A PIONEERING project to help women break into the music industry is underway in York.

Young Thugs, the recording studio and record label based in South Bank, has launched its LEVEL programme to mentor three women in music production.

During lockdown, Young Thugs - run by Jonny Hooker and Dave Greenbrown - became a Community Interest Company, which allowed them to apply for funding to establish a community studio, enabling them to give further support to talented artists.

LEVEL is a nine-month programme funded by Youth Music’s Incubator Fund through the People’s Postcode Lottery and led by Yssi Wombwell, an established songwriter and performer.

The three candidates on the programme - Anna Reed, Elle Bennett and Katrina Dixon - will also work with female-led artists and bands to create content for a series of singles, an EP or an album all the way from conception to eventual release.

Jonny said: "Music production is still a male-dominated industry. Research shows there is less than three per cent of women in the industry. We need to break down that barrier and try to promote them somehow. The Youth Music grant puts us in a position to do that."

Anna said: "I'm so excited to be offered this opportunity. Young Thugs are playing an important role in balancing out the music industry which is something that I feel really passionate about."

Elle said: "I am so grateful to have been selected for this placement and to be able to get some hands-on studio experience. Music is my biggest passion, but it’s only ever really been a hobby and it can be really hard trying figure out how to turn it into a career. It’s really fantastic to see opportunities likes these that helping underrepresented people get a start in the industry!"

Katrina recognises the opportunity to break into a male-dominated industry: "Having opportunities like these provided by Young Thugs is essential to ensure everyone has the freedom to thrive in music."

The project leader Yssi has already worked as a mentor and teacher through her involvement in delivering workshops and tuition in keyboards, guitar, lyric-writing, and music production through projects such as the Female Takeover Project in Hull.