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Bella Shmurda emerges only African artiste on YouTube Music Foundry list


Bella Shmurda

Nigerian artiste, Bella Shmurda has emerged the only African artiste on the list of YouTube’s global Foundry class of 2021.

Shmurda joined the list of 27 artistes representing 14 countries and a broad spectrum of musical heritage this year.

The global artistes development is to support independent musicians, helping them build sustainable careers on their own terms.
Foundry was launched in 2015 and was initially run as a workshop series at YouTube Spaces. Since 2017, the programme has focused on long-term partnerships with independent artistes and expanded internationally. It has supported more than 150 developing artists across 15 countries, including breakout alumni like Arlo Parks, Dave, Dua Lipa, Lime Cordiale, Gunna, HARDY, Natanael Cano, Novelbright, Omar Apollo, Rosalía, and Tems. The Foundry class of 2018 included Niniola and Adekunle Gold, Lagos-born Tems was part of the 2020 class.


The programme received the most applications ever this year with a 450% increase in the number of applications from last year. Artistes on the Foundry programme will receive a grant to invest in their content and channel development, access to YouTube partner support and workshops, and marketing, social, and press promotion. Artistes will have combined access to resources and teams that will enable them to create and launch their music with greater impact and global reach.

The 2021 Foundry Class reinforces YouTube’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s next generation of global music stars; playing a part in developing individual talent. The Foundry programme ensures that artists can be independent and still have a successful career in music with the support of platforms like YouTube.

YouTube Partnerships Manager, Addy Awofisayo, said: “Artistes are navigating a new, increasingly digital industry this year. To adapt and grow, they are finding new ways to create content, connect with fans, and generate revenue. This year’s Foundry class celebrates artistes and their courage and reduces barriers to entry,”

Bella Shmurda said: “Being an independent artiste can mean funding your career personally, leading and working with your team to achieve all your goals. Foundry is an opportunity to elevate my career, and being a part of the program is a big win for me and for my team,”.

This year, Foundry alumni will be paired with artistes from the new class for conversations about navigating the industry on their own terms. Tems will be paired with Bella Shmurda and Enny, an artiste from England.

“Being a part of Foundry was an amazing experience. You get to connect with so many incredible artists and build relationships with wonderful people. It’s an opportunity to grow, and connect more with the world” says Tems.


Foundry Class of 2021 are Ambar Lucid from United States; Bad Milk, Colombia; Bella Shmurda, Nigeria; Blessd, Colombia; chilldspot, Japan; Doul, Japan; Ebhoni, Canada; Enny, England; Fana Hues, United States; Junior Mesa, United States; Marina Sena, Brazil; Meekz, England; Paranoid 1966, Spain; Paris, Texas, United States; Raveena, United States; Reggie, United States; Rote Mütze Raphi, Germany; SE SO NEON, South Korea; Seedhe Maut, India; Shygirl, England; Sinead Harnett, United States; Snail Mail, United States; SoFaygo, United States; Sycco, Australia; Tenille Arts, United States; Tokischa, Dominican Republic and Tuyo, Brazil.


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