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Celebrating the UK musicians of the future in a million ways | #BehindTheIdea

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This summer saw Paco Rabanne and NTS host a series of radio shows and an intimate London gig series showcasing a diverse range of UK musicians and DJ talent. The Paco Rabanne ‘A Million Ways to Make It’ fund is delivering an artist development platform celebrating the passion across the industry by offering support and mentorship to up-and-coming, independent artists in the UK.

Working with NTS and creative agency, Impero – the Paco Rabanne Fund aims to provide new independent musicians with financial support and mentorship from NTS and industry experts and help them navigate the complexities required to make it in the music industry.

Paco Rabanne’s ‘A Million Ways to Make It’ is in its second year - supporting up-and-coming music talent, whilst also embedding the Paco Rabanne brand further into the UK music scene.  Last year’s initiative also went towards helping mitigate the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns on UK talent and music.  

Applications for the ‘Million Ways to Make It 2022 Fund and Artist Development Programme’ are open now, with three successful finalists set to receive a £5,000 grant, as well as a bespoke mentorship scheme that will include committed support from industry experts and NTS’ experienced in-house team.

Recipients will get sessions with mentors well-versed in all the ups and downs of the industry, who will run the prospective artists through the full spectrum of what being a musician in today’s climate looks like – from music production, live shows, marketing, radio, live performances and more

The aim of the fund is to facilitate a sense of freedom for artists to explore and experiment within their chosen medium, by offering the space and support to immerse themselves fully in the experience.

The creative focus for this year’s entries is for artists whose sound is reflective of the UK’s rich sonic heritage. Whether an artist’s music is rooted in dub or drill, soul or soca, jazz or jungle, they’ll be focusing on artists making original work that ventures into new territories.

To learn more, we spoke to Charlotte Willcocks, Head of Strategy at Impero.

What was the brief?

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To re-establish Million by Paco Rabanne’s relevancy in the UK. The fragrance line has always stood for youthful success, and we worked to connect it to the UK music scene by positioning Million by Paco Rabanne as a champion of the grit and glamour it takes to make it in the industry today.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

A Million Ways To Make It – developed in close partnership with NTS – comes off the back of the success of last year’s campaign, My First Million, which was set up originally in response to the impact that Covid-19 had on the UK music scene.

Paco Rabanne wanted to actively contribute to the wider industry and its talent – and it was this thinking that drove the ideas and led to the development of the Paco Rabanne Fund, which has become an integral part of each campaign.

What was the process behind ideating the concept?

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We wanted an altruistic element to live at the heart of the Million campaigns – so, we started with the development of the Paco Rabanne Fund. Set up as an annual grant programme, the Paco Rabanne Fund celebrates the hustle needed to make it in the music industry, by providing independent artists with financial support (in the form of a £5000 grant) and mentorship from industry experts, with the aim of helping them hit their next career milestone – whatever that may be.

To bring the fund and A Million Ways To Make It campaign to life in its second year, we increased the physical visibility of the campaign and the cultural aspects it incorporates by adding real-life events. This year, Paco Rabanne collaborated with NTS to host a series of radio shows and intimate London performances throughout May and June 2022, featuring a diverse range of talent from across the UK.

These free events will showcase the recipients of the Paco Rabanne Fund ‘21: HarleighBlu, anaiis, and Mom Tudie who, amongst other things, have used the grant money for equipment upgrades, recording sessions, and travelling overseas to record albums with musical partners. Applications for the Paco Rabanne Fund ‘22 will open in July this year.

What was the production process like?

For the campaign’s second year, production is being handled by NTS. This includes the launch of a dedicated hub on NTS.live, which houses A Million Ways To Make It content in the build-up to the ‘22 Paco Rabanne Fund launch, as well as the practical mentoring for fund recipients with NTS, under the creative and strategic guidance of Impero.

What’s the main message of this project and why does it matter?

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A Million Ways To Make It celebrates the hustle and graft of UK artists trying to break into a notoriously challenging industry. Making it as a musician is one of the hardest career paths, and offers more challenges and opportunities than ever before.

If brands want to connect with the industry – and its new generation of talent – they need to use their platform and influence to facilitate up-and-coming artists and uplift their journeys in real ways, wherever possible.

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

As mentioned above, this is an ongoing partnership with NTS, with the aim to build the campaign and create a real community for recipients of the Paco Rabanne Fund.

For A Million Ways To Make It, Paco Rabanne and NTS kicked off their relationship in October 2021; the first phase of activity - an editorial recap of what The Paco Rabanne Fund ‘21 recipients are doing now – went live in January 2022; Live events & radio shows will go live throughout May and June 2022; Applications for the Paco Rabanne Fund ‘23  will launch in October 2022.

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

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Year on year, we want to solidify Paco Rabanne’s position within UK music culture as a brand dedicated to uplifting talent and actively contributing to the wider industry.

Credit list for the work?

Impero:

  • Creative Director: Michael Scantlebury
  • Strategy Director: Charlotte Willcocks
  • Senior Creatives: Melissa McWhirter, Dan O’Higgins
  • Account Director: Fiona Ashworth
  • Senior Account Manager: Ginny Wilson
  • Agency Producer: Clare Thomson

NTS:

  • Creative Director: Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura
  • NTS Studio team:
    • Hope Abel
    • Robin Loo
    • Sorrel Holliday
    • Laura Martin
    • Georgie Hoare

Designer: Matthew Tremaine

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