The BPI-run Music Exports Growth Scheme (MEGS) has awarded £249,385 to UK indie music labels and companies to support 21 acts in their overseas promotional activities.
Since launching in 2014, MEGS had already donated £1.6 million of Government investment to promote over 100 UK artists around the world. The latest £249,385 awarded in this eighth round of MEGS funding will help fund live tours, digital engagement and other activities.
The recipients range from MOBO winning jazz saxophonist YolanDa Brown (pictured) and Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon, to folk performer Luke Sital-Singh, synth outfit Gunship, and alt rock group Phoria. BRIT School graduate Jamie Isaac is also among the new talents being funded alongside RnB artist Moelogo and electro-dance pop four-piece Boxed In.
Small and medium-sized companies are eligible to apply for MEGS grants ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 to help promote their UK acts around the world.
BPI director of international, Chris Tams, said: “The Music Exports Growth Scheme promotes an incredibly diverse range of music that isn’t typically part of the mainstream but deserves to reach a much wider international audience. Smaller labels don’t always have the means to market their talented artists overseas, which is where the Scheme can make a vital difference, helping to boost not only their profiles and fan-bases, but the UK’s music exports in the process.
“We had an excellent response to this latest round of funding – with nearly a 100 applications submitted. Narrowing this down wasn’t easy, but we’re delighted to award nearly a quarter of a million pounds to 21 acts – close to matching the largest amount we’ve given to date.”
YolanDa Brown, said of her MEGS grant: "Music has the power to spread love, inspire and unite people. I want my music to travel without limits and reach new audiences. As an independent artist, everything from recording the music to touring, marketing and press is self-funded. I am grateful to be awarded a Music Export Growth Scheme and excited to cross borders with my music.”
Julian Deane, Raygun Records, said of recipient Sital-Singh: “We’re beyond delighted to be awarded funding for Luke. We’ve already made great headway in terms of licensing Luke’s music for TV in the US, and this award will go a long way to us having the ability to promote Luke beyond his current position in creating a real on-the-ground fan-base. These are tough times, and this will make a huge difference as we look to break Luke as an international artist.”
See below for a full list of recipients, including details on how they are planning to use the funds.
Boxed In (Moshi Moshi Music) – British singer, songwriter and producer Oli Bayston leads English Electro Dance-Pop four-piece. With two album releases to date – Boxed In (2015) and Melt (2016). Planned activity: Build profile in US with live & promo tour April 2017. Support for Melt LP and digital releases & vinyl LP for US RecordStoreDay. Instore events & possible NYC MOMA visual event.
Cate Le Bon (Turnstile Music Partners) – Welsh singer/songwriter who has released four solo albums, including recently Crab Day, and has worked with Manic Street Preachers, Neon Neon and Funeral for a Friend’s Matt Davies. Planned activity: Funding for US live touring & festival appearances, supported by ongoing marketing & promo for ‘Crab Day’. Promo for unreleased tracks EP in US.
Charlie Cunningham (Mute Management) – London songwriter and performer widely regarded for his musicianship and signature flamenco guitar style honed in Seville. With three EPs and a debut album Lines to his credit. Planned activity: Promote his debut LP via tours in Germany, Benelux & Spain, with funding for increased stage show and other fan engagement.
Clock Opera (Venn Productions) – London-based British indie rock act fronted by founder Guy Connelly. The four-piece have a debut LP Ways to Forget to their name, with plans to release a second album Venn in 2017. Planned activity: Fund logistics of extended headline European tour so more cities can be added, plus increased marketing & press support to amplify engagement around gigs. Clock Opera said: “MEGS funding will be incredibly useful for us and perfectly timed as we build up to the release of our second album in February. The Scheme is helping to support our most wide-ranging European tour to date, expanding our reach into new countries and cities to play for fans we would otherwise not be able to visit. We believe that artist independence is more important than ever, and we’re grateful that MEGS has chosen to support our own League Of Imaginary Nations label, in conjunction with the mighty !K7.”
Deaf Havana (Silva Screen Records/So Recordings) – English alt rock group from Norfolk formed in 2005 after the band met at college. With three studio LPs to their name and a new album, All These Countless Nights, due for release in 2017. Planned activity: Full US media and retail servicing, including radio promotion, to support release of band’s 4th album. Deaf Havana said: “It is really important to UK rock bands right now to get this support from the BPI. As a band we have created our best body of work to date, which we feel can translate internationally, therefore any support and help to do this is crucial. Huge thanks to the BPI!”
Don Broco (Raw Power Management) – English rock act originally formed at school in Bedford, but with their craft honed at university. The group’s debut LP Priorities was released in 2012, followed up by Automatic in 2015. Planned activity: Help fund first ever US tour, supporting The State Champs, also laying foundation for 2018 US live activity. Digital marketing to promote ‘Automatic’ LP. Don Broco said: “We'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the BPI for their support towards our US touring plans in 2017. It's going to be our first tour stateside and as any musician knows, starting out in a foreign territory (especially somewhere as big as America) is not only huge step but a very costly endeavour. As a British artist looking to expand internationally we are massively grateful for all their help.”
Everything Everything (Red Light Management) – Manchester indie act spanning art pop and electronica, the four-piece with three Ivor Novello nominations have released three LPs including 2011 Mercury Prize shortlisted Man Alive. Planned activity: Fund a return US tour (incl. session musicians) & promotional activity to coincide with band’s fourth album, and continue building fan-base/raise profile. Everything Everything said: "A huge thank you to the BPI for its vital assistance to our grassroots touring in this most vast and exciting of territories!”
Flamingods (Liquid Management) – Multi-instrumental five-piece formed in Bahrain in 2009 by Kamal Rasool, with an experimental sound reflecting diverse global influences. four LPs released including Majesty in 2016. Planned activity: Marketing, Press & PR & promo engagement in US, France, Germany, Holland & Italy to support touring and new product releases. Speaking on behalf of Flamingods, a spokesperson for Soundway Records comments: “We are thrilled that Flamingods have been recognised by MEGS, and will by receiving funds to support their ongoing international development.”
Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes (ATC Management) – North England hardcore four-piece formed in 2015 by former Gallows frontman Frank Carter. Album Blossom & EP Rotten (2015) but second LP Modern Ruin due. Planned activity: North America tour & festival dates, plus enable increased fan engagement via in-store events and promotional activity, including an exclusive indie vinyl release.
Gunship (Horsie in the Hedge) – British synthwave band formed by Dan Haigh, Alex Westaway and Alex Gingell, “influenced by the soundtracks of 80s film, TV shows, video games & cartoons”. Self-titled debut LP in 2015. Planned activity: Support towards US marketing, press & PR, including promo trip to build on sync opportunities, and release of 360 degree Virtual Reality video of new single. Gunship said: “The Music Export Growth Scheme presents a fantastic opportunity for artists like GUNSHIP. A limited marketing budget for our debut album campaign forced us to learn how to make the most of every penny and to grasp every opportunity to innovate with our strategy. With the award of this funding we will be able to take that same mentality and be exponentially more effective in growing our already-passionate US fan-base. This time our neo 80's retro futuristic assault has just been turbo charged!”
Jamie Isaac (Marathon Artists) – BRIT School classically trained vocalist and pianist from Croydon, whose work spans jazz, R&B, soul, hip-hop and electronica. His acclaimed debut LP Couch Baby was released in July 2016. Planned activity: Support major assault on US market – 2017 tour, including SXSW, and launch of promo mixtape with re-mixed album tracks, with digital marketing support. Speaking on behalf of Jamie Isaac, a spokesperson for Marathon Artists, said: “2016 was Jamie Isaac’s breakout year, his debut album ‘Couch Baby’ and the preceding ‘Loose Grip’ mixtape could be heard everywhere from Radio 1 to Pitchfork. We’re very fortunate in the digital age to know exactly where our audience sits, and there’s a huge proportion of Jamie Isaac's sitting in America. Now, with the help of the BPI and the MEGS funding, we’re finally able to reach them – and further still, to expand that audience.”
Luke Sital-Singh (Raygun Records) – London singer and songwriter with a folk sensibility. Featured on the BBC Sounds Poll of 2014 and exciting interest. Followed up his 2014 debut The Fire Inside with Time is a Riddle. Planned activity: North America tour to capitalise on growing interest in his music, including syncs, and establish him as an artist there. Film promo videos while on tour. Sital-Singh said: “For years it’s been a real ambition of mine to tour around the US, but it’s always felt out of reach. Thanks to the MEGS funding I can now make it a reality, and I’m so grateful to the BPI for giving me the opportunity to tour the U.S.”
Moelogo (Since98) – Originally from Nigeria, London-based artist influenced by R.Kelly and Usher. His R&B, reggae-infused style is finding its audience, with break-through single Pangolo going viral online. Planned activity: Servicing of two new singles and an EP to European & world media. Speaking on behalf of Moelogo, a spokesperson from Since98 said: “The Grant will help to grow and expand Moelogo’s brand internationally, especially in helping to connect with new fans and key influential people who can help Moelogo's career overseas.”
Moose Blood (Raw Power Management) – Kent-based emo rockers, who are building a devoted following through their sell out tours and festival appearances. With two LPs under their belt, including the acclaimed Top 10 hit Blush. Planned activity: Build on successful 2016 tours in US, Australia and Europe by funding further 2017 touring, freeing label investment in digital marketing & promo.
Moose Blood said: “This is a life changing amount of help to offer anyone pursuing the dream of a creative lifestyle. With this grant, it could quite literally help us reach places we have only dreamed of seeing. From the bottom of our hearts we want to thank the BPI for all of their help and support.”
Mt. Wolf (CRC Music) – Three-piece regarded for their layered sound splicing electronic and acoustic elements, as well as a growing live reputation. Their long-awaited debut album is due in early 2017. Planned activity: Tour, radio & PR support in France/Germany to promote 2017 debut album. Mt. Wolf said: "It truly is a great privilege to be awarded Music Export Growth Scheme funding, thank you very much for believing in us and our music! We're really excited as this funding will give us an opportunity to tour Europe next year, and hopefully build a fan-base in many territories that we've never explored before."
Phoria (X Novo Records) – Brighton-based alt rock band. Fronted by composer Trewin Howard, the five-piece released their debut LP Volition in June 2016. Planned activity: Support a US tour of key cities to build the band’s fan-base and promote Volition LP. Build sync and publishing partnerships in North America, and release EP to engage fans. Phoria said: “We are very excited that Phoria has been awarded the prestigious MEGS funding by the BPI. This funding supports labels and artists to export their music abroad. In this instance we are pleased to say that we will be heading to the USA in 2017! Enormous thanks to the BPI we are very grateful to them for their support.”
Slaves (Seven 7 Artist Management) – Kent duo whose music has been described as “British punk with harsh bluesy riffs”. Their two LPs both made Top 10, with their 2015 debut Are You Satisfied also shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. Planned activity: Fund US tour of key cities and SXSW to build on live reputation and add to word of mouth fan engagement.
TigerCub (Alcopop! Records) – Brighton “grungy” rock trio James, Jamie and Jimi came together in 2010, heavily influenced by Nirvana, Sonic Youth and other ‘90s rock acts. Their debut full LP Abstract Figures in the Dark came out in 2016. Planned activity: Grow fan-base in Europe via touring, press & PR and social media – videographer. TigerCub said: "MEGS has come at a crucial time in Tigercub's career. We've put in a lot of ground work supporting bigger bands in Europe, as well as headlining our own shows, and are now starting to see our fan-base grow because of this. Now, thanks to the BPI, Tigercub can be ambitious and invest heavily back into the production of our live show, and, with this, give our fans the best possible show we can."
Vanessa White (Salute the Sun Records) – British singer-songwriter and musical actress also known for being a member of The Saturdays, now striking out with a solo career. Planned activity: Looking to tap into major interest in place of heritage, The Philippines, with promo visits, radio, digital & social marketing investment. White said: “As an independent artist, this support from the BPI/Music Export Growth Scheme boosts my opportunities to connect with audiences outside of the UK around the launch of my new music. With streaming platforms opening up the doors for an immediate global impact, this has never been more important and this scheme will allow me to create really exciting connections internationally in 2017.”
White Lies (White Lies) – West London three-piece formed in 2007, who have drawn comparisons with the likes of Joy Division and Editors. Planned activity: Contribute to shortfall cost for 13-date North American tour to promote ‘Friends’. White Lies said: "White Lies are delighted to be part of the BPI’s Music Export Growth Scheme, supporting our forthcoming tours of USA, Canada, and Mexico."
YolanDa Brown (Black Grape Global) – MOBO winning singer/saxophonist praised for her “singular mix of jazz, soul and reggae”. Her debut LP April Showers May Flowers hit No.1 on iTunes & Amazon jazz charts, and she will support Billy Ocean’s 2017 UK tour. Planned activity: Contribution to fund cost of live concert appearances in Australia, Nigeria & US, and related promotional activity. Brown said: "Music has the power to spread love, inspire and unite people. I want my music to travel without limits and reach new audiences. As an independent artist, everything from recording the music to touring, marketing and press is self-funded. I am grateful to be awarded a Music Export Growth Scheme and excited to cross borders with my music.”