Announcing our #IVW21 Ambassador for Northern Ireland – Jordan Adetunji


Independent Venue Week announces the young and incredibly talented Jordan Adetunji to represent Northern Ireland in the 2021 edition taking place from Monday 25 January to Sunday 31 January 2021. Independent Venue Week will this year be represented by four ambassadors – one for each of the Home Nations – who will lead the way in championing independent venues, and their communities, across their respective countries in the build-up to IVW 2021. Jordan Adetunji is the third ambassador to be announced following Arlo Parks and Gruff Rhys. For more information, visit

Representing Northern Ireland is Belfast’s alternative hip-hop artist and songwriter, Jordan Adetunji, who is at the forefront of the country’s burgeoning scene; in 2019, Adetunji became the first-ever hip-hop act to play at the prestigious Northern Ireland Music Prize and has been included across BBC’s “Stendhal Live“ and the BBC Art Show ”Ones to Watch”. 

Commenting on his appointment as ambassador of N.Ireland, Jordan Adetunji says:

”I am delighted to have been chosen as the ambassador for Northern Ireland during Independent Venue Week 2021. Independent venues play a vital role in creating economic opportunities, while at the same time showcasing and promoting the works of many local artists like myself. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together venues, artists, events operators, and the public – especially in these challenging times – to highlight the importance of independent venues.”

“It’s a big team effort.” – Jordan Adetunji, 2021 Independent Venue Week Ambassador for Northern Ireland

‘The people running these events and putting on these things are so important, because they bring a lot of it to life. They’re all part of the creative process, it’s a big team effort…’

Ahead of taking a lead role in this year’s celebration, Jordan spoke to writer, broadcaster and friend of Independent Venue Week Paul Stokes about his 2020, what the Belfast music community means to him, his ambassadorial duties and what he’s got planned for this year.

Jordan Adetunji

IVW ambassador – Northern Ireland 

How was your 2020?

It’s been very unprecedented times, but I’ve managed to get through it. And it’s actually made me quite creative, I guess. Lock down has hit a bit hard because of not being able to do live shows and stuff like that, but it’s made me deep think. It’s made me more creative when approaching music.

Presumably where you are in your career at the moment you must just want to get out there and play live as much as possible?

Yeah, it’s the most frustrating part, because that’s something that I enjoy most. Even you could say more than making the music. I love playing live playing, live is the best part. So having that taken away is not great.

So it wasn’t hard to get you to agree to be the IVW ambassador for Northern Ireland?

Venues are just so, so important to us as musicians. I feel like we almost go hand in hand. At this this time, right now, currently, we’ve both been hit hard – and venues the most. People who run the venues are out of work, which I think is just horrible. So I felt like shining light on these venues was important and is why I wanted to get involved in the week.

What role have grassroots venues played in your development as an artist?

A big, big role. Playing these places has enhanced me to perform better. Playing the  Ulster Hall was a really, really big deal for me. Being in stage in that venue made me feel like “Wow, I’m really playing here.” I’d played a venue, which was just a bit smaller the day before, so to then go there with the same material and perform for a bigger crowd and seeing the same reaction, it made me so happy. 

It must be a great experience in winning over a crowd?

I think it’s a true test of your energy and your music. That’s what I love about playing live. Because I’m just like, “Okay, if people don’t know me here, I’m going to make them fall in love with me.” I feel that’s so important. Live, I feel energy bounces off each other. Like if you have great energy, the crowd gives that back. That’s one thing  I’ve learned even is playing with smaller venues. No matter where you are, you have to maintain that energy to bring that energy back. 

Are there any particularly venues you’ve enjoyed playing?

The Belfast Empire Music Hall. It’s like such a cool venue. So many historic acts have actually played there, which I just think is amazing. I love it so much. It’s just so unique.

Non musicians don’t often appreciate the buzz you can get from a room a hero has played. 

Nirvana played Ulster Hall and that just blows my mind to be on that stage. It’s just, amazing.

You mentioned them earlier, but how key for you are the people who run venues for making a gig go well? 

The people running these events and putting these things on are so important, because they bring a lot of it to life. They’re all part of the creative process, it’s a big team effort. 

How is the music scene in Northern Ireland at the moment?

I think it’s amazing. It’s actively growing. In my genre of hip hop, after years it’s really active. And everybody is different. I feel because we’re such a small city, and we’re not into the big, large mainstream as much, people can be a lot more creative. And because there’s not as much around they have to create their own thing. That’s why you find a lot of unique people and unique things coming out of Belfast.

It sounds a very supportive environment. 

In Belfast it’s like a family. I have to say it is a big community. I feel like everybody knows each other. It is a big family, I can’t lie.

Along with IVW what else does 2021 hold for you?

I’m gonna be releasing some new content. But I’ve got loads of stuff out there that released through lockdown. My single Wokeup! shows the bigger side of my sound, sort of post punk mixed with rap. That was very, very important for me and I feel like if lockdown didn’t happen, I probably wouldn’t have made the track, because it brought up my creative side, so that was good for me.

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