Twelve artists have been chosen to benefit from the fund’s support, with the line-up decided by a panel of industry experts. The list includes Ivor Novello Rising Star nominee Amahlia, MOBO Unsung winner Graft and upcoming Reading & Leeds debutants Twst.
Joining them are Amie Blu, Aziya, B-Ahwe, Calva Louise, Chalk, Declan Walsh & The Decadent West, Jalen Ngonda, Nix Northwest and Tara Lily.
The Step Up Fund was designed to help overcome the financial hurdles facing independent artists and to help with the cost of their creative endeavours.
The fund provides grants of up to £8,000, alongside a package of benefits including a one-year membership of the FAC, a 12-month subscription to Amazon Music, an Echo device, and content creation opportunities.
Applications were up 35% on last year’s launch, which led to Amazon Music expanding the fund by supporting 12 artists rather than nine this year. All are featured in the latest Amazon Music Breakthrough UK playlist.
I am immensely proud that the FAC can play such a key role in helping to support diverse talent
David Martin, FAC
Featured Artists Coalition CEO David Martin said: “We were blown away by both the quantity and the quality of this year’s Step Up submissions, and thanks to the generous backing of Amazon Music and the passion of the Amazon team, I am delighted that we can assist these 12 incredible artists on the next stage of their journey. Everyone knows that music is an unbelievably competitive business, and accessing finance is tough, so I am immensely proud that the FAC can play such a key role in helping to support diverse talent as we continue to expand our impact and our representation of the UK's artist community.”
We’re looking forward to working with all of the talented artists involved to help boost their development
Laura Lukanz, Amazon Music
Laura Lukanz, head of music UK, Australia & New Zealand, Amazon Music, added: “The Step Up Fund is a project that Amazon Music feels really passionate about and we’re thrilled to be able to support it again this year. We were overwhelmed by the response from applicants which goes to show just how much this kind of help is needed for aspiring acts. We’re looking forward to working with all of the talented artists involved to help boost their development.”
The fund is open to any UK-based independent artists aged 18+ who have released at least three songs within the last year, with a minimum of 15,000 streams per song, or one song with 45,000 streams.