Song of the Week: E^ST – Life Goes On

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe. All my Songs of the Week are featured on my Top of the Poptastic playlist, along with the rest of my faves from 2017.

Not only has Australia launched some big international acts over the past few years, but they also have an abundance of local stars making great pop that the rest of the world hasn’t heard about (yet). Female singer E^ST (aka Mel Bester) can be filed next to Montaigne and Jess Kent in that category, both of whom have been featured here before. Although E^ST has a strong Aussie accent on new single Life Goes On, the track has a blissful electro-pop sound that you might guess was Scandinavian. In fact, the production is the work of a Brit – Jim Eliot. Jim’s credits include Kylie’s All The Lovers and Ellie Goulding’s Anything Could Happen, and it certainly has the same unusual combination of subtlety and anthemic-ness that those tracks share. I hope there is more to come from this collaboration! E^ST is signed to Parlophone and played her first UK gig a few weeks ago – sadly I didn’t hear of her til a few days later, so I’m hoping she’ll be back soon.

Future Hits: I was listening to this song, it goes like…

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:

  • Lil Uzi Vert – The Way Life Goes
  • Charlie Puth – How Long
  • Maroon 5 ft. Julia Michaels – Help Me Out
  • Lauv – Easy Love
  • Sam Smith – Pray

For more Future Hits, subscribe to my  Spotify playlist, updated weekly (when I remember) with the next big thing.

Future Stars: Superorganism (Domino Records)

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Last week I attended the BBC Introducing Amplify conference in London, and one of the panels featured Annie Mac and her producer discussing how they choose music for their show. They tipped a band I’d only vaguely heard of, so I made a note to check them out, and soon I was reading every article I could find about the unusual story of Superorganism. The band’s eight members hail from all over the world, and now live in a house together in London. Although their first single Something For Your M.I.N.D. was released in January, they were only in the same room together for the first time this summer, weeks before their debut London gig. Lead singer Orono is a 17-year-old girl from Japan (via Maine), who Kiwi band members Emily and Harry met when they played a Japanese gig. They knew the rest of the group through an online music forum. This fits their early-Internet DIY aesthetic, including a website straight out of the 90s, and songs that made me think of Bran Van 3000 and The Avalanches. They’ve been hyped by Beats 1, Noisey and NME, while famous fans include Frank Ocean and Ezra Koenig.

Future Stars: Sabrina Claudio (Atlantic/APG)

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Sabrina Claudio is a 21-year-old singer from Miami who could be a great pop star, though she’s a little busy being cool at the moment. She began posting YouTube covers while at school, and moved to LA in 2013 to pursue music. Developed by RedOne’s 2101 Records, she started out with a youthful and poppy sound. In 2014 she started a new channel, which is now branded with the Warner Music ‘W’ logo, so I assume that’s when Atlantic/APG signed her… though still to this day she hasn’t announced it. Even her brand new mixtape About Time is credited to SC Entertainment, as though it was self-released. This year she’s become known for the singles Unravel Me and Belong To You. Both were produced by Stint, who’s worked with pop girls like Zara, Demi and Carly, but sadly the results are not poptastic. Her sound is slick and sultry, but I could barely pay attention through a whole song. Nonetheless, millions of people have listened to them on Spotify and YouTube, and her talent and beauty will undoubtedly unsure we’ll hear much more of her in the future.

Song of the Week: Rhys – Too Good To Be True

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe. All my Songs of the Week are featured on my Top of the Poptastic playlist, along with the rest of my faves from 2017.

Great pop music can come from anywhere in the world, but sometimes a new song comes along just to remind us that no-one does it better than the Swedes. Rhys is a young female singer who was born in the US, but has lived in Sweden since she was 10. Signed to Warner Music, she had a breakthrough hit this summer with the track Last Dance. It was a promising start with a current sound, but it’s her new single Too Good To Be True that really impressed me. Co-written and produced by former Cheiron member Jörgen Elofsson, it has a really fun, joyous feel and a soaring sound, with uplifting lyrics on a relatable theme I haven’t heard in song before. As someone who would prefer all films to have a happy beginning, middle and ending, the sentiment definitely appeals to me. I can see Rhys becoming the next Agnes, and she’ll be a strong contender if she pops up in Melodifestivalen 2018.

Future Hits: If you really love me, make an album about me

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:

  • J Balvin & Willy William ft. Beyoncé – Mi Gente
  • Disciples – Jealousy
  • Alma ft. French Montana – Phases
  • Big Shaq – Man’s Not Hot
  • Yxng Bane – Rihanna

For more Future Hits, subscribe to my  Spotify playlist, updated weekly (when I remember) with the next big thing.

Future Stars: Yungen (RCA)

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The days when SBTV could break a new act seem very distant, even with the resurgence of grime, but they can take credit for launching rapper Yungen, aka CJ Brooks. He first appeared on the channel in 2011, but it wasn’t til 2017 that the 25-year-old South Londoner conquered the UK charts. Until recently he was best known for his feud with Chip (the rapper formerly known as Chipmunk), but now he finally has a hit to his name. After releasing his first album independently in 2014, he was signed up by RCA and has put out a series of singles through the label since last year. His latest single Bestie has been in the top 40 for 10 weeks, currently at its peak position of 13, and has over 12 million YouTube views. A collaboration with singer Yxng Bane, the track has a slow, melodic sound similar to the hip-hop coming out of the US at the moment, but their accents and references keep it distinctly British. While his nemesis Chip is one of the artists tainted by association with the dated London urban scene of the SBTV era, Yungen has benefited from the fact that he wasn’t one of its biggest names. It was nice to read some self-aware, business-savvy comments from him about avoiding being too connected to a certain “phase” or genre of music. It will be interesting to see whether he can use this tactic to build on Bestie’s success, or whether he’ll end up a one hit wonder.

Future Stars: The Aces (Red Bull Records)

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When you were a kid, did you form a band with your friends? Personally I was a member of innovatively-named duo the Spice Sisters (the twist was… we weren’t actually sisters… and we couldn’t sing). In 2008, four pre-teen girls in Utah formed the group The Blue Aces, and unlike the Spice Sisters, they actually had talent. They started playing gigs and in 2015 they decided to forgo college to pursue a career in music. So far it’s going pretty well. Changing their name to The Aces, they signed to Red Bull Records and have been building a following online, with millions of plays on Spotify. They played their first London gig last week and I went along to check it out. What’s unusual about The Aces is although they’re a girlband with instruments, they actually have the star quality to be a girlband without instruments. They’re very pretty and cool, and lead singer Cristal is a great performer. The only problem is that the band they sound most like is the one they’d already be most compared to: Haim. That means to succeed they’d need a song better than anything Haim has released, and although they have some really nice, catchy tunes, especially Stuck and Physical, they haven’t achieved that yet. If they can find a more distinctive, stronger sound, they have all the other ingredients needed to make it big.

Song of the Week: Hannah Jane Lewis – Raincheck

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe. All my Songs of the Week are featured on my Top of the Poptastic playlist, along with the rest of my faves from 2017.

landscape

I think I’ve finally heard what other pop fans must hear when they listen to Carly Rae Jepsen. The new single from Polydor signing Hannah Jane Lewis is pure pop joy. Raincheck is sassy, but in a cute and bubbly way, without the slightest edge. It sounds like eating the best sour sweets (the fizzy worms from Waitrose, or the Haribo sour bears they have in America). Hannah studied at Tisch School of the Arts in New York (where Gaga also went), but is signed in the UK, was born in Surrey, and has been working with British producers like Karen Poole, Anita Blay and Phil Cook. Raincheck was written with Nicole Blair, Henrik Moreborg, and Tormod Løkling, three unfamiliar names that I shall certainly be looking out for in future. Researching Hannah herself provided an unexpected twist. Prior to her rebirth as an electro-popper, she had a past as a country artist, with plenty of remnants online, such as the music video for her Sandi Thom-esque single Seventeen Again. As much as I enjoy a bit of country, in this case I’m very glad she went pop. I don’t want to imagine a world where Raincheck never existed!

Future Hits: We can siesta forever, drink in the French Riviera

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:

  • Anne-Marie – Heavy
  • DJ Snake ft. Lauv – A Different Way
  • Kideko ft. Tinie Tempah & Becky G – Dum Dum
  • Kygo ft. Justin Jesso – Stargazing
  • Paloma Faith – Crybaby

For more Future Hits, subscribe to my  Spotify playlist, updated weekly (when I remember) with the next big thing.