Pontypridd artist, Hemes, selected for Forté Project
in a new Covid-friendly model.

Despite the recent hardships faced by the music industry in Wales, Forté Project, an artist development scheme for emerging musicians, is proud to announce that pop artist Hemes from Pontypridd has been selected to embark on its 2021 programme on Thursday 7 January, alongside eight other artists.

Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, Forté Project did not give up the fight in 2020 and has secured funding from the Arts Council of Wales and PRS Foundation, and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council’s Arts Service, allowing the project to expand beyond its original South Wales regions and reach artists from across the country.

Thanks to this, Hemes, whose full name is Hemes Al Saria, who fuses her dark pop with arabian motifs, will be given professional industry support designed to progress her early career, during a six month mentorship programme.

She will receive masterclasses from top names in the industry such as Romesh Dodaganda (Grammy nominated producer: Bring Me The Horizons), Corey Sanders (Songwriter for Katy Perry), Warp Records (home to Brian Eno and Aphex Twin), Bethan Elfyn (BBC Radio Wales), and Davey Newington (Boy Azooga).

Naturally, the programme has been shaped to suit a more Covid-friendly way of working with all classes taking place digitally, and the addition of some new pandemic-proof lessons. Hemes will gain an understanding of how to professionally live stream and record tracks at home and a mental health support package, designed to support young artists in challenging times.

Councillor Rhys Lewis says, “We’re really proud to be able to support Forté Project expansion this year, and we can’t wait to see Hemes, along with all the artists, grow and flourish within this valuable supporting structure.” Adding, “even though the past year has been exceptionally difficult for the entire music industry, it is extremely pleasing to see that the Council can continue to support something positive in such challenging times.”

Commenting on her selection, Hemes shares, “I’m so excited to be part of the Forté Project this year! I am really looking forward to getting to know the other artists, collaborating and attending industry sessions. I can’t wait to see what this year brings!”

Over five years, Forté has worked with over fifty young artists to build their profile, generate opportunities and provide the necessary knowledge to help propel them into a career in the industry. Former acts who have previously benefited from Forté support include Welsh producer EÄDYTH, pop act HANA2K and singer-songwriter Otto, from Ferndale, who signed to Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart’s record label, Bay Street Records, in 2020.

The nine artists joining the project in 2021 are:

Aderyn – Infectious, spiky indie-pop guitar music

LEWYS – Instantly danceable Welsh language indie rock

Demzie – Viscerally honest rap artist from North Wales

Elina – Gorgeously self-produced teenage dream-pop

Hemes – Infuses Arabian scales with modern day dark-pop

KINGKHAN – Creatively packaged emo rap artist already featured on Radio 1Xtra

Mari Mathias – Luscious Welsh language folk tones

Mojo JNR – Slacker rock project from 24-year-old Josh David-Read

The Honest Poet – Soulful energy with an unforgettable voice