Empawa, the music incubator program established by Mr. Eazi, has unveiled the newest class of talent for its 2020 edition after a long search through over 30,000 applications.
The list, containing 30 rising stars, was released on Wednesday, February 26. Per the agreement, each musician will receive $10,000 to be used for a music video, along with mentorship from professional singers, producers, and video directors.
This is a marked difference from last year when over 100 artists were incubated and given $3,000 grants to fund a music video.
According to Mr. Eazi, the decision to reduce the number of intakes was made to be able to provide adequate mentorship to each musician. “We wanted to be able to have mentors attached to everybody — that’s easier for 30 people than 100 people,” he told Rolling Stone. “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.”
Unlike last year’s Empawa class where selections were made from Africa, the 2020 class of talent is more widespread. There are 24 artists from Africa: 16 from Nigeria and eight from other countries across the continent, while three selections were made from North America, and two from the U.K.
There was also a more deliberate decision to include female musicians, Mr. Eazi told Rolling Stone, as well as gospel musicians – one of the biggest music scenes in Africa.
There is also a collaboration with video-sharing hub, YouTube, who are sponsoring 10 of this year’s artists; the music acts will be taught how to “reach audiences, connect with fans, and engage with them in ways that create not only viewership of music videos but awareness around their stories.”
These are the #emPawa30:
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)