Award winning saxophonist and broadcaster YolanDa Brown has teamed up for a second time with entrepreneur and philanthropist James JP Drake, to launch The Drake YolanDa award: a music prize presented to emerging artists between ages 16-30.
Launched in 2019 and returning this year after a covid hiatus, The Drake YolanDa Award provides a platform for young artists to showcase their talent and aims to assist them in taking their careers to the next level. Previous winners of The Drake YolanDa award include rising luminaries such as contemporary soul artist Genevieve Dawson, gospel rapper and author Guvna B, and vocalist and songwriter Cherise Adams-Burnett.
Ten winning artists will be awarded £3000 each, with ten additional runner up prizes of £500 each. These prizes are intended to support each winner’s artistic development in areas including touring, artistic development, recording new music, music videos, marketing, branding, and purchasing new equipment.
Discussing the award and the available prizes, Brown said: “We are incredibly excited to be launching The 2021 Drake YolanDa Award after the most challenging few months with the global pandemic, artists need support now more than ever. James and I strongly believe that money should not be an obstacle for pursuing your dreams and we want to provide a platform that will hopefully become the beginning for many success stories”.
The Drake YolanDa Award celebrates the diversity of the music scene and is specifically looking for independent artists that do not currently have from major record labels or publishers at the beginnings of their career.
Brown will recruit a team of leading music industry figures as judges for the award, and on 19 October, twenty shortlisted artists will meet face to face and perform in front of this panel of experts. The winners will be presented their awards at a celebration concert taking place on 6 November in London attended by music professionals and media.