Urban Development and Island Records have today (August 2) announced a partnership that will give young artists access to development funding, mentoring and expertise.
The partnership is being led by Urban Development’s founder and director Pamela McCormick and Island Records’ Urban Division president Alex Boateng. The collaboration marks a call-out to young people who need support and funding for their early stage musical careers and an opportunity to develop their artistry before exploring potential label deals.
Speaking about the initiative, Alex Boateng said: “As someone who has received support from Urban Development myself at an early stage in my career, I know how scarce opportunities are and how game-changing it can be to get funding and support. Young people will always need opportunities to grow as artists and I want this new partnership to play a role in developing talent from the outset of their careers. My vision for Island Records’ Urban Division is to spot and bring in the best artists from the scene, so I’m really excited about the new partnership with Urban Development and hope it will evolve into a programme that will ultimately bring people through into a proper recording deal.”
Young people will always need opportunities
Alex Boateng, Island
According to an official press release, as well as providing advice and support, Island Records will have the option to provide development funding to the very best of the talent referred from Urban Development’s nationwide development programmes, including graduates from the charity’s flagship education programme Urban Artist School, which supports 18-25 year old artists and producers.
Pamela McCormick, who was won the Music Week Women In Music Campaigner Award in 2017, added: “Across the 19 years since inception, Urban Development has become a key industry player, championing, supporting and promoting talent, as well as expanding the opportunities for underprivileged, diverse youth. With a track record providing early support to artists such as Labrinth, Little Simz, Paigey Cakey, The Compozers and more. Our new collaboration will extend Urban Development’s talent pipeline into Island Records and I would like to thank Alex and his incredible team. We are so honoured to be part of Alex’s career beginnings and the future success of the label. The need is bigger than ever to support the next generation, in the face of cuts to music education, austerity and lack of opportunities. As part of our commitment to create lasting change, the aim with this deal is to create the talent pipeline that bridges the gap, so that more young diverse artists come through nationwide and fuel the creative industries of the future.”