Help Musicians UK (HMUK) and MOBO Trust are proud to announce the next 20 hugely talented awardees under the second round of the MOBO Help Musicians Fund.

After the success of last year’s pilot, The MOBO Help Musicians Fund was doubled from £20,000 to £40,000 in 2018, creating even more funding opportunities for grassroots talent at the start of their careers, with groups of five or more eligible to apply for grants up to £3,000.

The panel of industry experts, including jazz artist and MOBO Award winner Moses Boyd, music manager and MOBO Trustee, Kwame Kwaten and Amy Frenchum of Brownswood and Future Bubblers, whittled down the final 20 recipients from just under 200 applications. The newly funded creators who represent a wide range of exceptional emerging talent from across the country will use their grants to support multiple aspects of an artist’s career, from recording to visuals, production, PR, promotion, touring and beyond.

The 20 awardees are:

Afro Sam, Amahla, Arieleno, Daniel Casimir, Empress Imani, Freya Roy, Mali Hayes, Melissa James, Mercy's Cartel, Miryam Solomon, NoTTwins, Omahrose, PYJÆN, RUE, Saie / The Afro Romantic, SERAPHINA, Shunaji, Strange Bones, TrueMendous and YUN SEN.

Indicative of the incredible breadth of future stars emerging from the UK, the selected artists reflect a diverse range of genres including pop, reggae, soul, jazz, rock, hip hop, blues, world and electronic, and are geographically spread across London, Leeds, Stockport, Blackpool, Surrey, Birmingham, Manchester, Norwich and Bristol.

This year’s fund opened in September, offering solo artists, producers, groups and songwriters from across the UK, who have been making music and performing, but do not have significant financial backing, the chance to apply.

The MOBO Help Musicians Fund, which was founded in partnership between the charitable arm of the
organisation behind the MOBO Awards and HMUK, was launched in 2017. Last year it supported 11 up and coming acts, such as producer, composer and vocalist AGAMA, who used her award to produce a 4-track EP and video. Also funded was Signkid, a London-based hip-hop producer, writer and performer from who signs songs and used the award to produce a video to send a positive message to the deaf and disabled community about access to the music industry. You can see more from them and other awardees on YouTube here.

Claire Gevaux, Help Musicians UK Director of Programme, said: “Supporting the next generation of exceptional talent across diverse genres is a huge part of achieving HMUK’s vision of a world where musicians thrive. Because of the success of the pilot, we’ve been able to double the size of the MOBO Help Musicians Fund so that 20 artists can take their careers to the next level. We would like to thank our partner, MOBO Trust, for working with us again for this incredible second year and congratulate each and every artist recipient. We hope that the funding will truly make a difference to growing and developing their music careers.”

MOBO founder and CEO Kanya King CBE: “We are very pleased with the fantastic work the judges have done. They have chosen a variety of fresh talent representing all these music genres which is a great
reflection on the UK music scene. We are especially excited to see a higher level of entries coming from a wider range of artists from diverse and often under represented backgrounds. We are looking forward to seeing the awardees develop, partly in thanks to the support the MOBO Help Musicians Fund has been able to provide.”

The 20 supported artists are:

South east London soulful pop singer
Recording and promotion of a 4-track EP

Empress Imani
Reggae vocalist hailing from Leeds
Creation of a new recording

Mali Hayes
Soul singer from Stockport
Creation of a new 5-track EP

Daniel Casimir
Jazz performer from London
Creation of a new album

London soul singer
Music lessons, live shows and PR

Alternative singer from London
Production, mixing & mastering, rehearsals, marketing and visuals

London five-piece jazz band
Production and promotion of debut album

Hip hop singer-songwriter based in London
Record, mix and master debut EP with session musicians

Melissa James
Soulful blues-folk singer-songwriter from London
Record and release EP with session musicians

Birmingham based hip hop vocalist
Recording and promotion of new EP and visuals

Saie / The Afro Romantic
World music artist based in London
Studio time, rehearsal sessions, mixing & mastering of tracks and visuals

Soul performer from London
Recording and producing new album, session musicians, mixing, mastering and engineering

Manchester pop duo
Live launch event, studio time, equipment, recording and visuals

Freya Roy
Jazz vocalist from Norwich
Release costs, digital marketing, visuals, live events and session musicians

London hip hop MC
Recording and mixing costs, music video and artwork

Miryam Solomon
London based jazz singer/songwriter, by way of Sweden and Eritrea
Recording 4-track EP, mixing, mastering and musicians’ fees

Mercy's Cartel
Bristol-based hip hop artist
Development of live act and touring, rehearsal time, musician fees and travel costs, promotional material and PR

Afro Sam
Hip hop artist hailing from Manchester
Recording and launch of new EP, DJ lessons, studio time, visuals, travel costs

Strange Bones
Rock band from St Annes on Sea (Blackpool)
Mixing for upcoming releases alongside new equipment to allow them to self-record

North west London electronic duo
Recording, mixing mastering, launch show and equipment