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U.K. SPECIAL:
UMG ACTS TO WATCH

 

Singer/songwriter Lola Young has spent the last few years playing shows in and around London, which is how she got the attention of Island Records U.K. After she enlisted the help of experienced managers Nick Shymansky and Nick Huggett and finished her education, Island U.K. President Louis Bloom made an offer and emerged victorious amid fierce competition from other labels.

“Some artists are master songwriters, some phenomenal singers, some incredible live performers; Lola is all three,” says Bloom. “She has a truth and a depth to her that only the very special artists possess.” The honesty in her songwriting and her “enormous” vocal talent will be the connecting point between Young and a “massive audience,” he predicts.

During lockdown, she’s been in the studio with producer Paul Epworth, the results of which Bloom calls “stunning.” Expect singles next year and an album in Q4 2022. Young’s debut EP, After Midnight, arrived in August, “Dopamine,” dropped in late September and her cover of “Together in Electric Dreams” for the John Lewis Christmas ad campaign was released in early November.

Going forward, live is key for Young, says Bloom. She’s set for lots of headlining shows, smaller, intimate venues, festival appearances, and bigger venues as the word begins to spread, as well as tours with like-minded artists. She already supported labelmate Dermot Kennedy on his biggest- ever U.K. dates in September, including three nights at the 10k-cap. Alexandra Palace in London, ahead of her own U.K. headline tour in November.

“We truly believe there are no limits to how big a star Lola can be,” says Bloom. “We have seen, particularly in the last few years, that the artists who properly break through are the ones who not only have great songs and great voices, but also that impossible-to-fake authenticity. That’s why we’re so confident that Lola is a once-in-a-generation talent.” 

STATS

  • Sold out Jazz Café show in London summer 2021
  • Headline U.K. tour in November
  • BBC Radio 1 support from numerous DJs
  • Press from The Independent, Vogue, Hunger, The Evening Standard, Dummy and lots more
  • 31k Instagram followers, 10.1k YouTube subs and 49k TikTok fans 

TEAM

  • Management: Nick Shymansky and Nick Huggett, Day One Entertainment
  • Label: Island U.K., President Louis Bloom and A&R Jack Greengrass
  • Live: Tom Schroeder, Paradigm
  • Publishing: Sarah Pickering, Sony Music Publishing

 

Holly Humberstone signed a deal with Polydor Records, Darkroom and Interscope in 2021 following an independent development process with the help of her manager, Josh Sanger. Her first EP, Falling Asleep at the Wheel, was released independently last year; her major-label debut, The Walls Are Way Too Thin, arrived in early November.

Polydor Co-President Ben Mortimer says it was the legwork done by both Humberstone and Sanger that piqued his interest. “Holly’s journey started long before Polydor became involved. In that time, she’s shown she can communicate in a powerfully authentic way to her audience. She has the power to make people believe in her. It also goes without saying that her musical and lyrical skills are bloody awesome.”

Fellow Co-President Tom March agrees that the key element of Humberstone’s signing and development story is patience. “We were blown away by Holly and her music from her very first release and had been speaking to her team right from that moment,” he explains. “They weren’t in a rush to do a label deal and wanted to take time to build her career independently. Holly and her brilliant manager Josh did an excellent job of building a fanbase and releasing some incredible music; then, when the time was right and they felt ready, they decided the combination of Polydor, Darkroom and Interscope were the right team to help take Holly and her music to the next level.”

Humberstone has already made appearances on Jools Holland, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Late Show With James Corden. She was named a VEVO DSCVR artist to watch in 2021 and has had press support from DORK, Phoenix, the Guardian, NME and i-D. Going forward, she has a busy live schedule until next March/April, with some big U.K. headline shows at 2k-cap. venues plus sold-out Australian, European and U.S. headline shows. Her debut album will be released in 2022. 

STATS

  • Four nights at Omeara in London, regional tour and Shepherds’ Bush Empire sold out
  • U.S. tour presale sold out in five minutes
  • “The Walls Are Way Too Thin” single had BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 support, reached iTunes Top 20, Shazam Top 10 and Spotify Viral Top 50 charts
  • Follow-up single “Scarlett” had A List support from BBC Radio 1 

TEAM

  • Management: Josh Sanger, Deep End Management/Closer Artists
  • Label: Polydor/Darkroom/Interscope
  • Live: Angus Baskerville and Hayley Leaver at 13 Artists
  • Publishing: UMPG, Dougie Bruce, Elizabeth Troughton, Dani Sawyerr and Mike McCormack

 

When Bree Runway first arrived at her then-new label home at EMI in the U.K., she came dressed as a teacher and proceeded to share a Power Point presentation about herself and her ambitions. It set the tone for how the label engaged with Runway thereafter, with President Rebecca Allen describing her as “the CEO of Bree Runway!”

According to Allen, “Bree 100% drives the strategy around [her career development]. She leads the conversation with a fire and passion that ignites everyone who comes in contact with her. She’s hugely committed, driven, ambitious, creative and inspiring to be around. She’s a truly multifaceted artist whose vision is evident in everything she does. She can sing, rap, dance, write, produce and self-style, and she directs her own visuals. As a label, we couldn’t be prouder of Bree.”

Runway’s debut mixtape, 2000and4Eva, arrived last year, and she’s released three EPs to date, including one on EMI. As a lead artist, she’s released a string of singles that include collaborations with Yung Baby Tate, Missy Elliott and Glass Animals and has been featured on tracks by Rina Sawayama and Metroplane as well as Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Remix album. Earlier this year, she was given the viewer’s choice award for Best New International Act at the BET Awards and has appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show and the cover of Paper magazine.

Going forward, Allen says there’s a soon-to-be-announced new global management structure and a bright future ahead thanks to engaged global business partners (including a strong U.S. team at Motown led by Ethiopia Habtemariam) and media partners and sold-out shows. In addition, “Bree is writing, writing, writing and delivering some exceptional music that will cement her as a global star of the future.” 

STATS

  • 60m global streams
  • 80k Spotify followers
  • 110k YouTube subscribers
  • Two sold-out headline shows in September at Colours in London
  • 922k combined social-media reach
  • 68.8m streams (audio and video) 

TEAM

  • Management: Anique Cox
  • Label: EMI (President Rebecca Allen) and Motown (CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam)
  • Live: Anthony Brown at CAA
  • Publishing: Self-published (administration by Sentric Music)


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CHART FINAL:
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OF THE YEAR
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THE BRITISH
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Rolling out our U.K. Special print issue (11/24a)
PUTTING THE POP
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Putting the audio into audio-visual. (11/29a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
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