18 year old Taz is the winner of the inaugural Youth Music UK ‘Lyricist’ Award, sponsored by BandLab! Listen to her winning track here.

This October, BandLab were excited to sponsor and attend the very first Youth Music UK Awards at Battersea Arts Centre in London. It was inspiring to see all the nominees, an incredible group of young people who overcame enormous personal challenges with the power of music! The winners were chosen by a stacked judging panel of music industry figures and experts, including NME and MusicTech.

Youth Music UK is a national charity that invests in music-making projects, especially in socially neglected or underfunded areas. The projects help children and young people aged 0-25 to develop personally, socially as well as musically.

While the project’s been running for over 20 years now, it’s the first time YMUK have run their annual Awards! BandLab sponsored the ‘Lyricist’ Award Category, celebrating outstanding entrants who’ve shown skill in their craft to tackle social issues or reflect their personal experiences. 

The winner of the inaugural ‘Young Lyricist’ Award was 18-year-old songwriter and performer, Taz! Taz hails from North Cambridge in the UK. Her lyrics highlight the inequality and social isolation she’s experienced throughout her youth, delivered with her unrelenting, flawless flow. A gifted and thoughtful lyricist, she embodies the spirit of the awards, and is a great example of a young person channeling their personal struggles into wonderful, inspiring music.

Currently finishing her school studies, Taz started attending one of YMUK’s music programme four years ago. Passionate about rap and eager to learn, here’s what Taz had to say about the experience of crafting her winning song in the studio:

 “I think [rapping] has helped me to have a purpose, like – something to work towards. I feel satisfaction after I’ve just written a lyric. I feel like the studio, it brings out the truth in people, it’s a really, really positive thing. [Music has] changed my confidence about myself – like my security about how well I can do, what I think about myself and what I can achieve.”

And here’s what Taz’s nominator said of her song:

“This song reflects Taz’s personal take on many of her own life experiences and issues she faces, such as frustration and anger at living in a city of great inequality, particularly in terms of education and opportunity. [She addresses] the expectations on her as a young woman living in a Muslim family; difficulties of being moved to a different school [and much more]. In doing so, Taz highlights the side of a city that many people don’t see, or even realise exists. Despite this, Taz’s confidence in her own ability to achieve and overcome is the abiding theme of the song.”

The Youth Music UK Awards recognises diverse and hard-working young artists who are creating the next generation of contemporary music. At the Awards, we saw so many people and industry partners coming together to support the next generation of musicians and artists.

There was a chance to think about the shared vision of how access to music can change lives, and hear from some really talented young musicians – with live performances ranging from solo cello, to beatboxing and live looping. Youth music showed how diverse music can be while including everybody in the same picture!

At BandLab we make free tools that enable people to connect and collaborate. Youth Music understands the importance of how music can create communities and give people a voice where they might not have been heard before. It was an obvious choice for us to work with Youth Music and to sponsor the Lyricist Award.

Check out Taz’s winning track here!

And to hear the other awesome nominees, click here!