Superstar Nigeria-born artist and music executive Mr Eazi is investing in the next generation of African talent through emPawa Africa, an incubator program for emerging artists.
Following a successful launch earlier this year, emPawa Africa’s accelerator program reopens to entries on Friday, August 15.
In this second phase of the program, 30 African artists will be selected to receive a non-repayable grant to fund their first professional music video, as well as mentorship, marketing services and other support.
Artists from the African Diaspora are also encouraged to apply for the program.
The #emPawa30 will include 10 artists from Nigeria; 10 artists from other countries on the African continent; and five UK-based African artists, with the remaining five spots open to African-born artists in countries around the world, including the US and Canada.
YouTube Music is partnering with emPawa Africa to provide support for the 10 Nigerian artists in the #emPawa30 cohort, as announced by YouTube’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen announced during a fireside chat with Mr Eazi at last month’s Google for Nigeria Week.
To be considered, entrants are asked to upload a short video clip (up to 1 minute in length) to Instagram of themselves performing an original song, cover or freestyle, with the hashtag #emPawa30.
“emPawa is an initiative I created with one simple mission: Helping new artists reach their full potential musically by equipping them with the knowledge and funding to do so.”
The program will close to submissions on September 15, after which each entry will each be evaluated by Mr Eazi and his music-industry colleagues. The new cohort of 30 artists will be announced on September. 30.
Once selected, each #emPawa30 artist will be assigned an individual mentor and video director, with whom they will work directly throughout the seven-month mentorship program.
Mentors will include Diplo, afrobeats producers E. Kelly, Juls and GuiltyBeatz, South African rapper Kwesta, Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie, Tanzanian music superstar Diamond Platnumz, afrobeats veteran DJ Neptune and executives from the African music industry, along with Mr Eazi.
The videos will be filmed in October and rolled out across six weeks starting November 1.
Mr Eazi’s music has generated more than 900 million streams worldwide, including over 226 million plays on YouTube.
The afropop star has collaborated with the likes of Beyoncé (Don’t Jealous Me and Keys to the City), J Balvin x Bad Bunny (Como Un Bebe) and Major Lazer (Tied Up), as well as having performed at the likes of Coachella and Wireless.
“EmPawa is an initiative I created with one simple mission: Helping new artists reach their full potential musically by equipping them with the knowledge and funding to do so,” said Mr Eazi.
“It’s something I wish someone had created when I first started making music. Sometimes, all it takes is that one person to believe in you.”Music Business Worldwide