Yaw Owusu talks special LIMF ACADEMY x Orchestra COLLAB

Under the consultancy of THE PLAYMAKER GROUP, the Ignition Orchestra collaborated with LIMF Academy which saw a one off performance at the prestigious Liverpool Philharmonic.

Aimed at artists, bands and producers between the ages of 16-25 from across Merseyside, the academy combined the raw talent of three of the 2018-2019 artists Luna, Kyami, Raheem Alameen and Academy alumni and PMG artist Sub Blue.

We spoke to THE PLAYMAKER GROUP’S Yaw Owusu who headed this award winning initiative to look back on the special night and what the future holds for LIMF Academy.

PMG: This is the fourth time LIMF Academy has collaborated with an Orchestra, what is it that these create something unique together?

YO: The reason why I always want to return to doing this is because I think it’s a unique experience for each side; for the young artists hearing their music re-created and performed live with classically-trained young musicians is satisfying, enlightening and often surprising. For the classically-trained musicians, they get the chance to link with the other side of the music industry – what may be classed as the Pop world – and apply their skills in that space. I think both sides get stretched and end up experiencing something new – just getting out of their boxes. I believe a great amount of mutual respect and admiration occurs during the process.

PMG: How important is it to push these young artists into a new environment and experience something like playing with a full piece orchestra?

YO: It’s critical. As part of our commitment to talent development, we must push them into new spaces to add real value to them. No one has ever said they haven’t grown musically or personally from these collaborations.

PMG: There always seems to be such a diverse group of artists who get to play with the orchestra, do you like pushing the boundaries to see how experimental things can get?

YO: Well the Academy is eclectic so this event should reflect that. I believe in meeting the talent where they are and supporting what they are doing – so if it’s a future beats producer that is selected for the collaboration – he or she will get to work with the orchestra. Then we tackle any challenges that occur.

I must admit working with Katie Chatburn – who is the composer and arranger – is wonderful as she just embraces the challenge and always knocks it out of the park.

PMG: From Cassie to Lauryn Hill, each artist covered a song from a female artist. What was the theme for this?

YO: The format for each show is 3 or 4 artists performing 3 song each. We make sure one is a cover. So each show we pick a theme. This year the theme was in line with Culture Liverpool’s focus on celebrating female achievement and icons – so we asked each artist to pick a song by a female artist that inspired them or their music. It worked well.

PMG: The performances on the night really were incredible and it did feel like a special night, can we look forward to more things from LIMF Academy throughout the year?

YO: Without a doubt. Every year we are trying to improve the quality and impact of what we do. There will be more showcases in Liverpool and also a London Showcase. I think for our company work like this is so important – as supporting, nurturing and developing talent is pretty central to what we do in every area.

For more on the Academy – LIMFestival.com