With the backdrop of the City of London on a beautiful sunny day, a diverse mix of panellists was brought together with the extremely interesting and tough task of allocating the NextGen Fund to 35 young talented people.
We have partnered up with Youth Music because our One Love values are so aligned with what they are trying to achieve. They believe that every young person should have the chance to change their life through music and that is truly inspiring, creating an inclusive space where young people feel a sense of belonging, where they can learn, grow, and nurture their talent doing this whilst pushing the boundaries to promote inclusive music education. We have committed to contributing to the funding of their NextGen programme.
The Youth Music NextGen Fund is for ‘musicians at the start of their career and wider music creatives such as Producers, Photographers and Event promoters to invest up to £2,500 in their own projects and make their ideas happen. The fund is especially aimed at people who want to launch a project, idea, or business for those whose lack of finance holds them back from pursuing their goals. It is open to 18–25-year-olds (and up to 30-year-olds who identify as Disabled) who live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
The Panel included – https://youthmusic.org.uk/
The Youth Music Team; Daniel Williams, Elijah Cushine, and Team.
We also had London DJ Mina, (@minamusicuk) Aka Hannah, James Lightfoot, Artist Community Manager at TikTok, Kim from Palm Bay Music, (@palmbaymusic) a boutique record label and Spike from Forte Project (@forteproject10). It was an honour to be invited to join such a talented panel.
Once introductions were over, it was time to get into reviewing the applications. The applications were split into 12 regions to ensure there was representation from across the country. When reviewing the applications, we looked through the project the applicant wants the funding for. Projects including recording their EP (Extended Play), filming a music video, organising a series of events. Plus, their budget, social media, any videos submitted and listening to any music released to support their application.
We were extremely privileged to have so many applications to go through, and such a wide range of different skills and genres. Each applicant deserved the fund and more. From reading and watching some of their reasoning behind wanting, really did make you think about how difficult getting your foot in the door in the music industry is for these young people. With so much talent out there, you must be your authentic self to truly stand out. In a dream world, there would be equality and equity in the industry which would mean all these applicants got their chance to shine.
We, however, ended the day after a lot of back and forth, for each applicant, it had to be a majority vote, the room was split so many times with certain applications. When every application you view and listen to is so deserving, it became hard to find reasons not to give the fund. However, we got our 35 talented creatives and musicians who were awarded a total of £83,000 courtesy of TikTok and Turtle Bay.
I personally felt the whole day extremely powerful, to be able to offer a selection of young people an opportunity to nurture their talent and fulfil one of their projects is life-changing for anyone. I also found it so eye-opening the wide range of creative projects, music styles and backstories that make up the diverse candidates that we went through. Each with their own story, and a need for support.
Over the next few weeks, the applicants will be contacted to let them know they have been awarded the fund. On the 21st April, the announcement will be made, and the fund released. That is when the hard work begins. 35 projects need to be brought to life with the help of the Youth Music team and partners.
I am certainly looking forward to seeing how Turtle Bay, TikTok and Youth Music work together with their other partners to ensure these NextGen Round 2 winners are supported and guided to achieve their project goals. We will be announcing the truly deserving NextGen Fund Cohort soon, so keep your eyes peeled, if you are like me you will want to follow their journeys.