UK Sounds: Meet the artists showcasing at ILMC 33
UK Sounds is a joint initiative between PRS Foundation’s International Showcase Fund and the Department for International Trade’s Music Export Growth Scheme.
The International Showcase Fund is run by PRS Foundation in partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT), British Underground, Arts Council England, the Musicians’ Union (MU), PPL, Creative Scotland, Wales Arts International and the Arts Council of Wales, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Invest NI. The Music Export Growth Scheme is funded through DIT and administered by the BPI.
UK Sounds partners have provided support for high-production value performances and bespoke partnerships with other companies and platforms domestically and internationally such as IQ and ILMC. The content supported by UK Sounds partners is to enable export-ready talent during this lockdown period to continue to reach their potential and compete internationally through trusted curation of content, reaching overseas music networks and providing a spotlight on talented underrepresented groups in the UK.
Read on for more information about the UK Sounds-supported acts showcasing at ILMC 33 on Wednesday 3 March at 20.00–21.00 GMT (Lady Nade, Harleighblu, Cherym, Genghar) and Thursday 4 March at 19.30–20:30 GMT (Elles Bailey, TrueMendous, HMS Morris, Dead Pony).
Serving up a zingy, fearless new recipe for pop-punk rock, Cherym are Hannah Richardson, Nyree Porter and Alannagh Doherty from Derry in Northern Ireland, and they are responsible for some seriously infectious songwriting.
Taking influence from the Smashing Pumpkins, Bikini Kill, American Football, Pup and Pixies, the trio formed after meeting in college over a joint love of garage rock, pop-punk and being the biggest band in the world.
“A gut-punch of energy and DIY enthusiasm” — The Irish Times
“It won’t be long before Cherym break into the big leagues” — Hot Press
“Definite ones to watch… a refreshing blast of earnest songwriting and nostalgic joy” — Nialler9
Fresh from a successful 2020, Dead Pony are a departure from Scotland’s fertile rock/post-punk movement. The band has cultivated a grunge-infused sound akin to Bikini Kill, Wolf Alice and Queens of the Stone Age.
In 2021, Dead Pony have hit the ground running after unprecedented success both in the UK and US last year. Despite the limitations of the global pandemic, the Glasgow-based outfit secured national radio play amongst some of the top music shows.
The band has enjoyed firm BBC support with plays from Jack Saunders and Huw Stephens on BBC Radio 1, including Jack Saunders’ Next Wave features for two previous releases. BBC Radio Scotland has also shown support, with plays from Vic Galloway, Phoebe Inglis and Shereen Cutty, as well as a live session for Stephen McCauley’s Shutdown Sessions at BBC Ulster, a feature with Under the Radar Top Tips for 2021, along with an impressive performance on Brad Wagner’s New Colossus Festival sessions.
The band is eager to return and is looking forward to tastemaker festival slots and international showcase dates in the coming months.
Twenty twenty started with a bang for the super-smoky-voiced, hard-working, far-touring chanteuse Elles Bailey when ‘Little Piece of Heaven’, written with storied Memphis and Nashville giant Bobby Wood, and Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys) picked up UK song of the year at the UK Americana Awards. It’s taken from her chart topping sophomore album Road I Call Home, which was released to rave reviews and awarded Album of the Year at the UK Blues Awards. The album charted in both the Official UK Country Charts and Americana charts, has gained over 3.4 million streams since its release and reached No1 on the Amazon Blues Bestseller chart. Adding to Elles’ string of awards, she also picked up the high accolade of Artist of the Year at the UK Blues Awards.
Despite the global pandemic, Elles has kept up her profile by doing many live streams; dropping a critically acclaimed, award- nominated live acoustic album, Ain’t Nothing But; raising money for charities and campaigning for Women in Music; and picking up another three nominations in the UK Blues Awards 2021, including Artist of the Year again (awards in May 2021). She will be releasing a brand new studio record in September 2021 and, if restrictions lift, touring shall begin again in October, November and December, after joining Joe Bonamassa on his Keeping The Blues Alive at Sea cruise.
Miss Bailey really does call the road home, and when she arrives near you, don’t think twice, get there. A great evening and a long musical friendship will be waiting.
Gengahr are an English indie band, formed in 2013 at Stoke Newington School in Hackney, London. Though originally named Res, they were forced to rename after discovering an artist with that name on iTunes. Their new name is a play on Gengar, one of the original Pokémon.
After BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens played their first single, ’Fill My Gums With Blood’, on his radio show, the band were invited to perform at the Introducing stage at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival.
Their critically acclaimed debut album, A Dream Outside, was released on 15 June 2015 after signing to Transgressive Records. A second album, Where Wildness Grows, was released in 2018, and the band’s third album Sanctuary was released in January 2020 via Liberator Music.
Harleighblu’s classic yet truly distinctive soul voice pulls no punches and makes no apologies. Her raw, beat-heavy style is uniquely captivating, pushing the neo-soul and R&B template to its absolute limits.
Supported by Radio 1, BBC Radio 6 and Jazz FM, to name a few, she has been given the title of ‘Queen of Hip Hop and Soul’. Her electrifying latest album, She, led to a headline appearance at the prestigious Lollapalooza in Berlin. This same album gained over two million streams on Spotify alone, securing her the cover image on its Butter and Jazz UK playlists. She also sold over 1,500 vinyl records worldwide.
Twenty twenty-one is looking bigger than ever, with new music coming in March, a US writing tour and a Jazz Café London headline gig all on the cards for the talented Nottingham native.
Bringing us raw, unapologetically feminine and honest lyrical touches, Harleighblu has established herself as one of the UK’s most promising artists.
HMS Morris are an art-rock group from Wales. They’ve been touring and recording since 2015, and are supported by the Cardiff-based Bubblewrap Collective.
Their two full-length albums to date (2016’s Interior Design and 2018’s Inspirational Talks) both earned nominations for the Welsh Music Prize, and were variously described as “innovative, forward-thinking pop music” (Earthly Pleasures), “strange and beautiful music” (Electronic Sound) and a “multi-dimensional sound that traipses across hitherto unexplored regions of sound” (Clash).
They’ve taken their music to Toronto, Montreal, Osaka, Tokyo and Kyoto, and are currently working on a piece of theatre/art/ dance/music about running away from Earth.
Indie-folk-Americana singer-songstress Lady Nade started writing songs as a form of healing from grief. Performing in venues across her native city of Bristol, her work developed into a calling to connect with her fans on a deeper level and help lead them through life’s complicated tapestry with the healing power of music.
Often being told that black females only sing soul, R&B or jazz has always quietly been playing on Lady Nade’s mind; however, during her creative process the one thing that is always at the centre is staying true to her art regardless of the genre. “I am awaking to my heritage, seeing things differently… but one thing that strikes me is that there are so many incredible black artists… there really is no need to put us all into one box!”
Nominated for UK song of the year (‘Ain’t One Thing’) at the UK Americana Awards 2021, Lady Nade is moving forward with a brand new album in the making, Willing, which is set for a June 2021 release.
Rioting into 2021 with the explosive hard-hitting single ‘Cause a Scene’ landing on the Made in UK playlist, TrueMendous is set to have an incredible year.
In 2020, the rising star signed to High Focus Records where she released her EP Huh?. The EP had an exceptional response, accumulating over 222,000 streams, with one of the singles from the project landing on the Adidas COLD.RDY campaign, and another on the FIFA 21 soundtrack.
If this wasn’t enough, TrueMendous managed to bag the lead role in the 2020 Christmas Pepsi Max advert along with the lead role in a separate McVities ad at the same time.
She secured a mind-blowing 11 festival slots throughout the summer of 2019, including Glastonbury, Leeds and Reading, where she opened up the BBC 1xtra stage. TrueMendous was also one of the leading artists on Queens of Art, the first-ever all-female hip-hop tour, which visited eight cities across the UK.
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Making music GREAT: How the UK is driving growth in the global industry
The UK’s festival circuit is the envy of the world, famed for international heavy hitters like Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, Isle of Wight Festival, Bestival and Lovebox, as well as many hundreds of smaller events, all with their own niches and loyal audiences.
The British festival scene draws in foreign performers and music tourists – 12.5m of the latter in 2016 alone, making up 40% of the total live music market – and domestic audiences alike, while outside the festival scene, the UK also has a well-established, thriving live network spread across the entire country.
But British music isn’t only driving growth in Britain – it’s the engine room of the global live music industry. The richness and diversity of the UK’s festival landscape is reflected throughout a diverse UK talent pool making waves globally – from its world-leading, genre-defining artists to festival organisers, labels, promoters, agencies, studios, producers, sound and event technology companies, distributors and more.
Whether it’s Ed Sheeran breaking records all over the planet and Stormzy starting a grime revolution; Festival Republic exporting UK festival culture to the world and London’s powerhouse agencies securing the best deals for global talent; or world-beating recording studios, management companies, music publishers, ticket agents and innovative tech start-ups bringing British knowhow to a global audience, the UK has always been at the forefront of innovation in the music industry.
The richness and diversity of the UK’s festival landscape is reflected throughout a diverse talent pool making waves globally
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the technology space, with the UK at the forefront of the digital revolution. In addition to having one of the most comprehensive digital music services in the world – UK consumers can choose between more than 70 streaming, download and cloud-based services – this innovation is revolutionising the concert and festival businesses.
Recent wins for forward-thinking UK live music companies include a host of new venue partners for Dice, a UK mobile ticketing company whose app makes ticket touting impossible; a partnership between Birmingham-based NEC Group Arenas and UK virtual reality music company MelodyVR; expansion into the US for Festicket, a fast-growing UK-based travel portal which bundles festival tickets with travel, accommodation and other add-ons; and an increasing number of cashless festivals, including Bestival (in partnership with London-based Tappit) and Northern Ireland’s Jika Jika! Festival (with Leeds-based Event Genius).
These companies – and many more like them – embody the ambition and verve that the UK music industry possesses, and go some way to explaining the increase in music tourism and the wide-scale participation of British businesses on the global stage.