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Youth Music Awards: NextGen Creatives Progression Stories

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a group of young people pose on the red carpet at the youth music awards 2022. they are wearing black t-shirts with the youth music logo
NextGen creatives at the Youth Music Awards 2022 / Photo: Will Ireland

Young people are front and centre at the Youth Music Awards in association with Hal Leonard Europe - both on stage and behind it. Each year, we hire 18 - 25 year old creatives to help execute the event, involving them in every aspect possible, from hosting and presenting to PR, video editing, production support, photography and social media.

The initiative is part of our Youth Music NextGen community, for young creatives who aspire to build and work in the music industries of the future by making them more accessible, more diverse and more creative. We offer paid opportunities, funding, industry connections and more for those who face barriers to earning in music.

Now in its fourth year, the Youth Music Awards has provided approximately 90 ambitious creatives with crucial paid experience to help progress their careers.

This year, LCCM, the London College of Contemporary Music, is kindly sponsoring the paid NextGen roles and training with industry professionals. LCCM Principal Anthony Hamer-Hodges says: "It’s LCCM vision to help transform young people’s lives – inspiring, empowering, and providing real world opportunities to follow their passion into a sustainable career in music. In turn we believe we can help transform the industry by harnessing the energy, ideas and communities of the next generation to create a better version of what has gone before. We hope the Youth Music Awards are a first step on a sustainable career for many of the young people we are supporting to work behind the scenes. We are all about the NextGen!" 

With less than two months to go until the big night, we look at the impressive progression of past NextGen Youth Music Awards creatives.

Benny Jeee (left) and Nieema Hassan (right) smile at the Youth Music Awards 2022
Benny Jeee (left) and Nieema Hassan (right) at the Youth Music Awards 2022 / Photo: Mitchell Williams

Benny Jeee

Digital creator Benny Jeee hosted the Youth Music Awards in 2022 and has collaborated with numerous brands on content since. Benny has presented social media videos for the likes of Ministry of Sound, Universal Music, Notion Magazine, 10 Magazine, LADBible, Samsung and more. He can be spotted out and out on the streets of London and Manchester interviewing passers by about everything from fashion to growing up and first date stories, or chatting on his TikTok to more than 60,000 followers.

a woman with dark brown wavy hair smiles at the camera
Charlie Kelly

Charlie Kelly

Charlie Kelly has worked with Youth Music as a social media content creator for both the Youth Music Awards 2022 and Give a Gig Week 2023. Since the Youth Music Awards 2022, Charlie met with Social Action Award winner Pembe Tokluhan and was hired as a facilitator to deliver a social media workshop titled 'An Introduction to Social Media Management' for Pembe's brands (Clod Ensemble and Petok Productions). Charlie is now currently working as a Social Media Executive for the University of Westminster, and is a radio presenter and producer on Subtle Radio.

eva davies wears a black dress and holds her award
Eva Davies at the Youth Music Awards 2021 / Photo: Will Ireland

Eva Davies

Since working as a NextGen Freelance Advisor for Youth Music, Eva Davies has gone on to work with long-time funded partner, Come Play With Me, in Leeds. She has progressed rapidly within the organisation from Label Assistant to Label Manager and is now their Artist Manager too. Eva has also received awards for her events that aim to combat gender inequality in the industry, including Youth Music’s Young Entrepreneur Award in 2021 for her work in creating safe spaces and her work with Come Play With Me CIC, who won a Music Week Award themselves in 2022.

jade barnett wears a black waistcoast and black trousers. her hair is in braids, she wears glasses and is smiling, holding a microphone
Jade Barnett at the Youth Music Awards 2022 / Photo: Millie Hudson

Jade Barnett

Youth Music Awards 2022 presenter, Jade Barnett, has carved a successful career as a youth advocate and workshop facilitator. A skilled public speaker passionate about highlighting the importance of investing in young people through sustainable resources, youth opportunities and youth provisions, Jade has appeared on Lead The Way Youth Summit panel and is a Youth Ambassador for Connected Futures. Jade is a Youth Development Lead at The Prince's Trust, a youth worker with several London-based charities, and a Senior Member of the Young People's Action Group within London's Violence Reduction Unit.

Jade will be returning to the Youth Music Awards this year, taking the role of Host, alongside Jameel Shariff.

jameel shariff and jade barnett pose at the youth music awards
Jameel Shariff (left) and Jade Barnett (right) at the Youth Music Awards 2022 / Photo:

Jameel Shariff

Jameel Shariff presented the Youth Music Awards last year, interviewing high profile artists and special guests including Lethal Bizzle and Dréya Mac. Jameel has since gone on to work with the BBC in numerous roles, such as an Assistant Producer on BBC Sounds, then as a Music and Entertainment Presenter on BBC Radio West Midlands, and most recently, as a journalist on BBC Asian Network. Jameel also presented the BBC Young Reporter Festival this summer, and was recognised last year for his on-screen work by winning the Future Presenter Award at Edinburgh TV Festival New Voices.

Jameel will be returning to the Youth Music Awards this year, taking the role of Host, alongside Jade Barnett.

kate whitaker and ricardo burt pose at the youth music awards 2021
Kate Whitaker (left) and Ricardo Burt (right) at the Youth Music Awards 2021 / Photo: Will Ireland

Kate Whitaker

Hosting the Youth Music Awards in 2021, Kate Whitaker has continued her work in the presenting space. First as a presenter and producer on Bloop London Radio and Islington Radio, then launching her own comedy podcast, 'Navigating Your Twenties' on a monthly residency at Voices Radio. Kate is also a returning guest on BBC Radio Manchester, discussing everything from dating and relationships to entertainment, music and podcast reviews. Kate is also a Festival Marketing Executive for Boardmasters and NASS festivals. 

ben greenstein and nieema stand on stage and present the youth music awards 2022
Nieema (right) and Benny Jeee (left) host the Youth Music Awards 2022 / Photo: Millie Hudson

Nieema Hassan

A freelance presenter from London, Nieema first worked with Youth Music as a Vox Pop Presenter at the 2021 Youth Music Awards. A natural on camera, the following year, Nieema applied for the Awards Host role and was successful. Meanwhile, she had secured an internship at BBC Radio 1Xtra after seeing the opportunity in one of Youth Music's NextGen Community newsletters, and has since progressed to be one of their Assistant Producers.

Nieema says: “Youth Music has been huge for my career because prior to being a part of the Youth Music Awards I was doing administration roles for various agencies and I felt unfulfilled and unhappy with what I was doing and also confused on my next steps. I had been working on my own passion projects to do with music and presenting and was so grateful that they gave me a chance to make it so much more real for me. Being a part of the awards for the past two years and being paid to present and host made me realise I could really do this as a career and it’s also given me the materials I need to apply for other things. On top of gaining my confidence in my abilities, I’ve gained valuable experience and a community of people in the space that I truly want to thrive in which I’m so grateful for.”

a young indian woman turns her head to face the camera. her hair is long, dark and wavy
Prachee Mashru

Prachee Mashru

Prachee Mashru first worked with Youth Music back in 2020 for our podcast series “The Higher Frequency”. She then joined the Youth Music Awards team in 2021 as one of our PR Runners, working alongside our PR Agency, Ready10. Since the awards, Prachee has secured an internship at PR Agency Freuds, and progressed to be their Associate Account Executive, before moving to Mumbai and founding her own creative agency, THIS?. Prachee also works as a Creative Marketing Strategist at record label GULLY GANG.

ricardo burt wears a black shirt with outer seam detailing. he has facial hair in a trimmed beard and moustache
Ricardo Burt

Ricardo Burt

Ricardo Burt is a presenter whose first role with Youth Music was as a Host at the Youth Music Awards 2021. Since then, he has completed an internship at producing and curating weekend broadcasts. Last summer, Ricardo worked with BBC Introducing, interviewing artists at Boardmasters Festival. Now, he works as a Radio Presenter and Producer at Voices, where he has a weekend breakfast show that champions emerging, unsigned rappers from around the world. He is also a host on the fashion show, Before The Hype.

Ricardo has also continued to work with Youth Music on a freelance basis, hosting NextGen workshop Q&As with experts in the music industries.