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Youth Music Awards 2023: Highlights

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alt blk era perform at the Youth Music Awards 2023
Pictured: ALT BLK ERA / Credit: Livy Dukes

Celebrating the diverse music talent across the UK

Industry tastemakers including Kojey Radical, Clara Amfo, Amelia Dimoldenberg, MNEK and BICEP attended the ceremony.

The Youth Music Awards 2023 in association with Hal Leonard Europe was arguably the biggest and best year yet. Held at London’s Troxy on Wednesday 18 October, the fourth annual award show welcomed over 500 guests to celebrate the most forward-thinking projects and people making, learning and earning in music.

YolanDa Brown and Youth Music CEO Matt Griffiths give a speech
Youth Music Chair YolanDa Brown and Youth Music CEO Matt Griffiths / Credit: Livy Dukes

The event was covered by a range of media outlets both before and after the ceremony. Music and culture titles Mixmag, Wonderland, Notion, and Clash showed love for the Youth Music Awards, and regional press such as Notts Today and Life Up North, Wales Online published coverage. EVA, who won three awards in three different categories, was interviewed on ITV Meridian.

At a time of increasing inequalities across line-ups – from festivals to awards ceremonies – we called on the music industries to TAKE NOTE and champion a more diverse, more inclusive and more creative future of music.

MNEK, Clara Amfo and Kojey Radical present awards
MNEK, Clara Amfo and Kojey Radical present awards / Credit: Livy Dukes and Nic Serpell-Rand

Categories, Judges and Sponsors

Category sponsors this year included some of the UK’s most prolific music, fashion and culture brands: Hal Leonard Europe, TikTok, YouTube, Amazon Music, Levi’s, YouTube, Dr Martens, Marshall Amps, PRS for Music, The MU, Clintons and Ticketmaster.

RSL once again sponsored the awards brochure, Sony Music provided a travel fund for the 45 projects and young people nominated, and LCCM sponsored the 21 NextGen roles. Downtown kept the vibes going by sponsoring the afterparty.

Thank you to Sony Music Entertainment who supported travel costs for nominees facing financial barriers.

Credit: Livy Dukes
amelia dimoldenberg, Kojey Radical and BICEP pose on the red carpet at the youth music awards 2023
Amelia Dimoldenberg, Kojey Radical and BICEP / Credit: Nic Serpell-Rand

An incredible line-up of music industry figures judged the award music categories this year, including the musician Joy Crookes and journalist and broadcaster Amelia Dimoldenberg. Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard of Hot Chip joined the line-up of entertainment industry talent, as did BBC Music presenter, Jess Iszatt, and singer-songwriter Fleur East.

There were 12 awards handed out across the course of the night, including Lyricist Award, Original Track Award (Group), Music Producer Award and Original Track Award (Solo), with the winners of these categories surprised by Clara Amfo, Kojey Radical, BICEP and MNEK stepping on to the stage to present their awards. FLO even joined by video message to congratulate Original Track Award (Group) winners, FORM.

NextGen hosts Jade Barnett and Jameel Shariff / Credit: Nic Serpell-Rand
Winners TL, James Jones, EVA and Ni Maxine
TL, James Jones, EVA and Ni Maxine / Credit: Livy Dukes and Nic Serpell-Rand

And the winners are...

  • Original Track Award (Solo) sponsored by Levi’s and presented by Clara Amfo. Winner: Ni Maxine – Strange Love    
  • Original Track Award (Group) sponsored by Marshall Amplification and presented by MNEK. Winner: FORM – Confused
  • Rising Star Award (Artist) sponsored by Dr. Martens. Winner: EVA  
  • Music Producer Award sponsored by Amazon Music and presented by BICEP. Winner: James Jones – Coconut Beach
  • Young Leader Award sponsored by Clintons. Winner: David Coke, Heart n Soul 
  • Rising Star Award (Industry) sponsored by Songkick. Winner: Owain Elidir Williams 
  • Outstanding Project Award sponsored by TikTok. Winner: AutismAble CIC, Future Collaborations
  • Lyricist Award sponsored by PRS For Music and presented by Kojey Radical. Winner: TL – Time Will Tell  
  • Social Action Award sponsored by Hal Leonard Europe. Winner: Pan Intercultural Arts, Amies Freedom Choir
  • Inspirational Music Leader Award sponsored by the Musicians' Union. Winner: Elizabeth J. Birch, MAC Birmingham
  • Live Performance Award sponsored by Ticketmaster. Winner: EVA
  • Music Video Award sponsored by YouTube. Winner: EVA – My One
Credit: Livy Dukes
May Egbo and Suprina Thapa, Jade Barnett and Jameel Shariff
NextGen presenters May Egbo and Suprina Thapa, and NextGen hosts Jade Barnett and Jameel Shariff / Credit: Connie Burke

The awards were hosted by Youth Music NextGen, Jameel Shariff and Jade Barnett, who had progressed from presenter roles last year to being in the spotlight of the stage this year.

Maya Egbo and Suprina Thapa took the roles of Youth Music NextGen presenters, chatting with VIP guests, nominees and winners, sponsors and glam guests on the red carpet throughout the night.


Youth Music NextGen Fund artist, Richard Carter, opened the ceremony with an explosive performance of his track ‘HEAVEN’. In the past few months, Carter has seen viral success with his track ‘Le Monde’. On Wednesday night, everyone got a glimpse of his rising star power.

Other acts throughout the night included nominees ALT BLK ERA, Qazi & Qazi, Treeboy & Arc, EVA, StudioWyzz, and Kindelan. Each performance showed the breadth of talent funded though the Youth Music NextGen Fund and partner projects.

Past winners have achieved significant success since the awards, including Leeds band English Teacher, who won the Rising Star Award (Artist) in 2022, recently releasing a new single with Island Records and securing a slot at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. In addition, artist, songwriter and producer Sans Soucis, 2021 winner, has since gone on to sign a deal with Decca Records, and open for Rina Sawayama. 

Kennedy Taylor DJs the Youth Music Awards 2023 afterparty
Kennedy Taylor / Credit: Nic Serpell-Rand

Afterparty time...

Sponsored by Downtown

This year, the official afterparty at Troxy was sponsored by Downtown. Tamil-Swiss artist Priya Ragu kicked things off with an unmissable performance, then Kennedy Taylor kept the party going until 1am with a DJ set.

Youth Music CEO, Matt Griffiths, said: “The Youth Music Awards provides a platform for the incredibly talented next generation of creatives and leaders emerging from the grassroots organisations we invest in across the country. The event really demonstrates the importance of supporting grassroots music. Without it, the future of music is less diverse, inclusive, and creative.

"As we approach our 25th anniversary next year, we hope the music industry is inspired to 'Take Note' of what it means to level the playing field for young people making, learning and earning in music.”

Youth Music Awards NextGen

As part of Youth Music NextGenwe hired 18-25 year old creatives to help execute the event, alongside a team of experienced professionals. Sponsored by LCCM, their roles included hosting, video editing, production support and more. Youth Music NextGen is our community for young creatives who aspire to build and work in the music industries of the future. It offers access to development, opportunities and even funding for those who face barriers because of who they are, where they’re from or what they’re going through.  

youth music nextgen pose on the red carpet
Credit: Nic Serpell-Rand

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees of the Youth Music Awards 2023 in association with Hal Leonard Europe!

Watch this space for nominations for next year’s awards, opening in January 2024.

Until then, read more about the awards and keep an eye out for this year’s official highlights video.