Song of the Week: Hey Violet – This Is Me Breaking Up With You

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I’ve been a fan of Hey Violet since I first heard of them, under their original name of Cherry Bomb, back in 2012, but they have struggled to fulfil their great potential. They started out as a more serious rock band, then went pop, but finding a sound that balances the two genres is tricky as rock is currently a very separate, self-sufficient music scene with only a small number of crossover acts – none of whom are making much impact on the radio, streaming or singles charts. I have been quite underwhelmed by Hey Violet’s singles, but I was still excited to hear their album when it was released… and it turned out to be really good! It was hard to choose one song to feature here but I went for the punky, high-energy album closer This Is Me Breaking Up With You, because it represents what I want most from the group. It’s free and feisty, and will certainly be a highlight of their live show. Other songs such as Unholy and My Consequence place them more alongside Melanie Martinez and Halsey, and are as good as anything on their albums.

Future Hits: If you’re the supreme, then I’m Diana Ross

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. Demi Lovato & Stefflon Don – Introduction
  • DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna & Bryson Tiller – Wild Thoughts
  • Ofenbach – Be Mine
  • Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry & Big Sean – Feels
  • John Gibbons – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)

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

Future Stars: Alex Aiono (Interscope)

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Since the major labels discovered that a large YouTube following didn’t guarantee pop stardom and chart success, they’ve been much more cautious about signing YouTuber-musicians. However, it can still be a smart move when the artist actually has what it takes, regardless of their online popularity, such as in the case of Troye Sivan and Alessia Cara. I’m not sure yet which side of that line Alex Aiono sits on, but I do think he has pop star potential if he can avoid falling into the cheese trap. Alex moved from Phoenix to LA to pursue his music career at age 14, and was discovered while busking. He released a few singles, including Young & Foolish (written by John Legend), and some cringey music videos, and acted in Awesomeness TV series Royal Crush. He was just another cute YouTube singer making sub-par pop until he had his 2016 breakthrough moment, his self-produced mash-up of Drake’s One Dance and Nicky Jam’s Hasta el Amanecer, which now has almost 60 million views. The viral video put him among the top ranks of YouTube stars, and earned him a deal with Interscope. His latest single for the label is a strong pop tune called Question, and while I’m not sure it has the edge or originality to be a hit, it finally connects the dots and shows the charismatic, fun pop star he could be.

Future Stars: Why Don’t We (Unsigned)

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Last week I introduced Pretty Much, a group bringing the boyband concept into the modern pop era. Now for something different, but still fun. Why Don’t We is a new boyband made up of minor social media stars and one American Idol contestant (2015’s Daniel Seavey), aged between 16 and 19. Their press shots suggested their music would be totally cheesy and dated, but actually they have some fairly enjoyable pop songs that don’t evoke any second hand embarrassment. The band themselves are pretty weedy and awkward, but The Vamps made that work, so perhaps Why Don’t We could appeal to the same, younger end of the pop fanbase, even if no-one over 18 ever manages to tell them apart. They don’t have a record deal, but they do have the backing of digital marketing agency Crowd Surf, who specialise in teen influencers. Their launch plan appears to be reliant on a partnership with Vine alumnus Logan Paul (brother of Jake Paul, also featured here last week), who clearly has a stake in the group as he features them regularly on his YouTube channel, and has directed their music videos. Those videos have millions of views, with the most popular being Something Different and Nobody Gotta Know.

Song of the Week: Susanne Sundfør – Undercover

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I’ll start by saying that if you’re not familiar with Susanne Sundfør, you should go and listen to her last album Ten Love Songs straight away. Now. Then come back and listen to her new single, Undercover. The simplest way to summarise Susanne is that she’s a Norwegian electro-pop singer, and she’ll certainly appeal to fans of artists like Margaret Berger and Annie, as well as the new crop such as Sigrid, but there’s also more to her than that. Her music is majestic and orchestral, dark and beautiful, intricate and emotional. I loved Ten Love Songs so much that I purposefully kept my expectations low for her future output, as it does have the feel of a one-off special album that can’t be recreated. Sure enough, the first single from the new album isn’t as immediate as her previous singles Delirious and Fade Away, but it does have the sound and feel of Ten Love Songs, which is promising enough for me. Undercover is delicate and interesting, building up and developing as it goes on. It has the heartfelt lyrical candor Susanne has become known for, and the powerful, almost classical vocals, that contrast with the pop melody and unique production.

Future Hits: Who you got in your crew?

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:

  • David Guetta ft. Justin Bieber – 2U
  • MoStack ft. Mist – Screw & Brew
  • Hailee Steinfeld – Most Girls
  • Little Mix ft. Stormzy – Power
  • Sigala ft. Ella Eyre – Came Here For Love

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

Future Stars: Jake Paul (Team 10)

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Jake Paul might be one of the most hated internet celebrities, but his debut music video has achieved viral success that many major music stars would envy. As of yesterday, It’s Everyday Bro had been viewed 32 million times, 12 days after its release. The 900,000 dislikes might not be so enviable, but I suspect Jake has already made more money from this video than the royalties from a typical 2017 hit single. The 20-year-old from Ohio first became famous on Vine, alongside his older brother Logan Paul (definitely not to be confused with the other Paul brothers). When the app closed, he moved his focus to YouTube, and as he boasts in It’s Everyday Bro, he gained 5 million subscribers in the first six months. The song features Team 10, the crew of bro-tactic influencers Jake is part of. He and his brother moved to LA when they got famous, and set up home with a group of fellow Viners. He created his own influencer agency to capitalise on his knowledge and success in marketing to teens. They’ve also translated their online success into opportunities in other media. Surprisingly, considering his controversial persona, Jake has a role on a Disney Channel sitcom, Bizaardvark. He’ll probably never have a chart hit, but his determination to be noticed suggests this won’t be the last we’ll see of him.

Future Stars: Pretty Much (Columbia/Syco)

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Syco have been trying to launch their next big pop group for a while, and several projects seem to have fallen by the wayside over the past couple of years, but this one has real potential. Pretty Much are a new five-piece boyband based in LA, formed by label scouts and recently signed to a joint deal with Syco and Columbia. It’s ironic that the only company that has managed to create a viable boyband that isn’t a rip off of One Direction is 1D’s label. They’ve taken on the challenge of reinterpreting *N Sync for a new generation, and although their success will hinge on the quality of their music and marketing, the raw materials are all present and correct: dance skills, vocal harmonies, charisma, style and chemistry. They lack a strong lead singer, as their voices are generally indistinct and a little weak, but that’s my only criticism so far. The band is made up of Austin Porter (19), Brandon Arreaga (17), Edwin Honoret (18), Nick Mara (19) and Zion Kiwonu (17). They’ve been posting dance videos and acapella covers on social media, and have grown a large following on Instagram (where some of the members had an existing fanbase), but nowhere else. Nonetheless, the fan engagement is plain to see, and they’re already leaving rivals such as Island’s underwhelming Citizen Four in the dust.

Song of the Week: Neiked ft. Mimi – Call Me

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It looks like we’re in for another summer of generic Spotify-pop, so we might as well try to enjoy it. As usual, we can look to the Swedes for help with this. The new single by producer Victor Rådström, aka Neiked, is a delightfully sweet pop tune. Call Me is the follow-up to his 2016 hit, Sexual. It was co-written by Camille Purcell, one of Little Mix’s main writers, along with Alex Papaconstantinou and Viktor Svensson (co-writers of poptastic Euro-hit Cool Me Down by Margaret), among others. Oh and yes, that lyric really does say “Cos you hit bottoms, hit them like no other.”

Future Hits: You the type that I could bake for

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:

  • Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane – Down
  • Martin Garrix ft. Troye Sivan – There For You
  • Major Lazer ft. Travis Scott, Camila Cabello & Quavo – Know No Better
  • Julia Michaels – Uh Huh
  • AJR ft. Louisa Johnson – Weak

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