2021-07-28T11:05:47-04:00 2021-07-28T12:30:42-04:00

Fana Hues, Paris Texas, and YouTube Music's Naomi Zeichner talk the Foundry class of 2021

Reflecting the global reach of artists and their content, YouTube Music's new Foundry class is more internationally diverse than ever before, with 27 different artists from 13 different countries.  YouTube's global artist development program, Foundry gives independent artists from across the globe the tools and expertise to confidently market their music and multimedia content on the platform and engage fans in new and exciting ways.  

The 2021 class, YouTube's largest yet, includes rising R&B star Raveena, Afrobeats superstar Bella Shmurda, and Japanese funk/soul band Chilldspot, just to name a few of the eclectic international acts.  The full list of artists is below with their home country and genre;

Sinead Harnett

UK

R&B

Raveena

United States

R&B

SoFaygo

United States

Hip-hop

Tenille Arts

United States

Country

Snail Mail

United States

Indie

Fana Hues

United States

R&B

reggie

United States

Hip-hop

Ambar Lucid

United States

Indie

Sycco

Australia

Alt/indie

Ebhoni

Canada

R&B

Junior Mesa

United States

Alt/indie

Paris Texas

United States

Hip-hop

Tokischa

Dominican Republic

Latin

Blessd

Colombia

Latin

Bad Milk

Colombia

Latin

Tuyo

Brazil

Indie

Marina Sena

Brazil

Latin pop

Enny

UK

R&B

Bella Shmurda

Nigeria

Afrobeats

Meekz Manny

UK

Hip-hop

Paranoid 1966

Spain

Hip-hop

Rote Mütze Raphi

Germany

Hip-hop

Shygirl

UK

Electronic

Doul

Japan

Pop

Chilldspot

Japan

R&B/funk

SE SO NEON

Korea

Alt/indie

Seedhe Maut

India

Hip-hop

The Foundry program has worked with and assisted the careers of various superstars like Dua Lipa, Omar Apollo, and Arlo Parks since its inception in 2016.  The program also made possible various artists' video series, perhaps most prominently being Kenny Beats' hit show "The Cave".  YouTube Music's artist partnerships lead, Naomi Zeichner, recently answered some questions from EARMILK about the direction of the Foundry program and how the growth of international music in the US market has made it more important than ever.

"Foundry has evolved over the years, it started in 2015 as a series of workshops at YouTube spaces over the world and in 2017 it shifted to focusing exclusively on independent artists and since then we've supported artists in 15 different countries" Zeichner explains, "The selection process is less about ruling people out and more about finding those artists that have the signals of unique potential.  Everyone in music is looking at data but we're looking at so much more; real people, fans can tell you much more than just data can.  So we're thinking about timing, and partnering with artists that our support is really meaningful to at this particular moment in time.  Paying attention to what they have coming up, their interaction with fans, and their commitment to content are all important factors when looking at an up-and-coming artist for the Foundry program."

"All Foundry artists receive a dedicated partner manager and team at YouTube who's there for any issues they might have and also teach them to be hands on with our tools.  Teaching them how to maximize things like premieres, live streaming, shorts to have the most robust and effective rollouts for their music.  And also storytelling and the development of their channels and their brand.  Foundry also gives grants for artists to invest in their channels and their content and launches a global marketing campaign to help grow careers to an international market."

2021 Foundry artists Fana Hues and Paris Texas also sat down with EARMILK for a brief Q&A to give the artist perspective on being selected to the illustrious program and how the international direction of music affects the mindset of an independent artist.  

EARMILK:  What do you expect to gain from the Foundry program as an independent artist?

Fana Hues: Being in the foundry class will give me more resources and freedom to execute my vision. It’ll help me to more completely tell my stories. 

Paris Texas: I expect a platform to be able to express my vision, which is a crazy privilege at the end of the day. Like yeah, sure, the exposure will be nice…. but it's just given the opportunity to go nuts.

EARMILK:  How does the global influence of the Foundry program and the rest of this class benefit your own artistic direction and your sound? 

FH: Being aligned with other talented artists is so beneficial and inspiring. I'm always down to collaborate when it makes sense. I'm looking forward to being connected with my foundry classmates and exploring all opportunities. 

PT: I think it really helps us explore different ideas and sounds alike. It keeps us on track to pushing the envelope.

EARMILK:  How do you, as an independent artist, best position yourself for international success?

FH: I feel like the best way to position myself for international success is to continue doing what I’m doing and make honest music while being open and ready for opportunities that come my way. 

PT: The best way I position myself as an independent is saying “Yes” to the right things at the right moment. As an independent you get the chance to not have to answer any way based on someone looking directly over your shoulders, you get the freedom to be like This here is a good call, it makes my gut feel good."  I can put anything out without allowing another product to be plastered all over our work.

The US has always been a melting pot of different cultural heritages, so it's not surprising to see the popularity of international music on the domestic scene.  No one could have predicted just how culturally dominant international music has become, however, with k-pop, afrobeats, and UK grime/drill having unprecedented effects on the charts over the past several years.  Speaking on which country's music scene has the best chance to catch on next in the US, Zeichner had to say, "Denbow is nothing new but we're super excited to be working with Tokischa from the Dominican Republic (the first Dominican artist to be part of Foundry), and it's super fundamental to music in general.  Also Afrobeats isn't going anywhere, I think Tems has the song of the summer with 'Essence' and we're very excited to be working with Bella Shmurda from Nigeria who's an amazing afrobeats artist.  This class also highlights the enduring and fundamental impact of R&B, both domestic and abroad, which is such an important genre in today's music landscape." 

Whatever the next international scene to take over in the US, it's clear to see that the current and future Foundry classes will be set up for success and primed to take their unique brands of music to a global audience.  

Categories:
Music Industry · News · Q&A

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments