Nigerian singer Mr. Eazi has announced the 30 artists who were chosen to take part in his talent incubator program emPawa Africa.
According to the Rolling Stone, each artist will receive a $10,000 grant towards a music video and mentorship from professional video directors, singers, and producers.
Mr. Eazi started emPawa in 2018 to invest in promising artists early so that they could have self-supporting careers. “He always told us the story of the $1,000 investment someone made in his career and how that made a huge difference,” E-Kelly, a producer, told Rolling Stone in 2019. “If he can give other artists a good kickstart, they can find their feet from then on.”
At first, Mr. Eazi helped 100 artists in Africa with $3,000 grants. The money was to be used to cover the costs of a music video.
This newer edition of emPawa will focus on fewer artists so that they can get more resources. “We wanted to be able to have mentors attached to everybody — that’s easier for 30 people than 100 people,” Mr. Eazi explained. “And we wanted to be able to spend the same amount of money but have people have more of it. The cost of videos and the cost of production have increased since the last time.”
To apply to emPawa, artists have to submit hashtagged clips online. Mr. Eazi and his team of about 10 people sort through the submissions and choose the winners. The team had to choose only 30 finalists out of over 30,000 submissions.
“It was tougher than the last time,” he said. “Who gets me in the first 15 seconds? It could be the voice; it could be the flow. Then we do a deep dive — what have they been putting out on their profile, other songs, freestyles. Then we reach out to them to send us some music. Then when we’re convinced, we send them in with producers just to get a sense of whether they can go in and make stuff. After all those steps, we select.”
The 30 chosen artists will get to work with GuiltyBeatz, DJ Maphorisa, and E-Kelly. They will also learn about how to take advantage of YouTube to make it beneficial to their careers.
The emPawa30 are as follows:
Bosom P Yung (Ghana)
C Natty (Nigeria)
Camo Blaizz (Nigeria)
Fresh Prince (Nigeria)
GoodGirl LA (Nigeria)
Grace Idowu (Nigeria)
James Garlimah (Canada/Liberia)
July 7 (UK/Nigeria)
Kamo Mphela (South Africa)
Oiza & Meyi (Nigeria)
Sishii (South Africa)
Tomiwa Dudobo (Nigeria)
Xenia Manasseh (Kenya)
Yung Meagan (Cameroon)
Yusuf Kanbai (Nigeria)
Zarion Uti (USA/Nigeria)