'It's great for young creators to interact, network and grow': Urban Development on BBC Music Introducing hosts Amplify

'It's great for young creators to interact, network and grow': Urban Development on BBC Music Introducing hosts Amplify

BBC Music Introducing hosts Amplify kicks off today (October 6) at London’s Excel Centre – it’s billed as the event for artists and aspiring industry professionals looking to break into the business. Music Week has picked out just some of the highlights among the 250 speakers and 100 sessions at the three-day event.

Urban Development is heavily involved in the inaugural Amplify. In association with Universal Music UK, the music development organisation and education charity will run a series of ‘industry takeover’ panels. Pamela McCormick, founder and director of Urban Development, will appear on the Game Changers panel on Sunday (October 8) afternoon. She told Music Week why Urban Development wanted to get involved from day one.

Why did Urban Development want to partner on the inaugural Amplify?

Founded 17 years ago now, Urban Development is unique amongst youth music charities through its pivotal role within British urban music, as well as the wider UK music industry. The organisation, with a core audience demographic of 14–25 year old BAME, is committed to supporting three core areas: artists, aspiring music industry professionals and future music talent. Urban Development already hosts successful music Industry events such as Industry Takeover Seminars and Industry Takeover All-Dayer events that encourage young people to become consumers of live music, as well as enabling grassroots talent to hone their craft and derive inspiration from established artists. By bringing in artists, high-profile music industry partners, speakers and media, the events are designed to help the next generation of music industry professionals develop their business and creative knowledge, skills and connections. 

It made perfect sense to build on this work by curating a bespoke series of seminars for the BBC Introducing Hosts Amplify event and its attendees. 

How important is the range of expertise – from artists to radio talent and key industry figures – in encouraging young people to make a career in the music industry?

Our focus is to show the creativity of urban culture and provide face-to-face interaction with the right people within urban music – in an industry where access to networks is key, often ‘who you know’ is a more successful strategy for entry to employment than the skills individuals posses. It’s incredibly important for young people to be able to recognise aspirational and inspirational figures – both artists themselves and industry professionals. Seeing realistic, relatable figures in these prominent positions helps young people to understand that these goals are achievable, and what the next natural steps are to realise goals. Bringing in inspirational, high-profile industry partners, speakers and media means that wisdom can be handed down the chain, helping to develop business and creative knowledge, skills and connections. 

Our focus is to show the creativity of urban culture and provide face-to-face interaction with the right people within urban music

Pamela McCormick

What panels will Urban Development be staging?

Smashing The Glass Ceiling (2.15pm, October 6): this panel is all about breaking through boundaries and knowing no limits. From diversity to Form 696, you can find out how panellists overcame obstacles to become successful within the music industry. Speakers include Tasha Demi (Polydor), Amanda Maxwell (Boiler Room and She Said So), Ben Anderson (Musicalize), Shy One (Shyone Beats) and DJ Ace (1Xtra).

Playlist Politics (2.15pm, October 7) is a look to the future of music consumption and the audience. From digital platforms to radio playlists, the panelists – John Woolf (A-List Management), Alec Boateng (1Xtra, Atlantic), Cassie Rowan (Shazam), Ollie Ashley (Radar), DJ Ace – will discuss how to break an urban artist in 2018 and if streaming is the future of UK urban music. Game Changers (2.15pm, October 8) is more focused towards the business side of things for aspiring industry heads. From artist to business, we speak to high-profile panelists – Alex Boateng (Island), Carla Marie Williams (Girls/Rate), DJ Ace – about how to build a sustainable global career and create a legacy within Urban Music.

What else are you going to see over the next three days?

We’re looking forward to checking out some other panels and speakers, in particular the Shifting The Gaze: Women In Music panel, and then Grime Is The New DIY looking at how grime has become the new punk in way, with these young kids breaking down boundaries.

What are your hopes for Amplify in future years?

BBC Introducing Hosts Amplify is a great resource for young creators to interact, network and grow, learning from some of the very best in the business. We are delighted to be a part of it, and as the event grows, we hope our role within Amplify will too.

Tickets for BBC Music Introducing hosts Amplify (October 6-8) are available from the official website.

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