Diverse voices dominate at the UK’s newest music award for young emerging musicians
London, Tuesday 9 April 2019
The UK’s newest music award dedicated to supporting young emerging musicians, The Drake YolanDa Award has announced the winners of its inaugural 2019 prize, followed by an award ceremony taking place tonight at Under the Bridge in Chelsea, London where all ten winners will perform.
The 10 winners of the 2019 prize were selected from over 300 entries to the new prize by a stellar panel of industry judges including celebrity choir master Gareth Malone OBE; music editor of The Independent Roisin O’Connor; X Factor winner Matt Cardle and Ben Earle for UK country band The Shires. A total sum of £30,000 was awarded to 10 emerging artists working across music genres ranging from hip hop to funk, folk, country, jazz and indie, receiving £3,000 each.
The exciting list of winners are all promising artists at different stages of their careers, varying from self-produced artists cutting their first record to artists who have been recognised through other music awards but are still outside of the mainstream music industry. The list of ten winners from both diverse backgrounds and music genres includes bestselling Christian Grime Artist Guvna B from Newham London, Birmingham born & bred rapper Lady Sanity, 24 year old Jazz Vocalist Cherise Adams-Burnett whose grandmother was part of the windrush generation, as well as twenty seven year old ”galactic jazz” musician Zola Marcelle and British country duo Worry Dolls. Please see the full list of winners below.
Welcoming artists from all backgrounds and musical genres ranging between ages 16-30, the music prize was founded this year by the two time MOBO winner and broadcaster YolanDa Brown and the philanthropist James Drake to support the careers of young artists in the UK and to break the glass ceiling in the music industry. By providing financial support to struggling artists, the award wants to provide the winners with the means to spend on touring, marketing, recording or other ways to further their careers. The Drake YolanDa Award is a vital addition to UK’s music prize circuit and its first year has already proved it to be a success story as a launch pad for new talent.
YolanDa Brown, co-founder of Drake YolanDa Award: It was an absolute pleasure meeting the 10 winning acts for the 2019 Drake YolanDa Award. There is so much amazing music in the world and the mainstream acts signed to major labels tend to dominate the airwaves and column inches. We are committed to help put a spotlight on as many of these amazing emerging acts as possible”
Gareth Malone OBE, celebrity choir master: “The standard of artistry was high and a fantastic diverse selection of musicians. It is so important to help the next generation of artists to find their feet in a challenging industry.”
Roisin O’Connor, Music Editor of The Independent and award judge: “The Drake YolanDa award couldn’t be more timely. New musical talent needs support more than ever, so a prize that offers funding to not one, but ten emerging acts is an exciting and worthwhile endeavour. It was an honour to be invited to judge the artists and watch them perform, and wonderful to such a diverse range of talent on display.”
The winners for the 2019 Drake YolanDa Award are:
Guvna B (29) is a hip hop and grime sensation waiting to blossom with his honest and to the point lyricism that has previously been appraised by the likes of Radio 1 and 1xtra, Complex UK and Capital Xtra. Guvna B’s topical tracks are also translated into his passion for public speaking and as a result of this, he has appeared on BBC News, Sky News, and Channel 4 news to discuss youth culture and serious youth violence.
Lady Sanity (23) works across a number of influences ranging from 90s hip hop to jazz, trap and grime. Her sound flows dynamically across all of these genres and is served with thought-provoking lyrics that are served as the punch line. Her most recent credits include performing one of her latest self produced singles at the Commonwealth Games in Australia on behalf of her home city of Birmingham and she has won series of awards such as The Urban Music Award’s ‘One To Watch Artist’ 2018.
Holly Redford-Jones (26) fuses soft, idiosyncratic guitar tones with distinctive vocals that gravitate towards indie tendencies yet sit comfortably within jazz and folk spheres as well. Imaginary sonic lovechild of the likes of Kevin Morby and Joni Mitchell, Redford-Jones is without a doubt one to watch for 2019 with her debut EP coming out this May.
Cherise Adams-Burnett (24) is a star on the rise. Nominated for the “Jazz Vocalist of the Year 2019” by Jazz FM, Adams-Burnett’s debut album has been a long time coming. With celebrity fans – such as Jamie Cullum – hungry for new music, she is undoubtedly on her way to becoming a household name in the UK jazz scene.
Quinn Oulton (23) has his roots deeply embedded in jazz traditions and creative song writing that the Royal Academy of Music graduate and Red Bull Music Academy alumnus blends together to create harmonies that are instinctively melodic and deceivingly complex. Performing with a five piece band consisting of some of the most on demand jazz musicians in London, Quinn Oulton and his band are a force of nature in their own right.
Said Skeleton (22) is a four piece studying across Royal Academy of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, led by the awardwinning multi-instrumentalist Alexander Bone. With a sound that is simultaneously delectably smooth and highly energetic, Said Skeleton have already garnered praise across industry, including the legendary Nile Rogers himself.
Worry Dolls are undoubtedly giving Dixie Chicks a good run for their money with their innovative sound and fierce vocal work that has previously impressed the likes of Paul McCartney. They were also nominated for ‘Song of the Year’ at the UK Americana Awards where they also performed alongside the likes of Robert Plant and Mumford & Sons. The duo are Zoe Nicol and Rosie Jones whose tender harmony driven UK country/americana blends the tender urgency of Nicols’ honey dripping voice with the fiery integrity of Rosie Jones’ vocals and rhythmic guitar.
Genevieve Dawson’s (28) musical practice dabbles between contemporary folk and soul that are fused together comfortably by amalgamating them with series of jazz tendencies and truthful lyricism. Both vibrant and confessional, Dawson’s fresh sound has landed her series of festival appearances across the UK and Europe.
Joe Baxter (28) goes beyond the usual man and a guitar set up with his anthemic approach on acoustic pop. Baxter’s songwriting is earnest to its core yet filled with raw emotion that has been noticed by the likes of BBC Introducing Midlands. Baxter is a music teacher by day and a star-to-be-discovered by night.
Zola Marcelle (27) is a London based solo artist and the inventor of something she calls ‘galactic jazz’. Blending buttery RnB sounds with eclectic jazz melodies, Marcelle creates a soundscape that is filled with flavour in the style of Solange and Hiatus Kaiyote.
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