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The Levi’s Music Project: Lockdown Label

Photograph of the blog post author, Music Gateway Team

Music Gateway Team


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Lockdown and the restrictions on life due to COVID-19 have put a strain on our young people, the music industry and arts & culture in general. Through the Lockdown Label, Z-arts and The Levi’s Music Project have been supporting six young artists to create, release and promote new music.

Meet The Artists

The Levi Project Artists

After sending out a call to their network, The Levi’s Music Project selected 6 amazing artists who are all at that crucial early stage of their career where support from external sources can be the catalyst for success. With a collection of artists from a wide range of musical backgrounds, this label reflects Manchester’s artistic community and heritage.

These include: Future pop sensation Kahreign who’s track ‘Ebb and Flow’ is a masterpiece and Annalise who’s track ‘Stronger Now’ gave her “an outlet and a platform to spread the message that although we all go through difficult times, we can come back Stronger”.

Also involved in the project are rising stars Motto Estate who met at Manchester Levi’s Studio and pre-lockdown were tearing up parties across the country. Their track ‘LOWKEY’ underlines the lyricism and versatility of the crew. Another exciting prospect in the Manchester hip hop scene is Bicho Cezar, Stretford’s answer to Kendrick Lemar, who’s self-produced track Capichi combines jazz & Latin samples with mad punch lines and bilingual wordplay.

Hollie Blue‘s acoustic track ‘Give me a Sign’ is a triumph of words and melody, showing a different side to the bustling creative scene in Manchester bringing to mind elements of Lana Del Rey & Massive Attack throughout her music. Last but not least is multi-instrumentalist Lavender Rodriguez whose debut single ‘Apollo’ references Hiatus Kaiyote and transports you to a dreamy and ethereal world.

Check out our blog post on Annalise’s upcoming debut single here

How It Works

Through regular online meetings, each artist has been working closely with project leader Jack Hartshorn to finish their music, write a release plan and develop links with the music industry and press. Artistic freedom is very important to the project, and each artist is in control of their own release and are the ultimate decision-makers at every stage of the project. We have covered the associated costs of the releases, but the artists keep 100% of their ownership and royalties. 

All the tracks have been produced and recorded solely by the artists themselves. Masters have been created by renowned Manchester DJ & producer Sappo. The music is due for release in late September 2020.

The lockdown label has been one of the most effective projects we have run during the last few months. You can really feel the need for programmes like this when the participants are so engaged and excited. Now more than ever, when the music industry is so under threat, the need to support young musicians is more important than ever!”

Jack Hartshorn – Project Leader



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