Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today announced the 2021 class of artists joining Fender Next, an artist development program designed to elevate rising musicians that are pushing guitar forward in music and culture. Each Fender Next artist will receive Fender’s industry-leading guitars, amps and more, alongside holistic, 360-marketing support across the company’s multi-channel platform to share their story and connect them with millions of music fans worldwide.
2021 marks Fender’s 75th anniversary and another historical year of supporting artists who push guitar and music forward. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted how artists connect with new and existing fans due to postponed tours and performances. With heightened visibility via the Fender social channels, Fender Next artists are able to reach nine million music fans around the world and showcase their unique sound new audiences.
“As leaders in the music space, we have a responsibility to support new artists looking to establish careers long-term,” said Evan Jones, CMO at Fender. “We’re uniquely positioned to showcase and develop emerging artists on a global scale, and it’s our goal to act as a best-in-class marketing partner to them, leveraging the full breadth of our capabilities and brand investments on their behalf. We see the Fender Next program as foundational to our bigger brand mission, and a critical part of our long-term commitment to showcasing the depth and diversity of today’s artists, moving guitar forward in music and culture.”
In its first two years, Fender Next has recognized and empowered talented artists who have gone on to critical acclaim and commercial success. Members of Fender Next’s 2020 class, Black Pumas, were nominated for three 2021 Grammy® Awards. Past class member King Princess subsequently performed on “Saturday Night Live” after her induction in 2019, while her classmate Ashley McBryde was awarded Artist of the Year by the Country Music Association® Awards in 2019. In the UK, Fender Next artist Beabadoobee has won an NME Radar award, while also earning a BRIT Award nomination alongside classmate Sam Fender. Fender Next artists have also gone on to receive their own limited-edition Fender Artist Signature Models, such as Japan’s Miyaviand his Signature Telecaster® guitar.
This year’s Fender Next group includes 25 rising artists (10 North American, 3 Australian/New Zealand, 7 European, 3 Asian, 2 Latin American artists) across genres, generations, genders and backgrounds that are elevating guitar in music and culture. After an open call to submissions from the public and A&Rs across the country, the 2021 class was hand-selected by Fender’s best-in-class artist marketing team, who identified a group of artists that each have developed their guitar-driven music in new and exciting directions. As part of the process, they sought guidance from key industry leaders at record labels, streaming services, talent buying agencies and executives in addition to other music entities. A testament to the diverse and dynamic future of guitar, this year’s group is more than 50% women with 7 countries and 5 continents represented.
“The power of musical expression is universal and we’re proud to welcome the Fender Next Class of ’21 with artists from Africa, Europe, Latin America, the U.S. and everywhere in between to this program,” said Matt Watts, VP of Marketing at Fender. “These artists are not only pushing their respective genres forward, but they’re pushing guitar forward. Our goal is to help create long-term exposure for the artists in the program, support their creative passion and provide tools to fuel their creative output. Given the rapid changes in the music industry over the last 12 months, we know that this support is more important than ever.”
Aimed at supporting up-and-coming musicians, Fender will drive increased exposure for the new class of Fender Next artists through the brand’s award-winning content, advertisements and social channels which boasts approximately more than 10 million fans worldwide. Depending on the act, benefits include:
• Access to guitars, amps, effects pedals, accessories and audio equipment serving artist needs across the signal chain. Products will include American Acoustasonic® series models, American Professional II guitars and basses, Mustang Micro™ personal guitar amplifier, effects pedals, Fender swag and other soon-to-be-announced instruments.
• Fender’s industry-leading marketing efforts, including: social media promotion, an “Artist Check-in” video produced for Fender’s YouTube channel, Instagram takeovers, PR/communications support, as well as the opportunity for select artists to be featured in Fender marketing launches and ads.
• Inclusion of select artist songs in Fender’s digital learning platform, Fender Play®
To bring fans even closer to their favorite artists, Fender® will collaborate with the 2021 Fender Next class of musicians to develop social media and campaign creative content, as well as “Fender Sessions,” featuring intimate performances and conversations with select artists reflecting their passion points and latest releases. That content will be distributed by exclusive partners, as well as on Fender social media and artist channels.
“Fender is iconic,” said Fender Next 2021 class member Remi Wolf. “Fender was the guitar brand I was aware of as I was growing up, so it’s crazy that they’re supporting me in this way. For my debut album, we’re pretty much exclusively using Fender guitars and I have been using them my entire life. It’s a nice little full circle moment for me.”
“I’m very excited to be included in this year’s Fender Next,” fellow Fender Next 2021 class artist Ambar Lucid added. “It confirms to me that I’m on the right path towards making my dreams come true!”
ABOUT FENDER MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS CORPORATION:
Since 1946, Fender has revolutionized music and culture as one of the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers, marketers and distributors. Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC)–whose portfolio of owned and licensed brands includes Fender®, Squier®, Gretsch® guitars, Jackson®, EVH®, Charvel® and Bigsby®–follows a player-centric approach to crafting the highest-quality instruments and digital experiences across genres. Since 2015, Fender’s digital arm has introduced a new ecosystem of products and interactive experiences to accompany players at every stage of their musical journey. This includes innovative apps and learning platforms designed to complement Fender guitars, amplifiers, effects pedals, accessories and pro-audio gear, and inspire players through an immersive musical experience. FMIC is dedicated to unlocking the power of musical expression for all players, from beginners to history-making legends. In 2021, Fender celebrates 75 years of giving artists “wings to fly,” carrying on the vision of its founder, Leo Fender, and connecting players through a shared love of music.