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Meet The #YouTubeBlack Voices Artist Class of 2022

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Meet The #YouTubeBlack Voices Artist Class of 2022

  • By The YouTube Music Team
  • Oct.21.2021
Meet The #YouTubeBlack Voices Artist Class of 2022
From Australia to Uganda, the #YouTubeBlack Voices Artist Class of 2022 is pushing the boundaries of music.

Please meet the the #YouTubeBlack Voices Artist Class of 2022:

Azawi

Kampala, Uganda

Azawi: “My music is a fusion of African rhythms and sounds, heavily influenced by my life experience with traditional music. I have a passion for writing songs and desire to say something through my craft. I see the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund availing my work and brand to a bigger audience and platform, which means more exposure and opportunities for my career. ”

Barkaa

Barkindji Nation, Western NSW

Barkaa: “My music talks about the injustice of First Nations people here in so-called Australia and the impacts colonization has on my family and myself. It’s all about empowering my First Nations community, especially my sisters who are underrepresented in the hip hop scene here. This opportunity gives me the ability to take my vision to a whole other level, and I’m thankful that this will help bring my vision to life. I have a story to tell. This helps me paint that picture.”

Blanco Brown

Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Blanco Brown: “As an adult, I never really wanted to be an artist. But I got tired of selling my songs and hearing artists make up their own conclusions to my lyrics which meant something different to me, so I decided to express them vocally myself. That way I control the narrative. My music speaks to all generations! I would describe it as a familiar sound with a twist. Trailer park music, which is muddy country in my mind, meets trap music, which has 808’s, snares, and high hats in double time. I call it TrailerTrap. I feel that at times I work so hard and spread so much love that I forget to promote myself because this life isn’t about me! It’s such a blessing to have the opportunity for a major platform to support your purpose!”

Bree Runway

East London, England, United Kingdom

Bree Runway: “There is a huge gap in the market for Black pop stars, for edgy Black women who are genre-less and are just popping. I’m that girl, and I'd like to continue to solidify my spot in the industry as that girl. My music is explosive, packed with confidence and sass. On the flip side, there are hints of the emotional to and fros that we as humans go through. It’s genre bending. Sonically there is no limit for me. All my releases have something completely different to offer. It’s what keeps the Bree Runway sound fresh and exciting. I think this is a great opportunity to collaborate with some creatives that I've always wanted to work with to help elevate my content. Fire content goes hand in hand.”

Budjerah

Fingal Head, Australia

Budjerah: “The main reason I’m an artist is purely because I love to sing. I love music and singing so much that I don’t think I could do anything else. My inspiration comes from my family. They’re musicians who played a lot in church when I was growing up. Watching them really shaped a lot of my musical habits. I try to be honest in my music so everything I write comes from a story that’s happened to me. I really like to dump all my emotions into the music. I see the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund as an amazing opportunity, and I’m really grateful for it. I think it’ll help me reach more people around the world, which would be amazing.”

Cico P

Jacksonville, Texas, United States

Cico P: “My sound is what East Texas is all about — hustling, grinding, and making things happen for yourself. Everything about me is East Texas: the way I walk, talk, and make music. We're just different down here, and it's time the world knows. There's so much talent all over the state, but people usually only hear about Houston and Dallas rappers. I see the #YouTubeBlack Voices fund elevating my career in ways I would have never imagined. Providing me with resources and education on how to maximize everything I am doing is going to be a game changer in the long term. Being a part of this awesome program allows me to share my music globally, while shedding a spotlight on all the talented people in East Texas. Without this opportunity, that spotlight would not have been there, so I am grateful to YouTube for acknowledging our talent down here as well.”

Cimafunk

Pinar del Rio, Cuba

Cimafunk: “My lyrics have a lot of the Cuban sayings, the slang, the flavor, and reflect the way we as Cubans communicate in a relaxed, care-free way. You can see my identity reflected not only in my sound, but in the way I present myself and my work visually. The clothes, the looks, everything is connected to my roots. The flared pants, the platform shoes, the African print shirt, and also when I wear a more modern take on a guayabera — a shirt that is the Cuban national garment. I believe that the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund will also give visibility to and push the message of Black pride and Black awareness to more people: this feeling of being proud of who you are, feeling good about yourself, of embracing oneself and accepting how you are, accepting and being happy about being Black.”

CKay

Anambra, Nigeria

CKay: “My earliest contact with music was through my father, who was a choir conductor in a church. I decided to start writing my own music with the piano and guitar. That knowledge of instruments and digital production is an integral part of my music-making process. My traditional South-Eastern origin explains my use of Igbo language in my music as well as my extensive knowledge of highlife music.”

Dijon

Ellicott City, Maryland, United States

Dijon: “I think my music sounds like the open exchange of ideas, or maybe a fishing trip with friends. I just want to find new ways to describe universal things so seeing and hearing things around informs my work more than anything else. Working visually is something I’ve only done in moderation. So I see the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund helping contribute to telling some of these stories in different avenues.”

Elaine

Pretoria, South Africa

Elaine: “My music is a warm, honest, and pure representation of who I am — a hopeless romantic. I became an artist because of my love for R&B and the iconic Black women such as Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Lebo Mathosa, and Brenda Fassie. My dad also played a huge role in my love and admiration for music. I’m constantly inspired by my experiences and my deep love for turning my feelings into art. The Fund will give me — a Black South African girl — the platform to be heard, seen, and celebrated on a global stage.”

EST Gee

Louisville, Kentucky, United States

EST Gee: “My music is just that energy and the vision of the island ‘Louisville, KY’ where I’m from. It’s a vivid picture of what’s going on in my city and every other city in the world. I’m a street artist, so I’m giving you real street stories and giving you a different perspective on how I see it. The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund will allow me to create more content, get more creative with the content I present on YouTube, and help grow the EST brand as well as the artists signed under that brand.”

Jonathan Ferr

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Jonathan Ferr: “I describe my music as medicine music. I make music for the listener to take deep journeys into themselves. I mix jazz, hip-hop, Brazilian electronic music, classical, and other things, and I call it URBAN JAZZ. My parents influenced me a lot. Despite them not being musicians, music has always been present in my life. I remember when I was little, my parents would watch a pianist's TV show, and I would be between them receiving love and affection while listening to jazz classics. It was there that I fell in love with the piano. What inspires me is everything I hear, everything I like to see. Movies inspire me, meditating inspires me, everything beautiful inspires me. As far as the Fund, I believe I will have more opportunities to amplify my voice on the biggest platform in the world. I believe in the power of art, and this program will be a powerful ally to broaden my career and also amplify the voices of the Black community. One voice speaks for many voices.”

Jords

Croydon, England, United Kingdom

Jords: “My music is a shapeshifting, musical backdrop with rap at its core. Global but local! My earliest influence in music would be Wretch 32, Ghetts, Stevie Wonder, and Lauryn Hill. I started making music because it felt like a place where I could truly be myself. My identity is central to my work. Everything I do is because of who I am, who my ancestors are, and the community that surrounds me. I believe #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund will definitely be a massive elevation for my career. It just opens a lot of doors for myself and the people around me, and will help me a lot with my mission.”

Kadhja Bonet

Long Beach, California, United States

Kadhja Bonet: “My decision to become a musical artist kind of blindsided me. I was in college studying film and feeling discouraged. I borrowed a friend’s guitar and instantly became addicted. I had to take a leave from school to get to know the instrument because I didn't want to think about anything else. After that I was resolute. Music has given me the space to experiment with my thoughts and self awareness, and challenge social constructs. I am so stoked to have been selected for the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund. I am planning to use these funds to create projects that contribute positively to Black culture and define my own form of activism. I intend to bridge my interests in music and film/TV, and invest in projects that will create long-lasting impressions and longevity for my career.”

Kamille

London, England, United Kingdom

Kamille: “My music is honest, melodic, empowering, super creative, and always tells a story. I’m a songwriter at heart, and I love telling a story through everything I do. A strong beat and iconic melody always lies at the center of my songs. As a Black Caribbean woman, my identity is everything. There’s a raw, unapologetic truth to the things I say, which is something I can only put down to the empowering way I was raised and the role models I had. Standing up for myself and being heard was a must for me growing up and still is now. I’m so grateful for this opportunity as it will allow me to fully capitalize on the platform’s capabilities and tools to help ensure moments of higher engagement and growth from fans and audiences that are invested into the #YouTube Black Voices campaign and what it represents!”

Liniker

São Paulo, Brazil

Liniker: “My music follows passion and the heart. These characteristics have put me in direct contact with what I feel and believe. My work takes place in a market in Brazil where music has been made and built independently and very collectively. In this way, I would say that my art and my music are communication tools for what we are living here and now. It is an immense joy that I have been selected for the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund because this is a way to be able to direct my narrative and my platform to the world, to make my work connect with anyone available to listen and relate to what I have produced — an artist, a Black woman whose goal is that freedom be a present and ever-expanding place so that our stories are preserved in the now and our voices continue to echo.”

Liza

Toronto, Canada

Liza: “My dad got me my first karaoke machine when I was four years old and I was inseparable. I knew I wanted to write music and tell stories when I was seven or eight and first heard “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. I always knew music was it for me. It was my ultimate form of expression. I don’t think becoming an artist was really a decision. It was more of a calling; this is what I’m meant to do with my life. Everything I create is a product of who I am and my experiences. The art I create is inspired by the Black artists that came before me. I’m so grateful to come from a culture that carries so much depth and history, where the historical pain and trauma was used to create something beautiful through artistic expression. I see #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund impacting my career by providing me with resources to grow and share my work with a wider audience. Having the support of YouTube to amplify my existing platform, while also gaining access to programs to further my artistry, will only contribute to my growth as an artist and creator.”

Midwxst

Carmel, Indiana, United States

Midwxst: “My music can be described as a peek into the everyday thoughts and actions of an anxious and self-conscious teenager who has an occasional boost of confidence in himself. I find it challenging at times to tell people about my problems. So I speak to my microphone instead. The ability to impact other people's lives and use my music as a tool of healing and relatability is the main inspiration behind my music. I talk about a lot of things that have happened to me personally with the hope that someone who has also endured similar experiences can relate and understand it to the same extent I do. The Fund will enable me to further cement myself in the musical and cultural space as an artist who doesn't only care about making music but also inspiring others to believe in themselves. I have a unique opportunity to leverage my platform to educate and build awareness about other topics such as mental health across all communities — especially for young boys and men who look like me.”

Monaleo

Houston, Texas, United States

Monaleo: “I would describe my music as unapologetic, vulgar, raunchy, and just free-spirited. I feel like Black culture in general inspires my sound and my lyrics. Also certain experiences inspire my lyrics, too. Most of the time my lyrics are based on situations that I am actually going through. I feel like that is what really influences my music. The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund will impact my career because as an independent artist, the majority of the time the things we have to worry about are how we are going to get the funds to really bring our vision and creativity to life? It will help me really show my true creativity and have the resources I need for a successful career.”

Nija

Union, New Jersey, United States

Nija: “Beyoncé influenced my decision to become an artist. I worked with her as a songwriter, and she told me that I had the best tone in the world and shortly afterwards featured me on her song "My Power." I would say that she 100 percent inspires me and my music just by being the strong, Black, hardworking woman she is. I'm also inspired by life as a whole and experiencing new things at a new level. I see #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund impacting my career in a major way. It is an opportunity to get my creative vision off and also connect with my fans on a deeper level. I started off my career as a songwriter. I’ll always be a songwriter, but I’m really excited that this fund allows me to show people a bit more of who I am by pushing not only my personality but personal experiences to the forefront.”

NorthSideBenji

Toronto, Canada

NorthSideBenji: “My biggest inspirations are my brother and my life. Everything around me and everything I go through. That’s what inspires me to make music. Just the idea of making a better life for ourselves and the ones who come after us is important to me. I want to create generational wealth. As far as my identity, I am my work. My work is me. What you see is what you get. The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund couldn't come at a better time. It’s definitely going to help boost my album and help get my videos shot the way they should be.”

NSG

London, England, United Kingdom

NSG: “We would describe our music as world music, a sort of vibe and feeling that can’t be located or reconstructed anywhere else. Our passion for music started from school and always recording ourselves, which grew into a hobby that we knew we were destined for greatness. The funding and opportunity with YouTube helps spread the message of NSG to a wider audience allowing us to infect more people with the vibe we bring to the music scene.”

Omah Lay

Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Omah Lay: “My background influences my music in a whole lot of ways. I am Nigerian born and raised in Port Harcourt. The strong culture we have back home, and the environment as well, play a big role in how I make my music. My music speaks to the people that love me, the people I love, and the people who have been through what I have been through. I see the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund impacting my career in different ways. It will ease the financial burden of production for my music and some lifestyle-related content that I am embarking on, as well as in marketing them to a greater audience.”

Rico Dalasam

São Paulo, Brazil

Rico Dalasam: “My music brings together current sounds and references from across the African diaspora. This is the setting where I place confessional poems from a Brazilian songbook of the present. I am a crossroads of all the layers that life has brought me, and today I translate this into music. I don't like to be doomed to anything! My biggest reference is the simple and magical people that life gives us, children, old, and enchanted. The collaboration with YouTube can help in the making and propagation of my final product. That's a good thing. Dreams often don't come true because resources are lacking even if there is plenty of talent. Good luck to us.”

Savannah Ré

Toronto, Canada

Savannah Ré: “I would describe my music as a deep dive experience. I say exactly what I’m feeling in an unfiltered way. While it can be very upfront, it also feels like the hug you didn’t know you needed. My work is a part of my identity. The way I write, move, and perform all comes from my roots and background. I’m blessed to be Canadian. I wouldn’t change it for even a second. I do, however, believe the support of Black musicians here still has a ways to go. This Fund will be able to create access to a lot of resources I wouldn’t otherwise be able to have.”

Slick Rick

Bronx, New York, United States

Slick Rick: "My music and art is a collective of imagination, grit, and storytelling with no apologies. From Dionne Warwick, The Beatles, Grandmaster Caz to Missy Elliott… these are my musical heroes. Ambiance, environment, and fashion spark my creativity. It's an honor to partner with YouTube via the BCF Initiative to utilize my pulpit, platform, and presence to share what endurance, the power of imagination, and pure authenticity looks like in the creative artists space.”

Tai Verdes

Palos Verdes, Los Angeles, CA

Tai Verdes: “My music is my thoughts. I try to keep things super authentic and never sing about things that don’t feel real to me. Being vulnerable is just something that you can’t really compare to anything else. It’s like a superpower. My identity is just a combination of my past experiences and situations. I make the music for myself. I don’t really make it for anyone else. The best part of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund is that it lets me be even more creative. I can try things, make mistakes, and get better, which is the whole point of being an artist. This whole project is adding fuel to the fire, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Tamera

Kent, England, United Kingdom

Tamera: “My love for creating beautiful things from a young age pushed me to become an artist, whether that be painting, writing, singing, or dancing. It made me feel alive so I knew I wanted to be some form of an artist very early on in my life. My music is always going to be an experience, an insight to who I am and what I’m going through. It currently lives in the R&B world but transcends through other genres like Afroswing, reggaeton, and hip hop. I think the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund is an incredible opportunity for young Black artists to really be heard and seen! I’m gearing up to drop my first project so this grant will help massively with bringing my ideas to life. I’m honored to be part of it.”

Tasha & Tracie

São Paulo, Brazil

Tasha & Tracie: We've always loved music. Our parents breathed music, so I think that influenced a lot, but our dad's Igbo culture was really inspiring because musical experiences were magical for us both at church and at parties. We get a lot of inspiration from our own life, and affective memories where we want to go also inspires a lot in our music. I would describe our sound as Gemini, and it's also very outskirts of São Paulo! Geminiano because it has many different influences just like us. It's a really crazy mix. We grew up going in pagodas on the street and in flux, and listening to all kinds of rap. There's also a lot of forró in any periphery, and the whole atmosphere that we grew up in inspires us. In short, our sound is Gemini, peripheral from São Paulo, and is made up of emotional memory.”

Teezo Touchdown

Beaumont, Texas, United States

Teezo Touchdown: “One night me and my family went to the movies to go see Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets, but it was sold out and Drumline was the only movie available. So I went to see Drumline, and it influenced me to be in band, which led to my appreciation for songwriting and showmanship. What influences my music is to one day have my art inspire someone like Drumline did to me. In Drumline, Nick Cannon received a full ride scholarship to Atlanta A&T from his music ability. I look at this grant from YouTube as my full ride that I plan to invest into this career that will inspire generations to come.“

whiterosemoxie

Detroit, Michigan, United States

whiterosemoxie: ““My music sounds like if you could hear the feeling of butterflies in your stomach. My identity and my work ethic are very multifaceted. I am constantly inspired by my surroundings and my adversity. Artists who push the boundaries of their craft also inspire me and my music. The #YoutubeBlack Voices Fund will impact my career by amplifying my voice to a larger platform, helping me to connect with more people.”

Check out music from these artists on the Class of 2022 playlist here.