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U.K. SPECIAL:
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U.K. rapper Tion Wayne has racked up over a billion streams, headlined a sold-out tour (including a date at London’s 5k-cap. Brixton Academy) and won a GRM Rated Award across his short career so far. He’s earned five U.K. Top 10 singles both as a solo and featured artist and has collaborated with the likes of Russ Millions (for his #1 hit, “Body”), Stormzy and KSI. Support has come from BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, Spotify and Apple Music.

Wayne grabbed the attention of Atlantic U.K. with his independent mixtapes and was signed for one single. But once the working relationship began, “It was clear we had a star on our hands and that our partnership needed to be extended,” says Leila Singh, Marketing Manager at the label. After his 2020 single “I Dunno” peaked at #8, Atlantic signed Wayne to a multi-album deal and has since been focused on making him the hottest rapper in the U.K. “Tion is a leader within the culture and really sums up what hard work can achieve,” Singh adds.

His debut album, Green With Envy, arrived in September and hit #5 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart. The set demonstrates “his vast musical ability and shows different sides to him,” says Singh. “I think that’s what makes a true artist special; the ability to know their sound and explore others but remain true to themselves and know exactly how they want to roll out their gift to the world.” Green With Envy was announced alongside a new single featuring ArrDee, “Wid It,” and a merch collection. “It’s by far the biggest and most important debut album of the year coming out in the U.K.,” Singh asserts.

STATS

  • 100m global streams
  • 250k YouTube subs, 728k Instagram followers and 419.5k TikTok followers
  • Nine Top 40 U.K. singles and five Top 10s 

TEAM

  • Management: Terry Appiasei, Glenn Sonko, Davina Merchant and Wayne’s childhood friend, Nino
  • Label: Team led by Atlantic U.K. EVP Austin Daboh
  • Publishing: Concord
  • Live: Nick Matthews at Paradigm

 

BRITs Rising Star winner Griff stole the show earlier this year with a performance of her single, “Black Hole,” and she’s been gaining momentum ever since. In June, she became the first female artist to reach Top 5 in the U.K. with her debut mixtape, One Foot in Front of the Other, and she’s had strong support from Spotify (she was their first global RADAR artist), YouTube for On the Rise, BBC Radio 1, Apple Music for Up Next and MTV Push.

Griff was signed to Warner Records U.K. by label President Joe Kentish, who heard her music via lawyer Berkley Edwards at Clintons. “He told me it was made by a 15-year girl who’d done it all herself. The demo was absolutely incredible, and there was a song called ‘Paradise,’ which I had on repeat,” he remembers. After 18 months of pestering her manager, Deleon Blake, who wanted to wait until Griff finished her exams, he managed to sign her over the summer holidays. “I think Deleon just wanted a bit of peace, to be honest,” Kentish quips.

Kentish credits her talent and work ethic to what makes her special. “She’s constantly producing, whether it’s songs, covers, video content, dresses, video ideas, live show ideas; she’s just able to produce so much creative content, and all of it is on point. It’s really inspiring being around someone that original and that gifted.”

Griff spent November touring the U.K., including a date at London’s 2k-cap. Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and Europe. An album is set to land in 2022. “With such a rare artist as Griff, you can’t put any ceiling on the ambition,” says Kentish. “We want her music to be universally recognized and for her to be not just one of the biggest recording artists in the world but one who is ground-breaking in a creative sense too. Global success is what we’re striving for, and her talent makes that a very achievable goal.”

STATS

  • #4 on U.K. albums chart for debut mixtape
  • “Black Hole” hit Top 20 and has since been certified silver
  • 5.3m Spotify monthly listeners and 140k followers
  • 100k YouTube subscribers
  • 221k followers on Instagram and 300k on TikTok 

TEAM

  • Management: Deleon Blake
  • Label: Warner Records U.K. President Joe Kentish and A&R Lottie Llewellyn
  • Publishing: UMPG, Pete Simmons, Colette Goodfellow and Mike McCormack
  • Live: Dave Bradley at WME

 

PinkPantheress caught the attention of the Parlophone team when her track “Pain,” which peaked at #35 on the U.K. singles chart, was flagged by Warner’s AI-driven A&R tool Sodatone. “It immediately struck us as something special,” Parlophone Co-President Nick Burgess recalls. After some detective work, they tracked her down to her university dorm, where she’d been making music throughout lockdown, including an EP that she’d written, recorded and produced by herself. “We were blown away and offered her a deal on the spot,” says Burgess.

As the team was negotiating the deal, she released “Break It Off,” which went viral, with artists like Lizzo and Rosalía using the sound on TikTok, and that created a lot of label interest from the U.K. and the U.S. Fortunately, Parlophone’s early belief and creative relationship enabled the label to secure the deal. Burgess says her “natural instinctive musical talent and creative spirit” is what makes PinkPantheress stand out. “She not only writes and produces all her songs, but she has a unique use of melody and lyrical phrasing, which connects effortlessly with a wide audience. Her clever use of samples—from very well-known pop to obscure German ambient tracks—also shows a fearlessness in her approach to her music.”

So far, PinkPantheress has been playlisted by BBC Radio 1, Kiss FM and has had support from Apple Music and Spotify. Her debut mixtape, To Hell With It, reached #20 in the U.K. in October. She’s been a TikTok Artist of the Week, topped its U.K. Hot 50 chart and will be featured on Facebook’s Rising Stars program. Although her debut album will arrive next year, Burgess is keen to stay fluid and agile in the release strategy in order to capitalize on moments like “Just for Me,” which Parlophone quickly released four days after she’d uploaded it on TikTok to an immediate reaction. “Her fans have shown a voracious appetite for her music, and we want to build on that,” he notes.

STATS

  • 10m monthly Spotify listeners and 843k followers
  • Over 1m TikTok followers and 7.5b views
  • Her social following has grown by over 1.5m combined in just three months
  • Widespread press support from The Guardian, Clash, Independent, Notion, more 

TEAM

  • Management: Phoebe Gold and Jesse Gassongo-Alexander at Up Close MGMT
  • Label: Parlophone A&R, Elias Christidis
  • Publishing: unsigned
  • Live: Tom Schroeder at Paradigm (ex-U.S.), WME U.S.
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