Launched in 2015, Foundry is YouTube Music’s global artist development programme serving the independent music community and allowing artists access to resources to help them thrive on YouTube and build careers on their own terms.
Following the release of the 1st and 2nd Sermon installation and subsequently, ‘Kwaku The Traveller’ Black Sherif’s global appeal is on the ascendancy as his style cuts across different demographics and geographic locations making him a headliner on different playlists across the digital stream platforms spectrum.
YouTube Music has announced the Foundry Class of 2022, made up of 30 independent artists representing 15 countries from across the globe. This year, the class which is the biggest to date, features artists at all stages of their careers from different genres- including two African acts, Black Sherif, from Ghana and Joeboy, from Nigeria
The Foundry program which is aimed at assisting the artists to build sustainable careers on their own has so far supported 250 independent artists. Alumni include Arlo Parks, beabadoobee, Dave, Dua Lipa, Clairo, ENNY, Eladio Carrion, girl in red, Gunna, Japanese Breakfast, Kenny Beats, Natanael Cano, Omar Apollo, Rema, Rina Sawayama, ROSALÍA, Saba, Snail Mail, Tems, Tenille Arts and many more talented musicians. Foundry artists are recognised for their storytelling, and innovative approach to music and are viewed as the next generation entertainers.
YouTube Artist Partnerships Lead, Naomi Zeichner shared, “It’s no small task to be an artist in 2022, working to find stability, fulfilment, and fans who get it. Foundry celebrates the courage of independent artists and the communities that surround them. Our global team is lucky to be their champion and reduce barriers on their journey, every step of the way.”
The 2022 Foundry Class reinforces YouTube’s commitment to supporting Sub-Saharan artists as next-generation global music stars; playing a part in developing individual talent in the region. The Foundry programme ensures that artists can be independent and still have a successful career in music with the support of platforms like YouTube and this year will power two programs, the Foundry Class of 2022 and the independent release support.
Joeboy said, “Being an independent artist simply requires me to be at the centre of all of my dealings as a creative. Aside from creating the music, I have to carry out due diligence to make sure I am making the right decisions every now and then.”
SA YouTube Music Lead, Addy Awofisayo shared, “We believe that lowering the barrier to entry that unlocks opportunities for music artists to create and connect with a global audience is crucial. But beyond that, Foundry will assist the music artists participants in navigating a new increasingly digital industry as they connect with fans and generate revenue.”
Foundry is designed for independent artists who have a vision for their own success and to help them navigate the demands of today’s music industry. YouTube provides partner strategy support, marketing promotion, and seed funding for content development that can be used for experimenting with new music to diversify video creation formats.
Black Sherif said, “Success as an independent artist is connecting with one more person on any level through my music. Once that is constantly achieved, in my opinion, everything else will follow. Being a Foundry artist for me means a strong global platform with support to visually take my expression to the next level and reach more people in the process.”