2019 Drake YolanDa - British Songwriter & Producer Prize
Producer Fez & songwriter Megan Lara Mae win the inaugural
Drake YolanDa – British Producer and Songwriter Prize
Listen to the winning track
Fez – Complicated (ft. Megan Lara Mae) here
British-Nigerian producer Feranmi Oguns aka Fez and Brighton based songwriter Megan Lara Mae have been announced as the winners of the inaugural Drake YolanDa – British Producer and Songwriter Prize by the impressive industry panel of judges including BBC 1 presenter Huw Stephens, Gal-Dem music editor Tara Joshi, Brit Award nominated music legend Toyah Willcox and Ivor Novello winning songwriter Michelle Escoffery.
Fez and Megan are the recipients of a £10,000 prize awarded by the Drake YolanDa award founded by James JP Drake and YolanDa Brown. Their winning single "Complicated" which was penned in 45 minutes as a part of the immersive live showcase, where five producers were invited to write and record a new song around the theme of Love and Hope, within a time limit and in front of a live audience and the jury.
The winning track is a vibrant pop concoction filled with pop sensibilities and stunning vocals by Brighton-based singer-songwriter Megan Lara Mae.
Feranmi Oguns aka Fez, who is one of the UK’s most exciting young jazz musicians and founder of jazz band The Outlanders, who have collaborated with some of the UK’s biggest music names including Ms Dynamite, Craig David and Tinchy Stryder. With his band The Outlanders, British-Nigerian Fez has also released two jazz albums including their debut ‘Then.Now.Later’, featuring collaborations with Grammy Award winning bass player Michael League, Snarky Puppyand MOBO Nominee Femi Temowo. With his producing hat on, Fez has collaborated with Lucy Grimble, Pete McAllen and most recently helping pen the foot-tapping lead single off Jake Isaac‘s debut album- ‘I Got You’.
Fez grew up in a vibrant music-loving household in Nigeria, and soon discovered his strong passion for music. At the age of 11, he began to play the drums, and at 16, he went on to study music at The Brit School of Performing Arts. He was later awarded a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston Massachusetts. Fez has since worked with a wide range of artists, including Jorja Smith, Jake Isaac, Lily Moore, JP Cooper and Stefanie Heinzmann.
The Drake YolanDa - British Songwriter and Producer Prize 2019 was launched this year to celebrate some of the finest songwriters and producers the UK has to offer by putting a spotlight on the people working behind the scenes of every great artists. The shortlisted producers for this year were the winners Fez and Megan Lara Mae; PRGRSHN who has produced songs for major UK grime and RnB acts including Stormzy, Jess Glynne, TianaMajor9 and Big Sean amongst others; Mercury nominated and Paul Weller approved producer Andy Ross; Emeli Sande and Angel approved producer duo K-Collective and eclectic genre-fusing duo Playdough who recently collaborated with poet Hussain Manawer.
Fez and Megan Lara Mae:
“The Drake YolanDa – British Songwriter and Producer Prize means so much to us. It will allow us to be able to facilitate more co-writes and invest in our music.”
"Song writing is instinctive, joyous and incredibly fulfilling. It is an art form that matures with practice and focus. Writers need a supportive environment, especially when starting out. They need to know their space is sympathetic to their creative needs and expression. The Drake YolanDa British Songwriter awards takes into account dedication, drive and focus but also the fact that those who are embarking on this journey need support and acknowledgement in the form of a prize that can ease room rental/travel/equipment and purchasing up to date technology. It is an excellent award that looks at the practical reality of being a creative songwriter as well as recognising exceptional talent.”