The Drake YolanDa Award has announced the winners of its 2021 prize, celebrating with an award ceremony on November 6 at North London’s Roundhouse Studio Theatre. Each prize winner will be performing.
The 10 winners of the 2021 award have been selected from over 600 entries by an industry panel, including editor of The Big Issue Paul McNamee, music journalist at The i Newspaper Adam Sherwin, the publisher, manager and PR Paulette Long OBE, and award-winning musician Lemar. The award is chaired by YolanDa Brown. The winners, from a range of genres including hip-hop, funk, folk, country, jazz, and indie, received an award of £3,000 each, whilst the 10 runners up each received £500.
The list of winners varies from self-produced musicians working on their first records, to artists on the rise who have recieved previous accolades.
Welcoming artists from all backgrounds and genres between the ages of 16 and 30, the YolanDa Award was founded in 2019 by two-time MOBO winner and broadcaster YolanDa Brown and philanthropist James JP Drake to financially support young artists’ careers.
“The 2020 award could not go ahead due to the global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns,” said Brown. “As an industry, we are starting to see that the combination of covid 19 and Brexit has created significant damage to the gig economy for emerging artists. Their income has been affected due to live music venues being closed, the complexities of touring in Europe post Brexit and many other complications. It is with this responsibility to continue supporting emerging artists, that the Drake YolanDa Award pressed on with urgency for the 2021 award, another mind-blowing collective of eclectic talent, pushing the boundaries within their individual genres and already building momentum with their careers in music.”
The winners of the 2021 Drake YolanDa Award are:
Maz O Connor
Lucy May Walker
Shortlist recipients of £500 grant: