Power Up reveals Year 4 cohort of music creators and industry professionals

Power Up reveals Year 4 cohort of music creators and industry professionals

Power Up has announced the music creators, industry professionals and executives who will make up Year 4 of the multi-award winning programme.

Co-founded by PRS Foundation and Ben Wynter, Power Up’s participant programme elevates Black talent. It is a key feature of the long-term initiative launched to address anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the music sector.

The programme assists in the development of careers and helps to accelerate change across the industry. This includes grant support of up to £15,000 alongside masterclasses, mentoring, coaching, mental health and wellbeing support, and access to Power Up partners and the peer network.

In November 2023, Power UP picked up Music Week’s Women In Music Awards DE&I Initiative Award, recognising specific initiatives from a business or organisation that has gone the extra mile to champion diversity and inclusion both internally and externally.

Year 4 Power Up participants are as follows:

Music Creators

Alt Blk Era
Dot Inc
James Perry
Lloyd Luther
Nat Maddix
Nwando Ebizie
Seckou Keita
T. Williams
Winnie Ama
Yazmin Lacey

Music Industry Professionals

Abi Lufadeju
Alexandria Carr
Amanda Kiflay
Channette Carleo
Dotun Bolaji
Gemma Bradley
Goziam Okogwu
Jelani Brown / JB Wassifa
Julian Gill PKA Esco Williams
Jumi Akinfenwa
Kaiya Milan
Latisha Pemberton
Michael Bailey
Kemi Davies
Vanessa Maria
Vincent Olutayo

This latest cohort came together for the first time at London’s Southbank Centre on Friday, June 14, arranged by previous Year 1 fellow Adem Holness (outgoing head of contemporary music at Southbank Centre) who is currently putting together this year’s Meltdown Festival. 

Yaw Owusu, senior Power Up manager, said: “The Power Up Participant Programme is now a 160-person strong network bringing varied experiences and considerable expertise to power up and contribute to the wider Power Up movement.

“The programme has already supported award-winning talent, industry professionals taking up senior and Board positions across the industry, and creators who are dominating playlists and lineups across the UK and globally.”

Ben Wynter, co-founder of Power Up, said: "As we move into our fourth year of Power Up, I am incredibly proud of the brilliant selection of Year 4 participants. This initiative has been recognised Europe-wide as an award-winning programme, and the quantitative evidence of our Power Up fellows’ successes across various sectors in the industry proves that when Black talent is given an opportunity to succeed, it thrives. 

“At a time when the commitments of 2020 to create a more equitable and equal music industry appear to have been forgotten, Power Up underscores the impact and pathways we want to see in our industry. I urge the industry to finally back Power Up, as there is little more we can do to prove the initiative's impact. That said, I am excited to see the continued growth and achievements of our brilliant new cohort."

This initiative has been recognised Europe-wide as an award-winning programme

Ben Wynter

Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation, said: “It’s fantastic to see the growth and impact of the Power Up participant programme since we launched in early 2021. The scale of talent and knowledge in the network is substantial, with exceptional alumni participants dominating playlists, leading conferences, headlining stages and taking seats in boardrooms. We're incredibly proud to be part of this long-term initiative, but know there is still so much more that needs to be done together.”  

Sheniece Charway, head of Black music & culture, YouTube EMEA, said: “Power Up is transforming the music industry, empowering artists and executives alike. Four years ago, we set out to create a culture change for future generations of music talent and it's been such a joy to watch this unfold before us year on year. The results are speaking for themselves, and we're thrilled to be continuing our partnership for a fourth year."

Paul Redding, CEO, Beggars Group, said: “This important programme has grown from strength to strength since its inception. Beggars are proud to continue supporting Power Up as they prepare to welcome their fourth cohort.”

Sheryl Nwosu, lawyer and chair of the Black Music Coalition, said: “As it enters its fourth year, Power Up continues to go from strength to strength in its role as a counter to addressing the fact of obstacles faced in particular by Black creators and professionals in the music industry. Each year’s intake represents a growing body of extremely talented creators and music professionals who benefit from the connectivity created by the programme as well as the programme itself. I've said it before and I won’t stop saying it, what I love about #PowerUp, and why the Black Music Coalition continue to be partners and vocal supporters of it, is that it is real change in action, its track record is speaking for itself. I remain as passionate and excited now as I have always been about what Power YP, and now the Year 4 cohort, can and will achieve. Let’s go!” 

Power Up is managed by PRS Foundation in partnership with YouTube Music, Beggars Group and the Black Music Coalition. The initiative brings together several music industry partners across all sectors, with supporters including Creative Scotland, Simkins, Creative Wales, Arts Council of Wales, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Culture Liverpool and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, plus AIM, the BPI, the FAC, The Ivors Academy, the MMF, the MPA, MPG, The Musicians’ Union, PPL, PRS for Music, the PRS Members’ Fund and Believe, as well as associate partner Daft Springer.

More than 80 Black music executives and creators contribute and set the direction for Power Up. An Executive Steering Group (ESC) was established in late 2020. Alongside the ESC, seven focus groups covering recording and publishing, live, platforms, gender, sexuality, enterprise and regionality.

In 2022, Power Up was awarded the inaugural IMPALA Changemaker Award

Participant successes over the last three years include:

At the Music Week Awards, Whitney Asomani was nominated for Manager of the Year, Nova Twins for PR Campaign of the Year and Jamz Supernova for Radio Show of the Year.

Keturah Cummings was nominated at the AIM Awards for Music Entrepreneur of the Year. 

Keecia Ellis has received investment from Station 12 for her publishing company Rekodi Music. 

Graft signed a publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing and Come Play With Me.

Josh Daniel was appointed label manager for Interval Records, which was formed in partnership with talent Development Network member Generator and EMI North.

Nova Twins won a Heavy Music Award, toured the US and Europe, signed to Marshall Records and have secured BBC Radio 1, NME and Spotify Equal support globally. They were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, they won a 2022 AIM Award and received two BRITS 2023 nominations. They recently supported Foo Fighters in the US.

Other artist and music creator award winners include Ego Ella May (Jazz FM Awards), Taaliah (AIM Awards), Bemz (DJ Mag Award) and DoomCannon (MOBO Award). 

Industry Professionals winning awards include Jennifer John (AIM Award), Eunice Obianagha (whose creative events work was nominated for a Music Week Award), and Christine Osazuwa and Hannah Shogbola, who joined the Music Week Women in Music Awards Roll of Honour. Osazuwa has also become the vice chair for Keychange US.

Several industry professionals have launched new ventures, and secured new roles, promotions and appointments, including: Adem Holness, head of contemporary music at the Southbank Centre (moving on to SXSW London after Meltdown); Ree Sewell, A&R coordinator at Universal; Eric Hunter, education & membership engagement manager at the MMF; Christine Osazuwa, chief strategy officer at Shoobs; and Eunice Obianagha, head of diversity at UK Music.

Despa Robinson was appointed to the AIM Board, and Daniel Kidane was elected to the Ivors Academy Senate.

Artist KG became a full-time Capital Dance radio presenter, with coverage in Complex, Mixmag and Clash, while industry professional Kwame Daniels presented his own Inna Rhythm series on BBC Ulster.

Guvna B (Year 2 artist managed by a Year 1 participant), who became the first rapper to top the UK Official Christian and Gospel Chart, is now co-chair of Youth Music.

Live agency Marshall announced that they have signed Cherym and Bemz.

Abel Selaocoe took part in the Proms in 2021 and 2022, signed to Warner Classics, and presented the three-part BBC Radio 3 show Cello Retold.  

Des Agyekumhene’s company Soga were behind the Close To Home NFT campaign for Aitch. 

Forward Slash founder Keturah Cummings was selected for the 2022 Barclays Black Founder Accelerator programme and launched new podcast Jack of All Trades.

Dan Kidane’s Sun Poem was premiered in 2022 with the LSO and Sir Simon Rattle across the UK.

Rapper, music creator and BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Lemfreck presented BBC documentary Black Music Wales, which also featured fellow participant Aleighcia Scott, and went on to win a Celtic Media Festival 2024 Best Arts Screen Programme Award. 

Loretta Andrews published her book Talking to Children About Race.

Adetokunbo “T” Oyelola’s client YolanDa Brown was appointed as chair of the BPI. They also launched a campaign to open Soul Mama – a Black-owned music venue.


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