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Blighty Beat

Nottingham hip-hop act Young T & Bugsey hit #25 on the U.K. album chart with their mixtape Plead the 5th in March. Released on Sony label Black Butter, it accumulated more than 100m streams. The pair also have two Top 20 singles in their portfolio, “Strike a Pose” featuring Aitch and “Don’t Rush” with Headie One, both of which have achieved platinum status. “Don’t Rush” peaked at #56 on the Billboard Hot 100—a significant accomplishment for the British rap scene, which historically hasn’t translated fully overseas.

Young T & Bugsey joined Sony/ATV in early 2020 and have been in the studio with a host of big-name producers ever since.

Sony/ATV U.K. Head of A&R Sarah Lockhart, who signed them, says: “I love their ability to create subtle but hypnotic melodies. Their style is familiar and relatable but somehow fresh and their own. I believe they will create a legacy that’s not just of the moment; their influences and melodies have timeless appeal.”

A statement from 2K Management noted Young T & Bugsey’s “amazing chemistry,” further stating: “When it comes to writing hooks, especially, they are almost unmatched—they have a knack for knowing exactly what to say to get the crowd jumping. As individuals, they understand not just what they themselves are good at but also what the other person is good at. When they go into the booth, they’re always on the same page and know what to deliver to create magic.”

The plan is to continue working on a new album project and, according to Lockhart, “connecting with the global artist community and refining their distinct sound.”•

Singer-songwriter Rina Sawayama joined UMPG U.K. while under quarantine via Zoom. She’d signed to Dirty Hit in 2019, having self-released her debut EP, Rina, in 2017. Her critically acclaimed album bow, Sawayama, appeared in April. Pitchfork called it “a Y2K flashback as reverent of Evanescence and Korn as it is of Britney and Christina.”

Tom Cater, A&R Manager for UMPG U.K., notes: “Rina is capable of speaking about global topics in her songwriting while maintaining a sense of personal experience at the same time.” She is an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ+ causes, points out House of Us management’s Caspar Harvey, and has also demanded revised eligibility criteria for the BRIT and Mercury Music Prize awards to accommodate artists with indefinite-leave-to-remain status—despite having lived in the U.K. for 25 years, Sawayama isn’t eligible because she was born in Japan and doesn’t hold a British passport. “Her passion for these issues is echoed in her lyrics,” Harvey affirms.

Since hopping aboard UMPG, Sawayama has participated in sessions with Bastille, MNEK and Glass Animals and been submitted for sync placements with Toyota, Fifa, Netflix and Apple. She plans to write for the remainder of 2020. In the offing for 2021 are U.S. and U.K. tours and a number of international festivals.• 

Raye has successfully established herself as a songwriter as well as an artist, with credits on songs by a host of big names, including Beyoncé, Charli XCX, Ellie Goulding and Madison Beer. As an artist, she recently hit #6 on the U.K. singles chart with “Secrets” alongside Regard.

Raye was signed to Warner Chappell Music U.K. by Head of A&R Amber Davis in 2015, later joining Polydor Records as an artist. Says Davis: “It was really refreshing to hear her say she wanted to write for other people and genuinely mean it. And she got results so quickly after signing a publishing deal, a testament to her work ethic. Plus, Raye’s amazing versatility means she can go from working with David Guetta to Young Adz from D Block Europe to top Ghanaian producers and artists like Mr Eazi.”

Raye’s first cuts were with Charli XCX and Snakehips. Then came Jax Jones’ “You Don’t Know Me,” to which she contributed vocals, which hit #3 on the U.K. charts in 2017, closely followed by collaborations with Mabel and Stefflon Don. On her own, Raye took third in the BBC’s Sound of 2017 poll. Last year she became the first recipient of the BMI Awards Impact Prize.

Her next objectives are to build on the success of “Secrets” with solo outing “Natalie Don’t” and begin to infiltrate the U.S. market.•