2021 Mercury Prize puts PPL Momentum Music Fund artists in spotlight
The PPL Momentum Music Fund selection process was given the seal of approval by this year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize after four of its previously endorsed artists were nominated for the prestigious album award.
Having all been previously awarded PPL Momentum Music Fund grants worth between £5,000 and £15,000, Black Country, New Road, Floating Points, Hannah Peel and Nubya Garcia received another career boost in July when they were selected for the 2021 Mercury Prize shortlist, made up of what the event judges deemed the 12 best British and Irish albums of the past year.
There were also nominations for another four acts who had been backed by other schemes that are supported by PRS Foundation, which is the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development across all genres. These include the SXSW International Showcase Fund, which is also supported by PPL. A number of the PPL Momentum Fund and PRS Foundation supported acts also performed at the Mercury Prize’s 2021 Awards show, which was held on 9 September at the Eventim Apollo in London’s Hammersmith and broadcast on BBC Four and BBC 6 Music.
Black Country, New Road and Nubya Garcia, who secured Mercury nominations for their respective debut albums For The First Time and SOURCE, had both received PPL Momentum Music Fund support specifically for album projects. The London rock band were among 14 acts to be given funding in October 2019, which for them was earmarked to pay for the recording of their first album and tour it throughout the UK. Jazz artist Garcia was part of a round of 16 artists to win funding in October 2018, which was to help her write, record and produce.
Fellow Mercury nominees Floating Points (nominated with Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra for Promises) and Hannah Peel (nominated for Fir Wave) were both PPL Momentum Fund pioneers as they were among the first ten acts to ever receive support from the scheme back in August 2013. They were chosen from around 500 submitted Momentum Fund applications by a panel of specialist music advisors, including representatives from record labels and booking agencies, radio DJs and journalists. The Fund itself had been launched at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton in May of that year with public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
PPL came on board as a core partner of the Momentum Fund in 2017 to provide vital financial support and industry expertise alongside working collaboratively with PRS Foundation on joint events and promotional activities. In 2020 the programme was renamed the PPL Momentum Music Fund to reflect a closer partnership between PPL and the charity in supporting new music, as well as an increased financial contribution. By that stage, the artists the Fund had helped included Years & Years, Kae Tempest, Ms Banks, Sam Fender, Anna Calvi, Novelist and Moses Boyd. Another 55 acts received support in 2020. Grants are offered four times a year to enable talented UK artists to take the vital next step in their careers, whether it is recording an album, touring or marketing and promotion.