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YouTube teams up with Mr Eazi to support Nigerian artists

GOOGLE FOR NIGERIA: Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, left, and Mr Eazi

YOUTUBE HAS teamed up with Mr Eazi to support emerging Nigerian musicians.

The video-sharing and streaming platform will work with Mr Eazi's emPawa Africa initiative to support 10 upcoming Nigerian artists to build their craft, increase their fanbase and connect with the world through YouTube.

YouTube's contribution will go towards enabling the artists to shoot videos, record music, and get mentoring.

Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music and Mr Eazi announced the partnership on stage at the Google for Nigeria event yesterday.

“It’s critical to develop the next generation of talent -- and there is so much talent exploding out of Nigeria and the African continent right now. Africa is setting the tempo all around the globe,” said Cohen.

He added: “We’re incredibly proud that YouTube has been a mainline for African artists to connect all over the world -- and by supporting one of the leading African trailblazers like Mr Eazi and his emPawa initiative, we’re excited to see how these artists supercharge their careers and grow their fanbase on YouTube.”

Mr Eazi said: “emPawa is an initiative I created with one simple mission: Helping new artists reach their full potential musically by equipping them with the knowledge and funding to do so.

“It’s something I wish someone had created when I first started making music. Sometimes, all it takes is that one person to believe in you. This partnership with YouTube is very exciting as it will take emPawa and its artists to a whole new level. We’ve already achieved great success with our own resources, so there’s no telling how far these artists will go with the backing of such a global company.”

emPawa Africa is an initiative and incubator launched by Mr Eazi, which is empowering the next generation of African artists, equipping them with the tools, knowledge, network and investment they need to become independent music entrepreneurs.

It has already has supported 22 Nigerian artists — and 100 artists in total across 11 African countries — with training to build their skills through digital platforms such as YouTube.

Among the success stories is Nigerian singer Joeboy, whose emPawa-backed single Baby has over 5.9 million views on YouTube.

For years now, YouTube has played an essential role in the discovery and development of African sound, exporting African music to listeners worldwide. Of the top 25 most-watched Sub-Saharan African artists on YouTube, more than 70 per cent of their views come from outside Africa.

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