The partnership is being headed up by the non-profit Urban Development’s founder and director Pamela McCormick and Island Records UK's Urban Division president Alex Boateng.
Speaking about the initiative, 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 program that will ultimately bring people through into a proper recording deal.”
“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 honored 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.”
In addition to providing advice and support, Island Records will also have the option to provide development funding to the very 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.