Nigerian-born artist Mr Eazi is investing in the next generation of African talent.
He has launched emPawa Africa, a talent incubator program that provides emerging artists with tools, startup funding, and mentorship to become artist-entrepreneurs.
Mr Eazi conceived emPawa Africa in November 2018 as a new model for artist development.
“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,” Mr Eazi said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
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The program opened submission on August 15 and 30 African artists will be selected to receive a non-repayable grant to fund their first pro-quality music videos, mentorship, marketing services and support to launch an international recording career.
Via Instagram, entrants will have to upload a short video clip of themselves performing to an original song, cover or freestyle, with the hashtag #emPawa30.
These submissions will be evaluated by Mr Eazi and his music-industry colleagues.
African artists from the diaspora are also encouraged to apply.
The #emPawa30 program will include 10 artists from Nigeria, 10 artists from other countries on the African continent and five UK based African artists.
The remaining five spots open to African-born artists in countries around the world, including the US and Canada.
YouTube Music is also partnering with the program to provide support for the 10 Nigerian artists in the #emPawa30 cohort.
YouTube’s Global Head of Music, Lyor Cohen, announced during a fireside chat with Mr Eazi at last month’s Google for Nigeria Week.
Once selected, the lucky 30 will get to work as part of a seven month mentorship program with mentors such as 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 and Mr Eazi.
The final 30 artists will be announced on September 30.
Mr Eazi has generated more than 900 million streams worldwide, including over 226 million plays on YouTube alone.
He has collaborated with international artists like Beyonce, Major Lazor and fellow Nigerian Burna Boy.
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