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ALONG CAME JONES
Alamo adds a COO. (1/13a)
VISUAL ARTISTS HONOR INTERSCOPE
A feast for the senses (1/14a)
GRAMMYS IN APRIL?
(NO FOOLIN')
Vegas, baby. (1/12a)
COACHELLA LINEUP: HARRY, YE, BILLIE AND THE WHOLE THING
The poster has been printed. (1/13a)
UTA: A YEAR OF MOMENTUM
Agency reshuffles the deck. (1/14a)
I DON'T WANNA WORK
I just wanna bang on my drum all day.
I HAVE A HANGOVER
I like to call it "2021."
I DON'T WANNA HAVE A MEETING
My Zoom backgrounds are all outdated.
I MISS CHRISTMAS
When's the next holiday that involves eggnog?
Pub Crawling
U.K. SPECIAL: PUBLISHERS'
ACTS TO WATCH
12/1/21

The London offices of Warner Chappell Music, UMPG, Sony Music Publishing and BMG reveal their priority writer/artists to Rhian Jones.

 

Rapper Central Cee, who hails from London, impressively debuted at #2 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart with his self-released mixtape, Wild West, earlier this year. The set shifted 60k copies and spent five weeks in the Top 10; it has also spawned two Top 20 singles, “Loading” and “Commitment Issues.” He followed that up with a #4 placing for latest single “Obsessed With You” in September. While Cee doesn’t yet have a label partner, he’s distributed by ADA and published by Warner Chappell Music.

He signed to the latter shortly after Shani Gonzales, who turned out to be a fan, joined the U.K. team as MD in 2020. “She texted me one Sunday afternoon, which was quite out of character, asking if I’d heard of Central Cee,” Warner Chappell U.K. Head of A&R Amber Davis recalls. “Shani absolutely loved ‘Loading,’ as did I when I listened to it. I quickly got on the phone with Darryl [Parkinson], our Senior A&R Manager, and was delighted to hear he’d already been in touch and set up some sessions with his manager, Bello.”

One of those sessions yielded “Commitment Issues,” produced by Mokuba, and Davis and Parkinson were sold after a meeting with Bello. Gonzales calls Cee “one of a kind,” adding, “He has a very unique look, and his ability to cross over to the mainstream with a drill sound is incredibly impressive. His drive and vision are second to none as a songwriter, and I like that he is always thinking globally as to who he chooses to collaborate with.”

Cee has had press support from NME, Clash, Complex, Vice and the No Jumper podcast. Alongside his own music, he has also been featured on the remix for Ed Sheeran’s #1 hit, “Bad Habits.” Going forward, Davis is planning on setting him up with “the best producers and songwriters” for his debut album, which she thinks has the potential to “catapult him into being an international priority.” She concludes: “He’s already achieved so much in a short space of time, and we feel this is just the beginning for him.”

STATS

  • “Loading” reached gold sales status, with 110m streams on Spotify
  • “Commitment Issues” surpassed 50m streams, and “Day in the Life” 60m; both were certified silver
  • Mixtape Wild West certified silver
  • 1.8m Instagram followers
  • 1.5m fans on TikTok and 15.1m likes
  • Latest single, “Obsessed With You,” certified silver and added to BBC Radio 1’s Brit List

TEAM

  • Manager: Bello at Ybeeez
  • Label: unsigned, distributed by ADA
  • Publisher: Amber Davis and Shani Gonzales at Warner Chappell Music U.K.
  • Live: Craig D’Souza at WME

 

British alt-R&B group Easy Life hit #2 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart earlier this year with debut album Life’s a Beach, which followed a #7 placing for their third mixtape, Junk Food, and a string of playlisted radio singles. The band, which is signed to Island, joined UMPG U.K. after catching the attention of Senior A&R Director Dougie Bruce. They were gathering steam independently before being picked up by Chess Club Records for an EP, and they secured their major deals off the back of that.

Bruce calls their output “a sun-kissed musical world of its own. Easy Life are forging a new path for U.K. bands on the world’s stage, and exceptional songwriting and musicianship have catapulted them into the mainstream.” The band was crowned Best New British Act at the NME Awards in 2020, sold out two Brixton Academy dates in London and shifted over 55k tickets overall. BBC Radio 1 playlisted multiple singles, and the group has racked up over 30k cumulative radio plays.

NME called Life’s a Beach “one of the year’s finest debuts,” GQ said Easy Life is “poised to be the U.K.’s next big band” and The Sunday Times named them “properly original.” Alongside their own successful live dates, Easy Life have played Reading and Leeds Festivals, Glastonbury, Coachella and Governors Ball. Expect their second album to drop in 2022.

STATS

  • 300m+ streams, 50m+ views, 2m+ sales
  • 1.4m monthly listeners on Spotify
  • 150k+ Instagram followers
  • 174k+ YouTube subscribers with 50m+ views

TEAM

  • Management: Ollie Slaney
  • Label: Island U.K.
  • Publisher: Dougie Bruce and Mike McCormack at UMPG U.K.
  • Live: James Whitting at Paradigm

 

Singer and songwriter Plested has written for artists including Kygo, Little Mix, Marshmello and Lewis Capaldi, while also forging a career as a solo act. He first signed to what was then Sony/ATV as part of duo Chasing Grace alongside Grace Ackerman in 2012, and David Ventura, President and Co-Managing Director at the publisher, says he’s been a major priority from the start. “It is incredible to see his hard work and talent really paying off on some massive global hits, and this is only the beginning,” Ventura promises.

Those hits include “Before You Go” for Capaldi, which has been streamed over 1.23b times and reached platinum status around the world. Plested also helped pen “Leave Before You Love Me” for Marshmello and Jonas Brothers, which reached #19 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Kygo and Miguel’s “Remind Me to Forget,” which went platinum across Europe. More recently, the Niall Horan-Anne Marie duet “Our Song” charted on Hot AC radio in the U.S. In 2018, Plested released a solo album, First & Foremost, which is soon to be followed by new music as he resumes his solo career.

Saul Fitton, Senior A&R Manager at SMP, called Plested “one of the most hard-working songwriters, an incredible talent who lives and breathes songwriting, as well as being one of the nicest people. He has the gift of crafting incredible songs that are both timeless and contemporary. He writes a song a day most days and, at 28, he is incredibly young to be having such U.S. radio success as a U.K. writer.” Plested has upcoming releases with Freya Ridings, Bastille and Mimi Webb and co-writes on the second Capaldi album, due in 2022.

STATS

  • Songwriting catalog reached over 3.5b streams on Spotify
  • Solo artist project reached 2m monthly listeners on Spotify
  • Socials top 51.6k across channels

TEAM

  • Management: Hannan Malik, Nowherenear Management
  • Label: Previously APG/Atlantic, now independent via Nowherenearrecords, distributed via Absolute
  • Publishing: Sony Music Publishing, President and Co-MD David Ventura and Senior A&R Manager, Saul Fitton
  • Live: Nick Matthews, Paradigm U.S. and Marty Diamond, Paradigm/Wasserman

 

Irish rock band Inhaler hit #1 in the U.K. and Ireland with their debut album, It Won’t Always Be Like This (Polydor), which has shifted 72.5k global sales worldwide since its July release. It also became the fastest-selling debut album on vinyl this millennium, while Inhaler was the first debuting Irish band to go to #1 in since 2008.

They signed to BMG for publishing after SVP A&R Publishing Hugo Turquet saw them play at The Great Escape showcase in 2019. “We heard some more music and followed their live plot,” he notes. “With each gig, we saw the crowds were getting bigger and bigger. After a few shows, it was an easy decision.”

 Once BMG U.K. President Alistair Norbury came onboard, “We got right into it,” says Turquet. “It felt like a natural partnership between us. We saw their ambition, and we were ambitious for them. We felt like the right international company to support them and their plans.” Inhaler finished in fifth place on the BBC Sound of 2020 poll and has found fans at NME. Fun fact: Frontman Elijah Hewson is the son of U2 frontman, Bono.

So what makes them special? “They are a great live band with even greater songs,” says Turquet. “They have an amazing work ethic. That’s what impressed me. They took time to build their audience, spending hours in the back of a small  van getting from venue to venue. They knew there would be no shortcuts and put the work in.”

Once travel restrictions and concert restrictions are lifted, the goal is for them to break internationally, and Turquet has festival-headlining ambitions for them. “We want to get them to the arenas and reach that headline status around the world.” Coming off the #1 album this year, the plan is to support the band with BMG’s international offices and local sync teams to further the reach of the album and continue to build Inhaler’s audience.

STATS

  • 86m+ combined global streams
  • 72.5k adjusted global album sales
  • #1 album in U.K. and Ireland
  • Half a million combined followers on social platforms

TEAM

  • Management: Conrad Murray and Simon Moran at SJM Management
  • Label: Polydor
  • Publishing: Hugo Turquet at BMG
  • Live: Charlie Myatt at 13 Artists, Kirk Sommer, WME in the U.S.