PITCH, Scotland’s international convention of hip hop and underground culture, has announced eight artists selected to perform at showcases at the event.
The event is set to return on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th August 2023 at Glasgow venues Saint Luke’s, Many Studios and the Drygate Brewery with its most eclectic and exciting line-ups to date.
A scientist-musician who performed at COP 26, an MC who plays the harp, Derry-Londonderry’s first professional rapper and an artist-activist who campaigns to make music venues fully accessible are among those chosen to perform at the second Pitch, which aims to create a unique platform to support artists and industry professionals at all stages in their career.
AjForty7, Eyve, JusHarry, P Caso, Queen Of Harps and Supermann On Da Beat were selected from over 100 applications from artists based in Scotland and beyond, as were Northern Ireland rapper HYFIN and US artist Nesha Nycee.
AjForty7, Eyve, P Caso and Supermann On Da Beat will each be supported by development grants of £500 from the PRS Foundation, co-funders of Pitch with Creative Scotland, in addition to the performance fee, delegate pass and mentoring sessions offered to all selected artists.
On Saturday 19th August at Saint Luke’s, they will each join Nigerian-Scottish artist Lamaya and Glasgow grime MC Oakzy B in performing live as part of the Pitch Scotland x PRS Foundation Showcase.
AjForty7 and P Caso are artists whose work explores their life experiences as young men growing up in Clydebank and Colombia via the East End of Glasgow respectively. In tracks such as the impressive 2020 debut ‘Tien Shan’, 2021’s sardonic ‘Time To Invest’ and recent cut ‘Sunny’, AjForty7, aka The Young King, displays his halting knack for vivid imagery and forthright, edgy flow. Inspired by classical, Motown and trance as well as hip hop, AjForty7 has shared stages across the UK with the likes of Manga Saint Hilaire and Jordan McCann as well as US hardcore hip hop legends Onyx alongside Scottish artists GASP and Loki.
With ‘Mise En Scene’, Colombian-born Scottish artist P Caso dives deeper into his storytelling style and atmospheric meld of grime, jazz, soundtracks and hip-hop. Based in Glasgow’s East End, Caso teamed with producer Kalum for the meditative, often nostalgic, seven-track project, which was released on his own High Rise Records, a label intended to nurture new talent.
With ‘Shake It’ and ‘The Status Quo’, her two bombastic singles so far, Eyve, aka singer-songwriter Eyve Madyise, showcases her idiosyncratic mix of Zimdancehall, reggae, jazz and urban groove. Originally from Zimbabwe and now based in Glasgow, where she studies biological and physical sciences, Evye also takes inspiration from her own experiences as a queer Black woman who grew up singing in church choir. She’s worked with a number of organisations including Cryptic, Mental Health Foundation, Scottish Refugee Council and Musicians In Exile, a group of asylum-seeking and refugee musicians who performed at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021.
Described by Darren McGarvey as “a real cornerstone of the Scottish hip-hop community” Supermann On Da Beat is a Scottish disabled South Asian DJ, podcaster, activist, artist and multi-genre producer aiming to create “unique tracks without borders” such as latest single ‘Capsizin’, a collaboration with Paisley vocalist/songwriter Aine Currie. In a few short years Supermann has earned over 90k streams, multiple national radio support, a headline DJ set at Amplify, as well as becoming A&R at Imvaizemusicgroup and championing local artists through his platform Hip Hop Scotland. Supermann is also a content creator and activist raising awareness of issues facing disabled people, such as under-representation of disabled artists in the music industry and putting pressure on the UK Government to provide funding to make venues fully accessible to visitors and performers.
As well as delegates and artists from all four nations of the UK, for the first time Pitch will welcome visitors from the USA, Canada, Sweden and Portugal. Joining previously-announced international artists Kxng Wooz (Canada), Ogun (Wales) and Theolodge (USA) at the Drygate Brewery on Sunday 20th August for the Pitch360 International Showcase will be US artist Nesha Nycee, Northern Ireland’s HYFIN, JusHarry and Queen Of Harps.
Nesha Nycee, aka artist and songwriter Dawnesha Williams, has been rapping since the age of 9. Born in St Louis and raised in Atlanta, by the age of 18 she was crowned the eight-time champion on v103’s Rip The Mic freestyle competition. She’s since opened for and worked with an array of artists including Kurtis Blow, Lil Kim, Dougie Fresh and Young MA, had her hit ‘2 True’ featured on HBO’s Euphoria and STARZ’s P-Valley and earned over 1.2 million streams and half a million followers across all platforms. A member of Blow’s United Coalition for Humanity and the HipHop Alliance, she’s passionate for bringing communities together through hip hop and has recently been made head of creator equity on the Loco Plus platform.
Northern Ireland’s HYFIN, aka Jordan-Lee Brady-James, has led a life in duality: born into a city known as either Derry or Londonderry, just getting by is a challenge when chances and opportunities are dependant on whether you define yourself as British or Irish, Loyalist or Republican, both or none. As depicted in a recent Netflix documentary directed and produced by Seán Mullan, HYFIN’s fearless centering of social injustice, lyrical prowess and magnetic stage presence have made him a voice of unity and resilience for his generation.
Also performing at the Sunday showcase are JusHarry and Queen Of Harps, two artists chosen by the team at Hip Hop Bursary, a program of one-off grants to help support emerging and established artists funded by Sunny Govan Radio, Up2stndrd, 644 Studios and The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
Blending poetic flow with harp compositions to coin the term ‘hip-hop-harp’, Queen Of Harps is Anise Pearson, a Scottish-Malaysian-Chinese rapper and musician taking inspiration from punk and hippie culture as well as early hip hop, drill and Asian fusion. Earning attention from Scotland’s BBC Introducing in early 2022 with her debut single ‘Situation’, she’s subsequently performed at Focus Wales, Hidden Door Arts Festival and Kelburn Garden Party, composed for Scottish Ballet and been nominated as BBC Introducing Scottish Act of The Year 2023 and has a mixtape imminent.
JusHarry’s career has been rising since early tracks in 2020 attracted attention from BBC, Reprezent, Foundation FM and KISS FM for the Glasgow-based, north-east Scotland-raised artist’s intelligent worldplay and deeper, more relaxed vocal style. Having recently performed at Glasgow’s Crepe City Sneaker Festival for the second time alongside the likes of Chlobocop, JusHarry’s latest single ‘UpnDown’ fuses a old-school hip-hop beats coupled with rhymes detailing the ups and downs of his personal and professional life so far.
As well as the team at Hip Hop Bursary, the showcase artists were selected from the 100+ entries to Pitch’s callout by a team of decision-makers including Kayleigh Robin from Resonate Music Conference, Umong Shah (Fortitude Music/Future Echoes), SkyyBoii (AOK Events) and Up2stndrd’s Sami Omar.
Mobolaji Agoro, Pitch Scotland’s Festival Booker explains:
“Pitch Scotland 2023 is our most ambitious year to date. With a focus on not only our sector in Scotland but also the International links we’ve been nurturing, we have created an engagement platform for artists and professionals. The number and diversity of applications received this year is a testimony to its success. On August 19th & 20th the Hip Hop Sector will come together to celebrate our music culture and our successes, and to face the challenges of growing as a sector. As Hip Hop turns 50, Pitch is looking ahead to ensure artists and professionals from Scotland make a profound impact worldwide in the decades to come.”
Pitch Scotland is funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.
Showcase tickets priced £10 and free day passes are available via Eventbrite. Grab them here.