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Rip It Up: A new bursary programme for diverse talent

Earlier this month, Sound City, alongside various partners, launched a curated and bespoke bursary programme for the next generation of Black, Asian and diverse talent looking to impact the music industry.

Called Rip It Up, the programme sees teams at Sound City, Youth Music, sm-mgmt and others come together to drive real change, offering 10 important bursaries and providing the perfect nurturing framework for young talent to emerge and enter the music industry.

Racial inequality within the music industry remains a vital issue, one that needs to be confronted with action rather than words. Rip It Up furthers Sound City’s work in championing young, diverse creative and business talent from all backgrounds.

Rip It Up offers an eight-session education programme covering a string of vital areas within the current music industry - including campaign strategies, publicity, recording/production, music distribution and management - to provide the framework for young creatives to equip themselves with a rich knowledge of the industry.

10 selected applicants will receive extensive support from the very beginning of the programme, with a financial grant assisting in their studies. The sole aim of the grant is to discover talent across different communities and backgrounds, and give them an equal opportunity to engage with and thrive in the eclectic music world.

Lending their expertise to Rip It Up are an array of artists, industry figureheads and experts, all looking to give back to a new generation of music industry talent.

From spotlight speaker sessions to mentoring, this crop of individuals will be investing in the future in their own individual ways across the programme.

Helmed by course leader and long-standing industry innovator Yaw Owusu of THE PLAYMAKER GROUP, practitioners from all corners of the industry will offer their insights.

Names include: Seye Adelekan - a revered musician who has spent the past decade touring and playing alongside some of the biggest names in British music history (including as a part of Gorillaz); breakthrough rock favourites Nova Twins - whose powerful activism has helped start conversations across the industry; Vanessa Bakewell - Global Client Partner [Entertainment] at Facebook; Liam James Ward of digital agency Be-Hookd (The Wombats, The Script, Hipgnosis); and Achal Dhillon of Killing Moon Records - home to Marsicans and Bad Nerves amongst others.

Rip It Up promises to be one of the first programmes directly helping drive that call for greater opportunities and platforms for young Black, Asian and diverse talent looking to make that step into an industry crying out for greater diversity and inclusion.

The programme sits alongside other new industry initiatives for change, such as PRS Foundation’s Power Up and the efforts made by UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce, which launched its Ten Point Plan for increased diversity and inclusion in October.

Last week, The Diversity Taskforce’s Chair and Co-Chair – Ammo Talwar MBE and Paulette Long – gave a presentation on Sound City’s Facebook page titled Driving Diversity Change Through The Music Industry. The session, presented by Sound City MD Rebecca Ayres, included a Q&A alongside musician, choir leader and businesswoman Jennifer John. It provided a broad overview around the progress the UK industry has made, the challenges it still faces, the importance of data and lived experiences, and how the industry benchmark Ten-Point Plan came alive.

You can watch the presentation again on the Sound City Facebook page, and read our special report here.

Rip It Up: A new bursary programme for diverse talent