The winners of the 2020/21 Drake Music Emergent Commissions, in partnership with Saffron, for early-career Disabled artists are announced today:
- Singer and musical self-expressionist Elle Chante (Midlands)
- Musician and performance artist R.Dyer (Brighton)
- Neo-soul guitarist Alebdo (South East)
We would like to thank everyone who applied for the commission opportunities and recognise the emotional and creative work that goes into applications.
The three selected artists will be creating new music responding to the theme of ‘Risk’. Each will bring the concept into their tracks in a different way, from a ‘reverse-psychology’ take from Elle Chante to a board-game interpretation from R.Dyer.
The Emergent Commissions are part of our Artistic Development programme, supporting Disabled musicians to progress their creative work and break into the music industry. As well as a paid opportunity to create new music the artists will also receive mentoring from other Disabled musicians.
The 2020/21 commissions are in partnership with Saffron, a music tech initiative taking an intersectional approach to redressing the gender imbalance in the industry.
Chief Executive of Drake Music, Carien Meijer commented:
“It’s really exciting to meet new artists and be there at the start of their career, or to support them to make a change of direction. We had an incredibly high standard of applications for this year’s commissions which we think shows just how much musical talent and passion is out there in the Disabled community.
We make our commissions accessible to Disabled artists and we hope this will lead the way to more inclusive opportunities within the industry and more equality across the music sector.
Disabled people are vastly under-represented in music, often dealing with inaccessible venues and recording spaces, or hiding the fact that they are Disabled to avoid discrimination. It’s time for that to change and for the industry to recognise and back the amazing music being made by Disabled artists like Elle Chante, Alebdo and R.Dyer.
We’re delighted to be able to support these talented artists to take risks and grow their careers.”
Meet the artists
Elle is a singer and musical self-expressionist based in the Midlands. Using her vocals, lyrics and instrumentation she strives to encompass, and share with the audience, the world that she lives in. A strong believer in the power of empathy and community, Elle aims to make music that creates space for people to better understand each other and themselves.
She is particularly interested in making work that explores issues of trauma, mental illness and disability, with the intention of connecting with people who share her experiences, and communicating with people who don’t.
“Being a disabled artist and struggling with mental health issues, risk is something that I find myself battling with day to day. That’s why I was really excited when I was accepted for this commission! This project for me is about using production and singing to musically embody this feeling, while challenging myself to take risks and progress as an artist by furthering my production skills.”
You can find her on social media under @ElleChanteUK
R.Dyer is an autistic musician and performance artist interested in the margins between song/sound, folk stories/improvisation and sublimity/hysteria. With the aid of a loop pedal, she uses everything from saxophone, found sounds, musical saw, nose-flute, marshmallows, games of bingo, visual art and more to create pop songs, soundscapes and surreal stories that teeter on the brink of failure, inviting chaos and audience response to shape performances.
A regular on the Brighton music scene she has supported Ana da Silva & PHEW!, Sarah Angliss, Richard Dawson, as well as creating two solo shows, Grief! Aspergers! Cupcakes! and Music for Meltdowns, and opening the Brighton Open Houses 2019 with an installation of tin-can phones. Over Lockdown she’s been writing power-pop and working on plans to record an album.
“It’s really exciting to be involved with Drake Music at this time, and I know their support will help me develop and finish my first album.”
You can find her on social media under @RDyerMusic.
Alebdo is a neo-soul musician who has been playing for around 6-7 years. A talented guitarist who also plays bass, piano and ‘dabbles’ in a few other instruments, he writes and produces his own tracks, demonstrating a natural ear for melody and hooks. For Alebdo, music is his love and offers a calm place, no matter the place or time or whatever else is going on in his life.
“I think Emergent is quite stellar!… Helping young artists get their dreams on track.”
The Emergent Commissions are funded by the PRS Foundation and Help Musicians UK. The commissions are awarded each year to 3 Disabled musicians working in any genre who are early in their career, or changing direction. The selected artists receive mentoring, technical support and showcase opportunities from Drake Music, alongside a financial award to create new music. They are part of DM Collective, Drake Music’s Artistic Development Programme.
The Emergent Commissions will be launched in March 2021. Watch this space!
Emergent is funded by PRS Foundation as part of their Talent Development Partnership, and Help Musicians UK. The 2020/21 Commissions are in partnership with Saffron.