Song of the Week: Brooke Candy ft. Sia – Living Out Loud

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

When I saw Brooke Candy live in 2013, she was obnoxious and provocative. The music wasn’t great, but she certainly had personality and stage presence. Four years on and I’d long since moved on, so was surprised to hear she is still signed and her new single Living Out Loud is a collaboration with Sia. If you hadn’t heard of Brooke before, you wouldn’t guess from this track that she was a rapper. Instead, her contributions sound (quite topically, today) like early Lady Gaga, or the brilliant Art Angels album by Grimes. Sia dominates the song, and the chorus is one of her catchiest – after just two listens it was in my head all weekend. I assume this is meant to be Brooke’s pop crossover moment, but ironically I think she may have gone too pop to actually have a hit with this track. Luckily, nothing’s too pop for me.

Future Hits: Hey Mr DJ, when you gonna spin 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:

  • Ariana Grande ft. Future – Everyday
  • Stormzy – Big For Your Boots
  • Digital Farm Animals ft. Hailee Steinfeld – Digital Love
  • Rag’n’Bone Man – Skin
  • Train – Play That Song

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

Future Stars: Paris Jackson (Unsigned)

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Paris Jackson, 18-year-old daughter of Michael Jackson, hasn’t signed a record deal or even confirmed she’s planning on pursuing a music career. Nonetheless, she’s already got more chance of succeeding than most artists who have been trying for years. Although she describes herself as an actress and model, she recently gave her first in-depth interview, and tellingly chose Rolling Stone rather than a fashion magazine. She’s known for her love of rock music, having gone through goth and emo phases (unfortunately her taste hasn’t improved since – she was recently spotted at a James Arthur gig), and tweets about writing songs. Her short, bleached hair and outspoken attitude have gained comparisons to Miley, and she’d certainly make an interesting addition to the current crop of pop girls. So far, she’s got herself a big manager and just announced her first acting role, in musical TV show Star. It may not be a singing role, but it’s another sign that music’s on her mind.

Future Stars: Ansel Elgort (Island Records)

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Ansel Elgort is following in the footsteps of Hailee Steinfeld, hoping to translate his success as an actor into a pop career. He’s best known for his lead role in The Fault in Our Stars, a film based on a book with a cult following. However, it’s no Twilight or Harry Potter, and as such he’s no Robert Pattinson or Daniel Radcliffe, so it’s hard to know how dedicated his fans are. Celebrity status aside, he’s an interesting prospect as a new young male pop star, with a very different sound and persona to Bieber, Mendes and Jonas. Ansel’s first foray into music was as a DJ under the name Ansolo. Now he’s a singer too, signed to Island and releasing vocal pop music under his own name, but it still has an electronic sound. In the video for new single Thief he seems keen to let us know that a) he’s an actor and b) he’s not a sellout. His unusual voice takes a while to get used to (it would better suit rock music than electro-pop), and his over-emoting is equally uneasy viewing. Noting that the video was directed by his brother and stars his girlfriend, I wonder if this is a vanity project, only being allowed because of his famous name, or if Island has a strategy in mind to break a pop star who doesn’t rely on being likeable.

Song of the Week: The Musical Slave – No Plan

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This might not be the most poptastic tune, but I had to share it as the song and video are so charming and uplifting. The Musical Slave is a Norwegian singer-songwriter, Kristin Vollset, who moved to Dublin a few years ago. By chance, she met a group of cheeky young lads who ride their horse around the streets of an area called the Liberties. She eventually befriended them – they now call her Norwigi. She wrote a song about the group, No Plan, and is also working on a documentary about them. I heard about it last week thanks to Irish blog Nialler9, and the video has been shared widely among Irish people online, who are calling it a “horse opera” and “a love song to Dublin.”

Future Hits: Bask in the glory of all our problems

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:

  • Martin Garrix & Dua Lipa – Scared To Be Lonely
  • James Blunt – Love Me Better
  • Major Lazer ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR & Nicki Minaj – Run Up
  • Julia Michaels – Issues
  • Zara Larsson ft. Ty Dolla $ign – So Good

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

Future Stars: Stefflon Don (Unsigned)

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Stefflon Don was one of the three artists (along with AJ Tracey and Tom Grennan) on the BBC Sound of 2017 longlist that I wasn’t already familiar with. After a quick look, that won’t be changing with AJ or Tom, but Stefflon Don definitely deserves some attention. 25-year-old Stefanie Allen may be a London-based female rapper, but don’t compare her to Nadia Rose and Lady Leshurr – her dancehall-inspired sound, proudly curvaceous look and provocative lyrics place her firmly in the tradition of international artists like Nicki Minaj and Lil Kim. She first became known for gender-flip covers of tracks by acts ranging from Rae Sremmurd to Section Boyz, and more recently she’s collaborated not only with British rappers Lethal Bizzle and Giggs, but also with US star Jeremih. She sings as well as raps, which could help her cross over with more commercial tracks later on, as Nicki did with Super Bass and Starships. She recently signed a publishing deal with Sony ATV (widely mis-reported as a record deal), and released an EP called Real Ting, featuring her single of the same name.

Future Stars: Yebba (Unsigned)

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Yebba is the artist name of Abbey Smith, a talented 22-year-old singer from Arkansas, who is rising to fame thanks to collaborations and shoutouts from big stars. Her controlled, smooth and powerful vocals make her a singer’s singer, like Tori Kelly and Andra Day, so it makes sense that artists like Ed Sheeran and Meghan Trainor are getting behind her. She also performed with Chance the Rapper on SNL, and features on the new A Tribe Called Quest album. Her duet with Clark Beckham from American Idol is by far the most popular video on his channel, with over half a million views. However, it’s now her solo original song My Mind which is making her name, thanks to her impressive performance for Sofar Sounds. Only released one month ago, the song has already been covered by British pop star Anne-Marie. She’s now working on new material with writers including Diane Warren, but there’s no news yet on a record deal.

Song of the Week: Dusky Grey – Told Me

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

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It’s always a delight to find that a new track I’ve discovered on Spotify is actually by a British act. Currently sitting atop the very diversely international New Pop Revolution playlist is Dusky Grey, aka Gethin Williams and Catrin Hopkins, two 19-year-old singers from North Wales. Their single Told Me is a simple, sweet duet. The sound is acoustic-pop but somehow manages to be a bit reggae and a bit country at the same time. Originally a solo act, Gethin released an album as Dusky Grey called Hide & Seek, but when he featured Catrin on this track and it was signed to East West/Warner Music, they became a duo. In addition to the Spotify boost, the track has been supported by BBC Introducing in Wales and Merseyside, and they will be filming a video for it next month. In the meantime we’ll have to make do with this video of them singing it live… in Welsh.

Future Hits: We’re too busy making hurricanes

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:

  • Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert – Bad and Boujee
  • Tinie Tempah ft. Tinashe – Text From Your Ex
  • The Chainsmokers – Paris
  • Noah Cyrus ft. Labrinth – Make Me (Cry)
  • AJR – Weak

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