Worldwide FM has teamed up with Monkey Shoulder Whisky to roll out an exciting new music initiative designed to uplift and expand grassroots music scenes globally.

We spoke to Worldwide FM’s Magdalena Moursey about this opportunity in detail, read on:

What was the Inspiration Behind the project: What inspired Worldwide FM and Monkey Shoulder to launch this music initiative?

Worldwide FM is a grassroots music platform itself that is committed to keeping alive the kind of independent spaces where culture is made, shared, discussed and preserved.

Studio Monkey Shoulder is an exciting opportunity for us to support grassroots music communities with Monkey Shoulder Whisky around the world.

Together we share the same values to discover and connect with trailblazing communities across the globe and to help amplify the work they’re doing.

Selection Criteria: With applications from diverse music communities worldwide, could you share more about the criteria you’re using to select the recipients? What makes a project stand out as truly “boundary-pushing” in your eyes?

We’re looking to discover grassroots communities in these 5 countries that are really pushing the culture forward in their city.

The fund is open to a wide range of spaces such as DIY music venues and underground club nights to independent record stores, music labels, community radio stations and even online digital platforms.

We want to support an original creative idea or project that is creating a space (physical or digital) where people can come together to create, discover or connect over music. A space that is nurturing innovative artistic talent and developing new sounds.

Impact on Local Scenes: The initiative emphasises supporting music communities that have a significant impact on their local scenes. Can you describe the kind of impact you hope these grants will achieve in the communities selected?

We hope these grants will help to amplify the work that these grassroots music communities are already doing in their local scenes and give them the opportunity to bring to life an innovative and ambitious project.

A lot of these types of grassroots projects are really suffering in the wake of COVID and the cost of living crisis, making it impossible for them to grow sustainably. We want to promote the value of these spaces and ensure they’re recognised and celebrated.

These spaces are ultimately responsible for creating and nurturing the headline talent we see on festival stages and in stadiums.

Global Reach and Diversity: You’re awarding funds to communities in countries as varied as the US, UK, Nigeria, India, and Taiwan. How do you ensure that the initiative remains sensitive and adaptable to the unique cultural contexts and needs of these diverse music scenes?

In each location we’re working with members of the worldwide FM community based in those regions to advise and support us on community engagement so we can remain sensitive to cultural contexts in which we’re working and build meaningful connections with the communities we want to support and reach with this project. They play an important role throughout this process from the applications and judging process to the delivery of the chosen projects this summer.

Success Stories: As the initiative progresses, how will Worldwide FM showcase the stories and successes of the funded projects? Can you give us a sneak peek into what listeners and followers might expect from these stories?

Alongside receiving the fund, Worldwide FM will be working closely with the chosen projects to help them deliver their project and develop a short film that documents the journey and tells their story.

In October we’ll also be programming a global radio broadcast on Worldwide FM with Gilles Peterson that brings together all the different projects from each country and celebrates the diversity of music and culture we’ve discovered on this journey.

We’ll also be organising a special event in each location with Monkey Shoulder to bring their community together.

Future of the Initiative: Looking beyond the current round of funding, do you envision this initiative growing or evolving in the future? Are there plans to expand its reach or increase the support provided to music communities?

This is the first year for Studio Monkey Shoulder so we’re looking forward to seeing how the initiative evolves organically in the support we provide and the opportunities we can create to collaborate with different grassroots music communities.

There’s definitely an ambition for the project to expand into more countries but can’t say too much more on this at the moment.

Advice for Applicants: Finally, for communities and projects keen to apply, what advice would you give to strengthen their applications or video submissions? Is there a common thread among successful applications that they should aim to emulate?

This is the first year of applications so there’s no common thread among successful applications yet. It can be a whole new concept that you’ve been wanting to try but not had the means to or it can be an established project that you’re looking to expand or develop.

We’re looking for original creative ideas and projects that are unique and innovative. At the heart of their application should be community engagement, collaboration and artistic innovation.

We want to understand what the potential impact of this project will be for the grassroots music community and how ultimately it will contribute to its growth and long term sustainability.

Find out more about Studio Monkey Shoulder here


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