YouTube Music Foundry Class has selected West African acts Black Sherif and Joeboy to participate in this year’s global programme geared towards developing young independent talent.
This year’s class is the largest contingent since its inception in 2015. Representing Ghana and Nigeria respectively, Black Sherif and Joeboy join 28 other artists representing 15 countries globally. They will benefit from partner strategy support from YouTube, as well as marketing promotion and seed funding for content development.
Over the years, the initiative has supported some 250 independent artists. Other African acts who have participated in the programme in previous years include Nigerians Bella Shmurda, Rema and Tems.
Foundry artists are lauded for their storytelling and innovative approach to music. YouTube said this year’s class reiterates its commitment to developing and supporting sub-Saharan African (SSA) artists become next-generation global music stars.
“The Foundry programme ensures that artists can be independent and still have a successful career in music with the support of platforms like YouTube and this year will power two programmes, the Foundry Class of 2022 and the independent release support,” a statement reads.
“It’s no small task to be an artist in 2022, working to find stability, fulfilment, and fans who get it,” YouTube’s artist partnerships lead, Naomi Zeichner, said. “Foundry celebrates the courage of independent artists and the communities that surround them. Our global team is lucky to be their champion and reduce barriers on their journey, every step of the way.”
According to YouTube music lead for SSA Addy Awofisayo, “Lowering the barrier to entry that unlocks opportunities for music artists to create and connect with a global audience is crucial. But beyond that, Foundry will assist the music artists participants in navigating a new increasingly digital industry as they connect with fans and generate revenue.”
Joeboy said: “Being an independent artist simply requires me to be at the centre of all of my dealings as a creative. Aside from creating the music, I have to carry out due diligence to make sure I am making the right decisions every now and then.”
“Success as an independent artist is connecting with one more person on any level through my music,” Black Sherif added. “Once that is constantly achieved, in my opinion, everything else will follow. Being a Foundry artist for me means a strong global platform with support to visually take my expression to the next level and reach more people in the process.”