YouTube announced a roster of 54 artists, songwriters and producers selected to join the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022. Among the acts from Australia, Brazil, Canada, USA and the UK are eight African artists based in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
Supported by the #YouTube Black Voices Fund, the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022 is a development programme designed to directly support and mentor Black artists, songwriters & producers worldwide. The addition of songwriters and producers to the 2022 class demonstrates the continuation and expansion of Youtube’s efforts to support Black artists on the platform.
With the aim of equipping up-and-coming Black artists, songwriters & producers with the resources to succeed on YouTube, the class will be grouped into two programme streams: one for artists and one for songwriters and producers. Class participants will each receive dedicated partner support, seed funding to invest in the development of their channels, and opportunities to participate in training and networking programs focused on production, fan engagement and wellbeing. Over the next 6 months, they will also get opportunities to develop their catalogues and collaborate with other global artists, songwriters, and producers who have also been selected to take part in the programme.
Commenting on the significance of the programme, YouTube’s Head of Music, Sub-Saharan, Addy Awofisayo says “African music is taking the entire world by storm and the #YouTubeBlackVoices Fund is an opportunity to both celebrate and nurture African artistry and help songwriters, producers and artists share their craft with global audiences.”
“Black culture is expansive and ever-changing and YouTube Music is committed to celebrating that experience through music,” she adds.
Nigeria’s Omah Lay whose music is heavily influenced by his background, strong culture and environment, has an undeniable connection to his audience and high hopes for his journey with YouTube Black Voices: “My music speaks to the people that love me, the people I love and the people that have been through what I have been through. I see the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund having an impact on my career in different ways. It would allow me provide content about my musical journey to my fans, and in marketing them to a greater audience,” he says
Singer-songwriter CKay, whose earliest contact with music was through his father, a church choir conductor, decided to start writing his own music on the piano and guitar. He says “that knowledge of instruments coupled with digital production is an integral part of my music-making process. My traditional South-Eastern origin explains my use of Igbo language in my music and my extensive knowledge of High-Life music.”
Producer P.Priime, who is from a musically inclined family fell in love with music when he was a little boy singing in the church choir, has made different types of songs for various artists expressing a combination of ideas and emotions. “I would say as long as you can relate to my sound, then that’s it. I have so many ideas I’d love to bring to life and I know with the right resources and funding, I’d be able to achieve that,” he adds.
Telz meanwhile describes his music as if it were human because “it has character and speaks for itself” and says he sees the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund impacting his career in various ways — especially in bringing his ideas to life and helping him network with other creatives globally.
The full list of African artists and songwriters/producers admitted to the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022 is as follows: