Following the huge success of the inaugural Drake YolanDa Award in 2019, founders – award winning saxophonist and broadcaster YolanDa Brown with philanthropist and entrepreneur James JP Drake – are thrilled to announce the return of the £30,000 award for emerging musicians, plus a new prize for songwriters and producers with a fund of £10,000.
With a string of celebrity judges, including legendary Brit Award nominated musician and actress Toyah Willcox and BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, the Drake YolanDa – British Songwriter and Producer Prize 2019 will celebrate some of the finest songwriters and producers the UK has to offer.
With the new prize, YolanDa Brown and James JP Drake will put a spotlight on the people working behind the scenes of every great artist. The shortlisted finalists will be invited to participate in a truly unique and immersive live experience in a London venue, where they will create and record a new song around a given theme, within a time limit and in front of a live audience and the jury.
The judges will select the top two producers and songwriter collectives who will get an opportunity to finish their song again within a short time limit, before the winner is announced. The Drake YolanDa – British Songwriter and Producer Prize 2019 is a vital addition to the UK music prize circuit and catalyst for championing some of the finest musical talent the nation has to offer.
What the celebrity judges have to say about the award:
Toyah Willcox: “Song writing is instinctive, joyous and incredibly fulfilling. It is an art form that matures with practice and focus. Writers need a supportive environment, especially when starting out. They need to know their space is sympathetic to their creative needs and expression. The Drake YolanDa British Songwriter awards takes into account dedication, drive and focus but also the fact that those who are embarking on this journey need support and acknowledgement in the form of a prize that can ease room rental/travel/equipment and purchasing up to date technology. It is an excellent award that looks at the practical reality of being a creative songwriter as well as recognising exceptional talent.”
Huw Stephens: “I’m looking forward to judging and being involved with the Drake YolanDa – British Songwriter and Producer Prize.
The Drake YolanDa Award has grown in reputation and it promises to be a very special night indeed.”
Alongside this new prize, The Drake YolanDa Award returns after a triumphant award ceremony in London back in April 2019. The Drake YolanDa Award has been set up to provide a platform for young emerging artists between 16 – 30 to both showcase their talent and gain the means for taking the next steps in their careers. Welcoming applicants from all genres (except classical), the prize money of £30,000 will be split between 10 promising artists and bands. The award aims to break the socioeconomical, ethnic and gender-based glass ceilings with its ethos of nurturing young talent coming from a variety of different backgrounds.
Applications for Drake YolanDa Award open on 21 October with shortlist interviews taking place in March 2020 followed by an award ceremony in April 2020 in London.
As a part of its role in championing young artists, the Drake YolanDa Award will present a live concert featuring the 2019 Drake YolanDa Award winners at Cadogan Hall in London on 22nd February 2020 with special guests The Kingdom Choir who charmed their way into the hearts of the nation after they performed at Harry and Meghan’s Royal Wedding in 2018. The showcase will offer a fantastic opportunity to witness the huge impact the Drake YolanDa Award has had in the lives of the first edition of winners that include the bestselling grime and gospel artist Guvna B, jazz vocalist Cherise Adams-Burnett whose grandmother was part of the Windrush generation, British country duo Worry Dolls, and Said Skeleton, a four piece led by BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year winner Alexander Bone.
What YolanDa Brown has to say about the second edition of Drake YolanDa Award: “There is no greater feeling than seeing people do what they love. This fund exists to support the most amazing emerging artists on the next stage of their careers”
What James JP Drake has to say about the second edition of Drake YolanDa Award:“The Drake YolanDa Award will continue its commitment to support the most exciting, genre bending emerging talent across the country. Last year was such a success, with the most inspirational stories and joyous music and I can’t wait to meet the 2020 artists”
Drake YolanDa Award winter showcase will take place on 22 February at Cadogan Hall in London. The tickets are on sale now.