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UNIVERSAL'S U.K. CLASS OF 2019

In the first of a series of articles this week profiling the emerging artists coming out of the U.K. in 2019 and beyond, we start with six Universal signings tipped for success. Click here for the skinny on Lewis CapaldiDermot KennedyDaveGrace CarterSam Fender and Slowthai

Signed to Virgin EMI via Universal Music Germany,  Lewis Capaldi is a soulful singer and songwriter who was named as one of the three artists in the BRITs Critics’ Choice poll for 2019. He has sold out four U.K. and European tours and will support Bastille at the 5k-capacity Brixton Academy in February. Despite having just two EPs to his name, he has more than 8m monthly listeners on Spotify, which was kickstarted by his debut viral single “Bruises.” Management is Ryan Walter / Scott Kirkwood at Interlude Artists.

Irish troubadour and Island signing Dermot Kennedy finds a wide variety of inspiration in the likes of Bon Iver and Glen Hansard, as well as hip-hop (he's been working with super producer Mike Dean). He had support from Spotify early on, and his track “Boston” was featured in a Taylor Swift curated playlist, which has enabled him to tour the world and build a sizeable fanbase. A headline show at the Brixton Academy in May is sold out. Kennedy’s debut collection—an official album will follow later this year—reached #8 in the Irish charts last week, and he has more than 4m monthly listeners on Spotify. Management is Ed Millett and Ben Mawson at Tap

Dave hit #1 with breakout track “Funky Friday” f/Fredo last year, which has since been certified gold. He’s being developed and managed by the Nbrhood team of  Benny Scarrs and Jack Foster, who are part of the Method family. Method/Nbrhood have a distribution deal with Universal. He has released two EPs so far, has nearly 2.3m monthly listeners on Spotify and recently featured on the #6 single “18HUNNA” by Headie One. A debut album is expected this year. He played two sold-out shows at the 1.4k-capacity Koko in London as part of a U.K. and European tour.

Grace Carter is a Polydor signing who writes R&B-tinged emotive pop. She released her debut EP last year and plays the 1.8k-capacity Electric Brixton in March as part of a U.K. and European tour. “Silence,” written with George and Henry Flint of The 23rd, is her biggest track so far and she has nearly 1.4m monthly listeners on Spotify. Like Dermot Kennedy, management is Ed and Ben at Tap. 

Polydor artist Sam Fender won the BRITs Critics’ Choice gong for 2019. Hailing from Newcastle, he writes about subjects of social and generational significance, drawn from his experiences growing up in the North East. So far, he’s toured the U.K. and Europe, recently released debut EP, Dead Boys, and has more than 750k monthly listeners on Spotify. His debut album will follow this year and Fender plays Electric Brixton in February. Management is Owain Davies at OD Management.

Finally, Method signing Slowthai has been hailed as the most exciting new U.K. rapper around and is inspired by the British grime, rap and garage scene. His writing is observational and autobiographical and he has released two EPs to date. Earlier in January he came fourth in the BBC’s Sound of 2019 list, and he has also been tipped for success by VevoDIY and others. Monthly Spotify listeners currently stand at 375k and he plays the 1.2k-capacity York Hall in London in April. Management is Lewis Boyce at Toyitoyi

 

 

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