We aim to emulate the lessons we learned from Abram, an artist who was as much dedicated to his career as a professional musician as he was to passing on his knowledge to the next generation, inspiring his students to have the confidence to thrive and succeed. Since 2012 we have laid the foundations for a sharing economy where we build an ever-increasing cohort of artists and educators who remain engaged with AWF throughout their careers, paying it forward by acting as role models, mentors and educators.
Our Programme supports talented up and coming musicians in the early to mid-stages of their careers through:
• Monthly support in the form of coaching, mentoring and strategy sessions for 2 years
• Access to industry professionals to realise strategic goals
• Live performances to showcase work
• Opportunities to develop educational practice through involvement in our Music
Since 2012, we’ve worked with +200 performing artists, providing strategic support to +30, delivered 70 gigs to +9,000 audience members. Our reach was +1M via press & radio per year to 2017. Since 2018 our reach has been +2M via social media (Facebook and Twitter).
To date we have provided over 160 hours of mentoring to nearly 30 up-and-coming musicians.
Since 2013 outcomes for artists have included 1 Mercury Nominated Album of the Year, 1 Ivor Novello Award, 1 Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Award, 1 Guardian Album of the Year, 5 Jazz FM Awards, and 2 Worldwide FM Awards, 5 album and 4 EP launches, signings with Sony Music, Scenic Route and Brownswood, a distribution deal between Gearbox and The Orchard, a publishing deal with BMG, 3 City Music Foundation Awards, 3 Steve Reid Innovation Awards, 1 Help Musicians Peter Whittingham Jazz Award and successful funding applications with Arts Council England and the PRS Foundation.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2018-2020
OUR 2020-2022 MENTEES
Singer, songwriter and Steam Down tour manager Naima Adams
Bassist, composer and Royal College of Music scholarship graduate Joe Downard
Singer-songwriter and Women In Jazz co-founder Nina Fine
Composer, pianist and educator David Austin-Grey
Bass player and Trinity Laban student Amy Gadiaga
Songwriter and producer Sans Soucis
Saxophonist and composer Emma Johnson
Jazz guitarist and composer Daniel Kemshell
Artist manager and co-founder of Women In Jazz Lou Paley
Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Plumm
Double bassist, producer and lead trainer for Musicians without Borders, Emma Smith
Artistic director of Black Voices all-female acapella gospel group Shereece Storrod
OUR MENTEES 2018-2020
Tyrone Isaac-Stuart is a dancer and alto-saxophonist. He graduated from Middlesex University and The University of New Orleans (study abroad) with a BA in Jazz going on to co-found the jazz inspired band, Parshmaune. At the same time, he began his professional dance journey as a member of hip-hop dance company, Boy Blue Entertainment (Associate Artists of the Barbican). Look our for his upcoming record, SICK!
Sheila Maurice-Grey is an award-winning London-based trumpeter and visual artist who trained at Goldsmiths and Trinity Laban respectively. She leads Ms MAURICE and KOKOROKO (an Afrobeat seven-piece) and is a core member of Nérija.
@smauricegrey || https://www.msmaurice.com/
Cassie Kinoshi is an award-winning London-based composer, arranger and alto saxophonist known for her work with jazz septet Nérija, Afrobeat band KOKOROKO and her own large ensemble SEED.
@cassiekinoshi || www.cassiekinoshi.com
Spencer Martin is part of the band, Lunch Money and also the co-founder of Church of Sound, a monthly music night focused around contemporary jazz in a repurposed church in Hackney.
@church_of_sound || http://www.churchofsound.co.uk
CASE STUDIES OF OUR MENTEES PRE 2018
Kansas Smitty’s Case Study
‘We love working with the Abram Wilson Foundation because Jennie is really good at identifying passion in people early on and then turning that into something tangible. She’s been brilliant at helping us to stay on top of what we’re doing and keep growing.’ – KYG mentee and band leader, Giacomo Smith
The Abram Wilson Foundation started mentoring Kansas Smitty’s founder and band leader, Giacomo Smith, in 2014. We helped him secure two-year support from the City Music Foundation, which in turn resulted in the release of the superb Kansas Smitty’s House Band’s debut album in October 2015.
Today Kansas Smitty’s consists of the Kansas Smitty’s House Band and an ever-increasing community of young jazz musicians. They have recorded and released a second album, sold out Shoreditch Town Hall at the London Jazz Festival 2016, received praise from the critics, including the Evening Standard, the Sunday Times, and the Telegraph, and even opened their own jazz bar in East London!
In 2016, Kansas Smitty’s ‘graduated’ to become Artistic Partners of the Abram Wilson Foundation and their founder, Giacomo, is now one of our Arts Education workshop leaders.
Reuben James Case Study
‘Abram is one of the reasons I’m doing what I’m doing today and I hope that by being a patron of the Abram Wilson Foundation I can help carry on his legacy and inspire others to live out their greatness.’ – Reuben James, critically-acclaimed jazz musician and Abram Wilson Foundation patron.
Reuben was just 17 when he was asked to join Abram’s band, offering him a chance to raise his profile as a jazz musician and develop his skills as a pianist. A year later, Reuben was identified by The Times as ‘fast becoming Britain’s best young jazz pianist’ and later went on to win the British Jazz ‘Rising Star’ award.
In 2013 Reuben was given an opportunity to play with an up and coming singer called Sam Smith. He is now back from a world tour and numerous award ceremonies performing on Smith’s multi-award winning album, In The Lonely Hour.
He continues to play jazz, recording with Soweto Kinch and touring with Jason Marsalis, whilst also working on his own soulful electro-funk project, KINGDM, and acting as music director for new pop star, Calum Scott.
Abram valued the power of teaching. He stood out as an educator because he could teach anybody regardless of age, ability or experience. He taught creatively and passionately often inviting much younger musicians like Reuben to join his bands, providing a unique opportunity for them to learn from him through rehearsals and gigs.
Abram gave Reuben a chance to discover his greatness and we want the Abram Wilson Foundation to do the same for the other Reubens that are out there.
In 2016 Reuben became the first patron of the Abram Wilson Foundation.