Many black, UK-based, female R&B performers, especially those from the early 2000s, have found it hard to establish a career at home.
Acts such as Estelle, Jamelia, Sade, Ms Dynamite, Cleopatra and Misteeq have either left the music industry completely, diversified into presenting and acting or have re-established a base in the US in an attempt to continue their careers. Meanwhile American performers such as Beyonce, Rihanna and Alicia Keys who started their careers at a similar time, continue to dominate the music world. British acts, despite early chart recognition, awards and fan devotion, struggled to make an impact in the same way. And in the modern era, performers such as Laura Mvula, despite enormous talent and massive critical acclaim, have encountered problems dealing with the music industry.
Why do the women involved in British R&B fail to find lasting success at home? Why can’t British artists maintain the same trajectory as their American counterparts? Why do they feel it necessary to relocate abroad or work in other parts of the entertainment industry? And will the R&B artists of the future face the same problems?
With Yomi Adegoke and Tara Joshi.
Presenter: Hayley Campbell
Producer: Dale Shaw