YolanDa Brown and James Drake announce a new music prize The Drake YolanDa Award for emerging young artists

The award-winning saxophonist and broadcaster YolanDa Brown and philanthropist James Drake are thrilled to launch a brand new music prize for emerging artists between ages 16-30.

The Drake YolanDa Award will provide a platform for young artists to both showcase their talent and gain the means for taking the next steps to launch their career. In 2019, 10 promising artists will be awarded £3000 in total. The prize money is intended for supporting their artistic development, touring, recording new music, music videos, marketing, branding and purchasing new equipment. Celebrating the rich and diverse UK music scene, The Drake YolanDa Award welcomes applicants from all genres, ranging from pop to indie, jazz to soul, grime, folk and so on. This prize aims to break the glass ceilings with its ethos of nurturing young talent coming from a variety of different backgrounds.

The jury will consist of some of the most exciting influencers in the industry, including YolanDa Brown herself and celebrity choirmaster and broadcaster Gareth Malone. The award ceremony will take place on 9 April 2019 in London at Under The Bridge and is set to be one of the most exciting new music showcases in the UK.

What YolanDa and James have to say about the prize:

“I don’t need to wait to be a multi millionaire to give back. We are incredibly excited to be launching The Drake YolanDa Award and being able to support some of the most brilliant new talent the UK has to offer. 

James and I strongly believe that money should not be an obstacle for pursuing your dreams and we want to provide a platform that will hopefully become the beginning for many success stories”. YolanDa Brown

“This is an innovative and exciting award that will help launch the careers of our next generation of undiscovered stars. It’s all about giving talented musicians a boost at the time when they need it the most. I’ve been helping classical musicians for the last few years, and it’s wonderful to give the same opportunities to all musicians, whatever their instrument, style or genre.” James Drake

The applications are now open and close on 19 March 11:00pm GMT. The interviews for the longlist will take place on 27 March with the award ceremony taking place on 9 April 2019 at Under The Bridge.

Key dates
now open till 19 March 2019 11:00pm GMT
Shortlist interviews: 27 March 2019
Winners: 9 April 2019

About YolanDa Brown:

YolanDa Brown is an award-winning musician and broadcaster that has garnered praise for her delicious fusion of reggae, jazz and soul. YolanDa has toured with The Temptations, Diana KrallCourtney PineBilly Ocean and collaborated with artists such as Mica Paris, Reggae Legend Bob Marley’s son Julian Marley and as part of Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. YolanDa is also the only person to have been nominated for and won two consecutive jazz MOBOs.

YolanDa is a celebrity ambassador for many charities including the Prince’s Trust, Children and the Arts, World Child Cancer and in January 2018 she was appointed Chair of Youth Music. Brown was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts by the University of East London and also invited to meet the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

YolanDa has just had her own TV series commissioned for CBeebies called “YolanDa’s Band Jam” is due to have it’s TV premiere on 26 January 2019 and she was also announced as a co presenter on BBC Radio 4 Loose Ends with Clive Anderson.

About James Drake:

In 2015, James established The Drake Calleja Trust as part of his long-term philanthropy programme. The Drake Calleja Trust came into operation on 1st September 2015 under the management of Vicky Yannoula, Head of Scholarships & Artistic Planning. Since then the Trust has completed three application calls (2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18) and has awarded fifty-nine scholarships in total to exceptionally talented students of undergraduate, postgraduate and research level.

In addition. James is the Founder and Chairman of The Future Science publishing group and also launched The Drake Foundation in 2014. The Future Science Group focuses on breakthrough medical, biotechnological and scientific research and The Drake Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation committed to improving evidence-based measures for the understanding of concussion injuries in sport, based on scientific research.

For more information contact Tory Lyne-Pirkis [email protected] / 020 7361 7860


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