Digital: Connect Bursaries Announced


As part of the Digital:Connect programme, we made 4 micro-bursaries of £500 available to support Disabled artists of colour who face intersecting discrimination. The bursaries are intended to help the artists to grow as a musician, to develop their creative/musical practice and to reduce barriers to music-making.

Today we are pleased to announce the 4 artists selected to receive Digital:Connect Artist Bursaries. Read all about them below and then look up, follow and listen to their music!

DJ Soca Haze

DJ Soca Haze smiles as he plays a cuatro, which looks like a small guitar. He is a black man with short locs and a moustache.

DJ Soca Haze (also known as Glen Greaves) plays Parang, Soca, IslandPop, Calypso, RapSo and other genres blended with Soca.

Since being asked to DJ for a Carnival troupe at Leeds West Indian Carnival in 2007 he has become a regular on the trucks at UK Caribbean Carnival Parades. Cutting up a track live during one of the Parades led to his interest in producing music and so he took part in a Drake Music short course on Music Production and Performance.

Glen plays cuatro and makes percussive beats with whatever is to hand (a Trinidadian tradition), before adding instruments electronically in Ableton. Since the course he has begun performing spoken word and mixing words with music as well as touring with Callaloo Carnival Arts.

His most recent work is a Soca Parang track which he wrote, performed and produced and is available on Bandcamp now.

Jova and the Wave

Jova is a young latinx person who is standing in a rain poncho with one fist raised aloft.

Jova Bagioli Reyes is a queer, neurodiverse, latinx musician based in Manchester. Their solo project, Jova and the Wave, experiments with combining various genres such as alternative rock, post-punk, psychedelic, and synthwave with Jova’s Latin folk heritage. They have performed at events with Black Gold Arts, ¡QueerRiot! And P4TH Eclectic Virtual Fest.

Jova’s music is politically and socially unapologetic, staying true to the latinx tradition of the protest song, and aims to inspire its listeners in the turbulent times of 21st century.

Listen to their tracks available on SoundCloud and follow them on Instagram (@jovaandthewave) and Facebook (Jova and the Wave).

Radikal Queen

Radikal Queen is a young black woman wearing a skirt and top made from brightly-coloured traditional African wax print fabric. She has an afro and wears a small crown and a slight smile.

Radikal Queen is a seasoned solo artist, who also thrives in collaboration, she is currently working on her studio album, I Just Detangled My Afro, set for summer release.

Radikal Queen began her career in theatre, spoken word and performance, training with Tricycle Theatre Arts, founding a theatre troupe called Spirit Sisters and working with the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater in Minneapolis. She also worked in grassroots community projects, including facilitating theatre workshops at Crisis in Newcastle.

Having written from a young age, Radikal Queen won an Apples & Snakes award in 2010. She has been a featured artist on BBC Newcastle’s emerging artist list, and later co-founded Collective Identity, a grassroots music collective based in the North East. In 2019 a career-defining highlight was supporting Benjamin Zephaniah at the Sage Centre in Newcastle.

Eve’s Alibi, the first single from her forthcoming album, is available on all streaming platforms now.

Ruth Ojadi

Ruth is a Black woman with long hair and white framed glasses. She smiles and rests her head on her hand.

Ruth Ojadi is a neuro-diverse creative from North London who is keen to share her passion for performance and music making to a wider audience. She is only too aware how those in a similar position can be over looked as their confidence and sense of self is pushed further back. Trained classically and later going on to study jazz music at Middlesex University, Ruth is a jazz/pop singer songwriter. Ruth appeared on the BBC’s 2011 documentary Tourettes: I Swear I Can Sing. After the producers of the documentary discovered her love for performing and singing, Tourettes: Let Me Entertain You was commissioned and aired in 2012.

Ruth plans to create music and visual art which explores and challenges stereotypes of what it is to be a minority, within a minority, within a minority. Black, woman, disability to name but a few of the classifications Ruth would be expected to tick, but doesn’t feel should ultimately define her. She feels her work speaks to a spectrum of people, as it’s only when we share and communicate that our initial differences can garner familiar similarities.

About the process

There were a lot of applicants for the Digital:Connect Artist Bursaries and our panel spent time carefully considering and discussing each application before making their decision.

We would like to thank every person who applied and recognise the work that went into their applications.

Since making the selections we have sent individual feedback to every applicant and have offered further advice and support where possible, including the opportunity to share music or thoughts on our website in the future.

We are working to improve the accessibility and after-care of our commissioning and bursary processes. We want to support artists with compassion and have been inspired in some of our thinking by this recent guest post on our website from musician Jo-anne Cox.

Black background, circles of rainbow coloured light and the DM logo

The Digital:Connect project is managed by DM creative facilitator, Abigail Ward.

Funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, along with the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Garrick Charitable Trust, has helped us to create Digital:Connect.

Image: Tyler Lastovich

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