Pamela McCormick, founder and director of talent development hub Urban Development, has spoken to Music Week about its ambitions to ‘create a pipeline for new talent’ following its new partnership with The Great Escape festival.
Urban Development, which aims to assist the development of up and coming artists and lobbies for music charities and education, will stage The Industry Takeover Showcase at The Queens Hotel on Friday, May 19.
The line-up includes Urban Development-supported acts Paigey Cakey, Tizzy & Brandz and The Masks, as well as Kojey Radical and Folly Rae.
A seminar on the business behind urban music, featuring industry experts Alex Boateng (head of urban, Island Records), Tasha Demi (product manager, Polydor Records), Zeon Richards (director, Renowned) and Joss Meek (head of digital, Wired PR), will also be held. The session will explore how the industry can grow the British urban music scene and what the role of major labels and label services should be for urban artists.
Speaking to Music Week, McCormick said that the organisation’s partnership with The Great Escape is a ”statement of intent” in its bid to engage the wider music industry.
“Fundamentally, Urban Development is part of the music industry ecosystem and it represents something very important,” she said. “We have sustained relationships with a lot of industry partners, of which this is one. We are involved in a big talent development programme and the intentiaon is to bring some of the young people we’ve been developing to the Great Escape so they have that platform.
“We've also had a long-term relationship with Universal, who have worked with us to curate the seminar at The Great Escape and it’s a statement of intent that we’re here, we’re part of the music industry ecosystem to create a pipeline for new talent. I see a great commitment to supporting young people across the industry, we just need to do more and more of it.”
McCormick also highlighted the destructive impact Government cuts to music education are having upon the development of young artists.
“I’m worried terribly about the education cuts, because music GCSEs may become harder and harder to justify because strapped for cash schools are having to make tough decisions about arts and cultural provision,” she continued. “What we’re trying to do is mirror the structured talent development pipeline that exists for classical music; we’re trying to say that the pop and urban sector deserves as much structured talent development. It shouldn’t be fragmented. We have to invest in future talent.”
Speaking about his involvement in the seminar session, Boateng said: “As a friend of Urban Development, it’s a huge privilege to be part of the Industry Takeover Seminar panel at The Great Escape. Urban Development nominated me and supported my application to the BBC Urban Music Bursary when I graduated from university, and I worked for the organisation for a short time thereafter, I am also a trustee of the Urban Development Foundation charity. This seminar panel was created following Island's announcement to establish an urban division, both Island and Urban Development want to grow the UK urban music scene, so it was perfect to team up with Urban Development to put this together.”