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Alumni ‘trailblazers’ awarded funding to support grass-roots accessibility in music

Tue 10 November 2020

Ezra Collective selected for the first round of the Youth Music Incubator Fund to develop new and diverse talent.

Youth Music’s new £2 million Incubator Fund is designed to improve access to sustainable creative careers for people aged 18-25 by providing grants of £5,000 to £30,000 to creative businesses, collectives and not-for-profits.

London-based Ezra Collective are among the forward-thinking creatives to have received funding, selected for their ‘viable and progressive plans to drive better equality in the music industry’.

The band – comprised of Trinity Laban alumni Dylan Jones (trumpet), Femi Koleoso (drums) and Joe Armon Jones (keys), with James Mollison (saxophone) and TJ Koleoso (bass) – will use the grant to deliver a training and mentoring programme for young, black women in behind-the-scenes roles across management, live sound, tour management and band leadership.

Bandleader Femi Koleoso commented –

“The underrepresentation of black women in the industry is something really close to our hearts, with six black members of our team. Mentoring, community and role models are at the core of Ezra Collective with all of us growing through Tomorrow’s Warriors who provided that for us and instilled those values in us.

“The plan is simple, ‘each one teaches one’, and we’re channelling this through each member of the team training and mentoring young, black women with the ambition of supporting them into paid roles across the industry. […] Inclusivity and representation are at the heart of the band and our music. The funding means this exciting new project is possible.”

Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music, said –

“The organisations we’re funding are trailblazers in their own fields. […] What’s particularly special with our Incubator Fund is seeing individuals who kicked off their careers at Youth Music funded organisations, including Reprezent Radio and Tomorrow’s Warriors, now spearheading the changemaking projects that we’re funding, such as No Signal and Ezra Collective. That’s the long-term impact of investing in grassroots music.”

Find out more about our jazz department.

Trinity Laban have teamed up with Tomorrow’s Warriors to deliver Jazz Taster sessions for young musicians aged 11-16 year-olds interested in exploring jazz. We particularly welcome interest from Black or female young musicians who are at an early stage of their engagement with jazz. You can register your interest for the December workshops using our online form.

Image credit Dan Medhurst