Song of the Week: Blackmagic ft. Fetty Wap – Wonder

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Since being released earlier this month, Wonder by Nigerian singer Blackmagic hasn’t attracted much interest, and this itself is a wonder. Not only does it feature Fetty Wap, but Wonder is a very current and commercial, summery song with a carnival vibe, which sounds like a huge potential hit to me. The only thing I’d change is making the female vocals more prominent and frequent throughout the track. Afrobeats hasn’t had a crossover hit for a while, and I don’t believe this sound should be a passing trend. It’s a genre that western audiences should embrace, and would if they had more exposure to it, as proven by the success of Fuse ODG and OMI’s Cheerleader. Blackmagic, a singer, rapper and songwriter whose real name is Efemena Mukoro, has released three albums since 2013. Wonder originally appeared in early 2016, but was re-released with Fetty Wap on board by Ministry of Sound this year.

Future Hits: All of my homies gonna shine

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

Tracklisting:

  • Selena Gomez ft. Gucci Mane – Fetish
  • Ed Sheeran – Perfect
  • The Script – Rain
  • French Montana ft. The Weeknd & Max B – A Lie
  • Chase & Status ft. Emeli Sandé – Love Me More

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

Future Stars: Tom Grennan (Insanity/Sony)

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22-year-old singer-songwriter Tom Grennan represents a new breed of young men that crosses between the usually opposing categories of hipster and lad, the same strange intermingling that created the man-bun. Androgyny through a Topman filter. Tom’s look makes him hard to place as an artist, as he’s neither edgy or accessible, and his music is in the same no man’s land. He has a husky, soulful voice very similar to Hozier, but sometimes undermines his talent and authenticity with affected pronunciation, such as on his early single, Something In The Water. So far, Tom is best known for featuring on Chase & Status’s 2016 single All Goes Wrong, which helped him get a spot on the BBC Sound of 2017 list. Since then he’s released a few more singles and appeared on new track Memory Lane by grime MC Bugzy Malone, which I think has hit potential. As a solo artist, earlier this month Tom released Found What I’ve Been Looking For, which has the most commercial appeal of any of his tracks so far, as it’s more energetic and melodic. It could go down well with the Radio 2 audience, if he’s open to taking that route.

Future Stars: Jain (Sony France)

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The breakthrough success of Christine and the Queens was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2016, and I hope it will mean that British audiences are more open to similarly quirky European acts. The prime candidate to follow in her footsteps is another French female singer, Jain, whose music and visuals are a mix of Alizée and Petite Meller, blending cool, weird and cute. The 25-year-old, born Jeanne Galice, travelled the world as a child, living in Africa and the Middle East, and you can see the influence of this on her multicultural sound. Jain is best known for her debut single Come, which reached no.1 in France and Spain, and top 20 in Belgium, Italy and Poland. The stylishly silly video has over 64 million views. Her debut album Zanaka was released in 2015, but it has taken the last two years for her to reach a wider audience, thanks to festival appearances (including Glastonbury 2017, and BST Hyde Park, where I saw her recently) and TV performances (including Later… with Jools Holland in April). Her video for new single Dynabeat got 700,000 views in its first 5 days, showing that she now has a fanbase ready and excited for what’s next.

Song of the Week: Wolf Alice – Don’t Delete The Kisses

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Much like Susanne Sundfør, I’m awaiting the new album from Wolf Alice with equal parts excitement and trepidation, as I loved the last one and hope not to be disappointed by the follow-up. I can say that Wolf Alice’s Visions of a Life will have at least one song as good as anything from their debut, as I was instantly obsessed with new release Don’t Delete The Kisses when I discovered it on last week’s New Music Friday playlist on Spotify. The band has always had interesting lyrics, and that’s what stands out most about this sweet and witty track. It captures the feeling of having a crush, and being afraid to let the person know. The early refrain “what if it’s not meant for me, love?” is oh-so relatable, but what I loved about the song is that it’s not just about wallowing in self-doubt – it develops into a much more positive, inspiring end. While the first single from Visions of a Life, the rawkus Yuk Foo, showed Wolf Alice’s edgier side, I’m glad the thoughtful alt-pop that made me a fan will be present too.

Future Hits: Eat, sleep, and breathe it, rehearse and repeat it

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:

  • Zedd ft. Liam Payne – Get Low
  • Kesha – Praying
  • Dua Lipa – New Rules
  • JAY-Z – The Story of O.J.
  • Moon Taxi – Two High

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

Future Stars: Black Pink (YG Entertainment)

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When 2NE1 split at the end of last year, they left a gap for a cool, fun and innovative K-pop girlband. As the new female four-piece from the same label, YG Entertainment, Black Pink are the prime contenders. In 2016, Black Pink instantly established themselves in Korea, surpassing fellow newcomers Twice and challenging long-running Girls Generation. These girls are so cool and cute, YG have really perfected the formula and moved yet another step ahead of Western pop. Black Pink’s 2016 singles included dance anthem Boombayah, subtly sassy Whistle, and poptastic Playing With Fire. This was followed last month with As If It’s Your Last, and they’re scheduled to release their first EP in August. K-pop hits have always been big on YouTube thanks to their incredible videos, but now their impact is transferring to Spotify. As If It’s Your Last trended worldwide, and Black Pink’s biggest track Boombayah has over 30 million plays. Meanwhile on YouTube, As If It’s Your Last was the fastest K-pop video to reach 10 million views (in just 17 hours).

Future Stars: Khalid (RCA US/Columbia UK)

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Not to be confused with DJ Khaled, Khalid is a 19-year-old R&B singer from Texas. He’s best known for his single Location, which reached the US top 20, went platinum, and has 80 million YouTube views. It’s one of several recent hits that gained exposure on Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat. Less than a year later, his debut album made the US top 10. I find Location pretty dull, but his album title track American Teen is more fun and catchy, and Saved is also sweet. He represents Gen Z with his lyrical references to the digital lifestyle of today’s teens, comfort with discussing politics, and diverse musical influences that include Fleetwood Mac and Lorde (who he’s touring Europe with this year). If you haven’t heard his solo tracks, you may know Khalid from Calvin Harris’ single Rollin or Logic’s 1-800-273-8255.

Song of the Week: Astrid S – Such a Boy

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Norwegian pop star Astrid S has great potential but hasn’t found her breakout hit yet. I’m not sure Such a Boy is that song, but it is my favourite track from her so far. I love the opening lyric, “Say you need more space, what are you an astronaut?” The track manages to be both sassy and sincere, which is rarely achieved. It’s included on her second EP, Party’s Over, which was released last Friday, and she also performed a stripped back version on Norwegian TV show Nyhetsmorgon.

Future Hits: Dance through the blisters at night

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:

  • Rudimental ft. James Arthur – Sun Comes Up
  • DJ Khaled ft. Calvin Harris, Travis Scott & Jeremih – Don’t Quit
  • Raye – The Line
  • George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
  • ItaloBrothers – Summer Air

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