Virgin Money has added three acts to its 12-month Emerging Stars programme, which aims to support young artists amid the challenges they face having not been able to perform live since March.

UK rapper Kamakaze and singer-songwriters Lilla Vargen and Hannah Grace will each receive £10,000, as well as performance opportunities at London’s 23,000-capacity The O2 arena and The SSE Hydro Arena (cap, 14,000) in Glasgow.

On the back of the success of bespoke Covid-safe temporary 2,500-capacity venue Virgin Money Unity Arena (pictured), the grassroots talent programme is part of the company’s Brighter Music Moments campaign supported by ambassador and television host Laura Whitmore.

The three artists were selected by an industry panel consisting of AEG Presents UK co-CEO Toby Leighton-Pope, Notion magazine MD Nicholas Douglas and Louise Hodges, head of consumer communications at Virgin Money.

Irish singer-songwriter Lilla Vargen and Welsh folk singer-songwirter Hannah Grace spoke to Access about what the programme means for them.

Vargen said, “I think the Emerging Stars programme gives people, and definitely myself, a lot of hope. It has given me the encouragement and extra confidence that I need going into next year. It is so important now more than ever.“

Grace said, “It’s been amazing for me. It’s always nice to be recognised and supported in the industry, especially after this year; it’s a vote of confidence. It’s been really hard this year not being able to play any snows, so to finish 2020 being part of the Emerging Stars programme really means a lot.”

Virgin Money head of consumer communications Louise Hodges said, “We know what an immensely difficult year 2020 has been for the music industry, as a result of Covid-19. This is also the year Virgin Money began its new partnership direction in music. Like many, our plans have had to change and adapt to the current climate but one thing is for certain, we are committed to supporting the music industry and emerging artists.”