HITS Daily Double


Island Records U.K. has partnered with youth music charity Urban Development to give young artists access to development funding, mentoring and expertise. Urban Development’s Founder and Director Pamela McCormick and Island’s Urban Division President Alex Boateng lead the partnership.

Boateng, who worked at Urban Development and Island Records at the start of his career, said: “As someone who has received support from Urban Development myself at an early stage in my career, I know how scarce opportunities are and how game-changing it can be to get funding and support. Young people will always need opportunities to grow as artists and I want this new partnership to play a role in developing talent from the outset of their careers.

“My vision for Island Records’ Urban Division is to spot and bring in the best artists from the scene, so I’m really excited about the new partnership with Urban Development and hope it will evolve into a program that will ultimately bring people through into a proper recording deal.”

Founded in 2000, Urban Development provides industry-led business/employment support programs, career guidance, access to resources and showcasing. The charity has helped thousands of participants, with a core demographic of 14–25-year-old BAME (black, Asian and minority English), including artists such as Labrinth, Little Simz, Paigey Cakey and The Compozers.

As well as providing advice and support to the wider cohort, Island Records will have the option to provide development funding to the best of the talent referred from Urban Development’s nationwide development programs, including graduates from the charity’s flagship education program Urban Artist School, which supports 18-25-year-old artists and producers. "The need is bigger than ever to support the next generation, in the face of cuts to music education, austerity and lack of opportunities,” McCormick said. “As part of our commitment to create lasting change, the aim with this deal is to create the talent pipeline that bridges the gap, so that more young diverse artists come through nationwide and fuel the creative industries of the future.”