I was excited to learn recently that Future Talent have decided on Liverpool as their northern base. Their decision to choose Liverpool over the likes of Manchester and Leeds does I think speak volumes for the obvious vibrancy and attractiveness of Liverpool as a music city at the moment.
Future Talent are a welcome addition to a broad spectrum of talent development programmes that already exist across the city region. Close to home because it is based out of Culture Liverpool is the brilliant LIMF Academy, which will soon be looking to recruit its next cohort. In brief the LIMF Academy is the award-winning music talent development initiative aimed at music creators between the ages of 16–25 from across Merseyside. It gives exclusive access to elite career and creative masterclasses with Industry professionals, showcases opportunities and networks. In addition cohort members receive bursaries, mentoring, well-being coaching and numerous opportunities via the initiative’s partners.
Some of the artists that have come through the Academy in recent years are a who’s who of dynamic, leading music creators in the region including Pizzagirl, Tee, Luna, Michael Aldag, Sub Blue, XamVolo and IAmKyami.
But the Academy is far from alone in this space. There are a number of other local organisations doing amazing work, including the likes of Future Yard, Sound City, Resonate (Liverpool’s Music Education Hub) and the Philharmonic’s In Harmony project as well as national schemes such as those run by PRSF.
When I spoke to Holly Harman, one of the Future Talent team, she explained that one of the reasons they chose Liverpool as their Northern base was because they were so impressed by the work that was already taking place in the city and the sense of collaborative working that they gained. The fact that we are also recognised as a UNESCO City of Music also helped.
Future Talent was founded as a charity in 2004 by the Duchess of Kent and Nicholas Robinson. The Duchess had taught music in a primary school and this experience led to her wanting to find a way to support young musicians.
From these beginning Future Talent now supports 80 young musicians every year and this will be increasing to 120 from September this year. There are two programmes that offer support. The Junior programme offers support to 8–12 year olds ( typically Grades 3–5), and the Development programme that offers more financial support as well as personal mentoring sessions to 13–18 year olds (approximately Grade 6).
The programme typically consists of workshops, masterclasses, and a residential week. Last year this was largely delivered virtually because of covid restrictions but plans for the next programme include a 50:50 split between virtual and real life.
Future Talent support young people playing any instrument across all genres of music. Future Talent originally focused on classical music but in recent years this has broadened out and they now have musicians from pop/rock, jazz, folk and electronic music. This year they are looking to have a focus on Indian music, and this will be followed the year after by a focus on hip hop and R & B.
The closing date for applications for their next programme (which begins in September) is 1st July. It would be great if we can encourage more local applicants to apply, particularly given Future Talent’s new Liverpool base.
Kev McManus, Head of UNESCO City of Music, Culture Liverpool