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News October 22, 2021

Five Australian artists selected for YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class

Senior Journalist, B2B
Five Australian artists selected for YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class

Step on down Barkaa, Budjerah, Dallas Woods, Kobie Dee and YAOB.

The soon-to-be famous five are selected for YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022, a 54-strong membership of Black artists, songwriters, and producers from around the globe.

Barkaa and Budjerah are tapped for YouTube’s Voices Artist Class, while Dallas Woods, Kobie Dee and YAOB are part of streamer’s Voices Songwriter and Producer Class.

Selection promises to be both leg-up and an educational experience for this year’s class, all of whom will receive dedicated partner support from YouTube in the months ahead, plus seed funding to help develop their channels, bespoke training, workshops and networking programs.

Legendary rapper and producer Slick Rick returns to play a mentoring role for this year’s crop, and he’ll take a leadership role for educational and networking programs.

Following the inaugural 2021 class, YouTube expanded its program to include Black songwriters and producers.

“YouTube is still committed to amplifying Black voices and music on our platform, so we knew we had to go even bigger for the #YouTubeBlack Voices Music Class of 2022,” comments Lyor Cohen, Global Head of Music.

“We’ve added new members, new regions, and of course the legendary Slick Rick The Ruler, as our first ever mentor member. Let’s continue walking the walk.”

Lyor Cohen press shot 2016 sitting on steps

Lyor Cohen

The initiative is backed by the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, announced earlier this year with the goal to amplify Black voices on YouTube.

The YouTube nod caps a particularly outstanding week for Budjerah, the rising 19-year-old singer-songwriter who on Wednesday (Oct. 20) landed five 2021 ARIA Award nominations, including Best Artist, Best Soul/R&B Release and the Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist.

All five Aussie classmates are introduced today with a blog piece and visuals on YouTube, in addition to personalised backgrounders (see below).

#YouTubeBlack Voices Artist Class of 2022

Barkaa

Barkindji Nation, Western NSW

“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.”

Budjerah

Fingal Head, Australia

“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.”

#YouTubeBlack Voices Songwriter & Producer Class of 2022

Dallas Woods

Wyndham, West Australia, Australia

“I’m a proud Menang Noongar man. I grew up in Wyndham in Western Australia’s East Kimberley. For the last three years I have been writing, collaborating, making, and releasing music and content. My music is a reflection of my personality and truths, mixed with freedom of speech and movement, with some conscious, cheeky bars with high end production and beats. My music is me talking about some hard-hitting truths behind some hard-hitting beats wrapped up with a whole lotta love and energy. I see the #YoutubeBlack Voices Fund impacting my career by enabling me to connect, explore, create, and collaborate. It will enable me to create music and content, expand my audience, and build followers and fans that will hear my story and see my artistic vision. Using the platform will enable me to create my own community within my channel and be able to build that audience. It will allow me to show people some behind the scenes and get an insight into my creative process. I will be creating music to push change in the right direction for POC and for all the tribes and clans — for Australia.”

Kobie Dee

South Sydney, Bidjigal Land, Australia

“I would describe my music as reality rap. A lot of my music that I make is about my surroundings and my environment growing up. It’s me telling my story and the story of my community. My identity and my lived experience informs all my work. I write music that shares insight to things I’ve gone through, battled with, and have overcome. The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund is a great opportunity that’s going to support me to keep writing, keep creating, and doing what I love. I hope it helps me elevate my voice and reach more people.”

YAOB

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

“Growing up in a mixed cultural family, I was exposed to a wide variety of musical influences. I would listen to soul and African music that my mother would play, and funk and Arabic music that my dad would listen to. The one thing that my ear was always drawn to was the bass lines in songs, no matter the genre. This variety has influenced my music to be rhythmic and diverse. I love to bring energy and smiles and happiness to people. You never know how someone is actually feeling, so to be light and happy could really make someone’s day, which I think is reflected in my music. At the end of the day, to me, that’s what life is about. Lifting others up and lending your time and energy to build a community. Honestly, this opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time given the circumstances we are under at the moment. It will help fund the project and give me more time to focus on the goals I really want to achieve. Not just for myself, but for the people around me that I would love to collaborate with to create something amazing, and to build connections that will last a very long time.”

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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