During the past two years, we have collaborated with BPM Music Collective on building a community which young artists felt they had access to. Local individuals from underrepresented communities were able to work with other creatives and artists and use an arts platform to express themselves and further their skills and opportunities in the arts.
Moving forward, the project will produce a series of albums and singles released over the course of eight months with the aim of shining a light and supporting a handful of emerging underrepresented artists and producers that we believe are already on their way to becoming established contributors within the music and creative industry.
This project will aim to unify artists who are creating music at a high standard and have devoted themselves to progressing further in their musical and creative careers. By doing this we will also be developing a support network and structure which promotes individual creativity and a collective ideology in a sustainable fashion.
The projects will be made up of an eclectic mix of sounds and genres whilst also remaining cohesive and thematic as one body of work. This is a great opportunity for artists to write and produce in a style with which they are confident with while also having the space to explore sounds that they might consider to be in their “B-Side'' catalogue.
The collaboration between Znaniye Foundation and BPM has allowed for various challenges to be raised and addressed.
Challenges faced have included the lack of career opportunities, financial support, industry knowledge and networking opportunities for creatives emerging from deprived social backgrounds. These challenges were predominantly raised by BPM Music Collective, a group of extremely talented and passionate young people trying to promote underrepresented and underprivileged individuals in the arts.
The main challenges Znaniye Foundation raised was providing mentoring and support to the people involved in the project. When having access to opportunities and when delivering into the project, those involved experienced various emotions and we wanted to ensure that the correct support was in place throughout. The project ran during a period of isolation and coming together to express your thoughts and passions through the arts provided an outlet to young people but was often an emotional experience. We believed it was key to ensure that the correct procedures were in place to adequately support in any given situation.
The team are aware and have personally experienced the hardships surrounding starting out within the music industry and “getting your foot in the door”. A lot of the people we work with don't have access to any contacts within the industry and very rarely experience any nepotism.
Financially it is extremely difficult to fund musical endeavours from start to finish. The musical conveyor belt, as we like to call it, is very intricate and at every step there are costs involved that become a barrier to entry for a lot of marginalised artists, often leading to a lower quality level of output or in the worst case acts as a deterring mechanism, pushing them away from the venture all together. Many of these artists don't have families or friends that can fund their creative endeavours and this becomes very challenging for aspiring artists.
The industry for a long period of time has been set up in a way that makes access to information very scarce. Many artists starting out in their careers are not in-the-know about the subtle intricacies of the music industry: royalties, publishing, data analytics, release schedules.
Regarding career support this initiative allows us to build up our blackbook of contacts and grant access to the artists and creatives involved. This has led to increased exposure for artists and individuals and in some cases has led to job opportunities.
Financially, we began the initiative in the summer of 2020 with building and setting up a music studio based in West London. This studio was entirely funded by BPM and was completely free to use, in the 18 months of operation we did not charge a single creative to use the space. The idea was to create a free and welcoming environment for creatives that would not have access to such a space, especially during the peak of the Covid pandemic. Rent, equipment, producers, refreshments were entirely funded by the collective and often the directors worked multiple jobs to fund the initiative. After 18 successful months we had to make the difficult decision to close down the space because of associated costs.
However we have continued to support artists by funding external studio time, covering marketing costs, purchasing equipment and personnel for upcoming projects and releases. (paid for by BPM)
We do our best to meet with the artists involved in the initiative monthly and checkin on their progress and update them on the work that we have been doing as an organisation. We share plans, ideas and brainstorm new ways that all parties involved can progress and grow together.
Znaniye Foundation has continued to offer expertise, support and mentoring to ensure this is a sustainable project with a long term impact. We have offered staff and mentors who have been able to provide safeguarding support, establish procedures and support for the young people involved in the project as and when required.
We have been carefully and meticulously putting together a plan that includes the involvement of marketing agencies, distributors, and key industry contacts - with this type of planning we are confident that these projects will be successful and mutually beneficial for all parties involved.
We are hopeful that we can carry out these sorts of collaborative musical projects yearly and as time goes by grow the network and reach, building a stronger and further reaching platform for everyone involved.
With the correct traction and support the projects can become more impactful year on year and the quality of content will increase with this.
Something that the community involved can look back on in 5 years time and be proud to have been a part of.
We have been successful in building a community of people passionate about supporting those from marginalised communities and now this community wants to ensure it can continue to support the wider community.
Znaniye Foundation and BPM will continue to work together over the next 5 years in implementing a sustainable and impactful project that will provide talented young people with a platform to springboard from into the arts. Znaniye Foundation will continue to offer their expertise in outreach to communities, safeguarding, training, impact reporting and fundraising whilst BPM will continue to bring their expertise in the arts.
Over the course of 5 years we aim to continue working on new music with the growing community and ideally release a set of projects each year, similar to the first one we have scheduled for 2023. With each year we are confident that we will be able to generate more attention which would provide the artists and community involved with a stronger platform to benefit from.