Famous artist and music executive Mr. Eazi is actively putting his money into the next generation of African talent. He is searching for and bringing over potential musicians via his incubator program known as emPawa Africa.
emPawa was launched earlier this year, and the second phase of the accelerator’s program has been launched today, August 15. 30 African artists will be shortlisted from a pool of many to receive a non-repayable grant to fund their first professional music video.
The program will also provide mentorship, marketing services, and other forms of support to take the talents through their emerging stages.
Partnering with Mr. Eazi’s efforts, YouTube is as well introducing initiatives to create an aisle through which African artists can access the global stage. Nigeria’s music industry is arguably one of the most developed in the continent, for which reason the video streaming platform announced at the Google for Nigeria event in July that it will be supporting emerging talent.
According to Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, the team is doing its best to bolster ten emerging Nigerian music artists chosen by emPawa to hone their craft. The company also said it was willing to help the selected talents increase their fan base and connect them with the world leveraging the video platform.
While African artists in the diaspora are also encouraged to apply for the initiative, the latest cohort will include ten other artists from other African countries. Five will be selected from those based in the United Kingdom and an additional ten from other countries of the world, including Canada and the United States.
Dubbed the #emPawa30, the platform asks entrants to upload a one-minute video clip of themselves on Instagram performing a cover, freestyle or original song with the designated hashtag.
Interestingly, YouTube’s interest in African music did not begin with emPawa. Back in 2016, the team unveiled an international artist development program known as Foundry to offer emerging acts tools for building YouTube fan bases. African artists such as Maleek Berry are part of the initiative, where he has successfully learned in YouTube-hosted content creation workshops.
YouTube also launched Artist on the Rise. This is a monthly program focused on promoting diverse musical lineups from young artists and producers. The initiative connects such performers with fans across the world via social and fan events at YouTube spaces. Artist on the Rise has featured Burna Boy and Teni.
The program which will close on September 15 this year, will provide the selected artists with individual mentors and video director and they will all collaborate directly throughout a seven-month mentorship scheme.
Diplo, afrobeat producers E. Kelly, Juls and GuiltyBeatz, Kwesta (a South African rapper), Sarkodie, Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) and DJ Neptune alongside Mr. Eazi will be mentoring in the program.
Image Courtesy: The Guardian Nigeria