Over 17 years, Urban Development’s founder and director Pamela McCormick has built the education charity into a talent pipeline with industry connections. As she celebrated her Women In Music Campaigner award, she spoke to Music Week about the organisation’s plans.
How do feel about winning the award?
I’m absolutely thrilled because I’ve just grafted away for 17 years. It feels like it’s our moment now to begin to be a little bit more visible.
What has Urban Development achieved?
“It’s been about opening the possibility of careers in music for ordinary, diverse working-class kids, initially from East London. The music industry is recognising the need to bring through new and fresh talent.”
How did you get the industry on board?
“As music’s evolved through garage, grime and now urban music being pop music, we are working much more with the industry. Universal and Believe have supported us. We did a project with Devlin and a young rapper called Paigey Cakey. We have relationships with publishers Bucks and Sentric. We need to be in the industry to help put money back in the pot to do the education work and talent development.”
What’s your biggest achievement?
I think the fact it’s grown from nothing – the first grant we got was £4,000. If we can achieve a £1 million turnover across the ecosystem it will be phenomenal. We’ve just secured a big grant to create a centre for urban culture in Stratford on the fringe of the Olympic Park to go back to that original vision of ensuring that young people from our communities in East London are benefiting from the legacy of the Olympic Games. We’ve raised half a million quid from the Arts Council and we’re waiting for another big grant at the minute. If we can create that physical representation of that vision of a talent development house for young people from our communities that links with the industry, I think in the end that will be the greatest achievement if we get there.
To read the full Music Week interview with Pamela McCormick, subscribers can click here.