Song of the Week: Glowie – No More

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

This week I’m off to the Netherlands for Eurosonic festival, where artists from around Europe will be performing. As the first showcase festival of the year, this is their chance to get the attention of live agents, festival bookers and the media, in the hope of breaking out of their local scene to build a following across the rest of Europe in 2017. I featured some of the acts I’m most excited to see on This Must Be Pop, including Icelandic teen star Glowie (real name Sara Pétursdóttir), who I’ve been obsessed with since I discovered her while browsing the festival line-up last week. Collaborating with Stop Wait Go, the team behind Icelandic girlband The Charlies, Glowie has released a series of world-class pop tunes. Her sound is modern and mid-tempo, sweet not too saccharine. The best example is her debut single No More, with its cool stop-motion video filmed around Reykjavik. No Lie and Party also come highly recommended.

Future Hits: Shut your mind off and let your heart breathe

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

My weekly playlist features five tracks I predict will be future hit singles in the UK.

Tracklisting:

  • Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
  • Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill
  • Snakehips & MØ – Don’t Leave
  • Martin Jensen – Solo Dance
  • Kris Kross Amsterdam & Conor Maynard ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Are You Sure?

For more Future Hits, subscribe to my  Spotify playlist, updated weekly with the next big thing.

Future Stars: Migos (300 Entertainment)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

Hip hop trio Migos have been together since 2009, but it wasn’t until 2013 that they started to break though, with their first Billboard Hot 100 entry, Versace. They released a critically acclaimed EP, Y.R.N., and signed to 300 Entertainment (an independent label distributed by Atlantic), eventually releasing their debut album Yung Rich Nation in 2015. A few months (and no hits) later, with band member Offset in jail, they claimed they had left the label, which was denied by founder Lyor Cohen. However, this troubled time was followed by their biggest hit yet, Look at My Dab, known for its viral dance video. While the group had made a name for themselves in the hip hop scene, they still had no significant chart success. That all changed in the last few months of 2016. They signed a management deal with Kanye West’s GOOD Music, and they’re now enjoying a true crossover moment. Bad and Boujee, featuring rising rapper Lil Uzi Vert, sits at no.2 on the Hot 100 this week, jumping from 13 the week before. It’s also likely to become their first UK hit, after entering the singles chart at no.67. The track has inspired a trend of “rain drop, drop top” memes and was chosen by many music sites (Complex, Fader, Fact etc.) as one of the top songs of 2016. They’ll release their second album Culture later this month.

Future Stars: Julia Michaels (Republic)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

Most songs released by young pop stars are written by (or with) older people, usually those who never made it as an artist in their own right. That’s not the case with Julia Michaels, who has become one of the most sought-after pop writers in the past few years. Now aged 23, she got her break as a writer in her late teens, working with Lindy Robbins on tracks for Demi Lovato and Fifth Harmony. 2015 was a big year, as she caught my attention for the brilliant Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld, and had 2 big hits with Justin Bieber’s Sorry and Selena Gomez’s Good For You. Although she initially wasn’t interested in becoming an artist, she was asked to appear on tracks by Jason Derulo, Zedd and Kygo, and even performed with Kygo at the 2016 Olympics. Republic Records, whose artists she often writes for, convinced her to sign with them, and her debut single Issues comes out this Friday. While she has written mostly for very mainstream pop acts, from Britney Spears to Little Mix, I think Julia’s own music will be more indie-pop, as she cites artists like Laura Marling and Missy Higgins as her influences. Songwriters have often struggled to turn their success into pop stardom, the most obvious example being Bonnie McKee, but there could be a space for Julia if she focuses on a radio-friendly singer-songwriter style.

5 acts every pop fan needs to see at Eurosonic 2017

Next week I’m off to the Netherlands for Eurosonic Noorderslag, one of the biggest festivals for new and emerging artists in Europe. Last year I got the chance to see exciting new pop acts such as Aurora, Dua Lipa and Astrid S, so I’ve been busy reviewing the very large line-up to decide who I have to check out this time. If you’re going too, firstly tweet me so we can say hi, and secondly, read on to find out which acts are a must-see for all pop fans heading to Eurosonic 2017.

Alma

alma

Saara Aalto wasn’t the only Finn who caught my attention in the last few months. Alma’s catchy single Dye My Hair was one of my favourite New Music Friday discoveries, so I’m looking forward to seeing if she has any more tracks like that up her sleeve at her live show.

Bearoid

bearoid

Spain doesn’t have a reputation for  making electro-pop, but singer-producer Bearoid brings the party vibe they are known for to his singles, such as  Out of My Mind  and Bad Karma. His  cute stage name and smiley, energetic performance was enough to put him on my must-see list.

Era Istrefi

era

Dua Lipa might have cracked the UK charts in 2016, but when it comes to YouTube, another new Kosovan artist had a much bigger breakthrough. Era Istrefi’s single Bon Bon has over 260 million views – especially impressive as the track is actually in Albanian, a language spoken by just 5 million people.

Glowie

glowie

When I discovered Icelandic teen star Glowie, I  was instantly  100x more excited about Eurosonic. So far she’s released three impeccable pop tunes, No More, No Lie and Party, working with underrated producers Stop Wait Go (also responsible for an EP of  hidden treasures  by Icelandic girlband The Charlies).

Best Youth

best-youth

Each year Eurosonic has one European nation as its “focus country” and this time  it’s Portugal. A variety of Portuguese acts are on the bill, including indie-pop duo Best Youth. In their  5 years together they’ve had success at home and built an online fanbase with tracks such as Mirrorball and  Black Eyes.

In addition to these recent discoveries, you can also check out many of my Future Pop featured acts at Eurosonic, including Anne-Marie, James TW and Skott.

Song of the Week: Star Cast – I Bring Me

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

Star is the new US TV series from the creator of Empire, following a girlgroup on the pursuit of stardom. The pilot episode aired on Fox last month, and 4 songs by the stars of the show were released as an EP via Republic Records. The three girlband members were found through auditions, but lead singer Jude Demorest (who plays the titular character, Star) already had, or perhaps still has, a solo deal with Epic. She’s listed as a co-writer on Work From Home by Fifth Harmony, which may mean it was originally meant for her (5H are also with Epic). The premiere had mixed reviews, but I enjoyed it enough to keep watching, and there were a couple of songs I loved: I Can Be and I Bring Me. The tracks are sassy, confident, quality R&B-pop, and the girls are talented performers, so I really hope the show picks up steam and they actually have a chance of becoming a real thing, like a cool 2017 version of S Club 7. I Bring Me is full of attitude and witty lines – it reminds me of L.A.N.C.E. by June’s Diary, the group produced by Kelly Rowland’s talent show Chasing Destiny. American TV needs to keep offering up R&B girlgroups until one works, and we can all enjoy their musical output in the process.

Future Hits: We could throw shapes together but it doesn’t mean you’re in my circle

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

My weekly playlist features five tracks I predict will be future hit singles in the UK.

Tracklisting:
  • Jax Jones ft. Raye – You Don’t Know Me
  • JP Cooper – September Song
  • Alan Walker – Alone
  • James Arthur – Safe Inside
  • London Grammar – Rooting For You

For more Future Hits, subscribe to my  Spotify playlist, updated weekly with the next big thing.

Future Stars: Molly Kate Kestner (Atlantic/APG)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

When Molly Kate Kestner was 18, she posted a low quality iPhone video of a song she’d written, called His Daughter, on Facebook. The post was quickly shared 50,000 times, and she uploaded it to YouTube, where it now has 15 million views. It also reached no.43 on the US iTunes chart and no.52 in the UK. She was invited to perform on Good Morning America and flown from her home state of Minnesota to LA to meet labels, publishers and agents. She eventually signed to Mike Caren’s successful APG label, an imprint of Atlantic, and has been working on new music with songwriters and producers including Toby Gad, Autumn Rowe and Adam Argyle. Now aged 21 and recently married, she just released her first official single, Good Die Young, co-written by Emily Warren (featured on Capsize by Frenship, wrote Nobody Like You for Little Mix) and Nick Ruth (Zara Larsson, Carly Rae Jepson). His Daughter had a very heavy Christian message, suggesting that faith in God is the answer to issues such as domestic abuse and teenage pregnancy, and it seemed she would become a Christian pop artist. However, Molly didn’t want to put herself in that box, and has said she takes inspiration from singer-songwriters like Sara Bareilles. Good Die Young still has a Christian theme, but definitely feels more mainstream, and she looks like a polished, stylish (though still very clean cut) pop star in the new video.

Future Stars: Jessie Reyez (Unsigned)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

Canadian singer Jessie Reyez released her debut single Figures in August, with its first play on Zane Lowe’s Beats One show, but it took a few months for her to pop up on everyone else’s radar, including mine. Then, within the space of a few days in December, Figures appeared in my YouTube recommendations, I heard it on the Annie Mac show, and I was tipped off about Jessie by a Future Pop reader. So it was decided: She had to be my first featured artist of 2017! This sudden spike of interest must have been inspired by Jessie’s London showcase in November, but the 25-year-old has been around for a few years. She posted cover videos and collaborated with artists such as Chance The Rapper and King Louie, which got her noticed by Noisey in 2014. She’s also apparently worked with Diplo and Skrillex, and this video from a session with K-pop star CL is intriguing. The simple video for Figures showcases her emotional performance, a little overwrought but certainly impactful. The track was produced by mysterious Swedes, Priest and the Beast. My first instinct was to group her with Bibi Bourelly and Kat Dahlia, but the Amy Winehouse comparisons are also apt. She recently celebrated passing a million views with “no label yet” but this girl clearly has someone with connections on her side. I suspect she’ll have a few big features in 2017 and her distinctive vocals will be recognised far and wide by the end of the year.

Stars of 2017: The Winners Announced!

Happy New Year! It’s time to reveal the results of the Stars of 2017 poll that you’ve all been voting in for the past few weeks. Basically, it’s like the BBC Sound of 2017 poll without the boring stuff: Only pop stars allowed! The votes were spread widely between the 10 nominees, but two singers took the lead early on and came out on top.

The artist that pop fans THINK will be huge in 2017 is…

1. Harry Styles 38%

2. Grace VanderWaal 35%
3. Camila Cabello 11%

And the pop star you HOPE will be huge in 2017 is…

1. Grace VanderWaal 38%

2. Noah Cyrus 16%
3. Kehlani 11%

Congrats Harry and Grace! I’m very pleased with the results as I’ve been a fan of them both since they first appeared on their respective reality shows, and hope they will each have a fantastic 2017. Read more about them and the other nominees here.