The PRS Foundation Power Up initiative launched to address anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the UK music sector by focusing on genres of black origin like R&B and Rap to genres such as; Electronic & Dance, Pop, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Country and everything in between and it is a scheme that has been worth the wait. The initiative provides a chance for artists to gain some industry connections by networking with PowerUP partners, a financial benefit of £15,000, and push their careers further.
This goes to show that Power Up is a long overdue scheme and the PRS Foundation needs their flowers for being a lead along with their partners YouTube Music, Beggars Group, the Black Music Coalition, and others. It is such a positive to see some of the issues being tackled as the industry needed to be pushed in a direction to guide black talent and after last years Influence and reflection on how the music and creative scene uses black art and talent, the music industry must continue to recognise how and what our black artists need to uplift them and have meaningful change.
Let’s talk about the music industry and there is nothing more important to discuss than the racism, sexism, and lack of support to our scene. Getting started in the music scene is no easy job and as black music creatives, it is harder to get backing from a label and even fellow artists. But it’s not because talent is limited it’s because the scene refuses to recognise and uplift black artists without them having to compromise their style or genre to blow up/ gain commercial success. However, with this being said people are willing to focus their energy on making a change like this amazing opportunity that the PRS Foundation has made available to a group of artists and industry professionals.
Rebecca Garton gives an insight into the scene as a female R&B artist and how the Power UP opportunity will help her grow musically. “Oh my God, I was so happy because it was mad, there was a lot of things going wrong at the time so when I found this out it was like yes, God was saying this is where you need to be still so just keep going …” Further explaining that it was going to fund her second EP, “I’m independent and that does cost a lot of money for marketing pr and promo and for me this is going to pay for a lot of that stuff I’m having a headline show this year so this would support that and allow me to pay for a band and stuff like that so for me it’s going to be a massive help.”
If you’re an R&B fan then Rebecca should be on your radar but just in case you’ve missed this talent let me introduce you to one of the UKs leading women in the R&B scene and collaborated with some big names like; Louis Rei, Ling Hussle, Eric Bellinger and more. Known for her R&B vocals and passion towards making women feel good makes us happy as her career is really starting to gain traction.
For a while, our UK talent would go under the radar until they got a chance to visit the States and suddenly the UK scene is ready to reclaim its artists. The industry really should show more faith and support and this issue is definitely prominent in the R&B scene and when it comes to women, they are fighting to push their music and be heard. Over recent years though it’s been improving, growing, and we’ve watched artists like Mahalia and Tiana Major9 go on to win Grammy’s, perform and win MOBO awards, and be recognized by the industry for their music and talent which as fans and R&B lover its uplifting to see the women’s efforts reflected, “R&B wasn’t a UK kinda genre whereas now there is a massive kind of push with people like Nadia Jay at BBC 1Xtra and DJ Ace and they’re really paying attention to UK R&B artists and pushing it forward. I would say that now we do have a lot of people that support us and supporting the movement.” But the industry still has more improving to do because why is it so much harder for black women to reach the heights of “Making It” than men and that is something that needs to be rectified.
With the Power Up initiative in place and the artists working towards their personal and musical growth we can’t wait to see what comes from Rebecca Garton and the other participants next and hope that this is a permanent change in the attitudes of everyone who works in the industry from the artists, managers, labels and other professionals when tackling important issues like racism and sexism that is holding back the UK scene.