THINK TANK: The Next British Invasion

While nobody has declared it official just yet, it definitely feels like we’re in the midst of what will be looked back on as yet another British Invasion at radio, one that’s clearly making its presence felt across Canada.

2012 was a massive year for UK acts, with Mumford & Sons, Adele, Ellie Goulding and The Wanted all scoring #1 hits, while Calvin Harris, Alex Clare, Muse, Cher Lloyd, Jessie J and One Direction made serious impacts on playlists everywhere.

As Franz Ferdinand was staging a triumphant return to the airwaves in 2013, a new crop of UK talent was breaking out, with Frank Turner, Jake Bugg, Olly Murs, Emeli Sande, Labrinth, Little Mix and Graffiti6 all starting to duplicate their European successes here.

If the current charts are any indication, 2014 could have the strongest showing of UK acts in recent memory. As of January 27th, Arctic Monkeys are enjoying their seventh-straight-week atop Alternative radio with “Do I Wanna Know?”; Ellie Goulding has a Top-5 CHR smash (now crossing-over to Hot AC) with “Burn”; One Direction have secured Top-10 status with “Story of my Life”; John Newman has cracked the Top-20 with “Love Me Again”, and both Bastille & Chvrches are crossing-over quickly from Alternative Rock to the CHR and Hot AC formats.

Looking ahead, there are a number of UK acts, of both superstar & developing status, that have the potential to explode in Canada this year:

Disclosure — Nominated for “Best Dance/Electronic Album” at the Grammy Awards, this duo are pegged as one of the ‘must see’ acts at Coachella in April.

Charli XCX — Best known as the writer behind Icona Pop’s smash “I Love It”, the buzz surrounding her new album, slated for mid-2014, has already started.

You Me At Six — A UK Rock mainstay, their new album seems to be more in line with US and Canadian playlists than previous releases. With US tours already booked it feels like they’ll be the recipient of some serious North American attention this year.

Tom Odell — Winner of the “Critic’s Choice” gong at the 2013 BRIT awards, his sound could find a welcome home at the Hot & Mainstream AC formats.

Sam Smith — Vocalist on singles from Naughty Boy (“La La La”, #1 UK) and Disclosure (“Latch”, #11 UK), expectations are high for his debut album, set for release May 26th.

The Wombats — An easy sonic fit for North American Alternative playlists, it feels like The Wombats could easily build on the efforts from their last album when they come over to North America in support of their forthcoming 2014 release.

Elbow — Massively popular in the UK, their new disc, the sixth of their career (out March 3rd), might be the ticket to finally connecting with audiences here.

Mr. Hudson — The stylish vocalist has received an incredible amount of airplay via his guest spots with Jay-Z and Kanye West. With a new album slated for 2014 he could well be a contender at either the Alternative or Hot AC formats.

Sampha — His immediately engaging vocal hook starts the new Drake hit “Too Much” and then runs throughout the whole track. With a Top 5 placement in Radio 1’s “Sound of 2014” it will be interesting to see if Sampha’s introspective, piano-driven material will be able to find a home in N.A.

At Frontside, we’re extremely proud of the work we’ve done in helping to build the radio profiles of Arctic Monkeys, Ellie Goulding, Jake Bugg and Franz Ferdinand in Canada.  Working in concert with the UK’s top labels, managers and artists, our goal in 2014 is to bring the very best of their music to the Canadian airwaves.

With so much amazing music coming out of the UK right now, this current incarnation of the  “British Invasion” shows no signs of letting up anytime soon.