It is perhaps one of Scotland's most unlikely partnerships.

One is an award-winning rapper whose debut album became the 2020 Scottish Album of the Year winner.

The other is the Edinburgh-based bank that required a £45bn bailout in 2008.

But together 25-year-old rapper and DJ Shaheeda Sinckler aka Nova Scotia The Truth and taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland are hoping to support 18-34-year olds whose lives have been hit financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to RBS research more than half those in the age group in Scotland put a ‘life moment’ like a wedding, graduation, or purchase of a first home on hold during the last 12 months of the coronavirus crisis.

Of those with life moments planned, almost a third (31%) said "financial insecurity" caused by the pandemic had affected these plans, with one in ten (10%) citing a loss of employment and 8% affected by their lack of financial knowledge.

RBS is now offering every person a free Financial Health Check, to reduce money anxieties and help them achieve their goals.

And the bank has enlisted the support Ms Sinckler who was crowned Scottish Album of the Year winner in 2020 with her debut album Re-Up to help the cause.


Nova celebrates on screen as her manager picks up the SAY Award. Picture: Rory Barnes

The youngest winner of the SAY award has been commissioned by the Edinburgh-based bank to write and produce an exclusive new track about the implications of 2020 and "making future dreams happen" in a single due for release later this year.

The artist who grew up in Edinburgh and made her first music in Glasgow, has seen her life put on pause with live gigs postponed and missed family moments. That included missing out on attending the SAY award ceremony in person, as it had to be held virtually because of the Covid-19 social distancing restrictions.

She said: “At the start of 2020, I planned to move back to Glasgow and focus on gigging but because of the pandemic, I’ve had to stay at home with my family. It’s not been the easiest year but I’m lucky I’ve been able to focus on creative projects and do my college work virtually, I know not everyone has been so fortunate.

“The pandemic has given us time to reflect on our lives and the way we structure them and for me, that involved streamlining my finances to make sure I’m setting myself up well for when life goes back to normal. If you’ve got a plan in place now and the right support, you can achieve your goals quicker.”

The research found that a fifth (22%) of all 18-34-year-olds said they feel anxious about money troubles in a post-Covid world compared with less than one in ten (9%) of those aged 55+.

Despite the increased financial anxieties among young people just over one in three do believe the pandemic has made them better at financial planning.

READ MORE: Warning over Scots music industry future as SAY Award is given to isolating Covid-positive artist Nova

And when asked about the things they are looking forward to once restrictions allow it, key sources of excitement for 18-34-year-olds were going on holiday (74%), date nights (50%), attending a live gig (48%), return to education (22%) and buying a house (20%).


Malcolm Buchanan, chairman of the RBS Scotland Board said: “The impact of the pandemic on people’s plans – and their financial situation – has been immense.

“Directly or indirectly, everyone has been touched by it. Through our conversations with our younger customers and colleagues, a group who are normally working towards their future plans and goals, it is clear that many dreams and life moments have been paused. This is understandable given the climate.

“Shaheeda’s story has shown that it has impacted everyone, whether in the public eye or not.

“It has been challenging and there is a long way to go but we’ve seen that some people have reappraised what they want from life, whether it is a new life goal or even plans to set up their own business in the future.

“Regardless of how long it takes for people to get back on their feet, we want to help give everyone the support and skills they need to help them make their dreams a reality and help them plan for the future.”