GIR, which is “focused on equality for young women in music”, announced the 2021 #GETHEARD Future Hitmaker Competition earlier this year. #GETHEARD gives aspiring women songwriters the opportunity to receive funding and their first UK airplay on Girls I Rate’s weekly radio show on The Beat London 103.6FM.
ShaSimone, Ni’Sha, and Ariez Baby were selected by a panel of judges from over 1000 applicants. They were revealed as the winners in a live virtual event on Mixcloud on Sunday June 27, hosted by Grammy-nominated songwriter and Girls I Rate founder, Carla-Marie Williams, and MOBO Award winner and BBC Sound of 2017 shortlister, Nadia Rose. An official press release stated that over 1800 people tuned in to hear the 10 shortlisted tracks.
ShaSimone, Ni’Sha, and Ariez Baby will be awarded Future Hitmaker Awards of up to £3,000. Created in collaboration with Carla-Marie Williams, the Future Hitmaker Award is powered by PRS Foundation’s Hitmaker Fund and supported by Spotify.
The prize also includes a six-week introductory course on music production and sound engineering at the Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) worth £199, a one-month membership to The Qube, and audio equipment from Girls I Rate radio show sponsor, Audio-Technica, to arm the winners with the tools to take their songwriting and performing careers to the next level.
Girls I Rate recently launched its GIR’s 50:50 Pledge for gender equality and diversity, which went viral when it announced a partnership with Cambridge-based festival, Strawberries & Creem. GIR Ambassador, Nadia Rose, is a signatory of the pledge.
Speaking about the event, Nadia Rose, said: “I loved hosting #GETHEARD and listening to all the submissions, the level of talent Girls I Rate found was exceptional and I’m glad to be supporting the movement and female Future HITMAKERS!”
Carla-Marie Williams added: “I had such a hard time selecting my top 10 the level of talent was through the roof my team went through over 1000 demos. We’re just happy at Girls I Rate we can give provide the #GETHEARD future hit maker platform.”
PRS For Music and PRS Foundation have partnered with Girls I Rate on #GETHEARD since 2016 to address gender imbalance within the songwriting profession. An official press release stated: “A reflection of the industry at large, PRS for Music’s membership is currently skewed 81.7% towards male music creators. #GETHEARD gives undiscovered women songwriters a gateway into the music business with help towards career development.”
Michelle Escoffery, president of the PRS Members’ Council, said: “I am honoured to have been part of the A&R panel that handpicked three talented music creators to receive crucial support towards further developing their songwriting and producing careers. The high standard of everyone involved in #GETHEARD is truly inspiring and I am excited to see and hear what comes next. Congratulations from all of us at PRS for Music.”
Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation, added: “Huge congratulations to Shasimone, Ni’Sha and Ariez Baby, for being selected to receive the #GETHEARD Future Hitmaker Awards, we look forward to seeing the impact of this targeted grant support in boosting their careers and music creation in tandem with the other excellent prizes. It has been fantastic working with Carla and the GIRLS I RATE team as well as our friends and partners PRS for Music and Spotify to create this unique opportunity to support and champion talented women music creators who will be the hitmakers of the future.”
The final three winners were selected by MOBO Award-winning British rapper, singer, composer and entrepreneur, Tinie, who sat on the judging panel with some of the most influential A&Rs in the music industry: Since ’93 co-president, Riki Bleau, YouTube artist relations manager, Sheniece Charway, Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter and president of the PRS Members’ Council, Michelle Escoffery, BMG UK A&R director, Felix Howard, Spotify UK/IE artist and label partnership lead, Safiya Lambie-Knight, and Downtown Music A&R manager, Davina Merchant.
Sheniece Charway, artist relations manager, YouTube, said: “I’m honoured to support Girls I Rate (GIR) #GETHEARD initiative. The level of talent was amazing and the A&R level was also amazing, I’m looking forward to future collaboration with Youtube supporting GIR & female future HITMAKERS.”
You can read more about the winners below:
Rapper, singer and songwriter, ShaSimone, has made a huge impression on the UK rap scene with a handful of razor-sharp freestyles. AKA Big Simma, the East London rapper is known for her clever word play, confidence, and bold statements. Since she hit the scene, ShaSimone has featured on Rob Bruce’s 5 Artists Under 5K and 9 Bills’ 9 Artists Due to Blow in 2021 list.
Still in the early stages of her music career, R&B and Dancehall singer Ni’Sha has been recording and working hard over the last two years in preparation for the release of her debut single in 2021. Proving to be a promising talent, Ni’Sha as already graced ShyFX's stage at Notting Hill Carnival and Tenwest's Camden Assembly showcase, alongside featuring on tracks with reggae legends such as Mr. Williamz, Big Zeeks and Gappy Ranks.
Ariez Baby aims to bring a new sound to the UK and has worked alongside high-class producers such as Rymez, Hargo and SVOnTheBeat; as well as artists such as PA Salieu, BackRoadGee and Jords. While working with 23 Formation, Ariez released L.I.T and most recently released Come Round Ere with 1010 LDN.
Carla Marie Williams curates Music Week x Girls I Rate's Mentor Me section each month, with the latest issue seeing Spotify's Safiya Lambie-Knight give her top career advice.
Photo: L-R: #GETHEARD Future Hitmakers ShaSimone, Ni’Sha, Ariez Baby