The recently appointed chair of British Phonographic Industry (BPI), broadcaster and multi-instrumentalist YolanDa Brown is delighted to announce the judging panel for the 2022 Drake YolanDa Awards. The annual Drake YolanDa Awards are a series of cash prizes presented to emerging young musicians aged between 16-30, enabling them to showcase their talent and assist them in taking their careers to the next level.

Ten promising artists will be awarded £3000 each, with ten additional runner up prizes of £500 each, intended to support each winners’ artistic development in areas including touring, artistic development, recording new music, music videos, marketing, branding and purchasing new equipment.

Celebrating diverse nature of the UK music scene, The Drake YolanDa Award welcomes applicants from all genres and are specifically looking for independent artists that need support and do not currently have backing from major record labels or publishers.

This Years’ judging panel of industry experts are as follows:

Amy Lamé - Mayor of London’s Night Tsar
Amy has a long and successful track record as a leader and collaborator in the cultural and creative industries. She is co-founder of the Olivier Award-winning arts company and club night Duckie, and co-founded RVT Future, a voluntary LGBT+ community group campaigning to preserve the iconic Royal Vauxhall Tavern. She served as Mayoress of Camden in 2010/11. Amy is a familiar presence on TV, in print and on radio. She hosts Sunday afternoons on BBC6 Music. In 2018, Amy was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from University of East London (UEL) and appointed Honorary Professor at University College London (UCL).

Joel Borquaye - Senior Editor Spotify London
Joel is a Senior Editor at Spotify. He is a genre specialist- so looks after specific genres that includes R&B, Hip-Hop, Dancehall, Afrobeats, Jazz, Soul and a few other genres as well. He looks after different playlists and playlist brands at Spotify. This is predominantly for the UK and Ireland, but also in the Caribbean and West Africa. Amongst these is “Who We Be” a flagship playlist brand, it is also the biggest playlist in the UK and Ireland for the genres it represents.

Ben Lewis - CEO Young Voices
Ben Lewis is the CEO of Young Voices, organisers of the world's largest children's choir concerts. For 25 years we have been staging concerts globally, giving children the opportunity to participate in full scale arena shows alongside word renowned special guest artists. We hold the record for most nights by any artist at The O2 arena in London with 60 shows, more than Adele, Ed Sheeran and Take That combined. Our goal is to provide children with an experience that lives long in the memory and inspires a life long love of music. He was recently presented with a Key to the O2 Arena.

Joe Stilgoe - Artist
Joe Stilgoe is an internationally acclaimed singer, pianist and songwriter. He has created a fresh sound for jazz in the 21st century, known for writing songs that feel like they've been around for years, and adapting classics that sound as though they were just written. He has released 8 albums, five of which have topped the UK Jazz chart.

The winners will be announced and presented with their awards in October at a celebration concert, taking place in London attended by music professionals and media.

Previous winners of a Drake YolanDa Award include rising stars such as the vocalist and songwriter Cherise Adams-Burnett, rappers Guvna B and Manik MC, singer-songwriter and pop luminary BEKA currently touring with Honne, celebrated author and singer Chibundu Onuzo, guitarist Rosie Frater Taylor and saxophonist Emma Rawicz.

YolanDa Brown says: “For many artists, access to finance is always a big stumbling block to achieving their dreams. James and I are happy to support artists to move another step closer to making them a reality.”