Nominees for
Best New Talent 2024


About the Award

UPBEAT’s Best New Talent Award directs the limelight to Europe’s upcoming artists, the hidden pockets where heritage and new talent ferments, the uncharted musical landscapes off the mainstream path. Voting for 2024 coming soon..

The Jury

Our expert jury consists of renowned music professionals, critics, and industry insiders who carefully evaluate the nominees and help determine the winners. They bring their extensive experience and expertise to ensure the integrity and fairness of the awards. They have selected 10 out of nearly hundred artists who have featured at any of UPBEAT’s member festivals throughout the year.

Veronika Vajda

Hangvető, Project Manager (Hungary)

Veronika Vajda is an ethnomusicologist with a special interest in the music cultures of Central Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus. Since joining Hangvető’s team, she has worked as a project manager of  UPBEAT – The European Showcase Platform for World Music and other international projects supported by Creative Europe such as MOST – The Bridge for Balkan Music, while also taking part in the production on BALKAN:MOST Showcase and Conference in Veszprém, European Capital of Culture 2023.

“What I’m looking for when searching for new music: I love artists who present a blend of their own original compositions but aren’t shy to show where their influences come from in their music. My everyday “on the way to the office” playlist features songs in at least 20 different languages and I love discovering and supporting artists who sing in their mother tongues.”

Darek Mazzone

KEXP (Seattle, WA, USA)

Darek Mazzone, a key figure in global music and host of KEXP’s ‘Wo’Pop’, significantly impacts the music world. He co-founded Seattle Sacred Music and Art (SAMA) and Tashkent Park Creative, emphasizing cultural exchange through music and arts. Since 1993, Mazzone’s commitment to promoting international music diversity at KEXP is apparent. His projects, including SAMA and Old Age Recording Co., focus on elevating underrepresented musicians worldwide, reflecting his dedication to uniting communities via music’s power. Mazzone’s career showcases a profound engagement with the world’s musical diversity. Additionally, his work with the World Justice Forum, UNHRC in Amman, Jordan, and collaborations with technology companies in Asia and Europe, underscore his complex global vision and the impactful role of music and art globally.

“What I’m looking for in new music: The artists that move me are ones that have a sense of their roots and traditions while creating something that speaks to the realities of the modern age.” 

Imed Alibi

International Music Expert/Artistic Director (Tunisia/France)

Imed Alibi is a Tunisian musician and composer, renowned for his expertise in music performance, composition, and cultural management. His extensive career includes roles as the Artistic Director of the International Festival of Carthage and Carthage Music Days. Notably, he has served on juries for events like Visa for Music in Morocco and Babel Music XP in Marseille and music in Africa, Beirut and beyond. As an artistic advisor, he collaborated with institutions like Le Silo in South France and the Candid Foundation in Germany on the Alhan Libya project. Imed’s influence extends to UNESCO programs, such as Music and Sustainable Development in Morocco, and the Masary program in Abu Dhabi. Recognized for his contributions, he was honored as a Knight of Arts and Letters by French Minister Roselyn Bachelot in 2021.

“Emerging Artists have been a part of my life for the last 15 years as I have been involved in several festivals and platforms that develop the new scene especially in the MENA region and beyond. The common point is that these artists have usually broken the mainstream system and given us lessons about what the music of tomorrow is without a boundary and especially with a lot of risks.”