YouTube Music’s global Foundry program announces biggest class of independent artists yet

Sep 23, 2019 - Product News

Today, YouTube Music is proud to welcome 14 new artists to Foundry, a global artist development program that helps independent artists use music and storytelling to engage fans across borders and build careers with a vision they uniquely define on their own. Following Foundry’s 2019 first class, announced in April, this new class is the biggest yet, bringing this year’s total number of Foundry supported artists to 25.

The new diverse Foundry class representing genres from around the globe include: the Norwegian bedroom pop singer-songwriter girl in red, in-demand rap and pop producer Kenny Beats, London folk-rock master and shoegazer Beabadoobee, Compton-raised house musician Channel Tres, jazzy South Korean pop-rocker Sam Kim, heavy-hitting country songwriter and solo act HARDY, glittery Parisian rapper Lean Chihiro, Bay Area alt-reggaeton newcomer La Doña, East England’s swoony teen balladeer Alfie Templeman, the electrifying Nigerian rapper and singer Rema, ingenious hip-hop experimentalist JPEGMAFIA, uniquely versatile Japanese artist Sanari, slow-burning Atlanta R&B singer Baby Rose, and the magnetic Oakland rapper Guapdad 4000.

“When I got selected for Foundry, I was so excited that someone would take such a huge chance on me,” said Kenny Beats, who began working with YouTube in 2018 to launch the first season of The Cave, a freestyle series he’ll launch a new season of as part of this Foundry class. “To have support and guidance when you’re starting for the first time, when there’s not already a template for what you’re doing? That’s been a huge part of our success.”

As part of Foundry, which began in 2016, independent artists at early stages of their careers receive development support as well as marketing and promotion. Artists partner with YouTube to experiment with content formats and learn best practices for growing and engaging their audience. In addition, they are given access to new YouTube Music products, to share feedback and help shape future features. With a focus on emerging musicians and original storytelling, Foundry complements other YouTube Music initiatives that aim to support and promote artists, such as the Artist Spotlight Stories series and Artist On The Rise program for artists on the cusp of superstardom.

Foundry’s previous class of artists includes Port-au-Prince DJ and producer Michael Brun, midwestern psych-soul guitarist Omar Apollo, and Dublin rapper Kojaque. Earlier Foundry alumni include breakout stars like Dua Lipa — who has now earned over 11M YouTube subscribers — as well as Rosalía, Dave, Gunna, Cuco, all innovative artists who joined the program at transformative moments in their careers.

“YouTube has always been the launchpad for my music,” said Dave, a UK rapper whose debut album Psychodrama won 2019’s Mercury Prize in September. Dave hit No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart with “Funky Friday” while participating in Foundry, and helped a fan become a viral sensation on YouTube this summer after inviting him to join him onstage at Glastonbury. “Being a part of Foundry meant that once my music and videos were ready to go, I knew they were in a position to make as much noise as possible. YouTube has helped me take my creative vision to the next level, and charted my journey from my earliest freestyles to singles that have been shot all over the world. YouTube has been there since the beginning. As an independent artist, that’s been an invaluable help along the way.”

girl in red, part of Foundry’s newest class, summed up YouTube’s crucial role in the development of a young artist saying, “I’m pretty sure my entire career as girl in red started because of a YouTube video. Someone shared my song on YouTube before I even knew my music was any good. If that hadn’t happened, I don’t think I would be where I am right now. It’s really cool to be selected for Foundry as I continue to develop. YouTube is the platform where I connect with people the most.”

For more from Foundry artists, subscribe to their channels and stay tuned to @YouTubeMusic’s socials for updates.

-- The YouTube Music team