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30 Nov 2018 3:39 PM
  • Press Release

Awardees span jazz, hip hop, electronic, blues, soul, reggae and more from across the UK


(Monday 3 December 2018) Help Musicians UK (HMUK) and MOBO Trust are proud to announce the next 20 hugely talented awardees under the second round of the MOBO Help Musicians Fund.


After the success of last year’s pilot, The MOBO Help Musicians Fund was doubled from £20,000 to £40,000 in 2018, creating even more funding opportunities for grassroots talent at the start of their careers, with groups of five or more eligible to apply for grants up to £3,000.

The panel of industry experts, including jazz artist and MOBO Award winner Moses Boyd, music manager and MOBO Trustee, Kwame Kwaten and Amy Frenchum of Brownswood and Future Bubblers, whittled down the final 20 recipients from just under 200 applications. The newly funded creators who represent a wide range of exceptional emerging talent from across the country will use their grants to support multiple aspects of an artist’s career, from recording to visuals, production, PR, promotion, touring and beyond.

The 20 awardees are:

Afro Sam, Amahla, Arieleno, Daniel Casimir, Empress Imani, Freya Roy, Mali Hayes, Melissa James, Mercy's Cartel, Miryam Solomon, NoTTwins, Omahrose, PYJÆN, RUE, Saie / The Afro Romantic, SERAPHINA, Shunaji, Strange Bones, TrueMendous and YUN SEN.

Indicative of the incredible breadth of future stars emerging from the UK, the selected artists reflect a diverse range of genres including pop, reggae, soul, jazz, rock, hip hop, blues, world and electronic, and are geographically spread across London, Leeds, Stockport, Blackpool, Surrey, Birmingham, Manchester, Norwich and Bristol.

This year’s fund opened in September, offering solo artists, producers, groups and songwriters from across the UK, who have been making music and performing, but do not have significant financial backing, the chance to apply. 

The MOBO Help Musicians Fund, which was founded in partnership between the charitable arm of the organisation behind the MOBO Awards and HMUK, was launched in 2017. Last year it supported 11 up and coming acts, such as producer, composer and vocalist AGAMA, who used her award to produce a 4-track EP and video. Also funded was Signkid, a London-based hip-hop producer, writer and performer from who signs songs and used the award to produce a video to send a positive message to the deaf and disabled community about access to the music industry. You can see more from them and other awardees on YouTube here.

Claire Gevaux, Help Musicians UK Director of Programme, said

“Supporting the next generation of exceptional talent across diverse genres is a huge part of achieving HMUK’s vision of a world where musicians thrive.  Because of the success of the pilot, we’ve been able to double the size of the MOBO Help Musicians Fund so that 20 artists can take their careers to the next level. We would like to thank our partner, MOBO Trust, for working with us again for this incredible second year and congratulate each and every artist recipient. We hope that the funding will truly make a difference to growing and developing their music careers.” 

MOBO founder and CEO Kanya King CBE: ​

“We are very pleased with the fantastic work the judges have done. They have chosen a variety of fresh talent representing all these music genres which is a great reflection on the UK music scene. We are especially excited to see a higher level of entries coming from a wider range of artists from diverse and often under represented backgrounds. We are looking forward to seeing the awardees develop, partly in thanks to the support the MOBO Help Musicians Fund has been able to provide.”


Notes to editors:

The 20 supported artists are:


Discipline, genre and location

Funding for


South east London soulful pop singer

Recording and promotion of a 4-track EP 

Empress Imani

Reggae vocalist hailing from Leeds

Creation of a new recording

Mali Hayes

Soul singer from Stockport

Creation of a new 5-track EP

Daniel Casimir

Jazz performer from London

Creation of a new album


London soul singer

Music lessons, live shows and PR


Alternative singer from London

Production, mixing & mastering, rehearsals, marketing and visuals


London five-piece jazz band

Production and promotion of debut album


Hip hop singer-songwriter based in London

Record, mix and master debut EP with session musicians

Melissa James

Soulful blues-folk singer-songwriter from London

Record and release EP with session musicians


Birmingham based hip hop vocalist

Recording and promotion of new EP and visuals

Saie / The Afro Romantic

World music artist based in London

Studio time, rehearsal sessions, mixing & mastering of tracks and visuals


Soul performer from London

Recording and producing new album, session musicians, mixing, mastering and engineering


Manchester pop duo

Live launch event, studio time, equipment, recording and visuals

Freya Roy

Jazz vocalist from Norwich

Release costs, digital marketing, visuals, live events and session musicians


London hip hop MC and producer

Recording and mixing costs, music video and artwork

Miryam Solomon

London based jazz singer/songwriter, by way of Sweden and Eritrea

Recording 4-track EP, mixing, mastering and musicians’ fees

Mercy's Cartel

Bristol-based hip hop artist

Development of live act and touring, rehearsal time, musician fees and travel costs, promotional material and PR

Afro Sam

Hip hop artist hailing from Manchester

Recording and launch of new EP, DJ lessons, studio time, visuals, travel costs

Strange Bones

Rock band from St Annes on Sea (Blackpool)

Mixing for upcoming releases alongside new equipment to allow them to self-record


North west London electronic duo

Recording, mixing mastering, launch show and equipment


Help Musicians UK is the leading independent music charity. Since 1921, HMUK has provided help, support and opportunities to empower musicians and those working in the industry at all stages of their lives. The charity works to create a sustainable future for all musicians and the industry, supporting those who work in the music industry through health and welfare services, creative programmes, campaigning, and targeted investment initiatives. It exists to advocate, educate and provide information around issues which affect musicians and the industry that surrounds them. 


MOBO Organisation and the MOBO Awards were established in 1996 by Kanya King CBE to motivate, elevate and celebrate the outstanding achievements of artists in under-served musical genres, from soul, RnB and reggae to hip hop, grime, gospel and afrobeats. MOBO is a pioneer in its field and not just an event, but a movement.  Over the years, MOBO has become much more than just an awards ceremony, it is now an iconic, year-round, agenda-setting global brand that successfully champions diversity and inclusion in music and broader cultural arenas. It strives to support emerging and independent talent and has provided an early platform for some of the nation’s most-loved artists, from Craig David, to Stormzy, Stefflon Don and Naughty Boy.

MOBO pursues its purpose to create more opportunities and access for diverse talent across the creative industries in film, TV, fashion, art, sport and media.  A drive to deliver social and cultural change is embedded in the organisation’s DNA. With an ongoing successful talent development programme, a number of Executive Fellowships in the creative workplace and a host of annual training and educational opportunities for young people, MOBO influences the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year. 


In 2016, the charitable foundation MOBO Trustwas established to support young people realise their potential in a wide range of disciplines within the creative sector.  


Website: www.mobo.com   

Twitter: @MOBOAwards   

Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/MOBOofficial/ 

Instagram: @moboawards  

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mobotvofficial  


For further information contact:

Help Musicians UK: Liz Stokes, liz.stokes@helpmusicians.org.uk / 0207 239 9137 

MOBO: press@mobo.com