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U.K. SPECIAL: SONY MUSIC ACTS TO WATCH

London-based, Trinidad-born rapper/producer BERWYN has an inspiring story. With immigration issues and no connections to the music business, his time in the U.K. looked set to end. However, while preparing for his forced return to Trinidad, he decided to make a mixtape, DEMOTAPE/VEGA, documenting his final days, which made its way to Sony. Manish Arora, MD at Columbia U.K., heard it and signed him immediately. “There is no development story—we released Vega exactly as it was,” he says.

A viral Jools Holland performance filmed in his mum’s kitchen led to DEMOTAPE/VEGA becoming the first mixtape to be shortlisted for the 2021 Mercury Prize (BERWYN was also the first person without a British passport to be on the list). He took third place in the BBC Sound of 2021 list, has had BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra support and was featured on XL founder and tastemaker Richard Russell’s Everything Is Recorded Friday Forever album in 2020.

So what makes his music special? “There is a rawness to VEGA that has attracted so many people,” Arora points out. “Beyond that, BERWYN is a remarkable songwriter and the most instinctive lyricist. He writes how he speaks, and there is no artifice in the stories he tells.” Going forward, there are some exciting collaborations to look out for and a sold-out U.K. tour in November and December, which culminates with a date at London’s Islington Assembly Hall.

STATS

  • 275k monthly listeners on Spotify
  • “To Be Loved” performance for YouTube channel Colors reached 200k views in its first month 

TEAM

  • Management: Hamish Harris, September Management
  • Label: Columbia U.K., MD Manish Arora
  • Live: Earth Agency
  • Publishing: Copyright Control

 

Singer/songwriter Cat Burns is a former BRIT School student who went from busking on the South Bank to mastering TikTok in lockdown, singing a mix of originals and her favorite covers. Since signing to Sony label Since ’93 in September 2020, she’s been in the studio with top British songwriters and  producers, including Jin Jin, George More and Jordan Riley. Her first single, “Into You,” arrived in August, followed by her debut project, Emotionally Unavailable, in October.

Glyn Aikins, Co-President of Since ’93, describes the 21-year-old Burns as an “astounding vocal talent” and “an incredibly talented songwriter offering acute observations on life and love with a fresh perspective in her music.” Her influences encompass gospel, pop and guitar-led indie music.

The plan for 2022 is to continue to release more singles and EPs and build Burns’ audience, leading to her debut album the following year. Following a support slot on the JP Saxe U.S. tour in October, live will also be a key area of focus next year. The plan is to put on Burns’ first London headlining show at the start of 2022 before targeting the festival circuit, starting with a spotlight show at The Great Escape and ending with her own U.K. tour in the autumn. “The ambition for Cat is to be the breakthrough artist of the year,” Aikins asserts. “She’s an incredible talent with a unique point of view, and we see no reason for her not to end the year as the most exciting new artist in the country.”

STATS

  • 91k monthly listeners on Spotify, 18k followers
  • 8k YouTube subscribers, 870k total views
  • 827k fans on TikTok, 14m likes and 26.8k audio uses for “Go”
  • 109k followers across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter 

TEAM

  • Management: Hal Hudson at Sweet Mgt.
  • Label: RCA U.K. and Since ’93, RCA President David Dollimore and Since ’93 President Glyn Aikins
  • Live: Nick Matthews at Paradigm
  • Publishing: Molly McNulty, Senior A&R Manager at Kobalt

 

Singer/songwriter Cat Burns is a former BRIT School student who went from busking on the South Bank to mastering TikTok in lockdown, singing a mix of originals and her favorite covers. Since signing to Sony label Since ’93 in September 2020, she’s been in the studio with top British songwriters and  producers, including Jin Jin, George More and Jordan Riley. Her first single, “Into You,” arrived in August, followed by her debut project, Emotionally Unavailable, in October.

Glyn Aikins, Co-President of Since ’93, describes the 21-year-old Burns as an “astounding vocal talent” and “an incredibly talented songwriter offering acute observations on life and love with a fresh perspective in her music.” Her influences encompass gospel, pop and guitar-led indie music.

The plan for 2022 is to continue to release more singles and EPs and build Burns’ audience, leading to her debut album the following year. Following a support slot on the JP Saxe U.S. tour in October, live will also be a key area of focus next year. The plan is to put on Burns’ first London headlining show at the start of 2022 before targeting the festival circuit, starting with a spotlight show at The Great Escape and ending with her own U.K. tour in the autumn. “The ambition for Cat is to be the breakthrough artist of the year,” Aikins asserts. “She’s an incredible talent with a unique point of view, and we see no reason for her not to end the year as the most exciting new artist in the country.”

STATS

  • 91k monthly listeners on Spotify, 18k followers
  • 8k YouTube subscribers, 870k total views
  • 827k fans on TikTok, 14m likes and 26.8k audio uses for “Go”
  • 109k followers across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter 

TEAM

  • Management: Hal Hudson at Sweet Mgt
  • Label: RCA U.K. and Since ’93, RCA President David Dollimore and Since ’93 President Glyn Aikins
  • Live: Nick Matthews at Paradigm
  • Publishing: Molly McNulty, Senior A&R Manager at Kobalt

 

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