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Urban Development and Island Records partner to support young artists with development funding



Music charity Urban Development and Island Records have announced a partnership that will give exceptional young artists access to development funding, mentoring and expertise at a pivotal stage in their early careers.

The partnership is led by Urban Development’s founder and director Pamela McCormick and Island Records’Urban Division President Alex Boateng, who brings his own insight, purpose and passion to the collaboration, having worked at Urban Development and Island Records simultaneously, at the very start of his music industry career.

Over many years, Urban Development have specialised in encouraging talent who may not have had the confidence or industry know-how to pursue their passion. This collaboration with Island Records Urban Division is a call-out to young people who need support and funding for their early stage musical careers and an opportunity to develop their artistry before exploring potential label deals.

President of Island Records Urban Division, Alex Boateng 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 programme that will ultimately bring people through into a proper recording deal.”

As well as providing advice and support to the wider cohort, Island Records will have the option to provide development funding to the very best of the talent referred from Urban Development’s nationwide development programmes, including graduates from the charity’s flagship education programme Urban Artist School, which supports 18-25 year old artists and producers.


Urban Development Founder and Director Pamela McCormick adds, “Across the 19 years since inception, Urban Development has become a key industry player, championing, supporting and promoting talent, as well as expanding the opportunities for underprivileged, diverse youth. With a track record providing early support to artists such as Labrinth, Little Simz, Paigey Cakey, The Compozers and more. Our new collaboration will extend Urban Development’s talent pipeline into Island Records and I would like to thank Alex and his incredible team. We are so honoured to be part of Alex’s career beginnings and the future success of the label. The need is bigger than ever to support the next generation, in the face of cuts to music education, austerity and lack of opportunities. 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.”

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