTQ+. The selected Participants work across a broad range of genres - from Black Music genres including R&B and Rap, to Electronic & Dance, Pop, Jazz, Americana, Alternative/Rock, and everything in between – and in many different roles and sectors of music.
Year 1 success
According to POWER UP, Year 1 participants unanimously agreed that the initiative has had a positive impact on their careers (average rating: 4.8 out of 5), with a broad range of transformational impacts listed, including: improved professional confidence (average rating: 4.2 out of 5); helping participants to feel more connected to the music industry as a result of the programme (average rating: 4.4 out of 5); and helping to raise participants’ profiles to help them reach into new territories.
Year 1 Participants Nova Twins said:
“This platform is so important…POWER UP is the holy grail guide to help those who are less advanced and lack support. You can often feel isolated within the industry so having access to a community that you can share experiences within is so valuable.”
Senior POWER UP Manager, Yaw Owusu said:
"We are already seeing how the members of our Year 1 programme have powered themselves up and are consistently making impactful waves in the UK music industry and beyond. With that energy and experience behind us we are ready and excited to start working with and supporting the new POWER UP cohort in their creative and career endeavours and ambitions.
“The 40 members all represent such a wide range of skills, sounds and experience and have so much to offer. I can not wait to see what will be achieved this year and going forward. I am also looking forward to having them all connect with our Year 1 participants - strengthening the network even more.”
Tom Connaughton, Managing Director Spotify UK and Ireland said:
“You only have to look at Year 1's successes to understand the power and importance of a programme like this. We need a collective effort to bring about meaningful and lasting changes in the UK music industry and POWER UP is an important step.
“Our industry needs to be for everyone: the more voices we represent and amplify, the more we can all come together and contribute in order to offer brilliant music for the benefit of artists and fans everywhere."
Arts Council support
Arts Council of Wales and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation have become the latest organisations to join the growing number of partners getting involved in the initiative and both are offering bespoke support. Arts Council of Wales support will ensure at least two POWER UP Participants are based in Wales and Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s contribution will support the POWER UP Participant Programme and the POWER UP Movement holistically.
Diane Hebb, Director Arts Engagement, Arts Council of Wales said:
"Arts Council of Wales is rightly pleased to be supporting POWER UP to advance in Wales. We recognise that being a black music creator in Wales is unjustly difficult. We learnt much from the focus groups with creators and look forward to more listening and, importantly, action with and for black artists so they can rightly fulfill their creative potential."
Read more about the POWER UP movement, including updates and more.