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Watch: Bristol Beacon and Big Team inspire Next Level artists

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We’re deep into the festival season, so it feels like the right time for us to reflect on the relentless energy that has exploded out of the Next Level project since its inception in April earlier this year.

Next Level is part of our collaborative approach to artist development, co-produced with Big Team, supporting singers, rappers and MCs aged 18-25.

Last week artists from the project were smashing up the stage at Boomtown Festival, fresh off the back of sets at Love Saves The Day and some other small event on Worthy Farm called Glastonbury… or something.

When we co-created the project earlier this year, we always knew we wanted to help connect artists to opportunities, we saw so much achieved and so quickly!

“We managed to improve as humans and as artists. Meet friends for life. Bond with mentors and create great relationships”

Dem2

“Quite possibly the best week of my music career. It really was a pure joy to be a part of and really energised me to be around such a wonderful group of people”

N.Y.T.A

Watch the documentary

(4 mins)

In April 2022 we launched Next Level with Big Team and partnered with some of Bristol’s biggest names in music – Team Love, Pirate Studios, Crack Magazine and SWU FM – to find and inspire six local upcoming acts with an unparalleled heavyweight package of artist development support.

The search was on to find the future of Bristol’s sounds and the ones to watch for 2022. After receiving a stack of applications from local vocalists and MCs, we narrowed our selection down to the six amazing artists for our 2022 cohort: Dem2, Nat Oaks, Zero Teddy, Damzys, Xyzelle and Dolly Doo.

Since then, over the past five months, these artists have learnt from an expert group of professional producers and vocalists, taking them to the next level from studio to stage and beyond.

Watch the short documentary looking back over the year so far, immerse yourself in their sounds, and discover how the Next Level 2022 artists are defining the future of music in Bristol.

From studio to showcase

We’re not ones to hang about. After the Next Level participants had been selected, we wasted no time in getting straight to the music with a week of studio sessions to write, record and create demos. All with the guidance of established artists Sam Interface, Eva Lazarus, Res One, Dread MC, Fiyahdred and N.Y.T.A who formed the mega mentor team.

The material was getting prepped and polished for good reason because, at the end of the week, rehearsals were in full swing for the Next Level Showcase at Bristol Beacon. If you weren’t there, then trust us when we say everyone fully turned up to perform for a packed-out audience of over 300.

“I got a huge feeling of joy, seeing the progression of all the artists. I saw determination and a huge sense of achievement from each of them and even after the project I have continued to see their development and growth.”

Dread MC

A group of people sat around a studio space as a workshop takes place

Host and DJ: Vanessa Maria

Next Level Showcase 2022

Next Level Showcase host Vanessa Maria hyped the crowd whilst welcoming each act to the stage.

A regular on the airwaves, from NTS to Rinse and even BBC1xtra, Vanessa has also had recent collaborations with VICE, Boiler Room and Mixcloud to name but a few.

Soak up the sounds of Vanessa’s opening set, recorded live on the night.

Headliner: Jords

Next Level Showcase 2022

To top off the bill, we were blessed to be joined by headliner Jords, who is fast gaining traction on the scene, he has already gained support from some of the biggest names in radio, Annie Mac, Mistajam, Julie Adenuga and DJ Target, he puts celebrating Black culture at the centre of his artistry.

“Everyone shelled it, the area really needs to get behind the talent here and other things like this”

Jords

A DJ and vocalist performing on stage
Next Level Showcase 2022

Crack Magazine, SWU FM and Love Saves The Day

Once the dust had settled from the showcase it was back to business as Crack Magazine joined us for an exclusive workshop dissecting the world of music and media which included looking at press, PR, content and release campaigns through the lens of case studies on J Hus, Top Boy and Grimes.

With all the hooks from the tracks still whirling around our heads, it was time to hear them again as the whole squad descended on SWU FM for a live radio broadcast as part of a full ‘Love Saves The Day Takeover’ day on the revered drive-time slot. The thought of the supported artist’s tunes booming out of car stereos across the city is certainly a sweet one!

Person performing on a festival stage with a large banner behind them
Two people performing in a radio studio

“I personally had never been to Bristol Beacon before and so it was nice to perform on my first visit, I think it will always hold a special place in my heart because of this.”

Damzys

“I gained valuable exposure and met people in the industry! A new little family. Loved it and very grateful!”

Dolly Doo

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