27 Sep 2020
Drake Music 2020/21 Ascendant Commissionees Announced
On the 18th of September Drake Music announced that spoken word artist Miss Jacqui and rapper and producer Signkid are the winners of our 2020/21 Ascendant Commissions!
The Ascendant Commissions are funded by PRS Foundation through the Talent Development Partnership programme and Help Musicians UK. They aim to support Disabled musicians who are ‘rising in power or influence’, but are still under-the-radar.
Spoken word artist and songwriter Miss Jacqui was thrust into the spotlight after a performance at the 2012 Paralympic team welcoming ceremonies. Miss Jacqui’s music gives listeners a glimpse into what it means to be a Black Disabled woman, on a quest to be free from the perception of others.
Having spent over 10 years in the poetry circuit under the mentorship of poetry legend Kat Francois, Miss Jacqui wants her music to help her listeners see the world differently.
Her debut EP “Perception” came out in 2018 and was a bold step in establishing herself and her disabled activism within walls of the music industry.
Miss Jacqui commented:
“When you are a minority in a minority in a minority, you have no choice but to stand out. I want to break as many stereotypes as possible when it comes to me being a black woman with a disability.”
Photo Credit: Wellcome Collection
Signkid (aka Kevin Walker) is a renowned Deaf music artist, making waves in the Hip-Hop and rap music scene.
He is the UK’s first and only Deaf music producer, writer, and performer to have pioneered and developed a unique aesthetic by integrating and adapting British Sign Language (BSL) signing into a visual language suited specifically for live Hip-Hop, Rap, and Urban music performance.
Signkid has been supported by the MOBO Help Musicians Fund and has played numerous gigs, notable performing at Wireless Festival for Big Shaq. His second EP is out now.
Miss Jacqui and Signkid will collaborate together to create new music for their Ascendant Commissions and will benefit from mentoring, technical support and showcase opportunities from Drake Music.
Daryl Beeton, DM Collective Lead at Drake Music said:
“We are incredibly excited to be working with Miss Jacqui and Signkid. Both artists bring a huge amount to the table, creatively-speaking, and we are pleased to support them to take the next steps in their career. Being an independent artist in music today takes an enormous amount of work, and that’s even more the case when you factor in just how inaccessible most of the industry is. There is a lack of representation for Disabled artists broadly, and for Black Disabled artists more specifically, which makes that challenge even more difficult. We want to work to change that and connecting with these two talented Black Disabled artists, who both use their music to express their experiences and reflect on the world around them, is definitely a step in the right direction. We are excited to be bringing them together as artists with really distinctive voices and creative styles. We can’t wait to hear and see the outcome of their collaboration.”
The Commission process will begin with creative workshops led by the DM Artists in Residence, followed by a period of time for collaboration, writing and producing their new music. The results will be released in 2021 and shared at a DM Live Showcase event.
The Ascendant Commissions are part of DM Collective, Drake Music’s Artist Development programme, providing accessible career and creative opportunities for Disabled musicians at all stages of their career.