Power Up

Power Up announces 40 creators and industry professionals for second year of programme

Power Up has unveiled the second cohort of its participant programme, a key feature of its work to address racial disparities in the music sector.

Liam Konemann
  • By Liam Konemann
  • 21 Jun 2022
  • min read

Power Up has now unveiled the 40 music creators, industry professionals and executives who will make up its second cohort. 

Co-founded by PRS Foundation and AIM’s Ben Wynter, Power Up’s participant programme elevates Black talent and is a key feature of the long-term initiative launched to address anti-Black racism and racial disparities in the music sector. 

The programme includes grant support of up to £15,000 alongside masterclasses, mentoring, coaching, mental health and wellbeing support, and access to support from partners and the peer network.  

The peer network of participants represents Black talent across the UK, and with the addition of the second cohort is now 80 strong. Of the Year 2 cohort, 50 percent of participants are based outside London, including three in Scotland, two in Wales and two in Northern Ireland. Women and gender minorities make up 50 percent of participants, and over a quarter of the group is LGBTQ+.  

This year the programme received 431 applications from 304 music creators and 127 industry professionals. Since its launch in February 2021, Power Up has now received close to 1,000 applications. The subsequent successes of the Year 1 Power Up cohort include new roles and appointments, collaborations, label signings, and award recognition.  

Year 1 participants Nova Twins said: ‘This platform is so important… Power Up is the holy grail guide to help those who are less advanced and lack support. You can often feel isolated within the industry so having access to a community that you can share experiences within is so valuable.’ 

Senior Power Up manager Yaw Owusu said, ‘We are already seeing how the members of our Year 1 programme have powered themselves up and are consistently making impactful waves in the UK music industry and beyond. With that energy and experience behind us we are ready and excited to start working with and supporting the new Power Up cohort in their creative and career endeavours and ambitions. The 40 members all represent such a wide range of skills, sounds and experience and have so much to offer. I cannot wait to see what will be achieved this year and going forward. I am also looking forward to having them all connect with our Year 1 participants - strengthening the network even more.’ 

Ben Wynter, co-founder of Power Up, said, ‘My vision for Power Up was to prove that when Black talent is given the opportunity to thrive it will always do so. By removing the barriers and the glass ceilings that existed for the 40 participants on the programme, they have gone on to achieve great things and have shown the wider industry that when Black talent is given the opportunity, they will not only succeed but will soar. To see our Year 1 participants winning awards, entering boardrooms and achieving some of the highest industry accolades is proof that Power Up does make the difference and is vindication for those that wanted to see it fail or did not recognise the need for such an initiative to exist.’ 

Joe Frankland, CEO of PRS Foundation and co-founder of Power Up, said: ‘We knew that targeted support for Black creators and professionals would help to move the dial but it’s safe to say we are blown away by the individual and collective achievements of the Power Up network one year in. Thanks to an ever-evolving list of supporters, partners and passionate individuals, we have built an award-winning initiative which is moving the dial. I want to thank Arts Council of Wales and Paul Hamlyn Foundation whose support enables us to implement bespoke approaches in Wales and to grow the impact of the wider Power Up Movement, including being able to share key learnings across the sector. 

‘It has been shocking hearing about the experiences of many participants and the barriers facing the majority of applicants, and we are determined to challenge, collaborate and push the industry to do better. I am constantly inspired by the achievements and approach of those in our network and know that with more key players working with us to tackle anti-Black racism with a greater sense of urgency and purpose, we will shape a fairer music industry which benefits us all.’ 

The Year 2 Power Up participants are: 

Music Creators: 
August Charles 
Becky Sikasa 
Guvna B 
Hannah Richardson (CHERYM) 
Josette Joseph 
Lex Amor 
Mace The Great 
Speech Debelle 

Industry Professionals: 
Adetokunbo Oyelola 
Akheim Allen 
Anique Cox 
Dean Bryce 
Jamz Supernova 
Joseph Ricketts 
Keecia Ellis 
Keturah Cummings 
Malaki Patterson 
Melle Brown 
Mobolaji Agoro 
Nigel Cudjoe 
Quadri Olanrewaju 
Rami Kadri 
Reece Stewart 
Richard Douglas 
Simisola Agbaje 
Travis Beckford 
Tumi Williams 
Whitney Asomani